Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Power of Lack of Precision -- A Creative Technique

About vagueness, generality, immeasure, lack of proportion, equality, tangled wholes, indeterminate evolution, the new

Vagueness is an essential mode of creative thinking. First an idea begins as a fuzzy thing and then evolves into something more precise and complex. Precision is a behavior of the logical or empirical mind. Precision suppresses creativity because it opposes vagueness. The creative process begins with an intuition; it cannot begin with precision, this is the end of the process. Precision arises at a later stage, when there is more experience and experiment, and when the logical mind plays a greater role.

Vagueness in thought is related to the method of generality.

Generality is the perception that an idea applies to many things. Generality abstracts a notion, takes it to a higher level, and then sees this general idea manifested in many things.

Generality is also a kind of lack of precision in thought because it sees thought having no distinct boundaries. In the beginning stages of creativity generality is highly important because its lack of precision and boundary free the mind to think beyond old categories, models and practices.

One important feature of generality is the inability to measure.

One aspect of precision is the need to measure. Quantity and measure are not the first expressions of the creative mind. Creativity avoids measure. Immeasure is the idea that things cannot or should not be measured. Certain behaviors or values or traits are considered beyond measure. They are high principles, sacreds and absolutes. Immeasure appeals to the creative mind because it finds that measuring things is rude and debasing. The creative mind is oriented to the quality of things not the quantity. More, the creative mind is oriented toward infinity and the transcendent and it refuses to lower an idea or a virtue or a living entity by measuring it.

This inability to measure leads also to a view on proportion.

Lack of Proportion
Having proportion means to have an idea of how differing things measure up to each other -- what the bias is, what the proper balance is for a complexity. But because the creative mind cannot measure, it thus has no sense of proportion. When a creative individual gets a series of new ideas, she or he has no concept of what is more important than the other, how all of these ideas interconnect, and whether there is some hierarchy. To the Genio all things and ideas are equal in weight and stress. Thus she or he has no sense of proportion. And in the early stages of creativity this must be true because we do not as yet know what the biases and specific connections are yet.

This lack of proportion is related to equality.

In the beginning of the creative process, all new ideas will be given the same status; they all have possibilities and will be pursued with equal enthusiasm because one does not know which of the novel elements will be the key or important one.

No Boundary
Vagueness, generality, immeasure, lack of proportion and equality exhibit a perception that lacks boundaries. Precision sets up sharp boundaries in concepts. The creative mind however prefers fluid boundaries that blur one thing into another. This means that things do not have limitations, for no boundary means no limitation.

This absence of boundary leads to a unique view of a whole.

Tangled Whole
The logical mind has view of a whole that is precise and detailed. Its many parts are distinguished, the many interconnections are also distinguished, and the central institutions are also clearly distinguished. But the creative mind does not see this kind of whole, to it a whole is one tangled mass. Parts, interconnections and centers are all melted together. The Genio feels the spirit of whole, it does not feel the many elements as of yet. Only investigation and work will produce this complex of distinction.

The creative mind has the advantage of intuiting a whole when one does not yet exist yet. The creative mind feels this amalgamation long before the logical mind can see it. And when an existing whole breaks down the Genio feels this malfunction, and armed with the spirit of the whole it seeks solutions to reform or replace the failing whole.

This tangled sense of a complexity is a consequence of lack of boundaries. Related to this behavior is a notion of time.

Constant and Indeterminate Evolution
Change is by definition a lack of boundary, that is, a lack of boundary of a thing or idea or entity over time. When something changes it is breaking its boundary, it breaks out of its old category, it is in evolution.

Indeterminate change is change that cannot be predicted. Some processes of change can be predicted, many cannot. Indeterminate development is an example of no boundaries, that is, boundaries of existing thought and rules being broken. The unknown is by definition beyond a boundary because we do not know what it is.

The “new” is a result of indeterminate change. Lack of boundaries in thinking leads one to seek the new.

Lack of precision is the first stage
All of these above behaviors follow from lack of precision. Precision as has been said is the province of logical, empirical thinking. Absence of precision is the spirit of the creative mind.

In the early stage of a creative process we will be stressing vagueness, generality, immeasure and more. These perceptions will allow us to create new things and directions.

These behaviors will give us the freedom and drive to break boundaries. Then when we have acquired some good new ideas, precision thinking will return in various ways as we build up this novel thing that we have dreamt up. We will flesh out the details, fill in the gaps, define our biases and priorities, and set the rules of interconnections and relationships.

Cage Innoye

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