The Creative Spark! – Secrets to Genius

Daydreams, Gaps, Errors?and Lies!

Do you like to drift off into fantasy? If you do, you have an inner genius bursting through your belly—something like a fire in your belly. The difference is that your head is spacy, not angry.

Academics once thought psychedelic drugs led to breakthroughs. And medical marijuana consumers might take comfort in the notion of heightened creativity. But how do wild ideas, daydreams?even non-reality (aka lies)?lead to creativity?

Well, they all come from you. You’ve heard the view that you are unique. There’s no-one like you. That’s why you’re so valuable. You have a world inside of you no-one else has. You know things no-one else knows. You feel things no-one else feels.

So, you’re a walking closet of originality. Why not make school fun and open that closet?even just a crack?

Judith Weston, in her book The Film Director’s Intuition, gives the scoop on script analysis and rehearsal techniques. I take her (bold font below) comments further to say how you can go wild with creativity in academia.

When an actor says, “Spit it out,” imagine spit splattering on the cement. Create visuals for all imagery you read about in articles or write about in essays. By visualizing the imagery, you come closer to a more intimate connection with the subject matter. For instance, if you read up on protein molecules, then quickly Google an image of these critters. Imagine the molecules with big muscular arms doing their protein thing.

Furthermore, your visual for the muscular protein molecule will be different from mine?which makes your visuals unique and personal. (Mine is wearing a yellow muscle shirt and sporting a Sponge Bob smile.) Visualize all imagery for deeper, personal connections.

Turn all your associations (with imagery, etcetera) into a soup. Make your reactions to an article a hodgepodge of your inner world. React to an article’s images, ideas, personalities, writing styles?you name it. But base your reactions on your experiences, your senses, or even your fuzzy memories. No-one is you. The more you call on your inner world when reading an article, the closer you come to a creative breakthrough. The bigger the soup of associations, the better the breakthrough.

Evaluate an author’s motivation: (1) Does an author habitually act in ways that make his or her goal harder to get? (2) Do 50% of the author’s efforts to improve things make things worse? (3) Does the author want something she or he will never get? (4) Does the author want something that would make his or her life worse? Or (5) does the author want something that he or she already has?
I thought Weston’s above list of motivation-twists deserved a section of its own. If you can pinpoint one of these motivation-errors in an author you cite, you might have an interesting point-of-disagreement. Recently in the news, I saw a professor of an ivy school criticize the racism in a book. While her efforts were altruistic, it turned out she hadn’t even read the book. In short, her efforts worsened her defense.

The solution? Criticize only the books you read. And, whatever you do, don’t write a five-star book review with the following three words, “Delivered as expected.”

As another example, advocates of converting-to-green-energy-overnight got hard hit when Wynne’s Hydro Plan cost them monthly almost as much as rent. Poverty spiked as fast as Ontario had gone green. In short, what you want could sour when it comes time to drink up.

Motivation-errors suggest “gaps” in the literature. And gaps you fill lead to A’s on your essays. So, pinpoint the motivation.

“So-called facts are really clues, because memory is so faulty,” says Weston (p. 144). Even lies have some truth behind them?—some association or image from our actual experiences. And our memories tell only a partial story (as the event lasts longer than our story of the event’so stuff’s missing).

So, daydream about the partial, fuzzy facts for a deeper story, says Sanford Meisner (as quoted in Weston).
Similarly, with your essays, take the facts and daydream. For instance, you’ll come across a body of work on, say, a historical figure. Yet, pieces of the historical figure’s biography might be missing. In other words, some of the facts (or clues) are missing. So, read up as much as you can on the historical figure?and then daydream about the missing pieces. Let your musings lead to speculations, suggestions?even thought-experiments. Daydream.

For instance, you could daydream about whether Einstein’s theory of relativity was inspired by simple daily events. Perhaps Einstein watched shadows (cast by moving cars) shift relative to where (and when) he walked by the car. A case for relativity? Maybe Einstein felt shame reporting simple observations.

But we all know Newton’s theory of gravity struck him with an apple to the skull. At least, that’s how the media frames it. And who knows what downright simple things inspire Stephen Hawking’s theories. (Maybe I should read his book first?or discuss it on behalf of Princeton on CNN News.)

Daydream about fuzzy facts to percolate your personal breakthroughs.

So, before you reach for your medical marijuana, consider how daydreams can lead to your inner genius. Daydreams, gaps, errors?even lies?can lead to inspiration. A paradox? I call it a Creative Spark!

*The author of this article advocates neither psychedelics nor illegal substances?nor lies. Instead, she calls for fun with daydreams and fuzzy facts.