Monday, July 12, 2010

Creative Technique Series: The "Subsume"

What is a “Subsume”? Briefly, it is a state of vagueness and wholeness, fusion and confusion. It is one of the essential states of the cosmos and life. It is one of the key states of Human creativity. Below is a discussion of creativity and Subsume techniques.

Subsumes come in all types because this is a very general phenomenon. As the cosmos is founded on diversity, difference and differentiation, there must be states that precede an elaboration into distinct and unique elements, parts and individuals. Before we have the state of diversity we have a kind of whole. This whole is a fused entity that has the potential for many future things within it. It is one and not yet many, but within at the same time the many exist in embryo. This phase is the seed. But it is not necessarily dormant, it can be quite active.

Subsumes appear as the original singularity and the Big Bang, as environments that produce initial life on a planet, as the infantile human mind before it elaborates into reason, creativity and wisdom. Subsumes exist in many fields -- in economics, history, sociology, communication, government, community, psychology and emotions, theology and so on.

We don’t often see Subsumes generally today we are in a state of “Elaboration” where diversity and distinct things have been created. But if you look carefully you will see Subsumes occurring right now: Children growing up, the birth of new cultures and ideas, your objective and subjective memories all mixed together, states of consciousness mixed with dreams and intuition etc.

A Subsume can be a physical state but it can also be a mental state that we wish to return to. So for example, when we want to return to society where all was connected and whole, then we are striving to return to the Subsume of ancient tribal society before the complex alienated world of today evolved. (Please see article: Return to the Subsume for a more general discussion of these issues)

In the case of creativity, Subsumes are very important, they provide one very important pathway to imagination, innovation and discovery. A creative Subsume is a mental place one goes where all is tangled and fused and even confused. It is a highly productive state.

Here are examples of Subsumes related to creativity----

In ideas:
-There are special words that generate ideas, these words are very fertile, they inspire us and drive us forward. Words like freedom, democracy, human, love, planet and even ‘god’, these produce a high degree of human creativity. These unique words are vague in meaning and produce an exploration, they are whole in the sense that they represent a whole realm of meaning, but each person or society must find a specific meaning in this whole that suits their needs. These are the ‘vague whole words’ that power history.
-Writing states that merge poetry, analysis, and story into one thing lead to new ideas. These are arranged into either poetic form, as aphorisms and/or in short stories or allegories. From here the concepts break out into their own and become philosophies and techniques.
-There is a distinct kind of humor that has insight within it; this also leads to new ideas. The process of making jokes critiquing old things will suggest new directions. A joke is pregnant with creativity, a laugh initiates the evolution.
-Thinking in terms of wholes and connections can proceed from a Subsume state. Whether the subject is an ecosystem or economics or psychology, many new ideas can evolve from this practice.

In art:
-Cubism as a Subsume that creates multi-perception in the same image
-Impressionism as the idea of reducing the boundaries of forms and letting color dominate and colors intermingle, result is a Subsume of colors
-Mixing art with nature creates a Subsume
-Drawing from a cultural milieu is a Subsume technique where your inspiration comes from your surrounding urban environment for example
-If you reduce images to simply pattern and dynamic, eliminating recognizable objects, one finds a Subsume of sorts ala Jackson Pollack
-Surrealism is a Subsume that merges the real and the unreal into one image or experience, as in certain dreams
-Situationism is both an artistic and political merging of the two perceptions which in turn merges with elements of our cultural world.

In science:
-The merger of space with time and the merger of emptiness with force and structure result in the concept of curved space by Einstein.
-An ecosystem is a whole that is a huge tangle of relationships, it is a fusion of an immense variety of elements. One can trace each aspect and its connections, at the same time, the whole ecosystem leaps to a blurred one with its own higher persona.
-DNA is a whole that mixes all psychological behaviors and physical manifestations into one seed. From a chemical Subsume comes life, thought, love, morality; this indicates that the chemistry is not merely chemistry at all.

More Subsumes:
-Architecture as a merger of outer and inner spaces, open and closed spaces
-New organizations that promote creativity are fluid and dynamic arrangements
-Government as a Subsume of many democratic processes
-Mythology as the total story of people or an individual
-Social creative processes in history have often been subsume-like, amorphous without plan
-The perception that reality is both ‘real’ and illusion is a subsume viewpoint.
-A Human being as a dynamic subsume of many things

Getting to your personal Subsume is a technique. There are various ways to do it, and everyone has their unique solution to the problem.

The word for the general return to a Subsume is “Emply”, this word is derived from a tangle or entanglement. What we want is to become tangled again, to leave behind a world of separation. Here in this state we bump into many new things, we find we are interconnected with a community of many elements and entities. More, we find that the deeper we get into a Subsume, the more we Emply, the more we feel fused into a single whole with everything else. All things are one. This is the complete or mature state.

In this frame of mind, we automatically see how one thing becomes something else, how this process becomes that process, how this entity morphs into that entity, how one individual becomes another individual, how this part links to that part and to the whole.

In this mindset, our ego is affected too. This behavior moves beyond a perception of things or ideas, it moves straight into our psyche. Now our identity is not so clearly defined, it becomes other things, other people. We become a collection of souls, one quickly moving into another. We see ourselves as expanding wholes and vast webs of infinite links. We experience ourselves as motion, morphing, evolution and leaps.

We find this ever joyful and full of realization. We become one with a vague whole, we like it, we desire it, we seek it.

In this zone are many discoveries. This is why creative and artistic people go there. Here is major technique of creativity.

There is a proscription though. To get to the Subsume, you must give up something. There are dues to pay, a sacrifice to make. And this banishment is of Certainty.

There is an opposite in your neurology to the Subsume mind, this mind is that of Distinction. This logical and factual eye does not focus on vagueness, tangles, fusions or wholes, it only sees the opposite: Distinction, separateness, detail, parts, precision. 

Many of us have been trained to think in these modes of Distinction. It brings us a type of clarity and certainty, in this culture we derive security and comfort from opposing Subsume thinking. Further, one is rewarded for this mindset and those with a Subsume mindset are ridiculed as dreamers, morons, absent-minded, impractical and so on. 

If you cannot give up the comfort of detail, precision and separateness, then you will not be able to achieve a Subsume state. 

Mother Nature placed two different sub-minds in our neurology. Each has a fundamental function. But each ultimately needs the other. The problem with modern culture is that the mind of Distinction does not grasp this necessity. Why? Because it is the mind of Distinction! It cannot see links, relationships and unities, nothing is connected. The Subsume mind is less stubborn and more open-minded on working with its opposite twin. It merely incorporates this logical faculty into its whole toolbox of technique, a conflicting one but necessary.

About specific techniques:

The Key point is that our neurology is available to all; it can be developed by all.
Everyone of course is different, so the way that each reaches a Subsume varies. Many have never left the Subsume, it is a childhood habit. When their young fantasy minds cleaved into rational and creative, they chose to stay somewhere in the middle as in the child’s original state. 
Others develop the Subsume state as they get older and often in reaction to the tedious and painful states of the logical mind. This state may at first be a source of retreat, regeneration, recreation. But then it evolves into a more significant and permanent behavior, and even a personality. 

We can get to a Subsume by dwelling on images or things or smells or sounds. 
We can use desire to return that vague and hazy state of connection. We can simply get there through a mental act driven by a longing. 
Others require external conditions like a sunset, open spaces, certain types of lighting, open interior spaces, whatever works for them. Some may even require crowds, motion and noise. 
Some people utilize words, they focus on a word and create a world that seems to represent some rich whole and they let themselves fall into it. They think and write and the word blossoms outward. 

Find your triggers, everyone is different. If you have difficulty, then try to recall a situation where you fell into a Subsume state quite accidently, then remember how it felt, look for it again. When it reappears ask yourself what were you doing, what happened to you to cause this shift? If you persist in your investigation, over time you will discover what the key is for you. From there you will learn even more ways to Emply. 

The fete is not impossible, everyone can do it, because the Subsume mind is hardwired into all of us, you merely have to activate it.

If you are someone who has never been in the Subsume, then you might have to be forced into it in a sense. That is, perhaps, some extreme external condition might jog you there. Or you might have to use ‘logic’ to help get you close to it. This would mean creating a certainty that the Subsume state exists within you and is absolutely necessary, and then creating a strong desire to find it. 

If your problem is that of fear, then changing your attitudes to risk will be important. Going to the Subsume is in a sense a risk, we fear the unknown. But once you get there you will wonder why all the dread? And then you will become comfortable with the unknown because the Subsume state is a concentrated ball of unknowns from which all of the known radiates. 

The Subsume state is not permanent, one does not have to worry that you might get there and never return to your mate or job or internet or brew pub. It is a temporary state of mind, as all sub-minds in our neurology are temporary states. We move into them and then out of them on a daily or weekly journey, in some cases hourly. 

When you become skilled, you have access to your Subsume quickly if needed. The Subsume can also hang in the background as you are doing other tasks, like an open file you set aside. Here you are using multiple minds at once for a task or project or experience. 

The Subsume state is one of life’s great joys. If you work at it, it will evolve. You will get better at it, and perhaps using it into your nineties. The state is pleasant, it is productive, and even explosive. It will yield fantastic results. 

And no doubt, this kind of experience you will want to reprise. You will look forward to it, and achieving it will easier and easier. You will observe the rigidity and obsessions and pain of others and wonder how can they stand it, why don’t they know?

There are other Subsume states that are not directly creative. 

There is a spiritual Subsume that connects all people and all of Nature and in larger sense connects all of creation, the cosmos. This mindset easily leads to creativity because you are already in the state of fusion and entanglement. This spiritual zone is not the same as other spiritual spaces some people occupy, for the true spiritual Subsume is an open, flexible, all-embracing whole that will not stand for dogmatism and exclusion. 

There is a state that mixes dream states with waking states. This too is a Subsume mind where the conscious and subconscious are one. This perception can easily move into creativity though not automatically. 

Our memories are Subsumes that are both objective and subjective. The subjective portion of our memories is full of emotion. We need these emotions to give value to an experience, to assess an experience. More, emotions give us a foundation, a platform to place our psyches upon. For example, people with few childhood memories or memories free of emotion, do not have much to anchor their personalities within. A memory Subsume is a creative state because emotional interpretation of an event is fluid. We create memories, we redefine or re-categorize them. In this sense, a memory Subsume parallels creativity because it is creative by its nature. Moving from here to a state of imagination and innovation is not so difficult, while moving to a logical-factual perspective is more difficult. 

People who excel at action or doing are in a kind of Subsume state. They are able to utilize from an inventory an extensive list of tactics or actions or responses. Also, they often are managing a very complex juggling of various sub-minds all at once: Emotions, logic, creativity, subconscious, intuition etc. This state of mind is close to the creative subsume because to the action-doing person everything is a tool, nothing is excluded. She or he is working from a big whole of varied responses. Improvisation and a Subsume state are a natural pair. 

There are other creative techniques that are related to the Subsume technique. Randomness is the general idea of a haphazard course of behavior without plan. Randomness is open to all events as creative suggestions. Internal randomness lets your imagination work without a timeline or plan, fully unimpeded. External randomness lets things happens, it does not try to control, then it tries to make creative use of the unexpected event. 

The similarity to the Subsume technique is that randomness sits or moves and makes accidental contacts. While the Subsume mind experiences the accidental contacts as part of being contained in a big whole. The Subsume mind feels the wholeness of all things. The random perspective does not necessarily feel the wholeness of everything but it bumps into just about everything in a serendipitous manner. So it has a full experience that yields many new products.

There is one more thing to note, the Subsume mind has a downside. And of course this is apparent, when it is time to leave the realm of vague connections and focus on developing a precise connection, then the Subsume mind may resist this. 

But this is nothing new, this is an eternal battle of points of view in a diverse psyche. The issue becomes techniques of disconnection from one sub-mind to enter into another sub-mind, or to retreat from all sub-minds into a state of full disconnection for purposes of rest, detached perspective and sober judgment. These methods will be discussed in a future article in this series.

Cage Innoye
Axxiad News

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