The Conjoint Evolution of Creativity and Consciousness: A Developmental Perspective
by M. Allan Cooperstein, Ph.D.
The literature on creativity reflects a preponderance of competing theories emphasizing empirical methodologies. Inconsistencies in defining, understanding, and investigating the creative process have been introduced through cultural and professional biases underlying theoretical assumptions. In this writing, creativity is more broadly outlined as an holistic, multilevel, biphasic process of consciousness. A function of ontogenetic evolution, the creative process is described in terms of its role in the development of systems and structures of consciousness for the purpose of adaptation. A developmental theory of the creative process is offered, describing the conjoint evolution of consciousness and creativity, from primal activation and archetypal influences to the emergence of self--reflective awareness, or the thought-self. The impact of society and culture is discussed in the light of a resultant schism in the unfolding continuum of consciousness. The bisection of the range of awareness impairs creative functioning and contributes to social and emotional maladaptions as well as psychosomatic disorders. (154 words)
Creativity is examined in the light of accession, the capacity to access remote areas of consciousness. Interstitial consciousness, the preconscious, culturally-relative realm of awareness lying between the level of the archetype and the self-reflective mind, is also explored in terms of its origin and purpose in the creative process.
I. Introduction: In Search of the Phoenix
In a recent literature review of creativity, Barron and Harrington' (1981) provide an illustrative outline of current research trends and emphases. They indicate that Guilford's (1967) divergent thinking theory is primary, while associational abilities, imagery, metaphorical ability, and access to primitive modes of thought are given less emphasis. Researchers seek to understand the characteristics of the "creative" through an exploration of specific areas of achievement in relation to age, sex, and personality dynamics, in search for "core characteristics."
Uncertainty prevails in the selection of factors or qualities serving as determinants of creativity or creative persons, although the broad focal areas are studies of creative persons, products, and processes. Ironically, even the definitions and operational constructs are in dispute, sparking disagreement over the forms theories of creativity should take, from the reductionism of examining novel products to diffuse notions of self-actualization (Golann, 1963). Doubt is also expressed as to how creativity is distributed among populations as a trait (Nicholls, 1972).
The proliferation of competing theories has generated pockets of sometimes inconsistent empirical data, according to Barron and Harrington (1981), and a confounded view of creativity in all three major lines of theory: person, product, and process. The discord is reminiscent of Kuhn's (1962) period preceding epistemological "crisis," and seems to call for the emergence of a metatheory, or paradigm, in order to reconcile existing areas of theoretical difference in a major reformulation of the field. I am suggesting a "reconstruction of the field from new fundamentals, a reconstruction that changes some of the field's most elementary theoretical generalizations as well as many of its paradigm methods and applications" (Kuhn, 1962, p.85).
Reconstruction of the kind recommended above is, in itself, a creative endeavor requiring "creative courage" (May, 1975) in order to expose the certainty of prevailing models to doubt. If we are to follow the example of the creative individual, as described by Hampden-Turner (1981) we must seek the derangement and anxiety of uncertainty "to create new order from disorder" (p. 112). The task is to unearth the implicit and explicit assumptions underlying our understanding and to challenge the outworn, seeking explanations for anomalies left unaddressed by current paradigms. The goal must be the establishment of a flexible, probabilistic mode of consideration and reconsideration, unfixed by vested research interests.
My intention in this writing is to offer an alternative view of creativity in order to stimulate the process that may eventuate in a cohesive and fertile theoretical foundation. I will remove creativity from the limiting popular conceptual confines of the production of novel products, divergent thinking, and uniquely creative persons, and attempt to frame it, more appropriately I believe, within the far broader realm of consciousness. Creativity will be presented as a dual-process function, part of the triphasic nature of consciousness: Non-volitional awareness; destruction/ regression; construction/synthesis.
Referring to the framework of Werner's (1957) Orthogenetic Principle of development, I will try to demonstrate that divergent and convergent thinking processes are a complementarity. They are universal, reciprocally related manifestations of a unitary, underlying process--the unfolding of consciousness in ontogenetic adaptation. The evolution of consciousness and creativity follow an orthogenetic, developmental pattern, from globality to differentiation, from differentiation to integration and-synthesis.
A developmental approach was selected on the basis of its heuristic value. Development is, according to Werner (1957), "a concept that proposes a certain manner of viewing behavior in its manifold manifestations" (p. 125). With the starting assumption of an orderly and systematic sequence underlying embryogenesis, perceptual development, and epistemology, it is safe to extend this to the creative process as well since "wherever development occurs, it proceeds from a state of relative globality and lack of differentiation to a state of increasing differentiation, articulation, and hierarchic integration" (p. 127). Implicit in Werner's concept is the connotation that the orthogenetic principle has universal application, similar to the recapitulation of phylogenetic evolution within that of ontogeny. It is, perhaps, an observation like this that prompted the noted neurologist, Paul Schilder, to state:
Every thought repeats the natural history of creation, and in our thoughts, we experience the development of the organic world (Gorman, 1969, p.57).
Thus, with creativity as "perhaps the most central concept of humanistic psychology" (Buhler and Allen, 1972, p.,50), we will briefly explore its developmental role as an extension of consciousness and its contributions to our adaptations to and our imprisonment within a reality of our own creation.
II. Activation and Adaptation: Substrates of the Creative Encounter
"Man is a producing animal," asserts Erich Fromm (1955, p.361), inherently predisposed toward interaction. Fromm's view is also shared-by German zoologist von Uexkªll, who claimed "the organism is not merely a reactor to the environment, but an operator upon its Umwelt or scene" (Langer, 1970, p. 741). Piaget (1970) and Carl Jung (1933) offer similar observations.
The tendency to interact, to engage, is fundamental to the mastery of one's somatic, social, and objective environments. Creativity, as it will be restated later, requires mediums upon which to operate, for it occurs in an act of encounter and is to be understood with the encounter as its center" (May, 1975, p. 77). To attain mastery calls for continued encounters, such as those necessary in adaptation.
Understanding of the "need" to adapt may be sought in either a mechanistic, behavioral (or ethological) position or, at the other pole, a teleological process presuming goal-oriented development in an infant or neonate. Neither explanation is wholly satisfactory, however, and it becomes necessary to seek less extreme and mutually exclusive interpretations.
Koestler (1975), in The Act of Creation, suggests that the need to adapt is precipitated by abrupt changes which arouse strong emotional reactions through dissonance and conflicts. He implies that adaptive measures are the result of heightened activity levels, a tension-reduction position not far removed from that posited by Freud.(1956).
In contrast to Koestler, Maddi (1965) proposes the "Activation Theory" of Fiske and Maddi. This theory assumes that individuals accommodate to moderate levels of activation but, due to exposure either to excessive or insufficient stimulation, will seek novelty-activation.
Support for the inherent seeking of activation or novelty is offered by Piaget, who states:
Even in the first few days of life the infant often seeks stimulation. When ... capable of activity, he tends to perform it (Ginsburg and Opper, 1969, p.33).
The infant's activity, described by Piaget as revealing the origins of intelligence, bear some similarity to Kris' (1952) account of "functional pleasure": a discharge of energy resulting in a return to a basal, or "normal" state of activation.
The innate "need" to exercise rudimentary physical and neurological systems in preparation for adaptive encounters yet to come brings to mind a prototypal variation on the theme of self-actualization, the expression of one's potentials, as stated by Rogers (1961). The in utero fetus and the neonate, by virtue of their activities, are already engaging the first environment to be mastered - the somatic environment.
The gross, reflexive patterns of activation of the pre- and perinatal organism are unlearned and differ significantly among infants in the global senses of activity level and temperament; evidence against the Lockian tabula rasa. But what is the source from which these differences arise, and what do they contribute to the evolution of creativity?
His concept, based upon the Watson-Crick model of the DNA molecule, Koestler (1975) describes the "codes" and "matrices" of behavior. Codes are invariant rules determining the broad guidelines for development, applying both to physical and psychological structures. The matrix consists of the mutable elements of a cell, structure or system subject to determination by the code's "blueprint of life" (Vaughn, 1976). In this discussion, the code refers to the genetic pattern to be followed, while the matrix is the total, undifferentiated somatosensory apparatus subject to the influence of the code on one side, and the environment on the other.
Metaphorically, consider the fetal brain a gelatinous mass of undifferentiated, unspecialized cellular materials. Further, let us assume that embedded in this matrix are myriad hereditary neural pathways, all possible avenues for the transmission-of energy to specific areas. The priorities of the pathways chosen, and the areas they service, are assigned by the genetic code, providing the anlage for maximal survival potential in the majority of our species. A remarkable consistency in laying down these potentials for later differentiation encompasses certain "universals" for adaptation, prepotencies for collective perception and action, or, what some have called instincts.
Ethology considers instincts as being either Fixed Motor Patterns or Innate Releasing Mechanisms (IRM). The Fixed Motor Pattern is an all-or-nothing, genetically-determined response sequence, while the IRM is an afferent process pertaining to a situation in which an organism "'recognizes' the biologically correct (adaptive) situation" through perception of simple stimulus configurations and takes action (Lorenz, 1981, P. 153). This form of pattern recognition, perhaps a foundation for our understanding of the nature of meaning, brings to mind May's (1975) "passion for form" in the ontogenetic creation of the world, "the totality of ourselves that fashions the images to which the world conforms" (P. 133).
There is congruence between the IRM and the Jungian concept of archetypes, universal aspects of the collective unconscious of humanity. Jung (1970) refers to the archetypes as a "typos (imprint), a definite grouping of archaic character" (p. 41) as Freud referred to "archaic remnants", mental forms whose presence cannot be explained by anything in the individual's own life and which seem to be aboriginal, innate, and inherited shapes of the human mind (Ibid., p. 57). Not a structure of the conscious mind, the archetypes are latencies, potentials which predispose, beckon, or urge a certain course, but may be resisted or countered.
Jaynes (1976) and Arieti (1976) offer their conceptual counterparts to the archetypes as "aptic structures" and "endocepts," respectively. Jaynes' construct is composed of an innate tendency modified by experience, while Arieti's can also represent the degraded form of a once-conscious concept.
No matter the term, all address a primal level of primitive organization in the evolution of consciousness, a predisposing system of protostructures patterning the unconscious. They first directly influence the search for what is meaningful and necessary to the individual's survival and adaptation, later guiding perception while cloaked within personal and culturally-acquired value orientations.
Consciousness interfaces and activates these primal structures through various forms of energy, an oft-used yet abstract term. Jung (1953), Freud (1956), and Shafer (1958) speak of psychic energy, as does Tart (1975). Others more conservatively use neurologically-related terms such as "activation" and "arousal." Very few actually grapple with a construct necessary to define and operationalize these energies (Maddi, 1964).
There is a point to be clarified before proceeding: I am referring to energy not as commensurate with consciousness itself, but as a type of medium through which evolving consciousness influences and shapes developing structures/systems. This is similar to the use of media in the expressive development of artistic end-products.
R.O. Becker (1974) provides a workable concept for one form of measurable energy utilized in development. In two decades of research on bioelectric potentials in lower animals and humans, 'Becker has found "a complete operational system ... proposed to exist in living organisms which controls such basic functions as growth, healing and biological cycles" (p. 187). The "analog system" of direct current potentials, in the form of patterns or fields, had shown a data transmission effect capable of affecting the ability of cells in lower animals to dedifferentiate from their attained level of specialization to an undifferentiated state, only to specialize once again with a different morphology. Put in other terms, specialized cells "regressed" to a developmentally earlier, undetermined state of potential mediated by bioelectric messages, and showed the capacity to specialize again, both morphologically and functionally different. It follows that, due to the bio-electric signal, the matrix of the cell was disorganized, then subjected to adaptive rearrangement by the genetic code.
Of further interest is the fact that DC potentials operate through the solid-state, semi-conductive properties of proteins, cell membranes, and collagens, having the ability to pattern a "gelatinous mass" such as that which I described earlier in this section Becker considers the d.c. field-transmission system archaic in relation to its "digital" counterpart' which sends impulses down linear, branching nerve networks.. It is interesting to consider the two systems of energy transmission and information as factors possibly influencing the later specialization of hemispheric functions (Bogen, 1974: Gazzaniga, 1974).
At this point, there is some justification to assume that, from fertilization onward, the coding which directs cell and structure development operates through bio-electric fields (among others). In this way, the primitive nervous system is guided to establish prepotencies for adaption as rudimentary, pre-systemic configurations already subjected to activation concurrent with their appearance. many theorists have identified as archaic forms or potentials (e.g., Jung's archetypes, Kant's à priori categories, Jaynes' aptic structures, and Arieti's endocepts) may well be common recognition of the biological substrate as it evolves into being, arising from humankind's common history of adjustment to this planet, now part of a genetic record encoded in which is the past, present and, perhaps, the future of humanity's adaptation.
III. Physiognomic Learning: Somatic Encounters and Cognitive Structures
The budding protosystems described in the preceding section are part of an organismic, interactive unfolding of the developing psyche and soma, in relation to each other and to the environment. Consciousness unfurls through archetypal potentials, unaware of its awareness, and influences aspects of mind/body development while paving the way for systemic strengths and weaknesses, attractions, aversions, talents, aptitudes, and temperament. Jung (1953) recognizes idiosyncratic and specific' reactions beyond those conditioned socially as the "a priori formal condition of apperception based on instincts" (p. 16).
The body, its physical structure and energies, is the medium through which consciousness interacts with the external world. It is the means of active interface and encounter.
Freud said "the ego is first and foremost a body ego" (Gorman., 1969, p. 36), implying that the body is the vehicle through which external reality and its limitations are to be experienced, and the "reality-principle" is to be taught. Through the pleasures and pains of sensation and feeling do we come to terms with Adaption and etch the topography of our strange environment upon the genetic anlage.
This is the origin of the body concept, "developed out of visual, tactile, and postural percepts" (Crichtley, in Gorman, 1969, p.6), a multilevel construct which, through successive layering 'of experience, eventually achieves the level of a self-reflective and socially-influenced conscious image.
Erikson (1955) adds the important element of play to the development of the body ego:
The child's play begins with and centers on his own body...it begins before we notice it as play, and consists at first in the exploration by repetition of sensual perceptions, of kinesthetic sensations, of vocalizations, etc. Next, the child plays with available persons and things. He may playfully cry to see what wavelength would serve best to make the mother reappear, or he may indulge in experimental excursions on her body...and her face. This is the child's first geography, and the basic maps acquired in such interplay... no doubt remain guides for the ego's first orientation with the world' (p.233).
Body (or physiognomic) learning and play are interacting processes, according to Erikson, essential to each other and to the externalization of objects and situations. Abstractions of events experienced by the- child become rudimentary symbolic representations "necessary to the construction of ideological consciousness or theoretical cognition" (Langer, 1970, p. 765). to come later in development.
From an ethological perspective, Lorenz (1981) states that the activities of play have one thing in common: "Actions recognizably belonging to a system of known function are performed without fulfilling that function" (p. 330).
It is interesting that Lorenz believes that the purest forms of play, the soaring of birds in thermal currents and the frolicking of porpoises for example, permit the exercise and refinement of adaptive functions. Further, the play of birds and porpoises is directed towards an economy of energy, elaboration of new movements, and the use of natural forces or energies (thermal currents; breaking waves). This, according to Lorenz's perspective, is done in order to exceed normal capacities for speed and maneuverability through the shaping of the most condensed, expedient combination of form and function. At the risk of anthropomorphizing, parallels may be drawn to Kris' (1952) "functional pleasure," trial-and-error in the refinement of a skill, and a search for novel sensations. It is the "joy of functioning for the, sake of functioning" (Ibid., p. 334) associated with a playfulness accompanying the mastery of some aspect of the environment or one s self.
Lorenz suggests that nervous system activity differs between free play and serious activities, and that playful innovations occur only in a "field devoid of tension" (p. 333). When appetitive tensions are present, behavior is more restricted and focused.
Experiencing (and internalizing) the environment through the body, through play, are factors in the physiognomic mode of knowing. It is, as Wallach and Kogan (1965) phrase it, "learning about inner feeling and affect states from perceivable externals' (p. 143). The "externals," to a great extent, reflect the consequences of physical sallies into the world as individuals impress their inner organization upon the environment, while the environment reciprocates in like fashion. Thus, the encounter conveys the means for inner organization, in this instance, specifically cognitive organization.
Agreeing with the significance of somatic encounters, Piaget finds that the origins of the categories of reality stem from environmental interaction and the search for novelty (Ginsburg and Opper, 1969). The search for novelty begins as early as the first four months of life. Piaget's Principle of Moderate Novelty calls to mind Maddi's (1965) "characteristic" level of activation. Both concepts are relativistic, not only in relation to the individual's maintenance of a stable state, but also in regard to the activation that occurs when there is a "need" to operate on novel stimuli:
"What determines curiosity is not the physical nature of the object, but rather the degree to which the object is discrepant from what the individual is familiar with" (Ginsburg and Opper, 1969, p. 39).
Piaget (1970) indicates that the main processes through-which the individual comes to know and adapt to the environment are assimilation and accommodation. Assimilation involves the "integration of external elements into evolving or completed structures of an organism" (p. 707), while accommodation is "any modification of an assimilatory scheme or structure by the elements it assimilates" (p. 707).
Assimilation and accommodation both relate to the biphasic creative process, since integrations and modifications require a tearing down of existing structures in order that newer, more adaptive structures may emerge. Older structures/systems, however, are not in fact destroyed. Instead, they are incorporated into newer, presumably "higher-level" structures. The "pre-existing subsystems become integrated into a new superordinated whole" whose subsystem functions "not only remain indispensable but actually gain in importance for the entire organism" .(Lorenz, 1981, p. 341). This is neoteny, the retention of juvenile characteristics in the adult, a concept also incorporated by Arieti (1976) and Werner and Kaplan (1963) in their theoretical formulations. This concept holds much importance in creativity since, as Werner and Kaplan (1963) assert, in addition to drug and dream states, novelty may permit older systems to rise to direct expression once more.
Piaget (1970) associates adaption with organization as functional invariants which, although complementary, occur simultaneously in a synthesizing or fusion process. Cognitive structures and systems are the products of environmental organization interacting with neural (archetypal) organization in the individual's seeking out and abstraction of experience. The adaptive value of cognitive structures is their capacity to condense and encode experience, to slow the rate of perceived change through the use of object constancy, and to increase automatization in order that knowledge need not be sought anew with each experience (Schemer, 1958).
It appears that consciousness manifests in two parallel courses as it-moves toward greater differentiation, much as a rope is composed of two or more strands which, when woven together, increase its strength and utility. Along one course, there is a movement toward greater organization and a need for permanence in the encoding of experience. If this was the sole process, environmental surprise" (Bruner, 1962) would be reduced due to the "construction of a model or code or map for representing the contingent and transitional event-structure of the environment" (p. 4). Fortunately, a second process, the inherent tendency to seek out stimulation and moderate novelty, provides a counterweight.
Both processes are necessary in the introjected re-creation of the external world, for the world is the matrix of the individual's code and can only be subjected to re-order when fully incorporated. The primary phase in the externalizing of creativity is to establish one's self in the known world (or field), a feat first calling for the individual to tread where so many have preceded. It should be remembered however, that "the discoveries a child makes may be true creations even though many other persons have made them before" (Roe, 1976, p. 166).
Unfortunately, too often the two phases are unbalanced, sometimes by genetic disorder, emotional factors or, most commonly, by the detrimental effects of culture. It is this last type of imbalance that robs so many of their creative birthright and will be discussed next.
IV. The Road to Convergence: Procrustes and the Paradigm
With increased maturation, experience and education, the propagation of more differentiated cognitive structures/schemes continues, further articulating and extending the internalized representation of "reality." The child, while introjecting the object and social worlds, unconsciously adopts an interpersonally similar world-view, through participation in social mores, customs, and exposure to parental, cultural and subcultural values and beliefs. In societies in which divergence from the "normal" (or consensual) world-view is severely discouraged, procrustean expectations gradually shear away the uniqueness of the individual, a process most easily accomplished during childhood. Of this seduction to conform, Tart (1975) says:
Eventually, ... willingness for self-modification necessary to win rapport with the world, is stronger than (the) desire for autonomy (p. 45).
The socialization process is described by Pearce (1974) as "a modifying procedure that represses and largely eliminates by the very act of maturation, the open-ended potential which thinking encompasses" (p.20). Pearce's statement seems to imply that the superordination process of evolving structures/systems - neoteny - may be warped by the potentially negative' effects of certain forms of socialization. Such maladaptive consequences resulting from "normal" social adjustment are discussed by Maslow (1968) and Fromm (1955).
Adaption to one's social surround is necessary for, as Lorenz (1981) indicates, "common knowledge unavoidably forms a bond among human beings that is unprecedented in the animal world" (p. 343). Yet, the bond of which Lorenz speaks commonly becomes an internalized, verbally-mediated snare as we become entrapped in social and professional paradigms. Existing within systems of unconsciously-adopted beliefs (and the implicit limits placed upon what is to be considered "real"), the adult tends to forget the rich texture of free synthesis" (Tart, 1975, p..45) of our childhood, and we find ourselves locked into a single reality/paradigm/matrix lacking the "code" to regenerate a more functional reality. We come to see ourselves and our world - solely through the "prisms" (Pelletier and Garfield, 1976), or lenses refracted along-the formulations of the social networks with which we have come to affiliate.
One such prismatic paradigm which has greatly shaped our view of humanity in relation to the world (and ourselves) stemmed from sixteenth century Europe. The mind/body dualism of Descartes, the "Cartesian Catastrophe" (Koestler, 1975), has had a profoundly divisive impact upon the ways in which we have come to understand nature, in shaping an "objective," separatist view of ourselves in relation to the physical world, and in compartmentalizing aspects of our own being. In Descartes, self-conscious awareness, the latest differentiation of evolving consciousness, had attained a superior level of development and proclaimed itself autonomous in a supreme act of hubris (Rychlak, 1977). This act was to become a secession of the rational, self-conscious mind, a mote within the vast expansiveness of non-rational awarenesses, from the ground of its own being.
Wilber (1981) explores this turning point in the evolution of consciousness as an opposition between thought and the source of instinctual spontaneity, the body. He refers to L. L. Whyte's description of the dissociation of consciousness, estimated to have begun about 500 B.C., which extends to the present. Not simply a differentiation of the kind discussed earlier in which a new construct emerges but smoothly incorporates earlier levels from which it arose, Whyte describes a dissociative split a rupture in the continuum of consciousness evolution:
"...instinct and tradition having proved inadequate, the individual was being compelled to rely for guidance on his own mental processes...This dominance of the individual's own mental processes means, in unitary thought, that his attention was drawn to these processes. Instinctive and traditional responses to the outer world no longer sufficed to organize the whole of behavior, decisions now increasingly to be made in accordance with forms internal to himself. Thus man became self-conscious. The individual became aware of his own thought (Whyte, 1960, p. 196-197).
Self-awareness was marked by the advent of the "ego," a construct promoting a (false) sense of permanence and ownership as one "began to form a conception of himself as a-static, permanent, persistent self; and that thought-self tended to feel separate not only from the impulsive world but also from the spontaneous aspects of its own body" (Whyte, in Wilber, 1981, p. 198). The resultant inner constructs, the "analog 'I'" and "metaphor 'me'" (Jaynes, 1976), mechanisms used at first for the acquisition of cultural knowledge, were also the tools of social adaptation; an internalized verbal feedback and cognitive guidance system serving to facilitate interpersonal appropriateness, the veneer of civilization concealing a growing "lesion in awareness" (Wilber, 1981).
The "thought-self" (Wilber, 1981) is the most complicated construct formed in development as it incorporates all levels of body image at a subjective level, as well as the introjected and socially-shaped "objective" self.
Self-reflective consciousness arose as a differentiated construct for the purpose of providing greater adaptivity to a world growing more dependent upon verbal and Symbolic forms of communication, and less dependent upon direct experience as the primary means of knowing. Consequently, the internalized "self," a construct defined by the reflections of the social environment and incorporating societal values, beliefs, and ways of seeing, grew in its capacity to act upon internalized objects. However, the internal operations were now generally somewhat more restricted to that which was consensually defined by society as being both appropriate and plausible.
When paradigms are socially shared without excluding the possibility of other, equally valid views, the individual is free to wander through the learned matrices of thought and experience without the need to defend and perpetuate a single Weltanschauung. With a variety of perspectives available, synthesis may occur more easily.
Social indoctrination of a single paradigm, however, leads to an unbalancing of the biphasic creative-process, since "survival" is equated with maintaining an interpersonal sameness of the world-view. With fear of the unfamiliar as the motivating force, societal (and professional) repressing of innovation-- and innovators--results in limitations placed upon the range of experiences considered acceptable. There is a defense against experience which can result in a society's "deviating further and further from the laws. and roots of ... being" (Jung, 1953, p. 33).
Commenting upon the potential dangers inherent in the shaping effected through our current educational methodologies, Kubie (1976) says:They either tie our preconscious symbolic processes prematurely to precise realities, or leave them to the mercy of distorting influences which arise around areas of unconscious conflict (p. 148).
What originated as a continuum in the evolution of consciousness, permitting interaction at all levels of being has become abridged by cognitive defenses which filter out all but the loudest cries from the archetypal and somatosensory levels. The abridgement or narrowing of consciousness results in the muting of body-messages, insensitivity to affective signals, and a negation of the subtle, universal, influences of the unconscious, alI valuable tools in the biphasic creative expression of consciousness.
Along the continuum of consciousness, the gap which forms as a result of the cognitive self seeking permanence--"immortality" (Rank, 1976)--leads to a denial of alternative levels of awareness, or states of consciousness. The tiny ego-consciousness is, according to Rogers (1963), a "sharp spotlight of focused attention" and is a pale reflection of a broader awareness that emerges only when normal functioning is disrupted by real, or perceived, threats to the self. Self-consciousness is the "dubious gift of civilization" (Jung, 1933), a construct of "ordinary" consciousness permitting us to survive within a society that holds itself together through common beliefs and reinforced paradigms that too often makes us "prisoners of our ordinary state of consciousness" (Tart, 1975, p. 48).
The supreme irony lies in the fact that it is through our creative powers that we eventually come to trap ourselves behind walls of self limitation. Each incident calling for the suppression of imagination in the name of "reality" serves to make the wall higher and thicker, strengthened by the mortar of applauded conformity.
It should be understood that, although this section has emphasized the emergence of self-consciousness, the impact of socialization upon the individual, and the narrowing influence of strongly-held paradigms, this is not intended to represent an indictment of society on the whole. Moreso, it is an attempt to bring to light those general, interpersonal factors, both explicit and implicit, which play a role in the erosion of individual and collective creative potentials, and which serve to hold creative expression in abeyance. Social attitudes and values, however, may also provide a supportive, even facilitative foundation for the re-emergence of creativity.
In summary, the flow of creative consciousness evident in the young child has, in the adult, led to the development of self-awareness, with its limitations of belief stamped-in by social structures and cultural paradigms, and a resultant self-image molded by interpersonal influences. We are both sustained and limited in a cocoon of cognitive structures and systems. Hanging tenuously by a thread of consciousness to the broader awareness potential, consciousness may remain dormant as a chrysalis or, recalling its original nature, will raze the structures it has organized in silent partnership with society and erect new, metamorphic forms.
V. Regression or Accession: The View from the Paradigm
In the preceding pages, the developmental unfolding of biphasic creativity has reflected overlying processes used by consciousness in its thrust toward adaptation. The assimilation of, and accommodation to, environments have involved energy exchanges in the organization of body/mind structures and systems, and the breakdown and reorganization of these structures/systems through playful experiences, the search for novelty, and risk-taking. What originated as a primal expression of undifferentiated consciousness arising through the interaction of genetic materials and the cellular environment, passes through integrated phases of sensorimotor adaption, modification, and introjection, achieving discursive reasoning, verbal concept capability, and finally, self-conscious awareness. In short, consciousness has become enculturated. However, during the development toward maturation and the formation of the ego/self-concept, the balanced use of the constructive-destructive modes of creativity became problematic.
Culturally and individually biased needs for security and the stability of current "reality" boundaries emphasize conservation and the solution of problems within the matrix of the known, rather than through the generation and consideration of unfamiliar, alternative realities. The organizing (and anti-entropic) forces, which define society and culture, press individuals toward the use of only one mode of creativity--the constructive. It then becomes necessary to repress the destructive complement, the entropic mode. This, in turn, leads to a perpetuation of the matrix of the familiar and, consequently, a biased (and sometimes jaundiced) view of creativity. The bias is the result of a slanted view of creativity; i.e., from within the "normal," convergent, cultural/professional paradigm. Such an intramodal perspective views creativity as being an atypical, discrete, paradigm of divergence, and not as merely another manifestation of the unified underlying process.
Once again reflecting the schism in consciousness mentioned in the previous section, Pelletier (1978) describes the contribution of Simeons, a neuropsychiatrist, whose model of psychosomatic disease is relevant to the nature of creativity, consciousness, and the strain of adaption to our social/cultural environment:
Simeons contended that the cortex of the brain has evolved to the point where it now asserts excessive control over subcortical, diencephalic processes, and that cortical formulations are guided by moral precepts which have arisen solely out of the cultural environment that man has created. These moral sanctions are purely cortical, i.e., consciously formulated; they have no biological basis. Thus, according to Simeons, in response to the increased stresses of contemporary society, man has imposed increasingly stringent cortical censorship over his more biologically based reactions to those stresses (P. 190).
Creative individuals tend to be falsely perceived as unlike the majority, "different" and special in their ability to generate alternative realities at will and "realize" them. Their aberrance, a function of the paradigm bias addressed earlier in this section, has been considered neurotic by some (Freud, 1956; Kubie, 1952), or even bordering on madness (Lombroso, 1976).
The creative individual does have possession of one major aptitude which sets him apart from the majority; this capacity being the sine qua non, irrespective of whatever talents, education or skills may later be brought to bear: the power of accession.
Accession, according to Webster (1970) denotes "assent; agreement," "the act of coming to or attaining (a throne, power, etc.)" (p. 8). My use of the word here takes into consideration the capacity to access remote areas (or states) of awareness, resulting in the coming to power of resources necessary for the innovative reorganization of one's self, one's environment, or some aspect of the environment.
On the other hand, the conventional notion of regression tends to be viewed through the "prism" (or paradigm) of the psychoanalytic viewpoint as atavistic and retrogressive:
If reality becomes inexorable...the libido will finally be compelled to resort to regression, and to seek satisfaction in one of the organizations it had already surmounted or in one of the objects it had relinquished earlier (Freud, 1956, p. 368).
From the perspective of Freudian analysis, regression is a reversion to infantile behaviors.
Developmental theory however, considers regression a dual operation bearing some similarity to cellular growth and development as found in biology, and remarkably similar to the processes described earlier by Becker (1974). Werner (1957) describes regression as a "dedifferentiation (dissolution of existing schematized or automated behavior patterns) and "activation of primitive levels of behavior from which undifferentiated (little formulated) phenomenon emerge" (p. 139).
A more functionally-adaptive view than that of Freud, Werner's position is still limited in terms of implying a linear interplay "up" and "down" the developmental ladder, rather than access to "areas" of consciousness adjacent to (or remote from) the baseline state. In regard to creativity, Werner says "...a person's capacity for creativity presupposes mobility in terms of regression and projection" (1957., p. 145). Retention of the capacity to access many areas of consciousness, and to use the spectrum of developmentally earlier forms of awareness (including those emphasized in cognitive processes), is the capacity for creativity of which Werner speaks.
Pelletier and Garfield (1976) recognize that through neoteny there is the retention of higher-order cognitive functions during regression--" deindividuated behavior"-- although primary drive states are called upon to interact with the higher-level functions in "inexplicable interaction" (p. 14). The phenomenon of accession necessitates a withdrawal from consensus reality, with its social and cultural organizing principles of space and time. LeShan acknowledges this departure, referring to a meditative withdrawal as being "out of ordinary time" and beyond categorical separateness.
A "reculer pour mieux sauter" (Koestler, 1975), accession is a withdrawal of energy from the higher, functional structures/systems and its redeployment to pre-existent systems associated with developmentally earlier forms of cognition and perception.
The "attention/awareness" energy mentioned by Tart (1975) is redirected away from the maintenance of the "normal" state of awareness, the stable state in which one operates according to the guidelines established, by sociocultural consensus. Not actively rechanneled, energy is made available to other, neotenous, systems due to its withdrawal from higher level operations, resulting in an equipotentiality of systems/structures.
The "central controlling functions" of the ego (Schafer, 1958) permit a "self-regulated regression" (Kris, 1952); i.e.; through a relaxation of systems of reality-testing, and a suspension of those systems supporting self-control, self-criticism, and judgement, thresholds to alternative ways of knowing and belief are lowered. This is the "openness to experience" spoken of by Rogers (1961) leading to the "ability to toy with elements and concepts" through a subjective, non-consensual "locus of evaluation" (p. 354-355). Awareness is freed along all levels, and new realities are within reach of the conscious mind. Consciousness gains access to other matrices--associational fields--leading to possible "bisociations" (Koestler, 1975).
In his study of remote associates, Mednick (1962) found that the associative hierarchies of creative individuals tended to be flat, in contrast to the steeper slopes of those having less ease of access to remote associations. The differing slopes indicated that the latter group tended to produce many stereotypical responses and lacked the associative flexibility which would permit access to more remote fields of association. When field thresholds are low, underlying incongruities and/or similarities are available to consciousness for rearrangement by, and synthesis through the operations of deeper, endoceptual/archetypal processes.
A function of accession (or regression), "deautomatization" plays a primary role in the reorganization of intrapsychic materials. Deikman (1974) discusses deautomatization as part of the mystic experience, but his description is also clearly relevant to the nature of accession, especially in relation to creativity:
A mystic experience is the production of an unusual state of consciousness. This state is brought about by a deautomatization of hierarchically ordered structures that ordinarily conserve attentional energy for maximum efficiency in achieving the basic goals of the individual; biological survival as an organism and psychological survival as a personality (p. 233).
The conditions favoring accession suggested by Schafer (1958) are sensitivity to affect signals (Roger's "openness to experience"), a sense of integrity regarding the self (that is, the underlying feeling-self, and not the thought-self), and a pre-existing integration of prior developmental levels (including the healing of major traumas) as part of the ontogenetic growth process. It is apparent that these conditions serve to keep the person an "open" system, sensitive to the body signals that may be messages from the physiognomic mode of learning, and which are capable of serving as feeling-avenues--guidelines of induction to earlier perceptual modalities and states of awareness.
With a weakening, or dissolution, of the energy barriers maintaining normal" consciousness, the "semi-arbitrary constructions" (Tart, 1975) between subject and object are also relaxed, and a union of sorts may occur. This permits "the freedom to be dominated by the object" (Bruner, 1962) or situation, allowing the return to a developmentally earlier mode of knowing: Through the introjection of objects and individuals into one's self. This is the "immersion" of Henle (1962). It is also related to the preparation state of creativity as mentioned by Wallas (1976), during which focused attention and concentration cause an "overload" of higher level systems, weakening the baseline state of consciousness (Tart, 1975).
Accession, in summary, is a form of regression to the extent that habituated cognitive structures/systems are destabilized-- "deautomatized"-- with a subsequent energy shift towards developmentally earlier structures and systems. The controlled access to remote areas of consciousness presents alternative ways of knowing (epistemology) and, assuming that the problem has been adequately internalized during the preparatory phase, permits aspects of the external world to submerge to deep levels where the elements will combine with the archetypal "templates" during sleep, reverie, drug-induced and natural altered states of consciousness. How the products of this interaction at the instinct level are presented to, and used by, the conscious mind, is the subject of the next section.
VI. Interstitial Consciousness: Crucible of Creativity
Whether referred to as Freud's "preconscious," or Jung's "personal unconscious" this "area" represents those neighborhoods of awareness adjacent to the "normal" state of self-reflective consciousness. It is readily available to the conscious mind through accession with relatively little difficulty. It is, as Coleridge describes it, "that nascent existence in the twilight of imagination and just on the vestibule of consciousness" (Whyte, 1960, p. 134).
It is predisposing and reflective of the cultural paradigm bias to consider as pre-conscious the region surrounding self-conscious awareness. There is a misleading sense of linearity implied in the term, both in its implications of time and space. The prefix, according to Webster (1970), denotes "before in time," "before in space," and "before in rank" (p. 1119), Also implied, as per the definitions, is the sense of an area of consciousness less important than the self-conscious mind.
Jung's (1970) topography shows less bias in explaining this area of the psyche as "that part ...which contains all the things that could just as well be conscious" (p. 48). Jung also moves beyond cultural paradigm bias by examining other cultures, particularly India and China, where he found a freer exchange of awareness (or less repression) between the conscious mind and its adjacent regions. He concluded:
The personal unconscious is really something very relative, and its circle can be restricted and become so much narrower that it touches zero... A man can develop his consciousness to such an extent that he can say: Nihil humanum a me alienum (I am a man; I count nothing alien to me)(p. 48).
The relative amount of the contents just beyond awareness suggests that this is not a fixed borderland of the conscious mind. Rather, its is interstitial from the standpoint of representing "a small or narrow space between...parts" (Webster, 1970, p. 737). The difference intended here, as suggested by the words of Jung (above), is that the area of interstitial consciousness is the schism established through the advent of the self-construct, and widened by the "European dissociation" suggested by Whyte (see Wilber, 1981). Thus, it is in this region that the range of awareness flowing from archetypal sources is interrupted from its potential meshing with the self-conscious mind through the ego's rejection of what it considers alien to it.
Jung's observations on cultural differences in this area of the psyche seem to verify that it is possible, when supported by the culture, to maintain a continuity of consciousness. In such a spectrum of awareness, self-consciousness imperceptibly blends into the vastness of the impersonal (or collective) unconscious, unobstructed by the self's discriminatory repression of what is personally alien, or remote, to it. Eastern traditions such as yoga and meditation, and their elaborate spiritual systems of belief are geared towards mind/body integration (Pelletier, 1978; Pelletier and Carfieldl 1976) and the cultivation of a continuum of consciousness such as that described by Jung.
Kris (1952) also places special emphasis on this "passage into consciousness" as the place of interaction where unconscious influences interface with the introjected contents of the (self-) conscious mind. Further, he alludes to meaningful recognition as occurring in the area of interstitial consciousness. The products of reorganization reach conscious awareness either as images (for example in Poincarè's account of the origins of Fuchsian functions), symbols (e.g., Kekule's snake reverie) or in a recognitory connection with a pattern (configuration) in the environment (recall Lorenz's Innate Releasing Mechanism).
The mixture of two kinds of consciousness described in the preceding paragraphs may also be considered the interfacing of primary and secondary thought processes, or what Arieti (1976) refers to as the "tertiary process or magic synthesis." The synthesis however, appears more like Assagioli's (1981) concept of transmutation, since it involves the transfer of energies among systems in which structures have been patterned and maintained through the flow of-bioelectric potentials. Consequently, shifts in the direction of energy between structures are accompanied by shifts in states of awareness. These are detectable (although-not fully interpretable) through the use of bioelectrically-sensitive equipment, such as the electroencephalograph used in research by Kasamatsu and Hirai (1963) and Kamiya (1972).
The creative commingling of symbolic elements occurs in the area of interstitial consciousness, that threshold between two entirely different spheres of awareness. One area is that of archetypally-influenced consciousness: impersonal, lacking self-awareness, physiognomically-based, and marked by a pre-discursive, pre-verbal participation mystique with a lack of self-boundaries. The second sphere is governed by ratiocination, various forms of logical reasoning and language, self-awareness, and is characterized by contrasts and comparisons which present a world-view of separate entities and discrete categories of existence.
The syntheses produced at the threshold described above is expressed in the language of images and symbols; sensory, kinesthetic, metaphoric, etc. What type of "dialect" to be addressed to the self-conscious mind depends upon the personal predisposition of the individual accessing these areas of consciousness. The components-subject to rearrangement have all been assimilated/introjected at some level of awareness, whether physiognomic or intellectual, through conscious intent or latent experiencing, or as images, symbols, and configurations not yet perceived by the conscious mind as patterns or concepts.
Mental images, which develop between 1.5-7 years of age (Ginsburg and Opper, 1969), may be antedated by diffuse proprioceptive, gustatory, visual, auditory, and olfactory "images" absorbed before the subject-object differentiation was erected by the discursive mind. The record of sense impressions appears to be part of a developmentally early, homogeneous pool of sensory experiences, still linked (below the threshold of conscious awareness) with pre-discursive states of consciousness. Registered prior to the development of the capacity to discriminate between senses, it is this mechanism, the association of a sense-impression with a state of consciousness-- a state-specific memory (Tart, 1975) that seems to explain Schiller's penchant for the smell of rotting apples in his desk which aided him in his creative writing (Ghiselin, 1952).
Where Schiller's conscious state was joined to a developmentally earlier (and more remote) state of consciousness through an olfactory catalyst indirectly affecting cerebral processing, a more direct approach was used by Wilder Penfield (Penfield and Rasmussen, 1950). A neurosurgeon, Penfield elicited hallucinatory memories in patients through direct electrostimulation of the temporal lobes. Of the underlying unity of sense impressions found by Penfield in his work, Hampden-Turner (1981) says:
Movements and sensation depend largely upon their source in the human brain, as opposed to their physical manifestation in the body. Hence...an amputated limb may still tingle because the receptors remain in the brain, and those with diseases of the nervous system can sometimes smell,' 'taste,' or see symptoms belonging to quite other senses (p. 74).
In the deautomatized state, images and symbols, the introjects of the external world, are subjected to the equipotentiality of schematizing, cognitive systems and are free to shuttle from one association matrix to another, formerly considered unrelated by the categorizing conscious mind. It is analogous to the evolutionist's primordial sea, filled with an organic "soup" of elements of varying sizes and degrees of attraction (associative valence). These elements the introjected aspects of the object world, shift, merge, coalesce, and separate, interacting beneath the now-lowered partitions of self-conscious awareness. The combinations and recombinations occurring at the interstitial interface are guided by principles of organization quite different from the logical operations serving in consensus reality. Primal, creative, biphasic consciousness, directed by intentionality, the aufgabe of the Würzburg school (Arieti, 1976), moves through archetypal shadows.
Like a deep and complex ocean current sweeping through underwater canyons and playing about submerged formations, the undercurrent of primal, undifferentiated consciousness is contoured by archetypes (or endocepts) into eddies and vortices. The formative swirling reaches from the depths of the placid, and impersonal collective unconscious to just below the surface of the personal, self -reflective mind, floating like a slick upon the vast sea of the unconscious. The undercurrents attract, influence, organize, and mold the configurations of images and symbols of the introjected world which have descended beneath the surface of conscious awareness to the imageless, non-verbal realm of the endocept, or "amorphous cognition" (Arieti, 1976). The endocept is not an abstraction based upon numerous experiences, but "nonrepresentational activity... which may derive from a repressed image or from other mental work that is not yet differentiated" (p. 60).
Metaphorically, the sub-oceanic forms which impede, detour, and redirect the flow of consciousness represent primordial psychic structures lying at the developmental roots of humanity's evolution of conscious awareness; millennia of adaptive experiences coded and etched into the genetic materials of humankind. The shadowy forms without substance--the archetypal "codes" of the human species--guide and sculpt the course of consciousness, urging general directions--" tides" of individual and collective behavioral flow aimed toward adaption, survival, and evolution. More than merely a condensed, cumulative history of archetypes and leitmotifs, archetypal "codes" also offer potential resolutions to problems of adaption, expression, and evolution, more as general areas of recombinatorial possibilities than specific solutions.
The intrapsychic patternings occurring in the sphere of interstitial consciousness, may be physiognomically "felt" as meaningful, potential answers--intuitions, although not fully grasped or "owned" by the self-conscious mind. If sensed by self-consciousness as being meaningful (or pertinent), the archetypal presentment, garbed in some sensory form (e.g., a vision, sound, or body-sensation) must be "decoded" and transliterated into the verbal-conceptual "language" (secondary process) of the self-conscious mind. Commenting on the need for translation of unconscious productions, Jung (1976) states:
The creative process...consists in an unconscious animation of the archetype, and in a development and shaping of this image till the work is completed. The shaping of the primordial image is...a translation into the language of the present, thus enabling every man to be stirred again by the deepest springs of life which would otherwise be closed to him (p. 126).
Taking a somewhat different position in regard to the organizing potential of the deep unconscious, Ghiselin (1952) says:
A great many of the configurations that do appear in the fringes of consciousness are continually shifting because no sign has been found to impose on them the fixed status of a scheme. They slide out of consciousness, like the nameless configurations of the rocking ocean (p. 22-23).
It appears that Ghiselin has recognized the ebbs and flows of archetypal influences, but has overlooked both the fixating characteristics of verbally-mediated cognition and, the roles played by meaning and need in the retention of unconscious materials. Ghiselin does not appear sensitive to the archetypal influences which form vortices of organizational potential in the interstitial realm, once removed from the schematizing and rubricizing effects of the self-reflective mind.
Interaction of the two spheres of consciousness are generally guided by two kinds of direction: the wish (or desire) of the conscious mind, and the unconscious intention (will or volition) of the engaged subconscious. Introjections of the external (object) world by-the self-conscious mind during the Preparation phase (Wallas, 1976) merely establishes a backdrop for the creativity process to occur. During this phase there is an intense focus upon (or immersion in) the problem and its elements; an "absorption" which may reach the level of obsession, the analyzed and fragmented aspects of the problem invading the unconscious in sleep, reverie and ruminations. Responding to the "pull" of the conscious mind, an archetypal "template" appropriate to a thematic solution of the problem--that is, a contentless potential for resolution--interacts with the introjected pieces of the problem. This occurs during the Incubation phase (Wallas, 1976), an indistinct stage that co-exists, alternately, with the Preparation phase.
Only when an intrapsychic product - an image or symbol is plucked from the realm of interstitial consciousness, "owned" by the self-conscious mind and realized as being of value in offering a solution to the problem, can it be said that the state of Illumination has been reached. The work of the discursive mind now begins; interpreting the message from the depths, and translating it into external reality.
In summary, the area of interstitial consciousness is a construct, a culturally-relative crucible in which two types of consciousness are blended in the creative process. The model however, is much more complex than the simple addition of ingredients, and resembles liquid crystals used in today's digital computers and displays. Liquid crystals are, in fact, in a paracrystalline stage. Their molecular structure is easily altered and restructured by electric and magnetic fields, the ordering being "coded" by preprogrammed instructions conveyed through electric or magnetic energies.
This model seems congruent with the processes described in this section. The partially-ordered character of the liquid crystals is comparable to the cognitive systems existent in self-consciousness which, although subjectively experienced as stable, are in fact quite capable of alteration through physical and environmental fluctuations (recall Fiske and Maddi's description of the need for variety in stimulation in order to maintain a stable state) and the use of drugs. The coding "wired" into the device represents an archetypal/endoceptual "blueprint" which, in the presence of a unifying, information-bearing energy, permits interaction between the two levels of organization. It is only when the code at the deepest level interacts with the alterable matrix at the highest level through the formative energy fields, that the entire system works as a synergistic whole.
The key to interaction at the level of interstitial awareness lies in the "opening" of the system through relaxation of the limits of the ego construct and an openness to the subtle guidance of the archetypal realm.
There is a dark side to the power in this integrative process however, which would occur when archetype and ego oppose each other through the polarization of energies; the self defending itself against intrusion while the archetype urgently seeks--and sometimes demands--expression. Through the transmutational nature of the psychoenergetic systems involved, archetypal urgings may be blocked from conscious awareness and may surface through other avenues of expression: neurosis, psychosis, or psychosomatic illness. The message from the depths, although denied will not be ignored and may reverse the physiognomic pathway to externalize upon the body or mind the consequences of a lesion in awareness.
More exotic examples of archetypal power are found in the synchronistic, psychokinetic events described by Jung (Wolman, 1977). These, and other examples of parapsychological effects upon seemingly separate and discrete animate and inanimate objects (Nash, 1982; Rhine, 1972) are suspected of being mediated by consciousness. However, these studies suggest that the same factors discussed here in relation to creativity may he operating in psychokinesis (PK); i.e., will (or intentionality), the bypassing of the conscious mind, and the utilization of a continuum of energies which are not yet understood or measurable. Momentary unifications of the rift between the two types' of consciousness may then underly the creative process, physical/emotional healing, and provide some understanding of the psychokinetic process in parapsychology.
The creative synthesis "blends the two worlds of mind and matter,...the rational with the irrational" (Arieti, 1976) for the purpose of "forming and reforming the world" (May, 1975). The creative process however, is not merely a means of adapting to the world as it exists. It s also the means of transcending the limitations imposed by it and ourselves. The human is not only a "self-conscious finitude" (Arieti, 1976) with the capacity to transcend facts and natural determinisms through innovation. We are blessed and cursed with the godlike, inherent potential to transcend our natures and create new realities. Or, we may barricade ourselves behind self-erected and self-maintained walls of protective security in the name of stability and predictability, only to imprison ourselves at last.
VII. Summary and Prospectus: To Reap the Whirlwind
In this theoretical exposition, I have attempted to treat the creative process in a broader, more universally-applicable fashion than has usually been the case in the literature. My approach to the problem was selected because I see creativity as being far greater in its importance and relevance to human growth and functioning than the mere consideration of novel products, divergent thinking, or creative personality traits can, of themselves, convey, It is the nature of consciousness itself, as expressed through the dual, complementary manifestations of creativity, that must be central to our epistemological, investigative, and philosophical concerns.
There is no creative person or process apart from what is inherent in the holistic development and functioning of the individual. To focus on an empirical difference between divergent and convergent thinking without consideration of the phenomenological underpinnings perpetuates a superficially valid, yet investigatively limited categorization, obscuring underlying, fundamental unities. Wallach (1970) says, in reference to Torrance's view of the unity of cognitive processes:
...what Torrance seems to mean by creativity is a general intelligence concept liberalized by the addition of references to a problem-solving phase...even broader than that of Guilford, since (it) seems to imply a single basic dimension of which both divergent and convergent thinking would be parts (p. 1224).
Creativity cannot be defined when analytically particularized into the use of metaphors (Gordon, 1976), "unconscious activation of the archetype" (Jung,- 1976), effective surprise" (Bruner, 1976), or "tertiary process" (Arieti, 1976). Its parts can only be understood when related to the whole: adaption as a function of the ontogenetic evolution of consciousness; "the creator-impulse as the life impulse made to serve the individual will" (Rank, 1976, p. 116). For creativity, in its biphasic complementarity, may be considered the mode of transduction serving the intentionality of consciousness in the forms of construction/destruction, progression/regression, synergy/entropy.
Creativity is an holistic, multi-level developmental process of consciousness. It requires mediums (in the forms of materials and energies) upon (and through) which to operate. This is true whether the resource-mobilizing effects of intention are directed toward the development of a Unified Field Theory constructed upon the theoretical corpus of Nineteenth Century physics, or a pièta carved of marble taken from the hills of Carrara. Awareness of the wide variety of energies used by consciousness to modify (recreate) the environment, as expressed through the creative process, is widening considerably with the emergence of evidence suggesting that energies may exist which, allegedly, influence the roll of dice (Rhine, 1972) or alter the growth and mutation rates of bacteria grown in incubators through "wishing" (Nash, 1982; Nash, 1983).
Recent evidence on the functional specialization of the cerebral hemispheres (Bogen, 1974; Gazzaniga, 1974) has assigned dualistic, appositional functions and a proposed integrative function to the corpus callosum. In the development of the body, as in architecture, it appears that form may follow function: the differentiation of neural structures may be shaped and patterned through the ontogenetic and phylogenetic evolution of consciousness, and physically mirror the two types of consciousness necessary for adaption.
In these pages, I have also tried to touch upon the roles of energy (and energy fields) in creativity and consciousness as having been sorely neglected in their potential to explain the developmental process in the emergence and differentiation of structure/systems, their dedifferentiation during creative accession, and a variety of phenomena, from artistic creation to psychosomatic illness and psychokinetic effects.
The significance of energy as a mediational mechanism for the expression of consciousness and creativity was mentioned earlier in regard to the work of Becker (1974). Sherrington, quoted in LeShan (1974), comments upon the relationship of energy and the brain:
I...think of the brain as an organ of liaison between energy and mind, but not as a converter of energy into mind or vice versa (p. 246).
If the brain is, as Sherrington put it, a liaison between energy and mind, is it unreasonable to assume that mind--that is, consciousness--has influenced the structural evolution of the brain through the same (or similar) bioelectric potentials which Becker has found to effect cellular specialization, dedifferentiation, and re-specialization? This is a fertile area of investigation which should be pursued within the sphere of consciousness research.
Casting the net of theory before us in the search for truth, we must take into account the cultural/professional paradigm egocentricities and biases inherent in viewing divergent, phenomenological processes from within a predominant, convergent system of empirical research. The sociocultural emphasis upon empirical reality tends to conceal the underlying unity of consciousness, ignore the manifestations of creativity found in the child's re-creation of the existing world, and divide the holism of the "fully functioning person" (Rogers, 1961) into somatic, cognitive, and conative portions to be empirically ingested--à la (Des) cartes.
True creativity in human consciousness is the cosmic "dance of Shiva," as envisioned by physicist Fritjof Capra (1977):
...a great rhythmic process of creations and destruction, of death and rebirth, and Shiva's dance symbolized this eternal life-death rhythm which goes on in endless cycles (p. 230)
Capra was inspired by the continual transformations of matter into energy, energy into matter, at the subatomic level. We, in this consideration of creativity, are speaking of a similar kind of liberating play ... also reaching the level of the cosmos (or bacteria) and involving a freedom in the use of energies for the reconstruction of the new from the dissembled foundations of the outworn.
Just as subatomic particles are the building blocks of matter, consciousness also organizes our material reality through its myriad manifestations. As we examine the ways in which our bodies (and minds) are affected by consciousness in terms of physique, posture, psychosomatic disorders, lifestyles, or the physical trappings with which we surround ourselves, it is clear that individual and collective consciousness creates and maintains the forms found in all aspects of our physical and phenomenological worlds. These are the sociocultural forms with which we are familiar, or to which we have become habituated, and which some seek to perpetuate. The power used to perpetuate--a bound state of stasis--is the same power used to create; the capacity to de-differentiate a (temporarily) useful form or reality in order to establish new "blueprints" for civilization and human potential.
The Cartesian exaltation of the self-conscious mind has taken us to the apogee of objectification of human nature, and the festering "lesion in awareness" is exacting its toll in human "dis-ease" and psychosomatic illness. These are symptomatic manifestations of self- (and social) alienation which can only be healed through integration of mind and body, and a cultivation of the healing aspect of the creative process in each of us.
We have come to a point in time when, in order to escape the destructive societal paradigms we have created, we must grasp creativity as a means of healing society--and ourselves--by re-establishing the continuum of consciousness inherent in all. It calls for a return to a knowledge of the language and wisdom of the body, and a recognition of the subtle, yet persistent, guidance to be found beneath the chattering of the self-reflective mind in the archaic, depths of our archetypal realm. With our self-conscious center quieted and receptively aligned to accept archetypal influences, new realities may be conceived and materialized, for the energized archetype offers, as Jung promises: "a deep presentment that strives to find expression. . It is like a whirlwind that seizes everything within reach and., by carrying it aloft, assumes a visible shape" (Ghiselin, 1952, p. 217).
© 1983/1998 M. Allan Cooperstein, Ph.D.
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This paper also appeared in shorter form in:
Cooperstein, M. A. (1985). The conjoint evolution of consciousness and creativity. Journal of Creative Behavior, 19, 215-217.
Cooperstein, M. A. (1985). Creativity and consciousness. Saybrook Review, 5, 28-36.