Mapping the Creative Process
We're gonna jump to our first map. So this is from a mechanistic point of view. How does it work? This is not mapped one to one on actual brain processes, but this is the creative flow. And what I mean by that is, creativity always starts with data acquisition. It is a recombinatory process. It is the brain blending stuff up. Information is coming into the brain, right. That data is being acquired. The next thing that is happening, is the salience network is kicking into gear and it's saying, okay out of all this information that's coming into your brain, this is stuff that's very important to pay attention to. Now as I said, creativity is always recombinatory, right. It's new information coming into the brain, finding links between that incoming information. Older ideas and using those connections to create something startlingly new. So the next thing that happens is pattern recognition. We use this term a lot today. Pattern recognition at a fundamental level is what every one of your...
neurons do at a very basic level. If you've read Ray Kurzweil's How to Create a Mind, he talks about that. At the very basic level, that is what our brain does. It looks to match patterns. And if you talk about, for example, vision. This happens at six stages in vision. So at the first level, when information comes in, you're pattern matching for very simple shapes, outlines and things like that. The next level up, layering colors. And by the time you get to levels four, five, and six, you're starting to add in meaning. You've seen the shape and your recognize this is a chair, oh it's a lounge chair, oh it's that lounge chair that grandma was sitting in two years ago when she passed away, that sort of thing. That's how it works, going up the chain. So we're matching more complex patterns at each step. Lateral thinking is also pattern recognition. Pattern recognition is the relationship between closely related ideas. Lateral thinking is far-flung ideas. Very disparate regions of the brain are talking to one another when we're doing lateral thinking. It's outside the box thinking, if that makes sense. Creativity is not just about coming up with those new ideas. Writing is not just about keeping a journal. You have to take those things and make them public. And you also have to hammer on them a lot, before you make them public. Perseverance is fundamental to creativity. We're gonna spend a lot of today talking about grit, and how to become grittier. Finally, risk-taking. You have to take your ideas public. So creatives need to practice taking risks. And we're gonna talk about this along the way. If you're not interested in risk, find something else to do for a living. You can't make it as a creative. It's just flat out, there's no way around it.