The Power of Conversation for Creativity

My definition of conversation is to convert my concepts, through feedback, into agreements and possible solutions to problems.

So basically I am saying that conversing can be one of the best tool for assisting creativity.
Now I happen to have proof of this. It is no coincidence that some of the greatest creative movements of our time were based on such conversational groups. Think of the Bauhaus, Impressionism Movement in Paris, Heidelberg School, The Manhattan Project,
and of course the Apollo Program. Think how many conversations that would have taken place that influenced each participant in these movements or projects. Without such conversations would such creative periods in our history have existed? Somehow I doubt it.

Now imagine we had an improved method of conversing that facilitated the converting of our own concepts even more. Conversing on steroids! Well I guess I am hoping that someday Rethink Perfect will be able to do just that.

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7 Responses to The Power of Conversation for Creativity

  1. Again, what about the quality and nature of those conversations and feedback?
    Neuroscience is increasingly giving us insights into not just the structure of our human brains, but how our brain operates, acts and interacts and the consequences for human interaction. Of particular interest is the consequences for human progress and development when you put a number of good brains together, conversing properly and constructively and in pursuit of a greater ideal. As you point out, done properly, great minds and constructive conversations have given us mathematics, philosophy, the Pyramids, Baroque music, Impressionism, space travel and the Internet.
    Psychiatrist Iain McGilchrist, author of The Master and His Emissary, has a fascinating theory on WHY and HOW good brains and constructive conversations have come together to create the seminal periods of human civilisation and progress – for example, the peaks of Ancient Greece and Rome, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment. He even hazards a guess at why modern civilisation isn’t working as well as it could be. It’s all because of how the two hemispheres of the brain perceive and interpret our world, act, interact and then put into words and actions, the results of their processing power; both hemispheres have the same capacity for mental and bodily functions, however the left hemisphere is about direct action and very ‘singular’ in it’s perception, where the right hemisphere can see ‘the bigger picture’ and thinks ‘outside the square’. The left doesn’t know what it doesn’t know, whereas the right can see the broader context and can know the bigger picture, but doesn’t need to concern itself with all the details. In a well-run civilisation, he suggests, its inhabitants balance the respective role of both hemispheres. Listen to Prof. McGilchrist discuss his ideas on youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbUHxC4wiWk
    Any “improved method of conversation facilitating the converting of concepts” needs to take into account the ever-increasing understanding we have of our brains, their dynamics and mechanisms. If Prof. McGilchrist is right, maybe we need to first ‘train our brains’ to properly balance the respective roles of both hemispheres in our creative, constructive and empowering conversations and decisions?
    Hope this provides you with new avenues to pursue in your quest!

    • Yeah, Thanks Dean.
      I will have to check out his ideas/concepts.
      I guess I am looknig iat it from my basic concept and that is how my brother and I have interacted/conversed over the last 20 years, since we bacame brothers in arms. (another story).

      We like to fiercly converse and sometimes it does get heated and this is the time that is not as productive as other times but still, seems to me ot be an important part of conversing to get the conversation to a level just below aggression. Where passion is flowing and the conversing of ideas go back and forth like a tennis match.

      For example Dean, up till a few weeks ago we used to think conversation was to convert each other’s concepts.
      Now we agree to aim to only convert our own concepts. This is a big game changer for us.

      So I have created Rethink Perfect as a non-binding agreement for us to relate so that when we get outside this productive area we can quickly and firstly stop.
      Then back track and acknowledge where and when we got off the track or lost the plot. (the plot being that we already both agree that conversing is a great way for creating new ideas)
      We use apology to achieve this ie speech in defence. Where we isolate what we did/said, why we did or said it and what we would do next time. This has been an good way for us to maintain our relating at such an intensity and also help us improve our non-binding agreement as it seems to be a work in progress.

      I also agree with you that understanding the hardwear can help us develop the software for our brain.
      One bit if hard wear I am looking at is what Edward de Bono calls self organising systems or what Leoanardo da Vinci calls the Law of Continuity or Flow Fields.
      http://www.centennialofflight.gov/essay/Theories_of_Flight/early_aero/TH3G2.htm

      I thnk that we have an inate desire to be always right, so much so that we actually convince ourselves that we are, which forms our path of least resistance ( we think). More on this at:
      https://rethinkperfect.wordpress.com/contents/our-desire-to-be-always-right/
      So my software is based on this hardwear that I think we have. Maybe it is related to what you mentioned with the left and right sides of the brain, I will investigate.

  2. Intereseting, de Bono’s Self-organising systems is a very similar concept to ‘cognitive dissonance’ in social psych. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance. In a similar way, it involves resolving upsetting experiences or conflicting ideas which cause emotional tension, by “taking the path of least [psychological] resistance” as you say – to resolve that unpleasant emotional tension. For example, following a typical and emotional domestic argument, HE reasons: “I just can’t understand why SHE acts that way towards me {tension 1} – so she must be in the wrong or she must be stupid. Because she is wrong or stupid, she caused me to be angry {tension 2}. I am justified to be angry at her because she is wrong or stupid. I am justified in having hit her for making me angry because she is wrong or stupid {tension 1 and 2 resolved}.” But at no time was the logic critically and rationally examined. In a desperate attempt to resolve the emotional tension of the original emotion-filled exchange, the brain began to rationalise it in a “least resistance” kind of way (ie. “it was HER fault”) and consequentially and unfortunately, it led to violence.
    Once again, I encourage you to read broadly in psych and neuroscience because it will help you support the good ideas/concepts you’ve developed and already put down in writing.

    • Will do Dean, thanks.
      Your example also helps my point for our “desire to be always right”. I think a dispute can only exist if I desire to be right and then think that I am in this instance. But, you know, I actually think women are as violent as men just in a different way. As they say it takes two to tango. So I say instead of the campaign run by the government that states “Violence against women, Australia says no.” (simplistic)
      I think it would have been better saying “Agression in a relationship, Australia says no”

    • Hey Dean I wrote this on another blog last week which could be similar to the “Cognative Dissonance”
      but still researching.

      “I just saw a piece on Big Ideas on the ABC about how us primates think by Dr Robert Sapolsky http://bit.ly/ifKdy7 His point was that in teh experiment teh subject gets more dopamine from the “signal” and the “work” rather than the “result”.

      Then throw in the possiblilty of failure and the dopamine increases by a huge factor.

      So, what I got out of it was why we fear “success”, as what comes after that. I guess I too don’t want to “succeed” before my time as I am afraid what I woud do after this point.”

  3. Firstly, that lecture by Sapolsky was brilliant. Thank you so much for linking me to that. Has given me some great research avenues for my own 100daysofhonesty blog. Stay tuned.
    In respect of your comment re: dopamine – I’m not sure that you have expressed Dr Sapolsky’s explanation as he intended it. Dopamine is a hormone our brains release to reinforce – it’s a survival chemical. The ‘reason’ for the hormone and the mechanism that releases it is to REINFORCE and ENSURE SUCCESS. The experiments Sapolsky mentions simply shows the ability of the brain to DELAY the immediacy of gratification (eg. food, sex, safety) to allow the organism to pursue practical steps (eg. hunting, mating ritual, territory marking), by triggering the “reward mechanism” (dopamine release) at an earlier stage (signal or work).
    If this didn’t happen at the earlier stage and the organism didn’t get its dopamine-reward-high, it is possibly that the organism wouldn’t bother with the work part (no hunting, no mating or nesting, no territory marking) – because practically it requires an expenditure of energy and/or time, in the face of uncertainty (eg. no food, no mates, threats to our territory). And so, also practically, we would fail to secure those basic needs to allow the organism to survive in it’s environment. So we get the dopamine hit first to spur us into action. Same mechanism fires when you walk into a casino. The greater the uncertainty (possibility of failure) and the survivalist brain kicks into gear, pumps you with EVEN MORE happy reward juice, and off you go in a fuzzy cloud of optimism and expectation to try and secure your reward.
    But – assuming there is no brain upset which might mess with this mechanism – no healthy brain that is tuned for survival (like our human one) “fears” success, as you put it. Fear is it’s own neurological mechanism – ironically, fear is the greatest spur to our neural mechanisms and also its greatest inhibitor.
    Tacitus, writing around Jesus’s time, put it thus: “The desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise.” – I think, that desire for safety is borne of fear.

    • Yeah agree with all of that, I just tried to word in in a few words.

      I too am thankful that you put me on to “Cognative Dissonance” as in “Sour Grapes” I think this relates very much to my concept of our desire to be always right all the time and making things up to satisfy this desire. Still have to check out the video on split brains.

      The concept of “fear of success” is a loose idea that I am working on (slightly).
      I do believe that there is a time for everythng and the idea of “fools rusing in…” is the opposite end of this scale. I am prepared to delay my gratification of success to an appropiate time (right time).
      So it is a fear of rushing in. ie I am 51, broke and single and still hoping I might have a long term relationship some day, with a chance to test out these concepts on relating.
      Anyway, this is just a personal thought.

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