Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Creativity - What Is It? Where Is It?

Creativity is a Process of the Subconscious

Ever since the time of Socrates it has been pointed out that as a rule, creative people have no explanation as to where their creativity comes from, nor how it works.  (This is why most actors, artists, and musical stars stumble into their prime of creativity after years of repetition, then loose their edge just as quickly a decade or so later.)

It is said that 80% of our brain's power is in our subconscious, the part of our mind which evolved millions of years ago.  This brain part is a power house of processing; it is all about taking in external data, crunching it, and outputting a result in a flash.  This is the brain with which most animals operate, hence their non-rational, quick reaction behavior.  (For an entertaining and revealing take on the lighting quick power of the subconscious, read Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.)

The remaining 20% of our brain, the conscious mind, is the novel development which has sprung us to success as a species and is in fact only a few hundred thousand years old.  Consciousness is the inhibitor that allows us to double check our reactions, step out of the moment, and evaluate long term implications. It is our ability to self-reflect, to see ourselves as a discrete object to be studied and understood, which appears to be unique to all other creatures on earth.  This novel ability to identify a "me" has boon for our survival, but has born an unheard of component of the mind: the ego.

Now that we have a self, our conscious ego sees its own singular power and thinks, "Wow, I am great!"  The conscious mind has no direct access to the subconscious, so it has no direct way to evaluate the power and wisdom contained there.  The result is that most individuals have very little respect for their subconscious and tend to try to run their lives completely in their conscious mind.  This is like trying to drive a car on the highway in second gear; it is stressful, low powered, and touchy.

I posit that one's level of creativity is directly connected to how much one is affected by their subconscious mind.  Often, it is the individuals who have experienced the most trauma in their lives who end up having the most access to the creativity of their subconscious.  Since the subconscious communicates to the conscious using feelings of emotions, emotionally stressful trauma often strengthens ones bridge to one’s primal mind allowing more direct leverage of the raw creative power it generates.

Exploration of the subconscious, and its communication signals, the emotions, is a passion of mine.  If you are curious as well, I would love to hear your thoughts.  We have lots to talk about!

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