[Paleopsych] NS: Ten top tips (left out of creativity special)

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Sun Oct 30 09:19:45 UTC 2005

Creativity special: Ten top tips - Creative Minds
[Thanks to W. David for catching this.]
      * 29 October 2005

    Tom Ward senior research fellow in the Center for Creative Media at
    the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, and editor of the Journal of
    Creative Behavior

    "Merge two previously separate concepts that are in conflict with one
    another. For example, combinations such as 'friendly enemy' and
    'healthful illness'. The more discrepant the concepts, the more likely
    they are to result in novel properties."

    Margaret Atwood novelist, Toronto

    "I have a great big cupboard stuffed with ideas and when I want one I
    open the door and take the first one that falls out. Alternatively, if
    you want an idea, do the following. Close your eyes, put your left
    hand on the ground, raise your right hand into the air. You are now a
    conductor. The ideas will pass through you. Sooner or later one will
    pass through your brain. It never fails, though the waiting times vary
    and sometimes lunch intervenes."

    Lee Smolin theoretical physicist at the Perimeter Institute for
    Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario

    "The main ingredients in science are intensive immersion in a problem,
    fanatical desire to solve it (big problems are rarely solved by
    accident), familiarity with previous attempts leading to an original
    critique of where they went wrong, reckless disregard for what other
    experts think, and the courage to overcome your own doubts and
    hesitations, which are much scarier than anything anyone else can say
    because you know best how vulnerable your new idea is."

    Tracey Emin artist, London

    "Get a really good part-time job, preferably to do with something you
    like. For example, if you like reading, work in a book shop and do
    lots of evening classes."

    Lisa Randall professor of physics at Harvard University

    "Think about the big problems while working on the small ones and vice
    versa. A larger perspective can be the best guide when approaching a
    detailed problem. On the other hand, details can reveal profound
    insights about larger questions. Listen carefully and pay close
    attention. You might learn more than people, or the objects you're
    studying, superficially reveal."

    Dean Simonton professor of psychology at the University of California,

    "Know your stuff: creativity requires expertise; but don't know it too
    well: overspecialisation puts blinders on. Imagine the impossible:
    many breakthrough ideas at first seem outright crazy; but you have to
    be able to impose your idea: crazy ideas remain crazy if they cannot
    survive critical evaluation. Finally, be persistent: big problems are
    seldom solved on the first try, or the second, or the third; but
    remember to take a break: you may be barking up the wrong tree, so
    incubate a bit to get a fresh start."

    Allan Snyder director of Centre for the Mind, Australian National
    University, Canberra, and University of Sydney

    "Creativity demands that you leave your comfort zone, that you
    continually challenge yourself and be prepared to confront
    conventional wisdom. When you become an expert, move on. Especially,
    engage in that for which you have not been schooled."

    Robert Stickgold associate professor of psychiatry, Harvard Medical

    "Creativity is fostered by a particular, if poorly understood, brain
    state. It often seems to be induced when you feel under pressure to
    perform and at the same time free to let your mind wander. Some
    authors go to the mountains or the seashore, others take a walk in a
    park. But this might be easiest to do by simply going to bed. As our
    brain cycles through REM and non-REM sleep, it appears to go in and
    out of this state."

    F. David Peat author and physicist, director of the Pari Centre for
    New Learning near Siena, Italy

    "Hold the intention or the question. Trust it and it will it happen.
    Leave a space - daydream, relax, doze...you'll be amazed because you
    are not doing it."

    Alan Lightman novelist and physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of

    "Creativity is enhanced by having a prepared mind, and then being
    stuck on a problem. I also need a space of silence and calm, where I
    am free from distractions."

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