David Bohm, the trailblazing physicist, explored these questions in his 1968 essay, On Creativity . Mr. Bohms's previously unpublished writings on art, science, and orginality, is now available fo all of to read, edited by Lee Nichol. Bohm who had an affinity for art for over 45 years says that both art and science aim at "a certain oneness and totality, or wholeness, constituting a kind of harmony that is felt to be beautiful." Anyone who has ever undertaken a creative venture, even as simple as baking, know that these words are true. There is real joy in the creative process. Mr. Bohm wrote, "The artist, composer, the architect, the scientist all feel the fundamental need to discover and create something new that is whole and total, harmonious and beautiful." Few of us ever get the chance to try this and, fewer still, ever manage to do actually do it. What we are learning from recent research and studies into creativity is that, deep down, it is probably what very large numbers of people (from all walks of life) are seeking when they attempt to escape their hum-drum daily routine when they engage in various forms of entertainment, thrill-seeking excitement, or even when they change their occupation. All of these activities lead us to an unsatisfying life that remains "narrow and mechanicalness in it' nature." Bohm goes on to tell us that "creativity isn't a matter of mere talent, for there are a tremendous numbers of highly talented people who remain mediocre." Refering to Einstein. Bolm writes. "He possessed something greater than mere talent, for he had a number of contempraries who knew more about physics and were better skilled in mathematics than he himself." What Einstein possessed that made him stand out, I mean besides his wild hairdo, was his orginality. Bohm believed that orginality is the key to creativity.
What is meant by orginality? He explained it this way, "One prerequisite for originality is clearly that a person shall not be inclined to impose his preconceptions on the fact as he seems them. Rather, he must be able to learn something new, even if this means that the ideas and notions that are comfortable or dear to him may be overturned." Elizabeth Gilbert has a rather interesting term for this orientation of the mind. She called it "the state of uninterrupted marvel." Bohm believes that we are all born with it. We can see this with a child who is learning to walk. He tries out different ways of moving about, to see what happens. Then, modifies what he does (or thinks) in accordance to what actually happened. Walking, then, becomes a creaive process; much like a scientific experiment!
According to Bohm, "The nature of originality requires a lively attentiveness to the new and different." This is why pioneers in any given field often end up creating entirely new fields that didn't previously exist; often at great personal expense. Now beloved painter, Vincent van Gogh, comes to mind. He suffered for his art. He refused to give up. He persevered and, in the end, created something new, different, fresh, and truly original.
Bohm cautions us that creativity is predicated on rising above our mechanical reactions, which are conditioned by society and by habitual forms of thought. Today's cultural climate is one that is dominated by reaction, rather than creative thought. Otto Scharmer, senior lecturer at the Sloan School of Management at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts has been preaching this similar idea for years. Scharmer believes that we cannot continue to solve the world's probblems by using the same solutions we have in the past; not if we want to see new and better results.
"The times they are a changin'" Bob Dylan told us back in 1964 and it's even truer now. The times we live in require each of us to utilize our innate create power to find new, original, and creative solutions for the problems we all face going forward.