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Thursday, November 08, 2007

"Creativity is the defeat of habit by originality"

The Process for Resolving the Problem of Creativity
by Dr. Deryck D. Pattron, Ph.D.

Creativity is important entity in scientific discovery and in the advancement of knowledge and science. Creativity is yearned for and practiced by all scientists, researchers and scholars, alike. But the process by which creativity is attained remains largely unknown. It is believed that the subconscious plays an important role in creativity and it is the harnessing of the ideas from the subconscious that makes some individuals more creative than others. But creativity can be improved and learned, via practice and patience and through the process described.


Key words: creativity, science, subconscious, conscious, mental process.


Introduction:

In the field of science it is often difficult to remain creative and up-to-date. This is one of the major problems facing scientists and researchers, worldwide (Pattron 40). Creativity does not bring something out of nothing. It uncovers, selects, reshuffles, combines and synthesizes already existing facts, ideas, faculties and skills. Being creative requires that we put more effort into building up than into knocking down. People may be made more creative if they learn how to use their subconscious mental process, chance and writing to clarify their thoughts (Pattron 40). The purpose of this paper is to address the problem of creativity by providing a process for achieving greater creativity.


Subconconscious mental process:

The Subconconscious mental process describes thoughts, ideas and feelings that occur in our mind without being conscious of them. Only a small fraction of our mental process is conscious. A larger fraction of our mental process is subconscious (Ladd 68).

In order to harness the benefits of the subconscious mind we must sensitize our conscious mind to the operations of the subconscious to minimize the number of ideas that are lost from the subconscious. This is done in the following ways and is discussed below (Ladd 68).

(1) Imagination. This is defined as immediate knowledge without conscious deliberation or reasoning. Subconscious mental process can create intuitions which can be stimulated to be more productive.

(2) Intuition. This is the ability to create something new or novel. The invention process consist of four stages:

(i) Preparation. This is a conscious, voluntary, willful effort that is required to stimulate the subconscious. This preparation stage includes systematic and continuous examination of present or recorded phenomena, and the voluntary choice of a problem attitude. Our mind is not likely to give a clear answer to any particular problem unless we set it a clear question.

(ii) Incubation. This is a stage of subconscious mental activity or problem analysis. During incubation we do not voluntarily think on a particular problem, but instead a series of unconscious, involuntary mental activities take place.

(iii) Illumination. Having had a question/problem about something for sometime we suddenly attain enlightenment or comprehension about its solution.

(iv) Verification. This is continuous, voluntary, willful effort. The sole purpose is to test illumination against logic, mathematical rules, experience and other knowledge.


Typically a person is engaged in two or more stages at any given time when faced with a question/problem. Scientists, researchers and investigators jump back and forth from one step to another (Pattron 40).


Other conditions stimulating the subconscious mental process:

The subconscious is stimulated by vigorous mental process (Popper 249). The fruitfulness of the subconscious may be increased by the following (Pattron 40):

Reading a variety of topics.

Doubt.

Venturesome attitude.

Diverse experiences, memories and interests.

Thorough preparation.

Tension.

Temporary abandonment.

Relaxation. This term refers to the soothing of the physical body and mind through physical exercise and mental relaxation such as meditation (Pattron 45).

Writing. This is an essential part of discovery. Many intuitions are brought to light during the process of writing. Writing represents an exchange of ideas with one's self. Writing is a research tool that affects the subconscious. Writing out in detail the statement of the problem, how you plan to solve the problem and why you plan to solve it in the way you do, can save work, time, money and energy (Pattron 45).

Freedom from distraction. Distractions such as interruptions by others, noises can affect the subconscious negatively. It is advised that putting ten hours on research in two five-hour sessions is more productive than one ten-hour session.

Deadlines. External pressures to meet a prescribed deadline often stimulate the subconscious.

Capturing intuitions. Useful thoughts generated from the subconscious reaches the conscious where if not grasped, it is permanently lost. It may be useful to jot down notes as soon as an intuition appears.

Exchange with colleagues. This serves to bring out points that were missed. Discussion with colleagues provides a useful defense against believing foolish things.

Chance favors the prepared mind. There are three kinds of luck in creative scientific thinking.



(i) Blind luck. This occurs completely accidental.

(ii) Good luck. This is the result of exploratory behavior.

(iii) Personal luck. This is due to the scientist, or researcher own unique combination of skills, interest, background, aptitudes, personality, value and beliefs.



Ways of influencing luck in achieving creative scientific thinking (Ladd 68):

(i) Lively curiosity.

(ii) Active imagination.

(iii) Acute perception.

(iv) Diverse experience.

(v) A retentive memory.

(vi) Persistence.


Conclusion:

Creativity can be learned through the rigorous process of problem definition or preparation, problem analysis or incubation, and generation of possible solutions or illumination, analyzing solutions or verification, selection of the best solutions, and planning the next course of action. If this process is followed, the problem of creativity can be improved and used to increase knowledge and facilitate scientific discovery.
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