Creativity is a special kind of thinking that involves originality and fluency, that breaks away from existing patterns and introduces something new. Creativity may be applied to problem solving, in which case it facilitates the generation of a range of possible solutions, in particular to problems that have no single right answer. Alternatively, and most productively, it may be applied to the process of creating - this means the realizing of a held vision, empowered by a tension-resolution system that is put in place by the existing reality being differentiated from a desired vision. So creativity is obviously something that happens frequently in everyday life, rather than something confined to poets, painters and musicians.
The creative process appears typically to follow four stages:
Preparation - considering the situation is a telic and paratelic process, playing around with ideas and deliberating on their feasibility; then, identifying the problem, issue, theme or vision, finding out what one really wants to achieve, causes a reversal to paratelic excitement (or sometimes telic anxiety, particularly if this is an other-determined should or must).
Incubation - the matter sinks into the unconscious; if access to the unconscious is blocked (such as by anxiety) this resource (the processing power of whole brain) may be limited or slow to emerge. Also, within consciousness, current reality is further compared to the envisioned outcome, to Energize the incubation and provide more data.
Illumination - imaginative ideas emerge spontaneously into consciousness and in the paratelic state the individual gets to work making them a reality.
Verification - withdrawing telically, coming down to earth, the result is evaluated with respect to the aim or vision; if necessary the cycle is repeated.
The keynote is a freedom to reverse readily back and forth between telic and paratelic states, which requires good integration of the left and right hemispheres. Intuitive insight is further strengthened by synchronous brain rhythms between the aroused hemispheres, which corresponds to the state of paratelic excitement. The individual needs to put himself in the right frame of mind before the conscious self can open to the unconscious and allow illumination to come through. Again this corresponds to paratelic high arousal facilitating good communication between the right-hemisphere especially, and the limbic system, the central processor of the unconscious. Stronger and higher frequency synchronised Alpha brain rhythms in the cortex, more closely match the processing of the lower brain and such 'whole brain' arousal most effectively facilitates the creative process.
Poets speak of being 'caught up' in the creative act, of being 'possessed' and sometimes 'shaken' and 'overwhelmed' by it. The whole language of inspiration has to do with excitement, even of being taken over by a strange force which acts in and through the conscious self but without ego-volition; a sort of 'channeling', enabling a beautiful flow of expression. In truth, this is the whole (fully integrated) brain acting paratelically as a transparent tool of the Higher Self.
Put another way, this is the Muse, a wayward paratelic lady. We play with her, we entice her, and when she arrives we lose our sense of self and become absorbed into the delights she has to offer. Consider a child of three or four: creation and play are to him the same thing - he paints or runs or moulds a piece of clay for the sheer delight of the activity itself, and has no shortage of ideas. The adult 'thinker' tends to try harder for inspiration and in so doing, it would seem to recede from his grasp.
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