Subjects Keeping Me Awake

16/09/2008

The origins of creativity

Filed under: Books — bjosk @ 20:22
Tags: ,

“Effective searching procedures become, when the search-space is sufficiently large, indistinguishable from true creativity”

Richard Dawkins – The Blind Watchmaker

The quote is interesting to begin with. The fact that it does not come from any self serving google employee blog makes it usable. Being written by a biologist during the nineteen eighties makes it truly thought provoking.

Usually when I think about the gist of human intelligence I get stuck at the idea that it is the ability to extract abstract information from a context and then relate that context to a seemingly distant context via a closely related abstraction. Someone might be talking about a fantastic painting they saw att a tiny vernissage in Paris and you, after abstracting paintings in Paris to the Louvre, might be inclined to talk abaout the time you accidentally passed a room full of van Goghs at the Louvre and how, really anyone would go anywhere else in Paris to see art is beyond you.

Another interesting example of abstraction is the relation we have to text where colourful discussions may be had on subjects far and wide such as: The shaping of the letters into typeface, the meaning of words, the categorization of words into language, impact of sentence length and choice of words, the message of a paragraph and the feelings the text instills in the reader as it is read.

Dawkins of course is talking about the design process of evolution by natural selection but he does if you reframe it, say saomething of what it is to be human. The raw creative power, the creation of something from nothing, the filling of the blank page or the sculpting of the block of clay. I am not sure he has it nailed down but the idea of seeing the blank page as the set of all the pages that could be written will certainly transform the problem into a matter of search. Which one of the incomprehensibly large amounts of writeable pages should I choose and more importantly, how do I find it?

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