Field of Science

Give your subconscious a chance to be creative

A discussion on NPR the other day gave TPP pause, yes, it was about cell phones, and similar devices, robbing you of your creativity, and it most certainly is true.  Many years ago a book told a story about how Linus Pauling liked to think about a problem he was trying to solve a night before he went to bed, and how in the morning he often had a new thought about the problem. Hey, it sounded easy enough, so what the heck.  And it works, but there's a catch.  Your subconscious brain will work on and provide new thoughts, ideas, solutions, to problems, but it's very quiet. You must give it a chance to surface because any little thing commanding your attention will keep you subconscious thoughts from surfacing.  And this was the essence of the NPR commentary; unless we get bored we never hear that quiet voice. Now this isn't quite true, but you do have to have a quiet reverie, and TPP's shows up during his 20 min walk to campus. You don't have to concentrate very hard while walking, so you give your brain an opportunity to sort of day dream, and poof, up pops an idea.  Sometimes TPP has to grab the idea and think about it hard, or it escapes, disappears, sometimes to never appear again. But the secret is to have that day dreamy cognitive drifting about. Ah, but the young ones all around have a constant digital input, sounds, images, their I-devices that turn them into I-zombies. With years of practice, TPP is quite good at this creative thinking. Of course, not all the ideas are gems, so sorting and vetting is required, but new ideas are a place to start. So, yes, your toys are robbing you of your creativity, and so do a great many life styles that lack any day-dreaming time.  So TPP shall parrot the NPR advice; turn off your input devices and get bored. 

1 comment:

Christine said...

That sounds good to me. I need to take a break from Facebook so badly. I don't use my phone a lot. Yet I do have a habit of looking at it while in bed. I do need to stop doing that.