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Monday, April 30, 2018

Creativity Needs Long Incubation


“Creativity involves not only years of conscious preparation and training but unconscious preparation as well. This incubation period is essential to allow the subconscious assimilation and incorporation of one’s influences and sources, to reorganize and synthesize them into something of one’s own…. The essential element in these realms of retaining and appropriating versus assimilating and incorporating is one of depth, of meaning, of active and personal involvement.” ………….Oliver W. Sacks
Oliver Wolf Sacks, was a British neurologist, naturalist, historian of science, and author. Due to his own introvert nature and extreme shyness, he never married and always loved solitude. This is one of the reasons why he could understand the inner dimensions of creativity. I am not decrying the need for companionship or relationship in life but when these relations makes one to be subjugated  by the ego dictates of those with whom one has a relation, the state of one’s mind is preoccupied, in a defensive mode, to preserve or surrender to the dictates of one’s own ego demands.
A relationship nurtured at a much deeper level, beyond the sensory and physical needs, could empower the deployment of a symbiotic potential augmenting the individual’s capacity transcending the four dimensional consciousness in which we normally operate.
The two modes of operation of the mind are laid out by Oliver Sacks. They are “retaining and appropriating” and “assimilating and incorporating”. In the first mode there is a huge amount of data which gathered through our senses. These information and experiences are retained in a disjointed form in our memories and they can be at our beck and call at any instant of time. This is how many teachers and leaders in our education system operate. But a good teacher or spiritual master, researcher and innovator goes a level deeper with the knowledge bank he or she has built up. These type of persons are creators.
A creative individual is capable of synthesising the huge amount of disparate knowledge, through a deep understanding of the network of relationships in which the constituent of his knowledge base exists.
There is a current theory of human creativity and the classification is called the 4 C model of creativity. This is not the context to discuss this topic. However I will quote from a paper by two leading proponents of 4 C model.
“There are many other theories, ideas, and studies revolving around Big-C. One example is Gardner’s (1993) concept of the creator’s Faustian bargain with the devil, for example, in which a creator is willing to sacrifice everything in their life for the use of their creative gifts, such as Einstein’s isolation, Freud’s ascetic existence, or Stravinsky’s combativeness. Another method is Gruber’s case studies of great individuals (i.e., Gruber’s 1981 classic study of Charles Darwin), in which he takes the point of view of the Big-C individual and shows how the creator evolved into a great creative thinker.” [1]
This Faustian bargain is the long incubation in which everything is discarded with a sole purpose of gaining all the knowledge in the world.
“The idea that a period of incubation might leverage creativity has not only been suggested by creative minds, but has also been stressed in creativity models. Wallas (1926) proposed that the creative process entails four stages: Preparation (acquisition of knowledge to some task), Incubation (process that occurs when conscious attention is diverted away from the task), Illumination (creative idea flashes into sight), and Verification (creative idea is subjected to evaluation).” [2]
In the domain of spiritual life this same principle is applicable and this incubation process leads to a transcendence to a higher level of consciousness. In many spiritual traditions, sleeping in caves, temples or powerful tomb are recommended to the initiates as a ritual practice. The spiritual practice in I Ching Dao, the ultimate purpose of dream incubation is developing a creative relationship with Original Mind, which is the ultimate spiritual healing power.   
Love to you all


[1] Kaufman, J., & Beghetto, R. (2009). Beyond Big And Little: The Four C Model Of Creativity. Review of General Psychology, 13, 1-12.
[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3990058/

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