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13.2 Unacceptable Models of the Creative Pulse

A. The Mechanical

Mechanical view of Creative Time with interruptions

Our first crude representation of the 2 hour creative process is a string of ‘0’s followed by a string of 120 ‘1’s followed by another string of ‘0’s. This is shown below.

While a fairly boring and simplistic representation, it is how the non-creative view time. It is a fairly mechanistic representation of time. A five-minute interruption takes out five minutes of creative time, no more no less. Shown below.

It is easy to see that the 5 minutes of interrupted, non-creative time, could be moved anywhere throughout and dispersed individually or in groups but that the net effect on creative time is the same, which is a reduction of creative output by exactly five minutes. This interruption model certainly has nothing to do with that which we have experienced.

Mechanical view of time falls short despite wide spread acceptance

Further this model of the Creative Pulse does not grow nor does it die naturally. In short this representation falls short of describing the experience of creativity, although it is the model that most people believe in, as witnessed by the frequency with which creativity is interrupted with the phrase, ‘Just give me a minute of your time.’

B. Decaying Average Model: unaffected by Interruption

Decaying Average Model doesn’t reflect decay

The next model we looked at was based upon the Decaying Average, which has been explored extensively in its own Notebook. (For reasons that will be revealed later we chose a Decay Factor of 16. The Data Stream employed was 10 ‘0’s followed by 120 ‘1’s and then 10 more ‘0’s, just as we did above in our exploration of the mechanistic view of time.)

The Decaying Average Model of the Creative burst is shown below.

While expanding gradually, it grows to a peak and then stays there. The Decaying Average only begins falling after the creative activity is discontinued, i.e. after 120 minutes. This model, while mimicking the growth of creativity, reveals nothing about the natural fall in the Creative Urge after it has been consumed. The Decaying Average Model does not reflect the Decaying of the Creative Urge.

Decaying Average with interruption does not reflect disproportionate influence

Additionally when we introduce a five-minute interruption, it only consumes five minutes of the total creative energy, no more, no less. The area under the graph reflects the total creative energy. This model does not reflect the disproportionate influence of interruptions on the creative cycle. This condition is shown below.

Same peak reached despite interruption

Further the interruption has nothing to with the actual peak that is reached. With a slight delay, the Decaying Average begins its upward climb, reaching virtually the same peak as before, maybe a few thousandths less. This model certainly does not reflect the creative experience of anyone around here. Most of us find that interruptions cause far greater damage to our creative urge than its actual time in minutes.

C. Deviation Model: can’t reflect negative urge

A Picture of the First Deviation

The next model we looked into was the 1st Deviation - like the Standard Deviation but not based upon squares, just absolute differences. This has been dealt with in its own Notebook. Here is its picture.

A nice rise followed by a gradual fall. This fits our experience better than the first two models. But then when our activity stops after 120 ‘minutes’ the Deviation rises sharply again, duplicating the rise when the activity began at 1. This certainly does not mimic experience. After finishing a 2-hour creative project, one’s creative momentum does not begin growing again after stopping. If anything our momentum goes negative.

The negative urge

Since we have mentioned the creative urge, we must mention the negative urge. While there is an urge ‘to do’ something, there is also an urge ‘not to do’ something. As opposed to this polarity of positive and negative desire, there is also a neutrality towards doing something.

“I don’t want to - do homework - go to work - do chores - clean up my room.” “I want to go shopping - listen to music - play on the computer - write a story.” “I don’t care if I must work or not - don’t care where we go out to eat.”

Also sometimes we want to do something and other times we don’t.

“Today I feel like painting, Yesterday I didn’t.” “After graduating I couldn’t face another book, but now that I have taken a break, I have the urge to go back to school. I am ready.”

From experience, urges are positive, negative, and neutral.

Deviations and Decaying Average rejected because always positive

This is another state that is not reflected by the Decaying Average which is always positive, when the input is greater than or equal to zero, which it is in this model, with ‘1’s and ‘0’s as our only input. This is also why we had to reject the Deviation model, which is always positive because deviations are scalars, only representing magnitude, not direction – by definition.


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