Creativity: Method or Magic?

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by goofyfish, Jan 16, 2002.

  1. scilosopher Registered Senior Member

    it would go on a little longer if you took a creative approach to thread maintenance and random comments ...

    How about this. George Carlin smokes marijuana once a month when he writes material. Many jazz musicians used drugs (and still probably do). What is the relationship between drugs and creativity. Is there one? Can drugs make you more creative?
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  3. Yogamojo Here's lookin' at you...? Registered Senior Member

    ¿Drug-induced creativity?

    Different drug varieties modify different parts of our processes: Amphetamines temporarily increase our stamina and our focus while decreasing our need for sleep; marijuana is an euphoric which can create very dreamlike, subjective thought patterns while dulling pesky life-issues which can inhibit the creative process; alcohol lowers inhibition which is a damper when one needs creative momentum; and psychedelic substances (or foods, some would say) seem to be able to put a spin on the most monotonous topics.

    They all plug into the same creative engine: the cortex, and it appears that while they can enhance the creative process, what their various long-term effects on the physiological body are may not be such a positive thing. But then again perhaps to some it is worth the trade...:bugeye:

    Some of our most illustrious contributors have been submitted with chemical assistance: Look at Bill Burroughs, Ken Kesey, A. Ginsberg, Albert Hoffman, Tim Leary, Terrence McKenna, James Joyce, Charlie Parker, Jimi Hendricks, Louis Carol, Jim Morrison and these are only the ones we know about.

    I think there is enough evidence to propose that at least in certain cases drugs can fortify creativity...
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2002
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  5. kmguru Staff Member

    I am not too sure about that. I think a mild chemical to reduce the impact of stress and daily grind is enough to make the creative juices flow. Same thing can be achieved by friendship and communication. Here is my experience:

    Several years ago, I was involved with a music band group to promote and provide ideas etc. Some of the best work done by them was after we had a jam session about talking and inspiring on "life, universe and everything" type of topics. They forgot where the daily bread will come from, spousal nagging or other daily problems. Though most of them were known to do drugs, my specific requirement was for them not to do the drugs while we were on a project.

    So, I think, while a mild tranquilizer (wine, food, aroma, chemicals) may have a good impact, heavy drugs might impede the performance. Meditation, Relaxation and stress management improves the cerebral circulation automatically without the drug use.

    The need arises when you are under stress which results in reduced blood flow and reduced activity in the frontal lobes and hence loss of creativity. If a chemical can reduce the stress without any bad side effects on demand - that will be the best solution. But I do not think such chemical exists. I would love to know.
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  7. Counterbalance Registered Senior Member

    Any drug that can enhance the following, but not cause negative side effects may be worth our while....

    Characteristics of Creative Persons *

    General Traits

    Verbal fluency
    Relatively high intelligence
    A good imagination

    Thinking Abilities

    Uses metaphors in thinking
    Flexible decision maker
    Uses broad categories
    Makes independent judgments
    Uses mental images
    Can cope with novelty
    Thinks logically
    Can break mental sets

    Thinking Style

    Challenges assumptions, asks, “Why?”
    Looks for novelty and gaps in knowledge
    Draws new ideas out of existing knowledge
    Prefers nonverbal communication
    Enjoys visualizing
    Finds beauty in “good” problems and elegant solutions
    Takes advantage of chance

    Personality Characteristics

    Willing to take intellectual risks
    Persistence in problem solving
    Curiosity and inquisitiveness
    Absorption in tasks of interest
    Disciplined and committed to work
    High interest in work
    Uncomfortable with rules and limits imposed by others
    Seeks competence and challenges
    Tolerates ambiguity
    Broad range of interest
    Playful with ideas
    Values creativity and originality


    Creative Thinking Pattern?

    1. Orientation. A creative thinker defines the problem he wishes to solve, identifying all dimensions deemed important to that creative individual.

    2. Preparation. A creative thinker seeks as much info on a topic(s) as possible and ’immerses’ the self in the info as well as in the gathering process.

    3. Incubation. Many creative thinkers encounter a period of “futility” while attempting to solve a ‘major’ problem, though on a subconscious level their mind is still very much on the job.

    4. Illumination. The creative thinker often experiences a “rapid insight” or “series of insights” once the incubation stage has ended. (“Eureka!” moments)

    5. Verification. If critical evaluation of the solution determines that the solution doesn’t “fly” after all, the creative thinker tends to revert to ‘incubation.’


    One‘s capacity for “divergent thinking” is directly related to one’s capacity for creative thinking. Fluency, flexibility, and originality are some of the abilities rated in determining a person’s ‘level’ of divergent thinking.

    Fluency total, how often do you come up with suggestions?

    Flexibility often or freely do you shift between thoughts of “possibility?” (possible cause, possible usage, etc...)

    Originality ...just how different ARE your ideas, after all??

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    (Unusual = original.)


    A stressed mind and body can be creative, but can they be as creative as when distracting thoughts are not competing for the front or rear stages in one’s mind, or when the body is more free from the drain or strain from ’coping’ with various burdens--chemically-induced or otherwise?

    “I think, therefore I am” is the key, imo. How we think and how we approach thinking. What are our thoughts focused upon--and why? All kinds of exploration or even modification to be done with this. YET, I don’t rule out the discovery of drugs (free of side-effects) that will enhance particular psychological abilities or tendencies. So far though, haven’t heard of anything I’d be tempted to try. (And I would be tempted because being creative is fun!

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    Just more stuff to throw into the pot.




    characteristics list: Introduction to Psychology; Gateways to Mind and Behavior Dennis Coon.

    * Adapted from Tardif and Sternberg (1988)
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2002
  8. kmguru Staff Member

    I love the part:

    3. Incubation. Many creative thinkers encounter a period of ?futility? while attempting to solve a ?major? problem, though on a subconscious level their mind is still very much on the job.

    My spouse, my co-workers all complain that anytime I had to solve something or architect a system, I do something else totally irrelevant. I can not help it. Next time I will show this quote to everyone who complains....

  9. Yogamojo Here's lookin' at you...? Registered Senior Member

    For Some, not for others...

    This is the flipside to my last post. It is also clear that drugs are not mandatory for the fruitfulness of one's creativity, and that only in certain cases have the creators attributed their artistry to a substance. I am a student of classical violin (among other things) and personally I feel that a substance would inhibit the productivity of my practicing, but others may feel differently. The Great classical violinist Michael Rabin did not feel this way, and regularly used amphetamines to enhance the duration of his practices, even performing under their influence on occasion. I suppose that it is debatable if his greatness as a musician had anything to do with his drug use, obviously he thought that it did.

    ¿What does this mean? I think one of the things that it means is that some may benefit by introducing mind-altering substances to their creative processes, while others may not...:bugeye:
  10. AmerEagle Registered Senior Member

    We're Kalaidoscopes (?)

    Yes, I guess it's ALL already out there, combination possibilities endless, and we just manage to make a for-the-moment better arrangement.

    Some of us, without any drug enhancement, are much more sensitive to what's already there than others, and have a strong desire to simply make things better. Why do some of our personalities have more of that drive than others? Why is there Type A and Type B?

    Part of it is the parenting we received in our earliest years, some of it environment, some of it need, as in "Necessity is the mother of invention"?
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2002
  11. SeekerOfTruth Unemployed, but Looking Registered Senior Member


    I have actually read that this is one of the best ways to solve a problem because your subconcious mind is free from the bounds placed on your conscious mind. In fact, one problem solving techique that is good to use is to lay in bed, just before you fall asleep, and actively think about the problem you are trying to solve. Consider the problem, its relevent points, and its difficulties, without attempting to solve it. Think about it as you drift off to sleep. You have a great likelihood of solving the problem in your dreams or having a solution when you awake.
  12. Yogamojo Here's lookin' at you...? Registered Senior Member

    Muse and Inspiration Time....

    It seems as though unlikely timing and inspiration go hand in hand . It is always when I am far from any means of transcripting that a bright idea strikes: no pen or no paper, no tape recorder, etc...¿Why is this, I wonder?

    Perhaps it's the trade we have to make.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2002
  13. kmguru Staff Member

    It happens to me too. I try to repeat myself several time, so that I do not forget it when I get to the computer.

    My bright ideas usually come Saturday and Sunday mornings, when I am lazy and just lay in bed before fully awake ...and think stuff....

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