Guest post by Robin Robertson, where he presents two models of creativity: emergence and discovery. He provides examples of both in his own work, as a magician and as a writer. And listen to our latest interview with Robin.
How is it that the imagination brings something new into existence? Or put another way: what is creativity? I would guess that there are at least as many models of creativity as models of the mind, so I won’t try to pretend I have a new one. Throughout this article, I’ll cycle between two already existing models which I think are necessarily combined in artistic creativity: “discovery” and “emergence.” In both cases, I’ll try to bring the model down to earth by describing my own creative work. Let’s began with “emergence.”
Emergence . . . refers to the arising of novel and coherent structures, patterns, and properties during the process of self-organization in complex systems.
– Jeffrey Goldstein.
In almost any era throughout modern history, philosophers look to the cutting-edge science of their time to provide a model for the human brain/mind. Sometimes that can lead to strange results; e.g., in the 17th century, mathematician and philosopher Rene Descartes argued that hydraulics (which was then the most advanced science of the day) could explain the workings of the brain. “Sensory stimulation produced a flux of the animal spirits contained in the heart and arteries. The heart then pushed the spirits into the cerebral cavities, much as the pumps of an organ push air into its pipes. . . . After death the brain collapsed and fluid could no longer circulate.” Though this now sounds strange to us, it is more difficult to see the problems when it’s our own cutting-edge science that is used as the metaphor. For example, in our time, cognitive psychology uses the computer as a metaphor for the relationship between the brain and the mind, with the brain being the hardware and the mind the software. While at best a useful metaphor, it is hopelessly unsuitable as a model for the actual complexity of the brain/mind.
Drawing on contemporary science for a metaphor can, however, sometimes lead to prescient results. By the early 19th century, chemistry had evolved into a practical science. Chemistry presented philosophers with a metaphysical problem that was not apparent previously in science: chemical compounds are more than the sum of their parts. How is it that a chemical reaction can yield a chemical compound which has a different composition and properties than the substances that went into the reaction.
It was reasonable then for philosopher John Stuart Mill, writing in the middle of the 19th century, to turn to chemistry for an explanatory principle for the creativity of the mind. The prevailing model at the time was that of 17th-century philosopher John Locke, who viewed the mind as a tabula rasa which passively accepted sensory data. What we termed ideas were merely organizations and rearrangements of this sensory data. There were no really new ideas, just rearrangements of sensory data or of ideas which were themselves rearrangements of sensory data. In contrast, Mill argued that the mind is capable of combining existing ideas into a creative synthesis in much the same way that chemical reactions produce new compounds. In Mill’s words:
When many impressions or ideas are operating in the mind together, there sometimes takes place a process of a similar kind to chemical combination…those ideas sometimes melt and coalesce into one another, and appear not several ideas but one . . . the Complex Idea, formed by the blending together of several simpler ones, should . . . be said to result from, or be generated by, the simple ideas not to consist of them.
By 1875, English philosopher G. H. Lewes drew on Mill’s idea of creative synthesis and generalized the idea further, insisting that it was a general situation that existed throughout nature. Lewes was the first to present a general idea of emergence, in a form which is quite similar to views today in chaos/complexity theory. Think of the creative process as it operates within us in problem solving. We chew over a problem, endlessly looking at various possibilities, trying this, trying that. Often there is then a needed period of gestation when the issue drops down into the unconscious where undoubtedly it continues to be chewed over, though now with possibilities unavailable to consciousness. Then suddenly, at no particular moment, the new insight emerges. As we’ll see next, I go through the same process when I create magic tricks.
“CREATING” MAGIC TRICKS
My interest in magic started when I was nine years old and received a magic set as a Xmas present. This is a common present for little boys to this day. They normally tire of it within a few days. But I didn’t. I mastered the tricks in the magic set (or at least learned how to perform them about as well as a little boy can), and was hungry to learn more. So I went to the library to look for books about magic. For those who are interested, the card catalog number for magic books is 793.8. There were quite a few books at my local library and I checked them all out at one time or another. Two that I loved and still find of value were Henry Hay’s Amateur Magician’s Handbook (1950), and Blackstone’s Secrets of Magic (1926). Henry Hay’s real name was June Barrows Mussey. He was a very skilled amateur magician who was a friend of the most skilled and famous coin magician of the era: T. Nelson Downs. Mussey wrote several other excellent magic books, all of which are still in my magical library. From his book, I first learned sleight-of-hand.
Blackstone was Harry Blackstone (a stage name for Harry Bouton), who was one of the most famous stage magicians of the first half of the 20th century. Picture David Copperfield for someone comparable these days. Harry’s son Harry Blackstone Jr., also became a well-known magician in the second half of the 20th century, though he was never as famous as his father. From Blackstone’s book, I learned that tricks could be done with subtlety instead of sleight-of-hand. I was beginning to learn how to balance when to use subtlety and when to use sleight-of-hand.
Magic books, articles, and comic strips, credited to Blackstone, were actually ghost-written by his good friend Walter B. Gibson, who wrote hundreds (if not thousands) of books, articles, movie and radio scripts. Gibson was best-known for the long-running radio show “The Shadow,” which originally starred a 22 year-old Orson Welles as Lamont Cranston, the Shadow’s alter ego. In the show’s famous tag line Orson asked the viewer: “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?” And then answered his own question with: “The Shadow Knows.” This was followed by an ominous laugh, then the title music. Unfortunately, I was far too young to have heard the original broadcasts, but I did hear them later on replays, tapes, and CD’s of the episodes. Since Gibson was himself an amateur magician, magic somehow made its way into quite a few of the shows. Oh, and a truly awful movie version appeared in 1994. ‘Nuff said about that.
I think from Hay’s and Gibson’s writing, I subliminally learned how a magic book should be structured. However, though I read these and other magic books, and eventually began to buy magic tricks through the mail, it never occurred to me that I could create new magic tricks myself. That didn’t occur until, as a teenager, I became a member of a correspondence magic club called “Magical Youths International.” Despite the “international” in the title, we were young magicians scattered throughout the U.S.A., united only through a mimeographed newsletter written and mailed by an adult magician named, of all things, Jesse James.
Several other adult magicians helped him with the club. One named Don Newbold (who I never met in person) took me under his wing through correspondence. We were both members of the International Brotherhood of Magicians (yes, I.B.M.), whose monthly magazine, “The Linking Ring” had a section just of magic tricks (the “Parade”) edited by (get this name) Eddie Clever. Mr. Newbold had discarded everything else and bound the Parades for many years into a huge volume containing nothing but magic tricks. I really coveted that book. He agreed to loan it to me on one condition: I had to come up with some original tricks of my own. As a further inducement, he said that a Canadian magician named Micky Hades (boy, these magician’s names!) was running a contest for original tricks by young magicians in a magic magazine he published (“Hade-Gram-Magizette”). The idea of actually being published was enough to make me try to come up with original magic tricks. That was a turning point in my life, both as a magician and eventually as a writer!
I use the word “original” loosely, as with rare exceptions, new magic tricks tend to be variants of older magic tricks, which in turn lead to still newer variants. Therefore, in order to create new magic tricks, you have to have immersed yourself in older magic tricks. Since I had already done just that, I was surprised to find that I was soon able to come up with a few tricks, which I sent on to Micky Hades. And I kept coming up with more as I waited to hear from Micky. I think it helped that there were no other magicians around who could tell me how things should be done; I was on my own.
Micky wrote to tell me that the young magician’s contest had already ended, but he had entered my tricks in a new contest he was running that had no age restrictions. A little later, I found that while I didn’t win first place, I won 2nd prize for one trick and an honorable mention for another. I don’t remember what the prize was, as the real prize for me was that Micky liked my ideas enough that he wanted to publish a book of my magic. Since I hardly had enough tricks to fill for a book at that point, we agreed that he’d run a column (“Robin’s Nest”) of my tricks in his magazine, while I came up with enough tricks to fill a book. My column ran for two years, with a book (Handle With Care, 1964) coming out in the middle of those two years. Now the “book” was only about 50 pages long, and mimeographed, but it had a cover and illustrations done by a real artist. I was thrilled, and, as I said, it changed my life.
Now I think that there is already a few things we can learn about creativity as emergence from my little story. Because magic fascinated me, I had already swallowed up a great deal of the magic literature on my own. In order to come up with “original” magic tricks though, I needed a push: in this case from an older magician, a father figure. The timing had to be right: there was a young magician’s contest which I found had already ended, but there just happened to be another one when I submitted my tricks. I’m guessing also that Micky Hades must have been short on material, looking for anything new, in order to be willing to take a chance on a teenager.
The way my magic tricks emerged was almost invariant: I’d fiddle with an existing trick, trying different ways to change either the effect or the method. Most would lead nowhere, but at some point, something new (or at least relatively new) would emerge. Often it would be an idea for a totally different trick using a different method. When the idea came, that’s when the emergence ended and the hard work began. Doesn’t that sound just like the way G. H. Lewes’ extended version of Mill’s “creative synthesis”, is supposed to operate?
I’ve spent this much time on details of my early involvement with magic because it led to my first creative work, which in turn led to all the rest. The magic tricks I came up with “emerged” from that reservoir of magic knowledge I already had, pushed by the attraction of being published by a grown-up magician in a grown-up magazine and finally in an actual book. Both the magazine and the book were only mimeographed publications, something that today are merely relics of the past. Despite that, my book remained in print selling among magicians for almost twenty years. It made my name fairly well-known in the magic community of the time. We will see a similar process in the next example of how, later in life, my first non-magic book emerged.
A DISSERTATION TURNS INTO A BOOK
CG. Jung and the Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious was written as my doctoral dissertation in 1985. Since I deliberately wrote it as a book, it was natural that it was published two years later as an academic book. When I began writing it, I thought that I was attempting to show that Jung’s ideas were scientific, not mystical, but the writing had its own life, and what came out was something different than my intentions.
A decade after the original dissertation, I revised and expanded it into a trade book for the general public: Jungian Archetypes: Jung, Gödel, and the History of Archetypes (1995). Jungian Archetypes presents a history of ideas, showing how the concept of “archetypes of a dynamic unconscious” itself “emerged” from the unconscious of Western civilization. It traces that history step-by-step from the Renaissance to the 20th century, in parallel in both philosophy/psychology and mathematics, culminating in Carl Jung and Kurt Gödel respectively. In each case, I try to show that once we get past the difference in language between the fields, the same advances occurred at the same times, in both areas of thought. I originally intended to trace the same stages in art, music and literature as well. Though I had the key stages identified for those fields as well, I realized that including them in a single book would have required more knowledge of those fields than I possessed. I’ve never gone back to make that extension into the other fields, but I think it’s a proof that the unconscious wanted the archetype of “archetypes of the unconscious” to emerge, no matter what the field of thought.
Except for my magic books (there was another one later on), which were only pamphlet length, I had never written something as complex as a book, and had no idea how to go about structuring one. Most books on writing present a very logic based model: start with knowing what you want to say, create an outline, then expand each part of the outline, perhaps going back and fiddling with the original outline if necessary. Well, I couldn’t conceive of writing that way; Other than the vague idea of originally wanting to show that Jung’s ideas were scientific, I had no concept of what I was going to write. I just starting writing and let the unconscious both produce the ideas and the structure of a book. Since I didn’t know how to structure something as long as a book, and was dependent on the unconscious, about a third of the way into the book, I got stuck and didn’t know how to proceed. For days, I wandered around the house grumbling. Then the answer (which I no longer remember) came from the unconscious, and I moved forward once more.
One of Jung’s favorite mystery writers was Georges Simenon. Simenon’s most famous creation was Inspector Maigret, about whom he wrote 75 novels. Maigret doesn’t solve crimes with logic like Sherlock Holmes. Instead he studies the victim, feeling that if he really understands the victim, he’ll know why the murder happened and who is the murderer. During this process, he always hits a point where he’s stuck. When that happens, his assistants try to stay out of his way, as he’s likely to jump down their throat. Once he’s past the sticking point, he knows why the crime happened and who is the killer. It’s not as if there was some particular fact that he was missing. He’s simply stayed with the problem long enough and something new is ready to “emerge.”
Interestingly, Simenon’s own writing process was also emergent, especially in the Maigret novels. He told an interviewer: “Unconsciously I probably always have two or three, not novels, not ideas about novels, but themes in my mind. I never even think that they might serve for a novel; more exactly, they are the things about which I worry. Two days before I start writing a novel I consciously take up one of those ideas.” At that point, he would isolate himself sometimes in a hotel room, sometimes a writing room attached to his house, and devote himself exclusively to the novel. “On the eve of the first day I know what will happen in the first chapter. Then, day after day, chapter after chapter, I find what comes later. After I have started a novel I write a chapter each day, without ever missing a day. Because it is a strain . . . it’s almost unbearable after five or six days. That is one of the reasons my novels are so short; after eleven days I can’t—it’s impossible. I have to—it’s physical. I am too tired.” The novel emerges from the unconscious, but as he points out, it’s a strain on the writer to bring it forth.
My book was written in much the same way, though I wasn’t capable of a chapter a day like Simenon. One further tidbit of interest: when I was approaching the end, I was convinced that I still had another chapter to write. Then this paragraph wrote itself and I realized that I was done:
The world is a place of magic and wonder. Sometimes in our childish arrogance we overlook that wonder and think our little toys are greater than the world. But then we grow older and wiser and once more our sense of wonder is restored. Jung and Gödel have each in their own way tried to open our eyes to the magic around us, and within us. The archetypal hypothesis is a starting point to explore that wonder, not an end point to circumscribe its possibilities.
SCINTILLAE OF LIGHT
Let me conclude this section on creativity through emergence with a striking example of a book that itself evolved out an image of emergence.
In 2003, I was teaching Jung’s great essay on “Psychology and Religion” to a class of future Jungian analysts. I hadn’t read this essay in over twenty years and found myself struck by a single mention late in the essay, of “scintillae of light” dwelling in the darkness. Without at the time knowing exactly why, I knew this was important and hunted through the rest of the “Collected Works” for further mentions of this image. I found that it appeared in a number of places, especially in the alchemical books, but had its best expression in an essay on “The Nature of the Psyche” (CW8:388-9), where Jung talks about the emergence of these “sparks of light” from the darkness. He concludes that they “have about them a certain effulgence or quasi-consciousness and that numinosity entails luminosity.” In other words, little sparks of the light of consciousness begin to emerge from the darkness and eventually merge into full consciousness.
That’s when I knew why this image had struck me so strongly: the modern scientific model of chaos theory has a nearly identical description of how new structure appears from chaos. As a prosaic example, visualize water coming to a boil. Little eddies appear, then disappear again, with their number gradually multiplying. At some totally unpredictable point, several eddies coalesce, then attracts the others, until they all join and the water boils. Similar examples of emergent structure occur widely in chaos theory.
This strange parallel, between a system as ancient as alchemy and one as modern as chaos theory, made me wonder if there were other parallels between alchemy and chaos theory. And whether chaos theory could provide, like alchemy, a model for the individuation process. Since I already knew a good deal about chaos theory, I began to study alchemy beyond Jung’s own work, which I knew. Gradually, I found other parallels, though none so self-evident as with scintillae of light. As my research led to more insights, I gave several lectures and workshops and wrote a paper. Eventually this led to my book, Indra’s Net: Alchemy & Chaos Theory as models for Self-Transformation (2009). So a book about emergence itself emerged from my unconscious.
CREATIVITY AS DISCOVERY
Mathematicians divide into two camps on the question of whether mathematical proofs are created or discovered. Those who believe in “discovery” argue that mathematical proofs already exist and mathematicians simply discover them. Foremost among these mathematicians was Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdos (1913-1996), who was perhaps the most prolific mathematician of the 20th century, often in collaboration with other mathematicians. He collaborated so often that mathematicians coined the “Erdos number.” A mathematician who had collaborated directly with Erdos, had an Erdos number of “1”; if with someone who had themselves collaborated with Erdos, their number was “2,” and so on. This is reminiscent of the more generally known “6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” which was a joking way of referring to the fact that Kevin Bacon had been in so many movies that any actor or actress was at most 6 such connections removed from an appearance in a movie with Kevin Bacon.
Erdos often referred to “The Book,” in which God had written down all the most important and elegant mathematical proofs. He insisted that mathematicians didn’t create mathematical proofs; if their proof was an important one, they had discovered it in “The Book.” Though Erdos didn’t believe in God (who he termed the “Supreme Fascist”), he argued that while you didn’t have to believe in God, you did have to believe in “The Book.”
I originally studied to be a “pure mathematician;” that is, math for math’s sake, not for its utility. Among pure mathematicians, most are of the school that believe, like Erdos, that mathematical proofs are discovered. Since I am only peripherally a mathematician these days, most of my “creativity” veers toward either magic tricks or writing, rather than mathematical proofs. And because I’m a Jungian, I consider my creative work as coming from “The Unconscious” instead of from “The Book.” But it’s the same belief! The unconscious comes up with the new ideas and I’m the worker-bee who has to do the scut work of tidying it up into something that can be passed on to others. Probably this will make more sense if I talk about the variety of ways in which the unconscious has produced material for me, material that I think was already there, waiting for me to discover it.
WHEN THE SELF SPEAKS, YOU LISTEN
From 1979-1982, I was in a Jungian analysis. After a dream pointedly said that it was time to leave analysis, I discussed it with the analyst and then did leave. Within a little over a week after leaving analysis, the unconscious told me that I needed to write about the “Book of Revelation” of the Christian Bible. This didn’t occur in a dream; it was a voice inside me, the voice of the Self. And when the Self speaks, you listen.
To my knowledge, I had never previously read Revelation (and not much of the Bible overall, as I was raised Catholic before turning agnostic). Following the assignment I had been given by the unconscious, I started reading Revelation and, like a good Jungian, “amplifying the images.” I had written about a hundred pages of amplification, then asked my best friend to read what I had written. After looking it over for about a week, he told me that he couldn’t tell if it was good or bad, as he had no idea what it was about. I laughed and decided it was just one more of the many hundreds of pages of amplification I had previously written about my dreams and other inner work (much like what became Jung’s “Black Books”). I set what I had written aside and thought no more about it.
Four years later, on the exact same day that my first book, C. G. Jung and the Archetypes of the Unconscious was accepted for publication, I suddenly realized that the Book of Revelation was a “Big Dream” about a change of consciousness, one that was only now taking place. This new stage of consciousness would be one in which everyone realized that God was inside us rather than outside. I threw away the original hundred pages and starting writing the book from scratch. Obviously one part of the structure this time came from the text of Revelation. But the directions that produced in my writing came unbidden from the unconscious. During the next month, I had a series of post-apocalyptic dreams. It was, however, another four years until the book was finished and published. The book was After the End of Time (1990), later revised and published as Beginner’s Guide to Revelation (1994); still later further revised and expanded as At the End of Time (2011).
It’s a commonplace in analysis that the dreams patients bring to a first session often prefigure the whole course of what is to come. As if the future was already contained, waiting to be discovered in the course of experience. This is also how Jung showed that alchemy mirrored the individuation process, with the end-point, the Philosopher’s Stone already contained within the Prima Materia that begins the process. But the Stone would never appear without going through the “work.”
In recent years, with the publication of Jung’s “Red Book,” there has been a glut of papers demonstrating how the roots of Jung’s later work were already present in the Red Book. I must admit that I haven’t really understood this fascination, as it seems inevitable to me that anyone who digs deeply into their psyche is going to find the unconscious producing material that they don’t understand at the time, but that later turns out to be important. The main ideas are already there, but it’s too early for consciousness to grasp them and develop them. In the case of my Revelation book, the unconscious clearly knew that I needed to write it, even though it took me four years to know why, and eight years to have an actual physical book in hand. We could view this as “emergent” as well, but I think here the idea that it was already in existence, waiting to be discovered, fits better.
While this hasn’t been one of my best-selling books, I’ve received more heartfelt fan mail for it than for any other book, most explaining that it freed them of fears they had always had about the Book of Revelation. One woman wrote to say that her grandmother read it in her last days and died peacefully. At a break point in a lecture I was giving in 2004, I was understandably a little anxious when a priest came up to me, saying he had recently read my book on Revelation. I worried that he would chastise me for my effrontery in writing about something that I knew so little about. But he told me that it had eased his soul to read it. I didn’t myself have any inner conflict over the material since it wasn’t (and isn’t) a key part of my life. The unconscious, however, clearly knew it was needed and pushed me to write that book.
A MORE NORMAL REASON TO WRITE A BOOK?
A year or so after After the End of Time was published, a friend, who is both an analyst and a successful writer, suggested to me that there needed to be a new introduction to Jungian psychology. At that time, the main introductory book was James Whitmont’s The Symbolic Quest, which fit best for someone already in a Jungian analysis. I didn’t pay much attention to his suggestion at the time, but after thinking it over for a while, I decided to try to write it. As always, rather than planning what the book should look like, I let the unconscious direct my writing.
What came out first was basic information on Jung’s background, the structure of the psyche, dreams, and psychological types. At that point, I realized that there is a three-stage path of individuation based on what I called the “archetypes of development” – the Shadow, Anima/Animus, and Self . Not exactly a new idea, but for me, it meant that there was a natural structure for both individuation and my book, ending with the Self. All I added further was an Afterword explaining that there was a great deal more of Jung’s ideas to explore beyond what I had written in this book. The book was Beginner’s Guide to Jungian Psychology (1992). It’s been the best-selling of all my books, used fairly widely by therapists and teachers, and translated into a variety of other languages.
Now where is the discovery process for this book? I may be stretching here. The friend who suggested that I write the book is himself more widely known and read than I am. At the time I had only written the two books I’ve previously mentioned, and I’m not sure if he had read either one. Since then, in his own books, he’s dealt individually with virtually all the topics that went into this book. So why didn’t he write the book himself? I doubt he knows, but I’d suggest that the unconscious pushed him to prod me because the collective unconscious wanted the book I wrote, rather than the book he could have written.
STRAIGHT FROM A DREAM STATE ON WAKING
Let me include one further example where I think it’s quite clear that I simply “discovered” material that was already in the unconscious and then went about the conscious work of making it readable. As an editorial board member of the Jungian journal Psychological Perspectives, I had read many bad papers which tried to force-fit J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings into a Jungian model. Whenever I’d complain about the paper, one board member in particular would suggest that I should write a better paper. I said that The Lord of the Rings was too big for a single paper. I never considered writing such a paper, as The Lord of the Rings is my all-time favorite book, and Frodo is for me the greatest character in literature. I’ve turned to it for moral guidance more times than I can count.
One morning late in 2001, however, I woke up with the full details of, not an article, but a book, which would show how the seven main characters (or pairs of characters) each presented a different path for individuation. The seven paths were 1) Merry & Pippin – the Path of Curiosity; 2) Legolas and Gimli – the Path of Opposites; 3) Gandalf – the Path of the Wizard; 4) Strider/Aragorn – the Path of the King; 5) Gollum – the Path of Tragic Failure; 6) Samwise – the Path of Love; and 7) Frodo – the Path of Transcendence.
I immediately wrote the structure down as quickly as I could, afraid I’d lose it the way dreams often fade once you wake. I was mindful of how Coleridge lost most of his epic poem “Kubla Khan” when he was interrupted in the process of writing down the poem which had come to him in a dream. Even with the structure already given by the unconscious, it took quite a while to find how to make it into a book. The problem there was because the actions of the book take place roughly chronologically over time (though split between first two groups, then three groups), while each of the characters (or pairs of characters) occurs throughout almost the entire book. I probably did more hard thinking work in this development than in any other book, since I couldn’t just let the material flow from the unconscious. But within each path, I let the unconscious choose what events were significant.
Once finished, I thought getting this published would be easy. It wasn’t. My main publisher had died a few years earlier, so I needed to find a new publisher. For the first time, I used an agent recommended by a friend. He approached a number of publishers, but none led to acceptance of the book. The biggest reason seemed to be because the heirs of Tolkien were so solicitous of his legacy that publishers tended to be wary of fighting with them. The agent gave up and I looked further on my own. One publisher liked the book a great deal and wanted to publish it, but unfortunately they had a book with a similar name and topic (which they didn’t like very much), but the financial folks weren’t willing to take a chance on another such book. This publisher remained interested, and later they published Indra’s Net.
Psychological Perspectives was kind enough to publish Frodo’s Quest: Seven Paths of the Hero serially over two years. Still later I slightly revised the book and published it as a Kindle e-book titled Jung and Frodo: Seven Paths of Individuation in Lord of the Rings.
I’ve tried to show how my own creative work has either “emerged” from the unconscious or been “discovered” already lying in the unconscious, waiting for discovery. In some cases, something or someone in the outer world was involved in this process; in other cases, the unconscious provided the impetus on its own. Though I haven’t been explicit in pointing it out, I think in virtually all cases, there has been a synchronicity of events that have led to these works appearing.
In discussing my writing with a long-term friend, I told her that in all cases I have felt like I had received an “assignment” from the unconscious, which I had to honor. I doubt that I’m alone in that feeling among people doing virtually any form of creative work.
Originally published in Psychological Perspectives.
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.Goldstein, Jeffrey. “Emergence as a Construct: History and Issues” (Emergence: Complexity and Organization 1: 49-72, 1999), p. 49.
.Marc Jeannerod, The Brain Machine: The Development of Neurophysiological Thought (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1985), p.2.
.quotation in Edwin G. Boring, A History of Experimental Psychology, p. 230. Mill’s emphasis in all cases.
.both quotes from Carvel Collins, interviewer, “Interview with Georges Simenon on the Art of Fiction, in The Paris Review, Summer 1955.
.See Paul Hoffman, The Man Who Loved Only Numbers (Hatchette Books, 1998), for more fascinating stories about Paul Erdos.