From Complexity to Creativity -- Copyright Plenum Press, 1997

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Part IV. The Dynamics of Self and Creativity

CHAPTER 14. ON THE DYNAMICS OF CREATIVITY


CHAPTER FOURTEEN

ON THE DYNAMICS OF CREATIVITY

14.1 INTRODUCTION

    Creativity is the great mystery at the center of Western culture. We preach order, science, logic and reason. But none of the great accomplishments of science, logic and reason was actually achieved in a scientific, logical, reasonable manner. Every single one must, instead, be attributed to the strange, obscure and definitively irrational process of creative inspiration. Logic and reason are indispensible in the working out ideas, once they have arisen -- but the actual conception of bold, original ideas is something else entirely.

    No creative person completely understands what they do when they create. And no two individuals' incomplete accounts of creative process would be the same. But nevertheless, there are some common patterns spanning different people's creativity; and there is thus some basis for theory.

    In previous chapters, the phenomenon of creativity has lurked around the edges of the discussion. Here I will confront it head-on. Drawing on the ideas of most of the previous chapters, I will frame a comprehensive complexity-theoretic answer to the question: How do those most exquisitely complex systems, minds, go about creating forms?

    I will begin on the whole-mind, personality level, with the idea that certain individuals possess creatively-inspired, largely medium-dependent "creative subselves." In conjunction with the Fundamental Principle of Personality Dynamics, this idea in itself gives new insight into the much-discussed relationship between inspired creativity and madness. A healthy creative person, it is argued, maintains I-You relationships between their creative subselves and their everyday subselves. In the mind of a "mad" creative person, on the other hand, the relationship is strained and competitive, in the I-It mold.

    The question of the internal workings of the creative subself is then addressed. Different complex systems models are viewed as capturing different aspects of the creative process.

    First, the analogy between creative thought and the genetic algorithm is pursued. It is argued that the creative process involves two main aspects: combination and mutation of ideas, in the spirit of the genetic algorithm; and analogical spreading of ideas, following the lines of the dynamically self-organizing associative memory network. The dual network model explains the interconnection of these two processes. While these processes are present throughout the mind, creative subselves provide an environment in which they are allowed to act with unusual liberty and flexibility.

    This flexibility is related to the action of the perceptual-cognitive loop, which, when "coherentizing" thought-systems within the creative subself, seems to have a particularly gentle hand, creating systems that can relatively easily be dissected and put back together in new ways. Other subselves create their own realities having to do with physical sense-perceptions and actions; creative subselves, on the other hand, create their own realities having to do with abstract forms and structures. Because the creative subself deals with a more flexible "environment," with a more amenable fitness landscape, it can afford to be more flexible internally.

    In dynamical systems terms, the process of creative thought may be viewed as the simultaneous creation and exploration of autopoietic attractors. Ideas are explored, and allowed to lead to other ideas, in trajectories that evolve in parallel. Eventually this dynamic process leads to a kind of rough "convergence" on a strange attractor -- a basic sense for what kind of idea, what kind of product one is going to have. The various parts of this attractor are then explored in a basically chaotic way, until a particular part of the attractor is converged to. In formal language terms, we may express this by saingy that the act of creative inspiration creates its own languages, which it then narrows down into simpler and simpler languages, until it arrives at languages that the rest of the mind can understand.

    The hierarchical structure of the dual network plays a role here, in that attractors formed on higher levels progressively give rise to attractors dealing with lower levels. One thus has a kind of iterative substitution, similar to the L-system model of sentence production. Instead of sentences consisting of words, however, one has "sentences" (abstract syntactic constructions) consisting of much more abstract structures. The lower levels use their evolutionary dynamics to produce elements that yield the higher-level created structures as emergent patterns.

    An analogy between the structure of creative ideas and the structure of dreams is made. Just as dreams provide autopoietic thought systems with what they need, so, it is argued, do creative inspirations. Creative inspiration deals with thought systems whose needs are too complex for dreams to figure out how to solve. Creative activity is, in part, a very refined way of disempowering excessively persistent autopoietic thought sys tems.

    In this sense the creative state of consciousness is structurally and functionally similar to the dream state of consciousness. There are also other similarities between the two states. For instance, in both states, the perceptual corner of the perceptual-cognitive-active loop is replaced with a reference to memory, while the "inner eye" is relieved of its duty of ordinary detached reflection. In dreaming, however, the inner eye often has no role whatsoever, or a very nebulous role; while in creative inspiration it assumes an alien or "godlike" mantle.

    These observations do not exhaust the richness of human creativity, but they do constitute a far more detailed and comprehensive theory of creativity than has ever been givenbefore. They tie together the actual experience of creativity with the dynamics of existing computational algorithms. And they show us exactly what is missing in the supposedly creative computer programs that we have today.

14.2 THE EXPERIENCE OF INSPIRATION

    Perhaps the most phenomenologically accurate theory of creativity is the one which holds that the creative individual has a direct line to God. God gives them the shapes for the painting, the words for the poem, the equations for the theory, the notes for the symphony. Where else could such remarkable, beautiful things come from? Surely not from the mere mind of man!

    Many creative people have experienced forms and ideas pouring out as if from some unknown inner source. Forms streaming, emanating, exploding -- so much faster and more elegantly fit together than if they were consciously reasoned out. The most striking description of this experience I have seen was given by Nietzsche in his autobiography, Ecce Homo:

        Has anyone at the end of the eighteenth century a clear idea of what poets of strong ages have called inspiration? If not, I will describe it. -- If one has the slightest residue of superstition left in one's system, one could hardly resist altogether the idea that one is merely incarnation, merely mouthpiece, merely a medium of overpowering forces. The concept of revelation -- in the sense that suddenly, with indescribable certainty and subtlety, something becomes visible, audible, something that shakes one to the last depths and throws one down -- that merely describes the facts. One hears, one does not seek; one accepts, one does not ask who gives; like lightning, a thought flashes up, with necessity, without hesitation regarding its form -- I never had any choice.

        A rapture whose tremendous tension occasionally discharges itself in a flood of tears -- now the pace quickens involuntarily, now it becomes slow; one is altogether beside onself, with the distinct consciousness of subtle shudders and one's skin creeping down to one's toes; a depth of happiness in which evern what is painful and gloomy does not seem something opposite but rather conditioned, provoked, a necessary color in such a superabundance of light....

        Everything happens involuntarily in the highest degree but as in a gale a feeling of freedom, of absoluteness, of power, of divinity. -- The involuntariness of image and metaphor is strangest of all; one no longer has any notion of what is an image or metaphor: everything offers itself as the nearest, most obvious, simplest expression....

Nietzsche's experience of inspiration was particularly overpowering. But it differs in intensity, rather than in kind, from the "everyday" inspiration experienced by ordinary creativepeople.

    Sometimes this "overpowering force" of which one is merely a "medium" is experienced as an actual alien entity. In these relatively rare cases, creative inspiration blurs into paranoid hallucination -- or religious inspiration. The great science- fiction writer Philip K. Dick was an example of this. He felt himself being contacted by an artificial intelligence from another star system. This AI being fed ideas into his mind, giving him the plots for his last few novels, especially The Divine Invasion and Valis. Dick's vision is too complex to discuss here in detail; so here I will merely quote one entry from his journal:

        March 20, 1974: It seized me entirely, lifting me from the limitations of the space-time matrix; it mastered me as, at the same instant, I knew that the world around me was cardboard, a fake. Through its power I saw suddenly the universe as it was; through its power and perception I saw what really existed, and through its power of no- thought decision, I acted to free myself....

    Dick had always written using a "downhill skiing" methodology. He would sit in front of the typewriter for hours and hours on end, sometimes on uppers, and write without revisions. This strategy was necessitated by the financial realities of the science fiction market. At $1000 or so per novel, it didn't pay to revise too heavily. One had to make a living! Inevitably, some of his novels were inconsistent and sloppy. A few were just plain lousy. But the best of his work was remarkably inspired and elegant. His stories rarely fit together logically, but they cohered conceptually, psychologically. They had the surreal consistency of dreams and hallucinations. In his case, the downhill skiing method forced his unconscious to take over the writing task, inducing a "mediumistic" state similar to that described by Nietzsche. Since his writing depended on this mediumistic state of mind, it was ideally suited for invasion by the "alien force" that he experienced. He wrote without too much reasoned, conscious intervention anyway. What difference did it make where the inspiration came from -- from within himself, or from beyond the solar system?

    Another classic example of creative inspiration is the poet Arthur Rimbaud. Rimbaud viewed the creative person as drawing their inspiration from another world, an unknown source beyond the ordinary cosmos:

    One must, I say, be a visionary, make oneself a visionary.

        The poet makes himself a visionary through a long, a prodigous and rational disordering of all the senses. Every form of love, of suffering, of madness; he searches himself, he consumes all the poisons in him, keeping only their quintessences. Ineffable torture in which he will need all his faith and superhuman strength, the great criminal, the great sickman, the accursed, -- and thesupreme Savant! For he arrives at the unknown! Since he has cultivated his soul -- richer to begin with than any other! He arrives at the unknown: and even if, half- crazed, in the end, he loses the understanding of his visions, he has seen them! Let him be destroyed in his leap by those unnameable, unutterable and innumerable things: there will come other horrible workers: they will begin at the horizons where he has succumbed.

        So then, the poet is truly a thief of fire.

        Humanity is his responsibility, even the animals; he must see to it that his inventions can be smelled, felt, heard. If what he brings back from beyond has form, he gives it form, if it is formless, he gives it formlessness. A language must be found....

        This eternal art will have its functions since poets are citizens. Poetry will no longer accompany action but will lead it.

        These poets are going to exist!

The Promethean thief of fire is a slightly different image from the "voice of God within." Instead of drawing on an internal source, the artist is traveling somewhere new, and returning with untold, perhaps untellable treasures.

    Similar experiences have been reported by many scientists. The chemist Kekule' conceived the idea for the benzene ring while in a state of dreamlike reverie. He perceived the benzene molecule as a snake, wriggling around, trying vainly to assume a stable structure. Then, all of a sudden, the snake bit its own tail. Everything was clarified! The molecule was a circle! Calculations revealed that this conjecture was correct. This was a unique molecular structure for its time, in several different ways; it was a landmark in organic chemistry. It is also a beautiful illustration of the role of cultural archetypes in guiding creativity. The snake biting its own tail is a stereotypical image, going back before Western culture to Eastern mythology. Kekule's creative mind spontaneously locked the benzene molecule in with an archetypal image, the snake, and then the cultural repertoire of image transformations did his work for him.

    An impressive survey of creative inspiration was given by the mathematician Jacques Hadamard in his book The Psychology of Mathematical Invention. Hadamard reviews, for instance, the great mathematician Poincare', who conceived the idea for a mathematical structure called Fuschian functions while stepping onto a bus. All of a sudden, the whole structure popped into his head, in complete and elegant form. He had struggled with the problem for some time, but had made little progress, and had shut it out of his conscious mind. But something had been obviously working on it. Had his unconscious posted a query to God, and finally received the answer? Or had some component of his mind simply continued working?

    The great chemist Linus Pauling described this sort of process in a particularly clear way:

    Some years ago I decided that I had been making use of myunconscious in a well-defined way. In attacking a difficult new problem I might work for several days at my desk, making appropriate calculations and trying to find a solution to the problem. I developed the habit of thinking about a problem as I lay in bed, waiting to go to sleep. I might think about the same problem for several nights in succession, while I was reading or making calculations about it during the day. Then I would stop working on the problem, and, after a while, stop thinking about it in the period before going to sleep. Some weeks or months, or even years might go by, and then, suddenly, an idea that represented a solution to the problem would burst into my consciousness.

Pauling won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his theory of the chemical bond; he also did more than anyone else to found the science of molecular biology, and made important contributions to other areas, such as mineral chemistry and metal chemistry. He described one of his key creative processes as the "stochastic method" -- the free-form combination of facts into novel configurations, leading to original hypotheses. In applying his stochastic method, he relied on his tremendous store of factual information and his outstanding physical and chemical intuition. He also relied on the altered state of consciousness experienced when falling asleep, a state of consciousness in which ideas blend into each other more easily than usual, and on the mysterious, long-term creative processes of the unconscious.

    In physical chemistry proper, Pauling's stochastic guesses displayed an uncanny accuracy. The combinations of facts arrived at by his unconscious were nearly always the same ones present in the physical world! In chemical biology and medicine, his guesses were less accurate, though he still made a number of important discoveries. His creative process apparently did not change from one research area to the other, but the average quality of the results did. It appears that Pauling's ability to see new connections was so powerful, and at the same time so stochastic, that it needed a very solid body of factual knowledge to tie it down. This body of knowledge was there in physical chemistry, but less so in molecular biology, and far less so in medicine. (I have given a more detailed discussion of Pauling's scientific thought in the middle chapters of the biography Linus Pauling: A Life in Science and Politics (Ted and Ben Goertzel, Basic Books, 1995)):

14.3 THE CREATIVE SUBSELF

    To make sense of the experience of creative inspiration, within the framework of the psynet model and complexity science, is no easy task. The first step on the path to such an understanding, is, I believe, the application of subself dynamics. In this section I will postulate the existence, in hgihly creative individuals, of a creative subself, whose sole purpose for existence is the creative construction of forms.

    It must be emphasized that the postulation of creative subselves is not intended to explain away the experience of "divine inspiration." The creative subself is not the "alien force" which some creators have experienced as giving them their ideas. If one were to pursue this metaphor, the creative subself would more accurately be thought of as the part of the mind that is in touch with the "alien force." This point will be returned to later.

    A creative subself has an unusual "shape" -- it interfaces significantly with only a very limited range of lower-level perceptual/motor processes. For instance, a creative subself focused on musical composition and performance would have next to no ability to control processes concerned with walking, speaking, lovemaking, etc. On the other hand, in the domain in which it does act, a creative subself has an unusually high degree of autocratic control. For the creative act to proceed successfully, the creative subself must be allowed to act in a basically unmonitored way, i.e., without continual interference from other, more broadly reality-based subselves.

    A creative subself makes speculative, wide-ranging and inventive use of the associative memory network. It knows how to obey constraints, but it also knows how to let forms flow into one another freely. It does a minimum of "judgement." Its business is the generation of novel and elegant forms. The degree of "looseness" involved in this process would be entirely inappropriate in many contexts -- e.g. in a social setting, while walking or driving, etc. But in the midst of the creative act, in the midst of interaction with the artistic medium, "anything goes." The limited scope of the perceptual-motor interface of a creative subself is essential.

    It might seem an exaggeration to call the collection of procedures used by a creative individual a "subself." In some cases, perhaps this is an exaggeration. But in the case of the most strikingly creative individuals, I think it is quite accurate. In many cases there is a surprising difference between the everyday personality of an individual, and their "creative personality." This is why so many people are surprised when they read their friends' books. The reaction is: "Good God! This is you? This is what's going on in your head? Why don't you ever tell any of this stuff to me?" The answer is that there are two different "me"'s involved. The book is written by a different subself, a different autopoietic system of patterns, than the subself who carries out conversations and goes about in the world. There is a relation between the everyday subself that the friend knows, and the creative subself that wrote the book -- but not as much relation as our unified vision of personality leads us to expect.

    A striking case of this kind of dissociation was Friedrich Nietzsche, who in real life was mild-mannered and friendly to everyone -- but in his books was unsparing and ruthless, tearing his competitors to pieces and, in his own phrase, "philosophizing with a hammer." In his books he called Christianity a terrible curse and insulted Christians in the worst possible terms. In his life he was not only cordial but kind to many Christians, including his own sister and mother. Similarly, in his books heinsulted the modern German race in the worst possible way -- considering them the apex of egotistical, power-hungry, over- emotional stupidity. But in his ordinary life he got on fine with his fellow Germans.

    Nietzsche's work was later taken up by many power-hungry and unpleasant individuals, including Adolf Hitler. Hitler's real- world personality matched Nietzsche's creative self, far better than Nietzsche's real-world self. He rode roughshod over people, shaping them to his will, just as Nietzsche did with abstract concepts. The difference is that, in the world of ideas, free- flowing spontaneous ruthlessness can be immensely productive, whereas in the world of human beings, this kind of ruthlessness leads only to destruction. A thought process that destroys old ideas, breaking them to bits and building them into new ones, can be quite a fine thing. Doing this on the level of human beings and social structures leads to tragic, and sometimes (as in the case of Hitler) inexpressibly horrible results.

Origins of the Creative Subself

    Not everyone has a creative subself. On the other hand, some rare individuals may have several. The conditions for the emergence of such a subself are not clear. A few insights are provided by Cradles of Eminence, a book in which my grandparents, Victor and Mildred Goertzel, studied the childhoods of eminent individuals (together with my father, Ted Goertzel, they also wrote a sequel, Three Hundred Eminent Personalities). The population of eminent people is obviously different from the population of highly creative people -- most highly creative individuals never become eminent, and some eminent people are not in the least bit creative. But, on the whole, most eminent individuals studied in these books were indeed highly creative, and thus the studies do have something to offer.

    The clearest moral from these studies is that an individual must be stimulated in early youth. Someone -- a parent, grandparent, uncle, family friend, etc. -- must encourage the person to develop in the direction of art, science, music, or whatever the creative vocation is to be.

    Beyond this, the morals different from one domain to the other. Nearly all writers and visual artists had childhoods that were troubled in one way or another -- a fact which made it awkward for my grandparents when lecturing on their book. When hopeful parents asked them what they should do to make their children become famous artists, they would have to carefully rephrase the most direct and honest response: "Don't be too nice to them! Emotionally abuse them!" On the other hand, a great number of scientists experienced some long period of solitude in youth or adolescence. Often this was a period of illness, in which the person had nothing to do but lie around reading and thinking. Clearly, the common factor among artists and scientists is withdrawal from the world. Emotional problems in childhood, like long periods of illness, cause one to withdraw into oneself, to separate oneself from the social domain.

    The conclusion would thus be that, in order to become anhighly creative person, it is necessary to:

    1) develop a habit of carrying out some creative activity

    2) have an emotional or situational need to withdraw from the world into "one's own universe"

Clearly, however, these two conditions are not sufficient. They merely pave the way. What one must do, given these two factors, is to instinctively make the creative activity one's one universe. The creative activity thus takes the place of the ordinary world, in which other people move. Just as different subselves normally develop to deal with different situations, a subself develops to deal with this situation, this particular subset of the world -- which happens to consist of interaction with an artistic medium.

    When this creative subself attains a certain level of coherence and autonomy, it gains a "life of its own" and begins to grow and develop like any other subself. It cannot flourish without access to the medium that is its world; thus it urges the other subselves to pursue the creative vocation that supports it. In some circumstances, the creative subself may be the only redeeming aspect of an otherwise execrable individual. In other cases, however, one might rightly view the creative subself as a kind of psychological parasite on an otherwise healthy organism. The creative vocation in question may have no value to the person in question; the passion to pursue this vocation may in fact destroy the person's life. The other subselves may not understand why they are unable to hold down a job, stay in a relationship, etc., when the answer is that the creative subself has gained a great deal of power, and is willing to sacrifice everything for steady access to what, in its view, is the only "real" part of the world.

14.4 CREATIVE SUBSELF DYNAMICS

    The hypothesis of a creative subself, on its own, does not explain creativity. One must understand the inner workings of the creative subself -- this is where complex systems models are useful. One must explain how the creative subself gives rise to the subjective feeling of an "external force." One must look at the interactions between the creative subself and the other subselves in the mind. And, finally, one must look at the relation between the creative subselves and other subselves in other minds as well.

    The relation between the ordinary subselves and the creative subself is a complex one. In some cases the creative subself may work on its own, with little connection to the other subselves, and then, after a certain period of time, present a fully formed "answer" or artistic work. In other cases it may work on its own but give the other subselves continual news flashes on its work. In yet other situations it may be so well integrated with ordinary subselves that it is barely recognized as a separate entity at all. The striking thing, however, is that in nearly all cases of really extreme creativity, the degree ofseparateness is quite high. This is the feeling "something else is creating this" noted above. It is important enough that it deserves the status of an abstract principle:

    First Principle of Creative Subself Dynamics: Thorough integration of the creative subself into other subselves seems to contradict extremely productive and innovative creativity.

    One of the roles of other subselves in the creative process is to provide judgement. The creative subself is generally skilled at producing rather than evaluating. Other subselves must play the role of the external world, of the critic and commentator. Too much criticism is not productive, as it inhibits the creative subself -- which, in order to be innovative, must be allowed its essential spontaneity. On the other hand, too little criticism is not productive either, as the unprocessed output of the creative subself can be almost random at times. The thorough integration of critical and creative faculties does not seem to work. It is essential that the two systems be autonomous, yet interacting.

    Critical subselves may intervene on the level of overall works. After the creative subself creates a painting, poem, or mathematical structure, other subselves come in and help it to decide on the value of the thing created. The poem may be burned; the painting may be slashed; the theorem may remain unpublished. The creative subself is usually enthused about whatever it has created: the creative work is, after all, its universe. The other subselves usually take a more restrained, rational attitude. The overall attitude of the creative individual is a fluctuating combination of these two component attitudes.

    The critical process may also intervene on a much shorter time-scale, however. It may intervene, say, every paragraph or so in a novelist's writing process; or every few minutes in a mathematician's theorem-proving process. One mathematician colleague has told me that he thinks free-flowingly and creatively, scribbling down calculations on pieces of paper, but stops every fifteen minutes or so to ask himself: "Wait a moment. What am I actually accomplishing here?" Only in rare instances of extreme inspiration does he think creatively for long periods without continual self-examination. In cases such as this, what one has is an approximately periodic attractor, involving oscillation between a creative subself and an ordinary, critical subself. The creative process is dependent on this interaction: without the give-and-take, the creative subself would "go overboard" and fail to produce interesting, relevant structures.     This line of thinking leads one to the following hypothesis:

    Second Principle of Creative Subself Dynamics: While all creativity involves some oscillation between creative and ordinary subselves, the frequency of the oscillation should correspond roughly to the amount of constraint involved in the creative medium.

In very unconstrained media such as modern poetry or abstract expressionist painting or jazz improvisation, the critic can come in only at the end, when it is necessary to decide on the value of the work as a whole. In very constrained media such as mathematics or portraiture, the critic must play an integral role, and become an integral part of the inventive process itself.

    An example of what happens when the frequency is too low for the medium is Linus Pauling's triple helix model of DNA, proposed just weeks before the correct double helix model was found by Watson and Crick. Had Pauling discovered the double helix, he probably would have won a third Nobel Prize, in Medicine (his second was in Peace, honoring his role in urging the governments of the world toward a nuclear test ban). Part of the reason for his failure to construct the correct model was political: because of his anti-nuclear-testing activities, he was prevented by the U.S. government from visiting England at a key moment, when he would have been able to see pertinent laboratory results obtained there by Rosalind Franklin. But Pauling, later on, stated that he felt he could have come up the the double helix model anyway. In fact, he claimed that the double helix structure had occurred to him in the past; it had just slipped his mind at the crucial moment, due to a lack of attention. One can read this as "sour grapes" -- or one can understand it as a natural consequence of the dynamics of creativity. Pauling let the ideas fall where they might. The triple helix model emerged from his unconscious; he let it out, and wrote it up. Because of his chaotic personal circumstances at the time, the critical attention his other subselves would have devoted to the problem was skimped on. Had the oscillation of his creative process proceeded at its proper frequency, he might well have discovered the double helix model. His ordinary subselves would have discovered the intrinsic inadequacies of the triple helix model, and sent a message to the creative subself to "try again."

    In evolutionary biology terms, the frequency of critical intervention may be understood as one component of the harshness of the environment facing the creative subself. In biology one may show that the maximum evolutionary innovation occurs in a moderately but not excessively harsh environment (I have argued this point in The Evolving Mind). The same result holds for creativity. A totally friendly, criticism-free environment, places no constraints on creative output and is unlikely to ever lead to impressive creative works. Some constraint is necessary, or else all one has is a pseudo-random exploration of the space of products of some collection of ideas. On the other hand, too much constraint, an overly harsh environment, is also unproductive, because it penalizes experimentation too severely. New ideas must be given some leeway, some extra time in order to bring themselves up to snuff. The exact degree of harshness which is optimal for a given situation is never the minimum or maximum, but rather lies somewhere inbetween, at a point which depends upon the amount of constraint inherent in the particular artistic medium.

    The average frequency of the creative/critical oscillation is determined by the amount of constraint involves in the medium,but even so, the correct frequency at any given time can only be determined on a situation-specific basis. Each subself has to know when to let the other one do its thing. This requires an intricate interdependence between the two subselves. Ultimately, the prediction is that the most consistently productive creativity will come out of individuals whose creative and critical subselves display an I-You relationship. This is our third principle of creativity:

    Third Principle of Creative Subself Dynamics: Creativity requires continual adaptation of the creative/critical oscillation frequency, which can be most effectively achieved, in the long run, by I-You interactions between creative and ordinary (critical) subselves.

The relation between creative and critical subselves is, like the relation between lovers, a rather difficult one. Periods of I- You interaction may be followed by periods of hostility or indifference. One may even find a kind of abstract masochism, wherein the ordinary subselves take pleasure from suffering caused them by the creative subself.

14.5 DIVINE INSPIRATION AND EMERGENT PATTERN

    Now, having firmly established the concept of the "creative subself," we are ready to return to the apparently alien or "divine" nature of creative inspiration. I have noted the way creative ideas often seem to pop into the mind from elsewhere; and I have argued that this "elsewhere" has something to do with a special subself within the mind, called the creative subself. However, as clearly stated above, my claim is not that the creative subself is this external force. Instead, my claim is that, whatever this externally experienced "creative force" is -- the creative subself is the receiver.

    From the modern scientific perspective, the concept of "divine inspiration" is preposterous. On the other hand, many pre-scientific, wisdom-oriented world views have taken a different attitude. From an holistic, non-scientific perspective, what is preposterous is the idea that the inspirations which pop into one's head from outside are just mechanical productions of brain dynamics. Clearly, each point of view has its own validity -- one empirical, one experiential. Any theory of creativity that wants to be truly comprehensive must take both into account.

The Vedantic Hierarchy

    Nearly all wisdom traditions speak of an hierarchical order in the universe, of different planes of being, ascending from the lowest material plane to the highest plane of ultimate being. Many different hierarchical schemes have been presented, but all are getting at the same basic idea. Here I will work with the hierarchy as presented in the Vedantic school of Indianphilosophy.

    It must be emphasized that, while the present book is a scientific one, the philosophical notions embodied in the Vedantic hierarchy were never intended in a scientific sense. Rather they reflect the introspective insights of many generations of acutely self-aware individuals. As such, they provide valuable information which may serve to guide scientific theory-construction.

    A very small amount of background may be useful. Vedanta is one of the six major schools of classic Indian philosophy: Purva Mimamsa, Vedanta, Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya and Vaisesika. The ultimate origin of all these schools is the Vedas, a corpus of hymns composed between 4000 and 6000 B.C. In true mythic fashion, the Vedic hymns are addressed to the deities ruling the various forces of nature. But there is also a more metaphysical side to their teachings, in that the gods are understood as expressions of a deeper, impersonal order of being, which is in turn understood as an expression of a yet deeper realm of pure formlessness. Vedanta is a large and comples system, but here we will content ourselves with a single, central part of Vedantic philosophy: the doctrine of the five sheaths or koshas. These sheaths are to be understood as covers, perhaps as films which coat ultimate being (Atman, the personal, individual manifestation of Brahman). The lower levels are denser coats; the higher levels are more transparent and let more of Atman through.

    The great mystic Sri Aurobindo (1972) explained and re- interpreted the Vedantic koshas in a way which is particularly relevant here. Sri Aurobindo takes each of the koshas and associates it with a certain type of mental process, a certain kind of inner experience.

    The lowest level is annamaya kosha, the food sheath, which Sri Aurobindo associates with the physical mind, or sense-mind. This is the level of thought about physical circumstances, immediate surroundings.

    Next comes pranamaya kosha, the energy sheath, which Sri Aurobindo calls the life-mind or vital mind. This level of being is associated with the breath, the prana, and the fundamental life-force. It is also associated with the feelings, the emotions.

    Then comes manomaya kosha, the mental sheath. This represents inventive, creative thought: the making of novel connections, the combination of ideas. Some people may go through their lives and hardly ever encounter this level of being. However, all creative individuals spend much of their time here.

    Vijnanamaya kosha, the intellect, represents higher intuitive thought. It is not experienced by all creative people, but rather represents a higher order of insight. When a person experiences a work of art or an idea popping into their mind full-blown, without explicit effort or fore-thought, as though it has come from "on high" -- this is visnanamaya kosha, or true creative inspiration.

    Finally, anandamaya kosha, the sheath of bliss, represents the "causal world." It is what the Kabalists called the Logos; the source of abstract, mythical, archetypal forms. The forms in the Logos, the sheath of bliss, are too general and too nebulous to be fully captured as creative inspirations. They extend out in all directions, soaking through the universe, revealing the underlying interdependence of all things.

    Beyond the sheath of bliss, finally, there is only the Self or Atman: pure, unadulterated being, which cannot be described.

Emergent Pattern

    In the Vedantic view, which is fairly representative of the world's spiritual, "wisdom" traditions, divine inspiration is the way of the world. The higher orders of thought represent attentiveness to the emanations of the divine realm, and it is only the lower orders of thought that rely entirely on the mechanical processes of the material world.

    Put more concretely, the Vedantic hierarchy would seem to suggest two different kinds of thought. First there is manomaya thought, which is on a level above mere physical or emotional reaction, but which is still based on complex manipulations of ideas derived from the physical world. And then there is vignanamaya thought, which is based on taking intuitions from the upper realms, and using them to guide one's more physicalistic concepts, one's feelings and actions. In the first, the reflexes are in control; in the second, one's higher intuitions are in control. The realm above intuition, anandamaya, is no longer well described as a realm of thought at all; it is a realm of shifting, subtle forms, weaving indescribable patterns.

    To the scientifically-minded reader, this may seem all a bit too much. However, I believe that it must be accepted as an accurate report of an inner experience. After all, this is exactly what the creative thinkers quoted above report. There is something different from ordinary ratiocination, something in which ideas seem to come from above or outside.

    In terms of subself dynamics, one may say more specifically that this kind of experience tends to occur when the creative subself is in control. It does not happen to ordinary subselves: it happens when one is fully mentally engaged in creative thought, in one way or another. Only when one is absorbed in one's medium, or else abstractly "daydreaming" in a way that engages the creative subself, will the experience of inspiration come. The creative subself is the "medium" by which this kind of inspiration visits one.

Emergent Pattern    

    Now: what can be done with these intuitive insights into the creative process, in a scientific sense? In order to draw this introspective analysis back into the framework of the psynet model, I wish to propose the possibility that these "higherintuitions" which we experience are in fact emergent patterns.

    We have seen that complex dynamical systems can give rise to all sorts of abstract, emergent patterns, which are in no way predictable from the equations and parameter values involved. We have formalized these abstract patterns in terms of language theory. However, we have not tried to look at these emergent patterns from the inside.

    Suppose a perceptual-cognitive loop, a consciousness- embodying circuit, comes into being, and engages some of the mental processes involved in creating a broadly-based emergent pattern. How will the emergent pattern look from the point of view of this particular perceptual-cognitive loop? It will look like a pattern, a structure coming from outside consciousness, enforcing itself from nowhere in particular. In short, I propose that --


    Fourth Principle of Creative Subself Dynamics -- The feeling of "creative inspiration" is the feeling of emergent pattern viewed from the inside -- i.e., the feeling of a perceptual-cognitive loop which encompasses only part of a broadly-based emergent pattern.

    There are, then, in this view, two very different kinds of thought. One involves trying to build up structures and ideas, by various techniques. And the other involves taking some emergent pattern which has come from "outside," and seeking to build up this particular pattern using the techniques at one's disposal. In the one instance, one is merely working with the immediate low-level patterns that are provided by a certain "neighborhood" of mental processes within the dual network. In the other instance, one is working with an emergent pattern that is "handed down," and using local mental processes to come to grips with this emergent pattern, to make it more workable and comprehensible. The Vedantic identification of different types of thinking makes its appearance here in more scientific clothing.

    I must emphasize that these considerations do not disprove the Vedantic analysis in terms of "higher levels of being." For one thing, that is a philosophical analysis, which is not susceptible to falsification. And for another thing, the view of inspiration as emergent pattern may easily be extended to the transpersonal realm.

    In Chaotic Logic I have hypothesized a "Universal Dual Network," a mind magician system which binds together different individuals in a greater, social mind. In this view, Jung's collective unconscious appears as a pool of higher-level mental processes shared amongst the dual networks belonging to different individuals. As well as intersecting at the lowest levels, which form physical reality, individual dual networks are seen to intersect at higher levels as well, reflecting abstract cultural- psychological universals. In this view, one might hypothesize that some creative inspirations are emergent patterns in individual portions of the dual network, whereas others are emergent patterns in this shared upper level of the dual network, this transpersonal realm or "collective unconscious." This view connects neatly with subself dynamics, which views the individual mind as having exactly this same shape: largely unified perceptual/motor processes, largely unified high-level long-term memory, and fairly dissociated middle-level reasoning and belief systems. It thus becomes possible to view the individual mind as a kind of miniature image of the social mind -- a view which is quite attractive, from a philosophical point of view.

    These issues of transpersonal psychology, however, would bring us too far afield from the focus of the present book. Instead let us return closer to earth, and focus on the question: What is it about creative subselves that makes them susceptible to this kind of experience? In order to answer this question, we must dig deeper into the internal dynamics of the creative subself. That is the task of the next section.

14.6 INSIDE THE CREATIVE SUBSELF

    We have talked about the relation between the creative subself and the rest of the mind, and the role of the creative subself in the experience of inspiration. But what actually goes on inside the creative subself? To answer this question, we must turn back to some of the complex systems ideas introduced in earlier chapters.

    First of all, it is worth reflecting on some of the particular creative processes involved in creative thought. The creative process involves making a new reality, out of abstract forms and structures. But how does it come up with the new forms and structures, to be placed in the new reality? We have distinguished two different possibilities: either it invents them in a "bottom-up" manner, or it invents them in a "top-down" manner, guided by some emergent pattern which presents itself as an intuition from "outside." But either way, guided or unguided, what is required is some kind of mechanism for creating new structures.

    The psynet model leads one to the view that there are two basic mechanisms here: one corresponding to the hierarchical aspect of the dual network, and one corresponding to the heterarchical aspect of the dual network. The hierarchical aspect of creativity is based on mutating and combining ideas -- it is modeled moderately well by the genetic algorithm. The heterarchical aspect of creativity, on the other hand, is based on letting the mind flow from one idea to other related ideas -- it is what is loosely called "analogy."

    The combination of analogy with genetic form-creation is the essence of creative process. These are the tools which the creative subself uses to create its new realities. Of course, these same tools are implicit in other subselves as well. But in the creative subself they are given new power. This is the essential point, a point which will bring us back to the role of the perceptual-cognitive loop in the creative subself.

    Consider, first, genetic form creation. The idea here is that subnetworks of the dual network are allowed to mutate and to cross over (by swapping processes amongst each other). This has been shown (in The Evolving Mind) to occur as a natural consequence in current models of brain dynamics. And it is introspectively very natural as well: we can all feel ourselves forming new ideas by modifying old ones, or putting parts of old ones together in new ways. The question, then, is how freely this is to be allowed to occur. What is the mutation rate, and how much disruption will crossover be allowed to cause? Will networks be allowed to cross over large chunks with each other, possibly leading to totally dysfunctional portions of the dual network? Or will they only be allowed to exchange small sets of processes, thus leading to smaller innovations, and a smaller risk of serious disruption of function?

    Next, consider the heterarchical network. This has beenthought of as a multilevel Kohonen feature map, or as a geographical terrain in which nearby regions host similar species. But this is not a static network. In the ecological metaphor, the different animals must be allowed to constantly migrate around, seeking better locations. Analogy works by taking an activity A*B and replacing it with A*C, where C is "similar" to B in the sense that it is near B in the heterarchical network. In The Structure of Intelligence I have given a comprehensive analysis of different types of analogy using this framework. But the crucial point here is: Where does the topology of the network come from? What determines whether B and C are close to each other in the first place?

    More interesting and adventurous analogies will arise if the network is allowed to be somewhat daring in its reorganization. Consider, for instance, Kekule's famous analogy between the benzene molecule and the snake. In his heterarchical network, a "molecule" process and a "snake" process were close together. In most people's minds, this is certainly not the case -- the two processes are stored in largely unrelated areas. Kekule's creative process involved the reorganization of his associative memory network in such a way that these seemingly unrelated concepts were brought together. The point is that the creative process involves "wild" analogies, and wild analogies ensue from experimental reorganizations of the heterarchical network.

    But of course, the hierarchical and heterarchical networks are in the end the same network. This is the essence of the "dual network" model. So what we find is that experimental reorganizations of the heterarchical network are exactly the same thing as adventurous crossover operations in the heterarchical network. The essential quirk of the creative subself, it seems, is a willingness to shake things up -- a willingness to mvoe things around in an experimental manner, instead of keeping them structured the same old way.

    In terms of the perceptual-cognitive loop, this suggests that consciousness acts in a slightly different way in the creative subself than it does in ordinary subselves. It still makes ideas into coherent wholes -- but these coherent wholes are not bundled together quite so tightly. Instead of having a thick black line drawn around them, they have a dotted line drawn around them. They can be dissolved at will.

    This idea has interesting implications. First of all, in terms of the speculative division algebra theory of consciousness, given at the end of Chapter Eight, one might hypothesize that in the creative subself, coherentization is done in a more reversible way. Coherentization can more easily be undone, turning coherent, bound-together concepts into reasonably comprehensible and coherent component parts, which are ready to be re-organized in a different way. The "dotted line," in this view, simply corresponds to a more nearly reversible hypercomplex algebra. Consciousness creates autopoietic systems; some of these systems are "nearly" division algebras and some are very far from it. Acting in the context of the creative subself, the perceptual-cognitive loop creates systems embodying algebras that are more nearly reversible.

    Next, this conception of creative consciousness mirrors Bohm's description of "enlightened consciousness" in Thought as a System. He argues that, in ordinary states of consciousness, we too rigidly separate concepts from each other, thus fragmenting our minds -- that we should separate ideas with dotted lines rather than thick black lines. Enlightened individuals such as Zen masters, he suggests, coherentize things in a different and more flexible, reversible way. Thus they are able to be "in the world but not of it" -- they are able to follow the routines and ideas of ordinary life without being dominated by them. My suggestion is that creative subselves operate in much the same way. In creative work, we are able to pick up routines and use them without being dominated by them, to a much greater extent than in ordinary existence. This is because our creative subselves have mastered a slightly different way of using the perceptual-cognitive loop.

Creativity and Fitness Landscapes

    We have said that the creative subself inhabits a looser, more flexible region of the dual network, a region of the dual network whose autopoietic systems are less rigid and more easily mutable than usual. The next natural question is: Why should this flexibility be possible here rather than elsewhere?

    But the answer is almost obvious. In the context of the creative subself, the consequences for failure of a thought system are far less strict. Ordinary subselves are molded by contact with the real world, which is notoriously obstinate. The creative subself is molded by contact with abstract ideas and forms as well as perceptions; much of its contact with the outside world is mediated by ordinary ("critical") subselves. These higher-level entities with which the creative subself is in constact are themselves much more flexible and mutable than the lower-level processes that constitute the (mind's view of the) "outside world." Confronted with a more responsive and flexible environment, the creative subself responds with a more responsive and flexible internal dynamic.

    It has been noted that, for genetic algorithms and other evolving systems, maximum creativity occurs in an environment of moderate harshness. Too little harshness, too benevolent of an environment, causes aimless fluctuations. There is plenty of low-level, spontaneous creativity but it is not directed in any way and thus does not amount to much. Anything goes, whether interesting or not. On the other hand, too much harshness inhibits creativity. In a very harsh environment, there is too much risk involved in generating new forms. New crossover products or mutants will be eliminated immediately, before they have a chance to give rise to possibly fitter offspring. One is likely to see moderately successful individuals dominate, and keep on dominating.

    In terms of fitness landscapes, an easy environment is an almost entirely flat landscape, but one which is at a pretty high level, allowing a decent fitness for most everyone. A harsh environment, on the other hand, is largely flat and low withperhaps a few sharp peaks allowing some things to survive. What is needed for creative success is a more evenly structured environment, with lots of peaks within peaks within peaks on all different scales. This kind of fractal fitness function filters out uninteresting forms but still allows significant experimentation with new forms. As noted at the end of Chapter Seven, this is precisely the type of fitness landscape that can be expected to emerge from many complex environments. Real fitness landscapes probably look more like the Julia sets of two- dimensional quadratics than like the graphs of simple polynomials or piecewise linear functions.

    The creative subself, I contend, gets a more closely optimal fitness function than the other subselves. The complex systems with which it interacts give it a rich fractal fitness landscape, which encourages and rewards sophisticated experimentation. On the other hand, the fitness landscapes faced by ordinary subselves tend to be much harsher. The outside world can be very punishing, delivering swift and severe rebukes to experimental modes of perception and behavior.

    So, if the perceptual-cognitive loops within the creative subself are different, this is because they have adapted to a different situation. They have adapted to a situation in which it is okay to put "dotted lines" around systems, because it is not so bad to have successful systems disrupted in favor of other, possibly worse but conceivably better ones. Ordinary subselves, on the other hand, have perceptual-cognitive loops which have evolved to deal with situations where, once a good procedure has been found, it must be hung onto at all costs.

    And how, finally, do these ideas allow us to explain the basic experience of creative inspiration? For this we require only one more hypothesis --

    Fifth Principle of Creative Subself Dynamics. -- Which      subselves will lead to more intense large-scale emergent patterns? The ones that are permitted a large but not too-large amount of creative disruption (memory reorganization and hierarchical-system crossover). Creative subselves tend to fall into this category; everyday subselves tend not to.

    Creative inspiration is the feeling of emergent patterns (personal or transpersonal) from the inside. Creative subselves are more likely to give rise to large-scale emergent patterns (the kinds that are large enough for a perceptual-cognitive loop to fit inside). Thus, the very looseness which characterizes creative subselves is essential to the experience of inspiration. And this looseness is due, in the end, to the "cushy" environment experienced by creative subselves, due to their relatively abstract and pliant "external world."

    Creative subselves are protected from the real world by the other subselves; this is the secret to their success, to their internal dynamics of emergence-yielding flexibility. It follows that, without subself dynamics, true creativity is impossible, or at least very, very difficult to achieve.

    For, how can a single region of the dual network deal with both the inflexibility induced by the outside world and the flexibility required by the creative act? This seems almost contradictory. In order to achieve creativity without subselves, a mind would have to find a way of confronting the outside world in a continually flexible way -- a worthy goal, perhaps, but one that would seem beyond the grasp of those of us leading routine lives in modern society.

The Creative Personality

    It would be a mistake, however, to consider the creative subself as something entirely dissociated from the rest of an individual's mind. Different subselves are not entirely different. Generally they will share many particular characteristics. And this is the root of the peculiarities of the "creative personality type."

    Everyone expects artists, creative people, to be a little flaky, to deviate from social norms and expected patterns of thought and behavior. This phenomenon occurs for two reasons.

First of all, if (at least some of) a person's ordinary subselves were not somewhat flexible in the first place, it is unlikely that they would have given rise to an active creative subself.

And secondly, in the course of living, one can expect some of the flexibility of the creative subself to rub off on the other subselves.

    Indeed, if the ordinary subselves of a creative person were not unusually flexible, one would likely have an unsuccessful personality system. The Fundamental Principle of Personality Dynamics says that different subselves must relate to each other on a You-You basis, reacting to overall emergent patterns in each other's structure. But it would be very difficult indeed for a strongly inflexible ordinary subself to related to an highly creative subself on a You-You basis. Such a subself would not have the cognitive flexibility required to understand the emergent patterns making up the You of the creative subself. As a rule, then, one would expect that the ordinary subselves of a creative person would have to pick up a lot of flexibility from the creative subself.

Creativity, Dreaming, Sublimation

    This analysis of fitness landscapes brings us, finally, to the relation between creativity and dreaming. Dreaming, we have argues, serves to weaken the hold of autopoietic thought systems. By giving them what they want, it places them in benevolent environments, and thus allows them to weaken their defenses. The current line of thought indicates that basically the same thing is accomplished by creativity -- by taking an autopoietic thought-system and feeding it to the creative subself. By placing a system under control of the creative subself, one puts the system in a nicer environment, where it is much more likely to get what it wants. One thus weakens the grip of the systemover itself, and renders it more amenable to adaptive modification.

    For instance, consider someone who is obsessed with physical violence. Their ordinary subselves are filled with thought- behavior systems focussed on physical violence. Actions of other people are perceived as aggressive; these perceived aggressions then lead to aggressive actions; these actions lead to aggressive actions on the other person's part etc. This thought-system can be expected to come to light in dreams: there will be many dreams about winning or losing fights, about being attacked and unable to respond, about vanquishing huge numbers of mighty attackers, etc. These dreams will serve to weaken the hold of the thought- system in everyday life, by allowing it to flex its need for activity in the safer realm of fantasy.

    Now, suppose the person in question takes up an art form which allows them to be, in some way, aggressive. Perhaps this aggression is (as in Nietzsche's case) purely abstract: he is destroying other people's ideas. Or perhaps it is more direct: perhaps he is, say, creating sculptures by making a number of sculptures, smashing them to bits, and molding the pieces together in new forms. Perhaps it is totally direct: he has taken up jujitsu. The point is that this sort of activity serves the same function as dreams. The creative subself allows the working-out of the thought-system in a relatively non-punishing context. The aggressive thought-system now has freedom: it can experiment with different ways of destroying things; it can give vent to its full range of emotions. It can express itself far more fully than was possible in the ordinary external world, which was constantly being resistant. Eventually, in this way, the person may learn to control his own aggression, rather than having it control him. The autopoietic control of the system may be weakened, allowing for better integration with the self-system as a whole.

    This parallel between dreaming and creativity is, of course, not a new idea. Creative people are constantly being accused of "daydreaming" when in fact they are actively exercising their creative imaginations. But it is intriguing to see this parallel come out of abstract complexity-theoretic models of dreaming and creativity.

    Essentially, what we have arrived at here is the old idea of creativity as sublimation. Instead of enacting itself in the real world, thought-systems may enact themselves through the creative subself, on the level of abstract forms rather than concrete actions. The example of aggression was chosen above, but the example of sexuality is perhaps even more appropriate. The thought-perception-and-behavior systems involved in sexuality, as has been observed many times in many particular cases, seem to find at least a partial outlet in creative activity. The loving attention to detail, the devotion and passion which some creators feel for their work, in many cases seems to come directly from sexual thought-systems. In some individuals (e.g. Nietzsche) this is an alternative to directly expressed sexuality; in others (e.g. Picasso) it is merely an additional expression of a sexuality that is amply expressed in real life.

14.7 CONCLUSION

    The phenomenon of creativity is a challenge for the psynet model, and for complexity science as a whole. Creativity encompasses nearly all of the themes raised in earlier chapters: emergent dynamical pattern, form creation by genetic algorithms, fitness landscapes, autopoietic thought systems, subselves, memory-freeing dreams, and the perceptual-cognitive loop. And it extends beyond these themes, in directlons barely hinted at here, for instance the direction of transpersonal psychology.

    I will conclude with some remarks about creativity, computer simulations, and artificial intelligence. In earlier chapters we were able to bolster some points with definite calculations or computer simulations. We were able to see, in specific cases, how the genetic algorithm creates complex forms, how human feelings give rise to emergent dynamical patterns, how a human belief system holds itself together in a self-supporting way. With the study of creativity, however, we have reached a point where concrete simulation or calculation becomes very difficult.     The dual network itself is at the limit of current computational models. To get the dual network to emerge from SEE, for instance, will probably be possible, and is a focus of current research -- but it is not expected to be easy. To get a self system to emerge from the dual network, one would need considerably larger computer systems than we have at present. In a SEE context, for instance, one suspects that -- at a bare minimum -- lattice worlds with hundreds of thousands of cells would be required. If the idea of A-IS is correct, one would need a whole society of such large-scale lattice worlds. And in order to truly simulate creativity, one would have to make this system complex enought to produce, not only "artificial selfhood," dissociated selves -- creative selves, capable of flexible reorganization and large-scale emergent pattern generation.

    So what can we conclude, regarding the prospects of artificial intelligence? As for the future, one can be optimistic, given the tremendous speed of recent improvements of computer technology. But at present, computer simulation of true creativity, of a truly fertile psynet, is not a feasible goal.

     Mathematical exploration of psynets and creativity is a different story, but also poses its own difficulties. For example, each of the "Principles of Creative Subself Dynamics" given in this chapter is intended as a mathematical theorem in the making. It is not difficult to formalize these principles, to put them in mathematical language. However, we do not have the mathematical concepts that are needed to prove these statements. The trouble is that everything is simultaneously fuzzy and probabilistic. There will always be exceptions to every such rule, and the very concepts which are being talked about are defined in such a way as to permit multiple exceptions. One lacks the crisp, clean definitions that are required in order to carry out mathematical proofs. Until we have a mathematics that is able to deal with complex, fuzzily defined discretestructures in a practical way, we will not have a true mathematics of mind.

    In the end, then, what I have presented in this book are some intuitive models of mind, bolstered by some mathematical and computer work pertaining to "simpler" complex systems. The mathematical and computer work builds up towards but does not quite touch the more abstract models of mental processes. This gap between the one and the other is the essential thing. My hope is that the ideas given here will be helpful to others as they join my in working on the important task of filling in the gap.

    The mathematical and computational side of complexity science must be elaborated and strengthened, until it is built up to a point where it can more nearly deal with very complex systems like minds, psynets, selves. And our intuitive models of mind must be made ever more concrete and precise, until they are speaking the language of emergent complex systems, as well as the language of experiential and experimental phenomena. There is work here for the mathematician, the computer scientist, the psychologist, the philosopher, the physicist, and the biologist -- but most of all, for those who are willing to look beyond the bounds of individual academic disciplines, and try to build a vision of the mind as a whole.