Sunday, January 16, 2022

Janusian Creativity


"There are two schools of thought on defining creativity: divergent thinking, which is the formation of a creative idea resulting from generating lots of ideas, and a Janusian approach, which is the act of making links between two remote ideas. The latter takes its name from the two-faced Roman god of beginnings, Janus, who was associated with doorways and the idea of looking forward and backward at the same time. Janusian creativity hinges on the belief that the best ideas come from linking things that previously did not seem linkable. Henri PoincarĂ©, a French mathematician, put it this way: ‘To create consists of making new combinations. … The most fertile will often be those formed of elements drawn from domains which are far apart.’"

- Ainissa Ramirez (1969 - )

Postscript. I have written before about my lifelong penchant for sometimes seeing things not so much visually (at least, at first), but as free-form assemblages of rapid-fire associations and memories that percolate up from my unconscious. A recent example was when an obscure (and certainly not consciously retrievable) passage from a novel by Vonnegut I last read about 30 years ago made my head swivel to look at an equally obscure stain on a piece of driftwood. A similar experience made me look at what in "reality" is nothing but leaves entangled in a bit of ice, but which I "saw" as a melodic string that went, "Janus, Kandinsky, and Yin|Yang." This is close to literal truth. My brain was reacting to this string of associations before I consciously "recognized" what my eye/brain/I was actually looking at! These experiences are far from unique for me, but sadly do not appear very often. But when they do... Ahh, pure magic and joy; a Janusian creative moment, one might say đŸ˜Š 

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