Monday, August 25, 2014

Setting Yourself Up for Creativity - Pt. 8

Question - How many existentialists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Answer -  Two: One to screw it in and one to observe how the light bulb itself symbolizes a single incandescent beacon of subjective reality in a netherworld of endless absurdity reaching out toward a maudlin cosmos of nothingness.
Question - How many big black monoliths does it take to change a light bulb?
Answer - Sorry, light bulbs are an evolutionary dead end.
Question - How many light bulbs does it take to change a light bulb?
Answer -  One, if it knows its own Goedel number.
Question - How many dadaists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Answer -  To get to the other side.
Question - How many mathematicians does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Answer - If k mathematicians can change a light bulb, and if one more simply watches them do it, then k+1 mathematicians will have changed the light bulb. Therefore, by induction, for all n in the positive integers, n mathematicians can change a light bulb.
Question - How many consultants does it take to change a light bulb?
Answer -  We don’t know. They never get past the feasibility study.
Question - How many dull people does it take to change a light bulb?
Answer -  one.
Ha Ha!  I like the last one best. 
Happy Monday to you.  I hope you had a really fabulous weekend.  I had time to sculpt and we went to a neighbor's house for dinner last night.  We had a wonderful time. 
Thought it would be best to start out with jokes since it is Monday and all.
Light bulbs...oh...I mean - the week always seems biggest on Monday.
Today and tomorrow and we will be at the end of our transcript of John Cleese's lecture on Creativity.  I think the end of his talk is the best - so come back tomorrow and read it here.  Or, if you are totally on the edge of your seat about it, you can listen to his whole lecture on You Tube here.
So here is today's excerpt:
Four minutes left…
Ah!  How many Irish-- sorry, sorry
Well, look, the very last thing that I can say about creativity is this: it's like humor. In a joke - the laugh comes at a moment when you connect two different frameworks of reference in a new way.
Example.  There's the old story about a woman doing a survey into sexual attitudes who stops an airline pilot and asks him - amongst other things - when he last had sexual intercourse.
He replies "Nineteen fifty eight." Now, knowing airline pilots, the researcher is surprised, and queries this. "Well," says the pilot, "it's only twenty-one ten now."
We laugh -eventually - at the moment of contact between two frameworks of reference: the way we express what year it is and the 24-hour clock.
Now, having an idea - a new idea - is exactly the same thing. It's connecting two hitherto separate ideas in a way that generates new meaning.
Now.  Connecting different ideas isn't difficult.  You can connect cheese with motorcycles or moral courage with light green, or bananas with international co-operation. You can get any computer to make a billion random connections for you, but these new connections or juxtapositions are significant only if they generate new meaning.
So as you play, you can deliberately try inventing these random juxtapositions, and then use your intuition to tell you whether any of them seem to have significance for you.
That's the bit the computer can't do. It can produce millions of new connections, but it can't tell which one of them smells interesting.
And, of course, you'll produce some juxtapositions which are absolutely ridiculous, absurd. Good for you!
Because Edward de Bono (who invented the notion of lateral thinking) specifically suggests in his book PO: Beyond Yes and No that you can try loosening up your assumptions by playing with deliberately crazy connections. He calls such absurd ideas "Intermediate Impossibles."
And he points out the use of an "Intermediate Impossible" is completely contrary to ordinary logical thinking in which you have to be right at each stage.
It doesn't matter if the "Intermediate Impossible" is right or absurd, it can nevertheless be used as a stepping stone to another idea that is right.
Another example of how, when you're playing, nothing is wrong.
So, to summarize.  If you really don't know how to start - or if you got stuck - start generating random connections and allow your intuition to tell you if one might lead somewhere interesting.
Well, that really is all I can tell you that won't help you to be creative.
It isn't of course everything, but with the 2 minutes he has left after this...let's just say he spends the time well. 

Wishing you a day of juxtapositions and intuitive connections...what fun! 
It may help the week go along very nicely too.

'Til tomorrow!


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