1. PaulBC says

    davidc1@1 For $20,000 a day, I might fart in front of a judge. I would give it serious consideration at least.

  2. davidc1 says

    Maybe in amurica ,over here in the UK judges tend to crack down on anything less than 100% decorum .
    I remember reading somewhere in a Crown Court ,the place where they wear the silly wigs and tights ,a lawyer fell over
    and a member of the jury started laughing .The judge wasn’t amused and found the juror in contempt of count ,fined him and
    made him spend the rest of the day in the cells .

  3. PaulBC says

    davidc1@3 That sounds like Catholic school. The one thing I learned, though not well enough to rely on, is how to “Wipe that smile off my face.” Now as an adult, people think I don’t smile enough. Also, I have to explain when I meant something as a joke, which isn’t always clear. Also when something that sounds kind of bizarre was intended seriously.

    Sometimes. Occasionally I still just burst out laughing.

  4. davidc1 says

    @4 Paul i don’t think religion should be allowed anywhere near schools and young children ,especially vicious mean ,sexually deprived bloody nuns .

  5. birgerjohansson says

    Re. @5 seconded.
    Re. creativity- there is an endless creativity when assigning blame to scapegoats. Maybe it was healthier when the pagans just blamed evil spirits for everything? It would give jews and immigrants some breathing space.

  6. says

    Well, I’m a creative person. I’d say that’s so deep down at the centre of what it means to be me, it’s pretty much more “me” than many other aspects of my identity. I can imagine being single, I can imagine having a different job, I can imagine a life in which I’ve never had kids, but I cannot imagine a life in which I’m not doing things. As a kid, whatever the current trend in crafting was, that’s where I’d spend my money on. Right now I could probably stock a small craft store. People always ask me where I find the time to do such things and I tell them that I need to, or I’ll wither like a flower in the dark. I also very much like making gifts, so the two of them combine neatly. Here’s my observations on creativity:

    Most people have their creativity beaten out of them as children by our collective obsession with having to be “good” at something, with needing some innate talent in order to be allowed to do something. Now, I’m not saying that “talent” doesn’t exist. I’m proud mum to a kid who could always draw, from a very young age. I’m just saying that by the age of 13 now she probably has most of the alleged 10.000 hours of practise under her belt. But it’s equally ok for her sister to enjoy drawing and l encourage her just the same. She’s finding different ways, experimenting with textures and techniques. But adults often don’t dare to do something unless they are good at it. Every parent probably knows this situation: when your kids are young and you go to some social event, you pack the pencils and the crayons and the paper so your kid won’t be bored. And as soon as the kid starts, some adults join in, under the guise of playing with the kid. Occasionally the kid wanders off after a while, but the adults keep doodling. I wished we didn’t do that to people. Same with sports.
    In order to create, you have to consume. Writers have to read. Painters have to visit galleries. Craft people have to visit craft fairs (or watch youtube). You don’t have to invent every wheel yourself. You can take inspiration and ideas from others. You will make them your own.
    For many years a friend and me offered craft workshops at a fantasy fair. Oh the things we made: small bags, knotwork jewellery, lanterns, board games… Another thing where people who claimed they were not creative or talented regularly joined and walked away with something they were proud of. And every time the following would happen: Some people would alter our designs and ideas in amazing ways. we had laid the groundwork, thought out the necessary steps to make it work, and they just built on that and we took that back with us. It’s what TD mentions when she talks about getting involved in a community.

  7. PaulBC says

    Giliell@7 That all makes sense. Now I wonder how this applies to my own kids. I don’t think I ever told them to stop doing something because they weren’t good enough. If anything, I probably made the mistake of pushing them to try harder and making them feel pressured. Now my daughter who is 15 is a very enthusiastic and talented visual artist well beyond the point where I could give her any advice. My son (17) had the same early art education but lost confidence and stopped wanting to do it. I think his creativity comes out more verbally. It have regrets about any pushing I did in early childhood, mostly about my son. I really like math puzzles and different ways to attack the same problem, so I would turn breakfast into a puzzle session that I thought he was enjoying, and might have when very young, but just increasingly found to be a source of pressure.

    We also put them under a lot of needless pressure with piano lessons, just because that’s what people in our community do, as well as Chinese class (my wife was born in China, though I don’t speak it and the kids didn’t really pick it up either).

    I grew up with very little pressure, maybe by virtue of being the youngest of a large family, so my parents had kind of run out of steam. I think at little more guidance in college choices would have helped, but beyond that, it worked out fine. As a middle aged adult, I am a lot less worried about trying something I am not very good at than I was as a young adult. I have nothing to prove. But it’s more satisfying to work on the kinds of creativity that I am good at: not crafting or doodling, but mostly related to computers and geometry, not entirely different from my PhD, but more puzzle-oriented.

    But I’ll add I made some really bad calls on what I thought my kids would like and that just didn’t take. I tried to introduce my daughter to polymer clay and she was a little excited about it and then just didn’t find it interesting. Even in art classes, she does not like 3D art much. She likes all kinds of traditional drawing media as well as digital art and animation using a tablet. I could not have predicted any of this, so I just have to let her roll with it. She’s talented beyond any of my expectations.

    What any of this has to do with being “secular” or not is beyond me. I like supernatural fiction a great deal, despite not believing in it. I like abstract art… Kandinsky for instance. His work was obviously creative and entirely orthogonal to faith (at least as far as I know; I know little about his beliefs).

  8. PaulBC says

    I should do my research before typing. Kandinsky is a pretty poor example that you don’t need religion to be creative. From Wikipedia:

    Writing of the “artist as prophet” in his book, Concerning the Spiritual in Art, Kandinsky created paintings in the years immediately preceding World War I showing a coming cataclysm which would alter individual and social reality. Having a devout belief in Orthodox Christianity, Kandinsky drew upon the biblical stories of Noah’s Ark, Jonah and the whale, Christ’s resurrection, the four horsemen of the Apocalypse in the book of Revelation, Russian folktales and the common mythological experiences of death and rebirth.

    In my defense, you don’t need faith to appreciate his work.

    Also, there are surely many atheist artists, more so now than when Kandinsky was working.

    On the other side of things, you have computer scientist Donald Knuth being quite open about his Lutheran faith and its effect on his creativity in both his field and his interest in writing and music. I think this is more of a generational thing than anything else. I can’t imagine why you’d need the faith to be creative.

  9. PaulBC says

    So I finally started to watch the video… the idea that inspiration comes from a “muse” always struck me as silly and counterproductive. The brilliant mathematician Ramanujan believed this (wikipedia):

    A deeply religious Hindu, Ramanujan credited his substantial mathematical capacities to divinity, and said the mathematical knowledge he displayed was revealed to him by his family goddess Namagiri Thayar. He once said, “An equation for me has no meaning unless it expresses a thought of God.”

    I find this more of an historical curiosity than a method, though his misplaced view of his inspiration does not invalidate his amazing accomplishments. Needless to say, I would not recommend this approach to a budding mathematician.

    It seems obvious to me that the subconscious plays a huge role in “creative” accomplishment, whether it is art or something more structured like solving a mathematical research problem. In fact, Polya even acknowledges this in How to Solve It, suggesting that when the brain has been sufficiently prepped by effort attacking a problem, that it may help simply to get some sleep. You may wake up with the answer. I cannot count the number of times this has worked for me. I believe that dreams in particular may often (not always) be forgotten problem-solving sessions for me.

    So, yeah, no woo. The brain is not a machine with buttons you push like a breadmaker. You prepare it in certain ways, and it provides (or not) the wealth of new ideas we see as creativity. I am flummoxed by the number of people who read these trite books to improve creativity (I read one myself out of curiosity–The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and I liked one idea, that you should write some large number of words every morning (300?), though I do not think it needs to be done with a pen).

    I find that in the corporate world, creativity isn’t even particularly rewarded. Reliability is, as well as personal communication. If I needed to “fix” something to be more effective in my job, being more creative is unlikely to be the right direction to take.

    I wonder what it is that people want and what stops them from developing their own habits and merely cultivating the subconscious, allowing themselves time and quietude (“it’s a process that comes from within”).

    Another analogy I like is gardening and I don’t think I made this up. There is sowing and watering the seeds. There is also weeding the garden and pruning. The greatest hindrance to creativity is doing the second step prematurely. Let it grow and fix it later. Leave some “weeds” too if they are beautiful. It may be better than your garden plan. This works for me. Different things work for others (Listening now and yes, “meditation” another good idea).

    It’s your brain doing it all. That should not be a disappointment. What an amazing world there is inside everyone’s brains.