Brief introduction: This is non-expert writing on neuroscience and physics of creativity. Just be aware that what is written here is personal thoughts, but is backed up by scientific sources. If you read any of my writing and this post also included the usual tips that might help you stimulate your creativity.
I drunk my water and got focus on the slide. Mbak Sarah and Mbak Gadis begun the workshop which called themselves as Rockstar Mentors, held by 1% LAB (they’re on Instagram @rockstarmentors). They started with the famous onomatopoeic phrase “Om Telolet Om” and discuss why on earth is this becoming famous? We once lived in the moment where the not-so-interesting thing can go viral in hours. And this was an introduction to the next slide. They spoke on the learning framework named conceptual thinking, where the intuition begins, what is self-consciousness, what is the connection to the conceptual thinking, and how creativity works.
I’m intrigued. Is creativity a skill I can beef up like a weak muscle? When can I enable the creativity? Then they answered my bewildering question. Creativity works in mysterious and often paradoxical ways. There’s no evidence that we could control the randomness of creativity. The key is “random”, something that happening without conscious decision. We need to wake up the most important part of our brain to understand the creativity, which Sigmund Freud stated as unconscious mind, where the creativity begin. It’s amazing to see that the vast majority of your brain activity is actually going out without you being aware of it. Ideas are generated when your brain takes existing knowledge and memories which stored in the unconscious mind.
I honestly don’t believe in randomness. I believe everything happens for a logical reason. Matthew Lieberman described how neuroscience is helping in understanding creativity in people. He underwent a brain computed tomography (CT) and positron emission tomography (PET) to mapping the brain’s activity during problem-solving and thinking which leads to a connection between basal ganglia function and frontal lobes function. The features of basal ganglia (which is also described in the workshop) could play specific roles in decision making and automatic evaluations. And the frontal lobes are responsible for motor skills and cognitive function. Make a sense. Whenever we generate an idea, both part “lights up”. But how to create an idea? How to accelerate it? Mbak Sarah answered my question by simply creating a work. But I was still stuck. How can I create a work when I have zero ideas? Maybe the answer is by digging the old problem in memories. That’s hard to do, but not impossible.
I looked back to “light up” moment then I realized instead of looking for how to create ideas, I should focus on the networks that connect existing knowledge and memories to generate the ideas. Like, put a bait to entice the poisson (which means fish in French). The more bait you put, the more chance you catch the fish.
It’s not how you want to fish, it’s how the fish want to bite. Ideas are a lot like fish. If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But if you want to catch the big fish, you’ve got to go deeper. In creativity, everything, anything that is a thing, also comes up from the deepest level. Freud mentioned as unconscious mind. You can have the best boat at the marina and the finest rod and reel in the world, but if you don’t know where the fish are, it doesn’t matter. Even with the best gear, without the knowledge on the boat, you’d still be out there without catching a thing.
Scientifically speaking, we can observe the probability distribution for the counts of events that occur randomly in a given time (and space). Some events (in this case, ideas) are rather rare, they don’t happen that often. Then, I use Poisson Distribution to observe the probabilities of various numbers of “events” (I once used Poisson Distribution to forecast the occurrence of an earthquake).
The Poisson Distribution will tell how likely it is that event occurs. In order to apply the Poisson distribution, events must be independent, so that one event neither diminishes nor increase the chance of another. Given the formula of Poisson distribution, it will be noticed the only variable is the x. That variable is the only way in which one Poisson situation differs from another and it is the only determining variable of the Poisson equation. Specifically, the most the x, the more chance of the event is occurring (in the space of time and space).
The Poisson Distribution
In a sufficiently short length of time, only zero or one event can occur (simultaneous events are impossible). And what is the connection to catch the fish? I change the variable x as work(s). This work is not the result of an action, but this is action itself. The more you works, the more chance an idea comes. I think this is the closest response for me to get Mbak Sarah’s answer. And thanks to Mbak Gadis for introduced the personality type (Sensing-iNtuition) which leads to processing the answer. Yes, I still remember the discussion on the second day!
Jung also said all creativity is based on knowledge and context which someone has accumulated up until that point in their lives. The more works, the more knowledge. Hence, the ideas.
But, what kind of works?
In fact, creativity draws on so many different works that it can be hard for us to know where to start. “As we home in on the different cognitive systems that are involved in different aspects of creativity, it pulls in more and more systems until eventually the whole brain is involved,” Jung says.
One important thing to remember is that creativity is not a passive process. Creativity is more than just staring at the clouds. Simply sitting back and waiting for inspiration is a recipe for losing creativity. Instead, focus on seeking out the things that inspire you that help you focus your mind on creativity. I use Poisson Distribution and Neuroscience’s sources to figure out how we could improve our creativity. I find that there are five principles at work:
–Maximize chance opportunities. Stay open to new experiences, knowledge from varied and diverse sources. The broader your knowledge base, the stronger your brain’s ability to form new neural connections and associations, leading to creative new ideas. Lieberman stated that more deliberative components to decision making, the better.
–Ask questions. Creative people are insatiably curious. Generate a work environment where ambiguity results in further questions being explored, especially if you don’t have a correct answer. Remember that curiosity breeds creativity.
–Take risks. One thing that prevents you from the ability to see what is new and different is that you are afraid to make mistakes. Bohm said if one will not try anything until he is assured that he will not make a mistake in whatever he does, he will never be able to learn anything new at all.
–Just get your ideas out there. If you get that thought out there and externalize it, it frees you up to go onto the next idea. Don’t worry about whether the idea is good enough. Once it’s out there, then you can say, ‘oh that was terrible’ — and keep going.
–Try to give enough time off. We tend to think of creativity as this flash of inspiration that comes unbidden and when we least expect it. Neuroscience is proving that’s true. But there are some things we can do to create more opportunities for these kinds of Eureka moments that lead to more creativity. Helie and Sun actually realized what happens in the brain during a moment of insight. They found that it required our brain in a diffuse mode: when we’re daydreaming, spacing out, or not thinking of anything in particular–letting our minds wander, so to speak. So there’s good neurological science behind why we tend to get our best ideas in the toilet or just as we’re falling asleep. However, insight problems are more likely to be solved by the implicit processes.
Creativity rarely comes so easy, and tales like this might lead you to believe that some people are creative and some people just aren’t. Creativity isn’t a matter of mere talent. Fortunately, science shows all of those aren’t true. Everyone is creative regardless of age, gender, ethnic, and academic performance.
Creativity is might be predictable. There’s nothing random about it—and there are ways to make yourself creative.
But, creativity, in other words, is a slog. Sorry, no shortcuts. So, you’ll keep practicing. You can keep waiting around for the Eureka moment (or for the fish to come). Or you can get to work.
Clearly, much work and research are still needed in order to make sense of the solution of creativity. The views and conclusions contained in this post should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the scientific researchers.
Shout out to Mbak Sarah @sarahsoeprapto and Mbak Gadis @gadisazahra for giving shed light on idea and creativity with your fancy tips and ultimate knowledge. Because dumb is never cute!