The Adjacent Possible Blog

Explore The Adjacent Possible, a foundational pillar for creativity on The Artist’s Journey. Insights into intersections of art, psychology and science.

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Creativity & Turbulence

Creativity & Turbulence

The laws of physics do not negotiate nor make exceptions. Even so, the Universe is more diverse than we can know or imagine. How such rigidity can enable such complexity remains one of the grand mysteries of existence.

It is turbulent times in history that disturb the status quo, that upset the equilibrium, that create opportunity where none existed before. Turbulence allows new ideas, leaders, and technologies to emerge.

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Creativity, Pareidolia & Finding Patterns

Creativity, Pareidolia & Finding Patterns

A recent word and concept that appeared in our local news is pareidolia, which connects to our experience with word games in that it is a word we’ve never heard before but might have stumbled onto doing exercises in letter combinatorics. This word describes in medical terminology the human tendency to find patterns in experiences or sensations where there are none.

Exploring the unknown, the adjacent possible, is a fundamentally iterative procedure, like the Dutch building dikes to incrementally capture more and more of the sea-bed. Each exploration creates a new bit of “land” to stand on for the next exploration and incorporation.

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The Search For Creative Perfection

The Search For Creative Perfection

Like many things, this process of assemblage can be viewed as a search problem. We are searching for a configuration of elements-in relationships, in elements of a work of art, or in the construction of an object. We may be attempting to satisfy external criteria or our own.

Exploring the unknown, the adjacent possible, is a fundamentally iterative procedure, like the Dutch building dikes to incrementally capture more and more of the sea-bed. Each exploration creates a new bit of “land” to stand on for the next exploration and incorporation.

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William Tell & The Spices of Creativity

William Tell & The Spices of Creativity

Creativity is about exploration, and exploration is about iteration.

Exploring the unknown, the adjacent possible, is a fundamentally iterative procedure, like the Dutch building dikes to incrementally capture more and more of the sea-bed. Each exploration creates a new bit of “land” to stand on for the next exploration and incorporation.

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Of Crosswords, Chimeras & Creativity

Of Crosswords, Chimeras & Creativity

Paradoxically, the use of constraint is related to exploring the adjacent possible.

This is paradoxical because constraint sounds like closing in or reducing possibilities whereas the adjacent possible sounds like expanding possibilities. But they are both about boundaries, and creativity lives at the boundaries. This applies to both art and life itself.

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Nature and the Improbability of Art

Nature and the Improbability of Art

Great art is associated with complexity and un-resolvability, not solely in the artwork itself but rather in the collective system of artwork and audience. Art challenges the model of reality of the person who experiences it, to evoke thought and emotion and sense-making.

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Creativity & Illusion

Creativity & Illusion

Creativity & Illusion   It's the New Year and we're back! The temptation today is to write about American politics or perhaps COVID or some other disease of the body and mind, but we will resist this temptation. Instead, Bruce will turn to one of his heroes for insight into more permanent things, the inimitable Einstein.   Reality is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. Albert Einstein     Bruce's Story   People have wrangled over what this quote meant ever...

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The Creative Journey Through Darkness Into Light

The Creative Journey Through Darkness Into Light

  The Creative Journey Through Darkness Into Light   In The Cycles of Creativity we talked about the special properties of this dark time of year, a season that seems drab and dreary and moribund, but is paradoxically anything but. This is a time of marshaling of energies. In the landscape, a leafless and brown terrain belies the activity that is occurring unseen and underground. Much of the world is invisible to human eyes and must be seen by the power of thought, the magic of...

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FREE WORKSHOP: The #1 Secret to Creating Authentic Abstract Paintings You Love!

You question your talent, and painting becomes arduous and painful. You feel lost, wanting to express yourself but not knowing how. But when you learn the #1 secret to creating authentic abstract paintings, it all changes. Finally, you're able to paint with joy and create art you love.

About Nancy Hillis
Nancy believes that your most astonishing work comes from deep exploration and experimentation. She encourages you to find the nascent, unexpressed parts of yourself, give voice to your subconscious experiences, and finally express YOU in your art and life.