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Week 4

Page history last edited by Marie Lara 8 years, 7 months ago


Week 4 Reflection





The TED talk by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor: entitled “My stroke of insight” was extremely informative and enlightening. I likewise have been curious as to the reasons behind individuals who develop mental illnesses and where and why this happens. In her passage at the start of her speech, while describing her work at the Harvard Department of Psychiatry, as “essentially mapping the micro circuitry of the brain: which cells are communicating with which cells, with which chemicals, and then in what quantities of those chemicals?” I believe that sounds like something that I would also believe as she did that there would be, “… a lot of meaning in my life because I was performing this type of research during the day.”

The description of the parts of the brain as “…our right hemisphere functions like a parallel processor, while our left hemisphere functions like a serial processor.” For those who understand computers was rather illuminating.


I enthusiastically enjoyed the following passages:

“Our right human hemisphere is all about this present moment. It's all about "right here, right now." Our right hemisphere, it thinks in pictures and it learns kinesthetically through the movement of our bodies. Information, in the form of energy, streams in simultaneously through all of our sensory systems and then it explodes into this enormous collage of what this present moment looks like, what this present moment smells like and tastes like, what it feels like and what it sounds like. I am an energy-being connected to the energy all around me through the consciousness of my right hemisphere. We are energy-beings connected to one another through the consciousness of our right hemispheres as one human family. And right here, right now, we are brothers and sisters on this planet, here to make the world a better place. And in this moment we are perfect, we are whole and we are beautiful.

My left hemisphere -- our left hemisphere -- is a very different place. Our left hemisphere thinks linearly and methodically. Our left hemisphere is all about the past and it's all about the future. Our left hemisphere is designed to take that enormous collage of the present moment and start picking out details, details and more details about those details. It then categorizes and organizes all that information, associates it with everything in the past we've ever learned, and projects into the future all of our possibilities. And our left hemisphere thinks in language. It's that ongoing brain chatter that connects me and my internal world to my external world. It's that little voice that says to me, "Hey, you gotta remember to pick up bananas on your way home. I need them in the morning."”


I similarly appreciated the ideas and thoughts that went through her mind as she suffered through her stroke and her healing process. Dr. Taylor’s point seemed to be how one could “Imagine what it would be like to be totally disconnected from your brain chatter that connects you to the external world.” And to relate that understanding to others.


The TED talks from “The creative spark” were equally compelling.

I had seen the Sir Ken Robinson talk on ”How schools kill creativity” before and found his theories quite compelling. The quote from Picasso that “…he said that all children are born artists. The problem is to remain an artist as we grow up.” Equally had me question if “…we don't grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Or rather, we get educated out if it. So why is this?” The point that “…as children grow up, we start to educate them progressively from the waist up. And then we focus on their heads.” Seems to be an accurate assessment of the education system as I see it.


Robinson makes another profound observation when he points to, “So the hierarchy is rooted on two ideas. Number one that the most useful subjects for work are at the top. So you were probably steered benignly away from things at school when you were a kid, things you liked, on the grounds that you would never get a job doing that. Is that right? Don't do music, you're not going to be a musician; don't do art, you won't be an artist. Benign advice -- now, profoundly mistaken.”


I especially appreciated the passage that clarifies, “We know three things about intelligence. One, it's diverse. We think about the world in all the ways that we experience it. We think visually, we think in sound, we think kinesthetically. We think in abstract terms, we think in movement. Secondly, intelligence is dynamic. If you look at the interactions of a human brain, as we heard yesterday from a number of presentations, intelligence is wonderfully interactive. The brain isn't divided into compartments. In fact, creativity -- which I define as the process of having original ideas that have value -- more often than not comes about through the interaction of different disciplinary ways of seeing things.”


As he sums up his speech with the analogy to Al Gore’s observations on the ecosystem, that “Our education system has mined our minds in the way that we strip-mine the earth: for a particular commodity. And for the future, it won't serve us. We have to rethink the fundamental principles on which we're educating our children.” Becomes incredibly edifying.


In Janet Echelman’s talk entitled, “Taking imagination seriously” I particularly enjoyed her sharing the story at the end in which she “… got a call from a friend in Phoenix. An attorney in the office who'd never been interested in art, never visited the local art museum, and dragged everyone she could from the building and got them outside to lie down underneath the sculpture. There they were in their business suits, laying in the grass, noticing the changing patterns of wind beside people they didn't know, sharing the rediscovery of wonder.” I love when things that never did inspire or speak to people, do so. I believe the point of her story is the idea that one can evolve from “…searching for beauty in the traditional things, in craft forms.” To engineering to create voluptuous, billowing forms the scale of buildings. My artistic horizons continue to grow.”


Within the playlist, “Kickstart your creativity”, I enjoyed the talk from Elizabeth Gilbert, entitled, “Your elusive creative genius” It had an inimitable perspective regarding a significant point which she aptly illuminates in her quote from Norman Mailer, in which he said "Every one of my books has killed me a little more." An extraordinary statement to make about your life's work.

The idea that many people would approach her following her success in her memoir "Eat, Pray, Love" as if she were doomed is funny, but not surprising.  The idea that one may not be able to surpass their previous success, or that type of fear is only human.


I appreciated the passage which begins, “You know, I think that allowing somebody, one mere person to believe that he or she is like, the vessel, you know, like the font and the essence and the source of all divine, creative, unknowable, eternal mystery is just a smidge too much responsibility to put on one fragile, human psyche.” It is utterly profound.

I likewise valued the idea that Gilbert expresses when she asks, “…why not? Why not think about it this way? Because it makes as much sense as anything else I have ever heard in terms of explaining the utter maddening capriciousness of the creative process. A process which, as anybody who has ever tried to make something -- which is to say basically everyone here --- knows does not always behave rationally.”


The summation of her contemplations on coping seem quite insightful. “Don't be afraid. Don't be daunted. Just do your job. Continue to show up for your piece of it, whatever that might be. If your job is to dance, do your dance. If the divine, cockeyed genius assigned to your case decides to let some sort of wonderment be glimpsed, for just one moment through your efforts, then "Olé!" And if not, do your dance anyhow. And "Olé!" to you, nonetheless. I believe this and I feel that we must teach it. "Olé!" to you, nonetheless, just for having the sheer human love and stubbornness to keep showing up.”


In the Phil Hansen: “Embrace the shake” talk I liked the whole notion of embracing a limitation. I can relate to the idea of having a single approach to something like work (or his art) and then having to change it entirely. I liked that as he relates how he “ended up having an approach to creativity that completely changed his artistic horizons.” And that within his point that “This was the first time I'd encountered this idea that embracing a limitation could actually drive creativity.” He revealed a whole group of beautiful and unique artistic creations.

Hansen describes his process in the passage. “As I destroyed each project, I was learning to let go, let go of outcomes, let go of failures, and let go of imperfections. And in return, I found a process of creating art that's perpetual and unencumbered by results. I found myself in a state of constant creation, thinking only of what's next and coming up with more ideas than ever.” This could be associated with most any type of creative process. I respected the notion Hansen shares when he states, “Because ultimately, most of what we do takes place here, inside the box, with limited resources. Learning to be creative within the confines of our limitations is the best hope we have to transform ourselves and, collectively, transform our world.

One of my most recent endeavors is to try to translate the habits of creativity that I've learned into something others can replicate.”


His summation that, “Limitations may be the most unlikely of places to harness creativity, but perhaps one of the best ways to get ourselves out of ruts, rethink categories and challenge accepted norms. And instead of telling each other to seize the day, maybe we can remind ourselves every day to seize the limitation.” Should be reflected upon and absorbed by us all.



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