When I was working on understanding the creativity of genius; I came up against the fact that biological and psychological science could not explain real originality, except by positing that it came from 'randomness'.
The basic model was that an original genius got his strange ideas from a two-stage process of randomly-generating variations upon existing knowledge; and (with high intelligence and knowledge) selecting better new ideas from the spectrum of random-novelty.
The genius was supposed to be better at generating random novelty (by his high-psychoticism personality) and also better at selecting 'good ideas' from this random spectrum (by his high-intelligence and -motivation).
This has at least two major problems as an explanation.
The first problem is that it reduces all genius to the level of the fashion designer who 'creates' new fashions from selecting, exaggerating and recombining old fashions. It reduces originality to mere 'novelty'.
Thus, it simply kicks the can/ problem-of-explaining-creativity further down the road - to whoever/ whatever came up with the original ideas, that are later being recombined and selected.
This opens-up an infinite regress.
The second problem is deeper; in that this explanation has smuggled in an unacknowledged metaphysical assumption that 'entropy' and 'randomness' are real and primary in the world - whereas creation and originality are merely derived from these essentially degenerative processes.
We are assuming a reality in which there is de-geration, but no actual generation! Again we have not explained why there is anything in the first place that can be de-generated, or why there are things with structure that can then undergo entropy...
We have posited a world in which we focus on that which dissolves creation - but with no explanation of created phenomena arise.
We have posited a secondary world, a world of secondary processes - and the primary world is always elsewhere and unexplained.
This metaphysical error is general, near-universal and taken for granted - so much so that it took me a great deal of hard-thinking to find it!
Of course it is easy to know why this strange (and incoherent) assumption happened - i.e. because the underlying intention was that God (the primary creator) Must-Be excluded from any and all explanations.
And once God is included in the explanation, as primary creator - then it becomes easy to understand that the source or real and original creativity lies in the divine - and in Man's share of that divine nature.
Yes, there are some very smart people out there who just assume that great ideas are generated by random variation and selection of existing ideas. If this were true then brainstorming and group creativity would work, because people could make random contributions and other people could randomly criticise those ideas. But it doesn't seem to.
The thing that I thought and still think made me good at solving problems in maths and science at school, and which others seemed to lack, was a certain metaphysical assumption or belief: that reality holds together. That *all* ideas can and must be consistent with one another.
So, even though there is no general method for problem-solving, I knew that if I just kept thinking about it, and took things one step at a time, then the answer would come. (Now I would say 'may come'.)
Presumably the great thinkers had this in spades. They had a larger stock of ideas to work with in their memories, and those ideas were more vivid (meaningful) to them. They thought for longer because there was a profound insistence that these *had* to fit together, and in an elegant manner. In discovering precisely how, they improved them, with novelty arising only as a by-product.
>When I was working on understanding the creativity of genius; I came up against the fact that biological and psychological science could not explain real originality, except by positing that it came from 'randomness'.
I'm pretty sure I understand how this process works now, and can give it a solid physical and metaphysical grounding!
The key is a proper understanding of what "randomness" is and how it affects the world.
A person's brain contains atoms and other quantum particles that undergo a staggering number of interactions every second, each of which has a "random" component. The first important concept here is that "random" simply means *not predictable through analysis of the prior state of the physical Universe*. Each one of these "random" quantum mechanical outcomes represents the introduction of *new information* from outside the scope of math and physics into the observable Universe. A person's thinking is thus inseparable from "observing" the effects of these "random" processes.
The second important realization is that the *particular outcomes* of these supposedly "random" measurement processes inherent in brain function are inextricably bound to the subjective experience of the conscious observer. Consciousness itself brings the new information into the Universe from Outside! Interpretations of the physical measurement process that exclude consciousness aren't particularly coherent, as von Neumann figured out early on in the history of QM.
It is in this sense that the conscious observer directly participates in ongoing Creation. Note that once this information is introduced into the Universe by the observer, it cannot be destroyed, although it may become scrambled such that it is very difficult to trace its effects. This is the most useful understanding of the Second Law of Thermodynamics: the total information (same units as entropy!) doesn't get to go down in an observable way, otherwise we would have all sorts of bizarre time paradoxes.
This relates to genius in the following way: we can imagine identical twins with largely identical physical brains -- nonetheless they have clearly have separate and different *consciousnesses*. If one of the consciousnesses is "genius", the affected twin will be able to manifest / observer / measure the *correct* "random" quantum mechanical outcomes in his brain, thus leading to the generation of more interesting or useful information. The normal cognitive intelligence of the brain can then take the new information and package it into ideas for transmission to others in ways that neuropsychology can in principle ultimately explain. Note that in this example, it will be *impossible* for physical science or anything derived from it to explain why one twin is a genius and the other not.
-- Robert Brockman II
Awesome. I hate to sound like a fanboy, but, really, this is so insightful.
The modern assumptions about chance should be an Achilles heal to the whole project, but people don't see it . . . not even when they're shown it.
@RB - But that's a scientific theory, and still kicks the metaphysical can. It is making information primary, but not saying what information is or how it arises in the first place - it is a kind of systems theory. We need to be able to go beyond science to the assumptions of science and our assumptions about how reality works.
It was an important insight to me that there is no such thing in reality as randomness - it is purely a mathematical assumption. https://charltonteaching.blogspot.com/2015/11/probability-doesnt-really-exist.html
@Joseph - It's interesting that sophisticated people get so much satisfaction from positing random variation as the ultimate cause of... pretty much anything. Because it is not an explanation, and a denial of the possibility of explanation.
This seems to harm people's minds - because the same people are zealously credulous about the Big Lies, the rapidly-changing and grossly-contradictory Big Lies, told them by the Global Establishment.
It is as if the post-millennial brain has been stunned and twisted by its own earlier choices.
I've definitely noticed a tendency among young intellectuals to use "random" as a power word, to intimidate in some way, which I think is the real motivation. And it really works amazingly well on a lot of people.
@Lucinda - It's a put-down; an assertion that the other view is childishly naïve or perhaps dangerously fanatical.
@RB - But that's a scientific theory, and still kicks the metaphysical can. It is making information primary, but not saying what information is or how it arises in the first place - it is a kind of systems theory.
The magic of this scientific theory is that it *sees its own limitations*: what is primary isn't the information itself, but the source(s) of the information, which the scientific theory can demonstrate empirically is *beyond the power of science* to describe or define in any way! It's a scientific / systems theory that tells us to give up on systems theories.
Put another way, a real scientist who accepted this particular theory would be compelled by necessity to start looking outside science altogether for further knowledge about what is happening. It demonstrates that the power of systems theories has very hard limits: the source(s) of the information in systems theories have *decisive* control over the outcome of events, and these source(s) cannot be modeled by systems theories in any way even in principle. It is thus a possible "way out of the Matrix" for a certain set of people.
>It was an important insight to me that there is no such thing in reality as randomness - it is purely a mathematical assumption. https://charltonteaching.blogspot.com/2015/11/probability-doesnt-really-exist.html
Yes, hence my use of scare quotes for "random" -- "randomness" just means "information that didn't originate within the physical system and thus operates beyond the scope of science". *Something* is determining the outcomes of the discrete concrete quantum measurements we are constantly making, and calling this source "probabilistic" indeed doesn't really get us anywhere -- this *something* really is "supernatural" / non-Systemic and honest empiricists are forced to acknowledge it. (most are dishonest unfortunately -- this theory can't help those people.)
A much better way to explain the level of "randomness" in a quantum measurement is that it is the extent to which the Outside / Spirit World can immediately affect the results of that measurement. Note that all of the "non-random" parameters of a particular measurement were set by *past* observations (and thus were set by the Outside / Spirit World at those times). Note that in normal life, the frequency at which these quantum measurements occur is so high that there are practically limitless degrees of freedom, endless opportunities for the Outside to affect the behavior of a physical system.
@RB - The problem is that quantum theories, of all theories, are just models that 'save the appearances' (i.e. are effective at prediction) - they aren't about the real world.
(See Saving the Appearances by Owen Barfield.)
They are also wholly abstract - and therefore not useful for explaining things - being more difficult to understand than that which is being-explained.
I feel that 70 years of trying to apply quantum theory reasoning beyond the scope of its practical applications has shown that it lacks any traction - and rightly so.
Which isn't to say that for individual people - like yourself presumably - it is valueless. But it is prone to mislead in a reductionist and literalistic direction when taken literally - as are all scientific theories, but this perhaps more than usual.
>I feel that 70 years of trying to apply quantum theory reasoning beyond the scope of its practical applications has shown that it lacks any traction - and rightly so.
There is certainly a big danger of any application of QM to the metaphysical degenerating quickly into Newage (rhymes with sewage). This is why I have to be very careful about the limitations and caveats of the model. The particular combination of ideas about QM, information theory, and consciousness that I am proposing, however, seems quite rare, which is why I am hopeful that it can be useful.
>They are also wholly abstract - and therefore not useful for explaining things - being more difficult to understand than that which is being-explained.
I have associations with a very specific group of people -- physicists, computer scientists, electrical engineers -- for whom dealing with the relevant math and abstractions is very easy, but dealing with spirituality and religion in the traditional way is very hard. Perhaps they intrinsically lack the appropriate "senses", I believe you've written about this idea before.
The model I'm presenting is thus a specialized tool for helping these people escape the current spiritual mess.
>The problem is that quantum theories, of all theories, are just models that 'save the appearances' (i.e. are effective at prediction) - they aren't about the real world.
This is true, however this particular limitation isn't so important for the "target audience" of the model. I can tell them "this theory you all built can predict electrodynamics constants to 12 significant digits, it's the set of ideas you trust more than anything else. Here's what follows directly from this theory." Then the scientists have to acknowledge that either the conclusions about consciousness / the Outside are wrong because of big problems with QM, or otherwise they have to acknowledge that these ideas about consciousness and the limits of systems theories could have some validity. We make progress either way: in the first case the "scientistic" arrogance is diminished, in the second case the "target audience" has engaged important metaphysical notions you discuss here.
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