Little Pink Spoon #12 from The Wheel of Creativity
This post is part of a series of excerpts from my forthcoming book. You can read them all in the Little Pink Spoons category. You can get advance notice of the book by subscribing to my Creative Adventure Journal over there to your right.
The Wheels of Life
Some people will be very disappointed if there is not an ultimate theory, that can be formulated as a finite number of principles. I used to belong to that camp, but I have changed my mind.
The Value of “This Isn’t It”
This is a chaotic time in the world. The attack on the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, effectively collapsed a grand American myth—that our strongest structures are secure enough to protect us from harm. The shockwaves from that collapse have spread throughout the world, and today the shadow of once-sacred institutions grows darker everywhere we look. In 2012, the crisis still paralyzes economies around the entire world, replacing optimism with fear and blocking the flow of energy into new endeavors. And no matter how hard we try, we cannot get our leaders back up on their pedestals.
In times of crisis, in times of chaos, people become frightened:
- “It’s not supposed to be like this.”
- “We want to go back to the good old days.”
- “What was I thinking?”
These are instinctive responses for the human animal, who loves comfort, security and order. The brain stem, the oldest part of the evolving human brain and what scientists call the reptilian brain, is in charge of your survival. When it perceives a threat (real or not), the reptilian brain automatically kicks into a fight-or-flight response, often overriding the logic and reason of other parts of the brain.
After the Fire
Chaos enters our lives unannounced, but forward movement, growth and transformation do not come without it. A forest is more fruitful after it has burned; chaos initiates rebirth if you work with it. So, you must learn to work with chaos, and with the primitive reactions that rise up in you in response. For without the dissolution of old forms, there are no new forms; the future simply recycles the past.
Science recognizes the progressive nature of knowledge, with each theory constructing itself in response to what came before, even when the previous theory is disproved in the process. Albert Einstein himself expressed the belief that the evolution of physics has occurred through a series of successive approximations. Predictions become more accurate and more widely applicable over time, but no physical theory yet is believed to be precisely accurate. This is not required. Such is Life as well.
The Unfolding of the Wheel
Without a doubt the evolution of my life, and of this material, has been a series of successive approximations. From the narrow confines of my childhood box, each step has led me closer to myself and my connection with the unfathomable mysteries of ultimate truth. I had been working with the idea of the creative process as a series of stages for years when one day, as I was sitting in meditation in the sunshine, it all came together for me. “It’s a wheel!”
Through the serial synthesis of disparate passions, I conceived The Wheel of Creativity. That moment turned my search in a completely new direction, for evidence of my theories in human nature, culture, science, mythology and nature, in business, family, politics and religion. In the chapters that follow, I will trace what I discovered and how it changed my life, and I will show you how to use it to change yours as well.
Q: How has chaos led you to new creative paths? How do you calm your reptilian brain?
Continued next Monday…
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