“The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive.” […] “…by some strange, unknown, inward urgency they are not really alive unless they are creating.” — Pearl Buck, Winner of a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1938.
In a blog post last year entitled “Marijuana and Divergent Thinking”, Jonah Lehrer explains that many creative
tasks require the cultivation of an “expansive associative net, or what psychologists refer to as a “flat associative hierarchy.” What this essentially suggests is that creative people should be able to make far-reaching connections among all sorts of seemingly unrelated ideas, and to not dismiss one possible connection just because it seems far-fetched.
Creativity and insight almost always involve an experience of acute pattern recognition: the eureka moment in whicwe perceive the interconnection between disparate concepts or ideas to reveal something new.
The Imaginary Foundation says that “to understand is to perceive patterns” and this is exactly what all great thinkers have done throughout the ages: they have provided a larger, dot-connecting, aerial view of things that subsumes the previous paradigm. As Richard Metzger has written:
What great minds have done throughout history is provide an aerial view of things. A larger more encompassing view that often subsumes the previous paradigm and then surpasses it in completeness with the vividness of its metaphors. Consider now how the evolving notions of a flat earth, Copernican astronomy and Einsteinian physics have subsequently changed how mankind sees its place in the cosmos, continuously updating the past explanations with something superior.