Humans have been creative since we became conscious beings. That’s at least 200,000 years or so. Homo Sapiens sapiens are problem solvers - even creative problem solvers. Creativity has been crucial to our existence and success as a species, but how do researchers describe creativity as a process in the brain? Well, the way researchers describe it is very complicated. True creative process in the brain can be measured and it has a term to describe it - creative flow state.
Creative flow has been described as a definite “brain state,” measurable in studies that show it is marked by heightened awareness, whereby the creative person in flow is almost disassociated from the process. In other words, creative flow is a very surreal, almost out-of-body experience for the person experiencing it. Some call creative flow “being in the zone.” Musicians who are performing often call that flow state, being “in the pocket,” a term coined by jazz legend Miles Davis. Famous American psychologist Abraham Maslow, describes creative flow as a “peak human experience.”
And it can be addictive since creative flow is a heightened brain state - which is probably why the most creative person you know is likely a hermit of some sort - at least while they’re creating. They are probably tucked away by themselves - in awe of their own creative process.
Make no mistake, however. Creative people are often the biggest risk takers. But creativity seems to be worth the risk. Humanity’s greatest thinkers, artists, and personalities, whether dead or alive, are larger than life, and often have taken the biggest risks. And at least some of those humans may share a special tweak in their brains- what some researchers say may be caused by D2 brain receptors that do not efficiently uptake dopamine, a neurotransmitter. This means that for homo sapiens with this particular brain tweak, risk-taking, and compulsive behavior (think of those you know that are great at bucking the status quo), are more likely to be creative risk takers. Big thinkers. Big doers.
Here is what three big creative risk-takers say (or said) about how crucial the creative flow state is to the creative process, in their own words:
Charles Bukowski. (1920-1994). The German American author and poet who wrote on topics from cats to women to alcohol knew a thing or two about catching a muse. Or, in other words, the importance of waiting for the creative flowstate to grab a hold of the writer and whisk them away in the creative process. This flow state should be effortless, the great Buk says,
“If it doesn’t come bursting out of you, in spite of everything, don’t do it...If you have to wait for it to roar out of you, then wait, patiently. If it never does roar out of you, do something else.”
Martha Graham. (1894-1991). Considered the mother of modern dance, her choreography techniques are still seen as a vital to important American cultural movements. Martha aptly describes the creative flow state as a dance choreographer as a “channel,”
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.”
Neil DeGrasse Tyson. (1958-). An astrophysicist with an attitude, author and science communicator understands that creative intuition is not limited to the arts. Neither are flow states - the sciences rely just as much upon intuition as do the arts. Much of what theoretical astrophysicists do is first use their intuition to come to a new idea, and afterwards test the hypothesis to determine whether or not their theory is falsifiable. Describing himself as an intuitive, rather than an analytical thinker, DeGrasse Tyson even suggests that Earthlings may have even descended from Martian life, and our wonder of the cosmos should never cease. He says,
"At least once a week, if not once a day, we might each ponder what cosmic truths lie undiscovered before us, perhaps awaiting the arrival of a clever thinker, an ingenious experiment, or an innovative space mission to reveal them.”
Creative, intuitive flow state - which is unique to us as humans - is where creativity thrives. But to thrive or not to thrive - in terms of putting food on the table - is the question. A part of the risk these creatives take when they decide to make a living pursuing that state of creative flow is a constant reality for them. This is why our creative team at Pindify decided to build an innovative digital platform just to help creatives make that process easier. Let the creativity flow. And let Pindify be the digital marketplace to help you monetize your creative work by transforming your dreams into stories. And share them with your network and superfans. You take the creative risks and so did we.
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