Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Opposable thumbs were just a start

Very interesting piece looking at the science of creativity, and the blockage that fundamentalist thinking creates.
The human capability for divergent reasoning results in a nearly limitless range of creative outcomes, from entirely personal to world changing. Surely humanity’s earliest innovations were life altering, as were the many that followed. Recall our eventual acceptance (against initially unyielding church doctrine) of Copernicus’s unfathomable idea that the Sun, and not the Earth, was at the center of our solar system, or Einstein’s affront to the known laws of physics with his concept that matter and energy are different forms of the same thing. But even more mundane activities, like resolving an unacceptable marital situation by seeking conduct on the part of one of the partners that was previously not considered, discovering a treatment solution for a heretofore incurable disease,creating a work of distinctive art, finding an alternative to war in a tense geopolitical situation, a chef’s creation of a new recipe, carefully arranging flowers in vase, or making up a bedtime story, are examples of creative acts resulting from the ability to diverge from current circumstances and consider or enact new possibilities. Certainly, both convergent and divergent reasoning serve to enhance our well being. But it is an individual’s ability to diverge from what is familiar and move beyond the known into a new understanding which is the essence of creativity, and that which gives rise to advancement. In the words of Frank Zappa, “Without deviation from the norm, ‘progress’ is not possible.” Whether a person chooses to question and think on his or her own or remains unconditionally adherent to religious dogma, might relate to how specific areas of the brain are utilized—or not.

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