This week we are playing with spacial creativity. There are four words listed below. Pick one of them as the target. Now, using the letters from the other three (you don't have to use all the letters) come up with as many words as possible that relate to the target word. When you get stuck pick another word as the target and go again.
Have you ever thought about how you see and store information in your mind? Research suggests that we have developed certain strategies to do this. These strategies have also influenced other areas such as our language. The way we refer to first, second and third is different to every other number which ends in a th, eg fourth, seventh, ninth. One, two and three are important items to us and many believe it is because we can visualise those numbers easily but it gets harder after that.
Synesthesia is a neurological condition which alters the way we perceive information. You start seeing numbers with a strong association to colours and shapes. Neurologist V.S. Ramachandran has an informative talk on the subject and ends with a demonstration on how we all have synesthesia to a certain degree. You can also find a simple test here. Higher than normal synesthesia has been linked to savants and highly creative people. What is amazing is that researchers believe they are finding ways to train us to be more synesthetic. What this potentially means is that we may all someday be able to develop superhuman mental capabilities.
Creativity needs to play a central role in the future of our society. We face many large problems and need brilliant new ideas if we are to tackle them effectively. Many believe it is the task of others to do this though. Scientists and other people of general higher intelligence. The reality is however that we can all play a part and promoting creativity is a powerful way that individuals can make a difference. There are organisations such as www.creativityaustralia.org.au and de Bono Institute that have taken up this challenge.
What are effective ways that we can increase awareness of and promote creativity?
Everything has values associated with it. For instance a fancy watch has the value of being expensive. We often only see the most obvious values though and miss many others. It is in the others that opportunities can lie. There are four words below. How many values can you identify for which one of them stands out from the rest? You will probably need to be creative.
Art is great. Creating it is even better. It is relaxing, fun and stimulates creativity.
This week we are going to make some original origami, an abstract piece of art using just a sheet of paper. I want you to take a piece of paper then make four folds in it. That is all you are allowed to do in terms of modifying the piece of paper. Think outside the box. Is your art going to be 2d or 3d? Is it going to sit by itself or be incorporated into something else? Here are some ideas to ponder:
Creativity is an important skill. Yet it is something that is somewhat lacking in our current education systems. Sir Ken Robinson presents some rather strong opinions on the subject. Edward de Bono has also been involved in research suggesting that teaching thinking skills as a separate subject will improve performance in every other subject between 30 and 100%. Given evidence such as this, why are we not putting a greater emphasis on creative thinking in schools?
A plain old glass of water. Or is it. Often you can find the extraordinary in the ordinary, if you dare to look.
There are 4 words listed below, use each of them in a sentence describing a glass of water.
Throughout the ages we have reveled in the idea of being able to predict the future. To what extent however are we influencing the the future by doing so? For example, if I am an influential economist and I predict that houses in a certain area will be very expensive in a few years then many people will want to buy there to benefit from this. As a result the price of houses there will increase along with demand. As demand is high people will want to live there as it is seen as a desirable and prestigious location. In predicting the future I have inadvertantly created it. Similarly, a sci-fi author will come up with ideas for technology. People will later on try to come up with ways to create that technology and may succeed.
It's interesting how different languages have words for which there is no equivalent in other languages. This is referred to as untranslatability. You can describe the word but there is no direct word mapping between the languages. For example the French word electromenager in English would be home electric appliance. Another example is the Inuit that have many words for snow, eg clim for snow sparkling with flashlight or headlight.
This weeks Creativity Challenge:
To be creative you have to have courage. Being creative often involves being different and being different makes you stand out. This week we have two steps.
Create a new word. It can be anything you like and it can mean anything you like.
Zeno of Elea proposes a paradox in which it is impossible to finish a race. But how can this be?
Let's say you have to run 1km. What we do is divide this distance in half. It will take you a period of time to run 500m. Now we will half this again. It will take you another period of time to run the next 250m. And so we continue. It will take you another period of time to complete the next 125m. The thing is, we can keep doing this. For whatever distance is left we can divide it in half and add the period of time it takes to cover this to your total time thus far. We can keep dividing however so we keep adding time but you never reach the finish line as we are always dividing the distance left in half.
You will never reach the finish line. How can this be?