Thursday, June 10, 2010

The secret is to hide your sources.

Albert Einstein once remarked to the effect that the secret of creativity is to hide your sources.

Here, the great physicist is showing again his great intuition about the psychology of creativity. Mysterious though the workings of the brain may appear to us at present, one thing is clear. Nothing comes from nothing. When one has a moment of inspiration, one might have the feeling that the new idea came out of the air, without a trace of precursors and origins. And yet, the breakthrough is in fact the result of a continuous experiment of associations and links within the cortical network, where various information obtained through experience and thinking is thrown into the "crucible" and fused.

In reality, when there is a new idea, say X, popping into the mind, there should be an unspecified set of information, say A, B, C, D, ....., that amounted to the forging of X. The intriguing fact is that we are not always, and indeed most of the time not aware of the sources A, B, C, D, ...... Hence the rather surprising nature of the moment of insipiration.

Thus, as Albert Einstein said, the secret of creativity is to be found in a process where the sources are hidden, and the human brain is very capable of such a process.


Greg said...

It sounds reasonable that new discoveries emerge from sources that we may not be able to trace directly. However, there appears to be some tension with this idea and the underlying philosophy for academic writing where authors are expected to move from known scholarship to new inferences and discoveries. There is the impression that scholarship moves incrementally from the known to unmask the unknown through sound reasoning, observation, and experimentation. Perhaps, this is an ideal as well and that what happens is something between the two ideas.

yuzu said...

The secret to hide sources which is passion naturally.