• Sim
    3
    Hi All,

    I propose the mechanism of innovation in every field is misremembering. This is to say when we remember we try to replicate the exactness of a moment but errors creep in and something new is created.

    I would hold that this is similar to the mechanism of evolution. Cells attempt to replicate DNA but errors creep in and a new thing is created.

    What I am trying to say is for innovation it is a two step process replication and errors creeping in.

    For creative thinking the replication and divergence caused by the error could best be described as being a process similar to misremembering. Though I would hold the process is guided by our conscious mind.

    This just applies to creative thought I would hold all creative thought requires this two step replication and alteration process.

    In evolution and technology innovation the mechanisms are very similar there is an attempt at replication but changes creep in.

    To put this another way we take an existing model and modify it. Which is akin to misremembering.
  • Sim
    3
    I guess what I am trying to say is that innovation in technology is an analogous process to Biological evolution. The mechanisms are similar. Replication and error also a second mechanism novel combinations, which is analogous to reproduction.
  • SophistiCat
    579
    You proposal would benefit from some examples, followed by an argument to the effect that such instances are the norm. Right now I don't see that at all. There are, I am sure, instances where a successful innovation was the result of a fortuitous infidelity in the process of replication, but I don't believe that is very common, let alone the norm.
  • Pattern-chaser
    629
    I propose the mechanism of innovation in every field is mis-remembering.Sim

    For creative thinking the replication and divergence caused by the error could best be described as being a process similar to mis-remembering. Though I would hold the process is guided by our conscious mind.

    This just applies to creative thought I would hold all creative thought requires this two step replication and alteration process.
    Sim

    There are two issues here. First you offer memory problems as the source of creative thought. Then you characterise creativity as a conscious process.

    I spent my professional career as a designer (of firmware), and this is very much a creative occupation. From this perspective, I can assure you that my experience is not that the creative process is conscious; quite the opposite. And there is a lot more to creativity than merely memory problems.

    Finally, I dispute your conclusion that creativity is merely randomness, based on a faulty memory. If it was, most creative 'solutions' would not be solutions at all. Evolution only works because many millions of random mutations are tried out in reality, and the inappropriate ones (i.e. nearly all of them) are rejected (the affected subjects die). Creativity is more targeted than random.
  • Terrapin Station
    5.2k
    I spent my professional career as a designer (of firmware), and this is very much a creative occupation. From this perspective, I can assure you that my experience is not that the creative process is conscious; quite the opposite.Pattern-chaser

    That's interesting because for me a lot of the process is conscious and pretty systematic. I'm not suggesting that you're wrong or anything like that--surely different people are different about this. (If you're wondering what creative stuff I do, I'm a musician/composer/arranger professionally, and I do some visual art and fiction writing on the side.)

    Re the thread in general, I wouldn't say that my creative process (or the creative processes of others that I'm familiar with) very often involves misremembering anything--it doesn't usually involve an attempt to remember things in the first place. Occasionally misremembering something might play a role, though. More often memory is an issue in that I'll come up with something I like a lot only to later realize (or have someone else notice--hopefully prior to publication) that I was inadvertently recreating someone else's work that I'd experienced before.
  • Pattern-chaser
    629
    That's interesting because for me a lot of the process is conscious and pretty systematic.Terrapin Station

    Oh, I spent lots of time planning (and the like), which is conscious and systematic, but the creativity is in addition to that. :smile: :up: Creativity involves creating something that did not previously exist. In my case, it was a design solution to a problem that had not been solved before. To create something novel, you have to move beyond conscious reasoned thinking to something much less rigid, something flexible, capable of creating something new. Nothing new can be made by deduction, or induction, or anything associated with that style of thinking. Creativity is unsettling, and partly defined by chaos and disorder. Creativity often breaks the rules, to come up with something new. Quantum Theory, for example, cannot be deduced from the science that came before it, and yet it's the most successful scientific theory ever created by man. Creativity is art ... and maybe other stuff too. :wink:
  • Terrapin Station
    5.2k
    Oh, I spent lots of time planning (and the like), which is conscious and systematic, but the creativity is in addition to that. :smile: :up: Creativity involves creating something that did not previously exist. In my case, it was a design solution to a problem that had not been solved before. To create something novel, you have to move beyond conscious reasoned thinking to something much less rigid, something flexible, capable of creating something new. Nothing new can be made by deduction, or induction, or anything associated with that style of thinking. Creativity is unsettling, and partly defined by chaos and disorder. Creativity often breaks the rules, to come up with something new. Quantum Theory, for example, cannot be deduced from the science that came before it, and yet it's the most successful scientific theory ever created by man. Creativity is art ... and maybe other stuff too. :wink:Pattern-chaser

    Here's a simple example how it can be a conscious, systematic process:

    Say that I'm writing a bit of music and I have the following melody notes: C Eb D F

    By analyzing the notes in that chord, I might think, "Okay, let's try harmonizing that with a C minor chord . . . er--how about an Fmi9? Mabe an AbMa7? Gsus?"--I'm systematically trying different chords suggested by the melody I came up with, with an eye on creating different sorts of tension/release contours relative to those chords.
  • Pattern-chaser
    629
    Here's a simple example how it can be a conscious, systematic process:

    Say that I'm writing a bit of music and I have the following melody notes: C Eb D F

    By analyzing the notes in that chord, I might think, "Okay, let's try harmonizing that with a C minor chord . . . er--how about an Fmi9? Mabe an AbMa7? Gsus?"--I'm systematically trying different chords suggested by the melody I came up with, with an eye on creating different sorts of tension/release contours relative to those chords.
    Terrapin Station

    Let me begin by saying that composing (creating) music is sadly not a skill that I own. :fear: So I must guess, based on my own actual creative experience.

    What you describe is part of the creative process, I think, just not the overtly creative part. :wink: I wonder if that came first, maybe resulting in the selection of C Eb D and F as your basic melody? Perhaps your aim was to capture the melancholy of an autumn day, and the truly creative part is to come up with a melody that would somehow evoke in a human mind that seasonal bleakness? I don't know; I'm guessing here.

    I do know that creativity is not a simple, single, thing. It's ... I don't know what it is. :smile: It's partly or wholly non-conscious, which may be why I'm having trouble. How do you describe something you aren't aware of when it happens?

    Your words seem to me to describe that part of the creative process that I call 'tidying up', although you could give it other, equally meaningful, names too. After the initial creative breakthrough, the new idea must be 'fitted' to human reality, connected to what we already have and know. All kinds of details must be checked and adjusted as appropriate. Sometimes this proves impossible, and that particular act of creation fails. It's a process, and all parts of it matter.

    All IMO, of course! :smile:
  • Terrapin Station
    5.2k


    Okay, but you can (and I often do) come up with an entire piece in the manner I described. I was just describing one simple step of it. What you do then, re the "economy of ideas" approach, is to analyze what you've done so far--intervallic relationships, for example, and use that to suggest the next step(s) that you then proceed to try out. The initial melodic bit you'd often come up with in the same manner. You might just pick "c" randomly, then think, "Okay, how about if we move up a a fourth? A third? A minor third?" (A minor third is what I went with in the example above) and then, "How about if we move down a half-step after that" etc.--you're just trying things out, and then making a choice about your options as you think of them. You think of them by more or less systematically going through the options available, though that will also be tempered by things like conventions that you think are usually worth following (like melodies not having too many big leaps), things you already know appeal to you more than other options (for example, I like a bit more dissonance than many people), etc.

    You could say that's not creative, maybe, but then we're going to not be using that term for an awful lot of artworks that people usually use that term for.

    Not everyone works systematically, by the way, and not everyone does every piece, or every part of every piece that way, but lots of people do--especially anyone who is at all prolific. The folks who sit around waiting for "inspiration" to strike and who only go by that, only go by intuition, in the arts, are the folks who tend to produce work very sporadically. Composers like Stravinsky, say, approached composing like one would approach any other job. At 9:00 a.m., he'd sit down at the piano and start writing, because it was time to write, and he used conscious, systematic methods to produce output.
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