The Adjacent Possible BlogExplore 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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Bias is a fundamental feature of life. Since it is inescapable and affects us profoundly, it’s important to be aware of it as much as possible and as a creative, to use it to your advantage.
Saying math is about numbers and equations is like saying art is about paints and canvas. True but missing the deeper point.
The next time you set out to create something, try to capture that moment before you apply words and concepts to your creation.
It is very brief, you must be paying attention. It’s like a kind of subliminal advertising, one quick frame in the movie of life. Blink and you’ll miss it.
The Hero's Journey & Art Our lives are a hero's journey of moving from the known to the unknown and returning back again, transformed. As artists, we continually step into the unknown and evolve our work. We search and find our way, lose and find ourselves in our paintings and explore and experiment on our journey of self expression. I'm reminded of the writings of Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) who, in his literary masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, embarked on a perilous journey to find...
The difference between art and science is that for scientists the constraints of the riddle, the clues, are provided by Nature. Artists are able to create their own constraints, each artwork is a small world unto itself.
After Beauvais, the world stopped building tall Gothic cathedrals. The idea literally collapsed under its own weight. But the life of a creative isn’t so different—Once a successful painting or piece of music is created, the temptation is to evolve by addition—to repeat what worked before, making minor variations on the original idea by adding distinguishing components, and hoping one’s creations sell before people figure out there’s nothing new.
One of the considerations when going back into a painting is integrating new brushstrokes into the work and working from an exploratory, experimental attitude.
Nothing happens in a vacuum, because even the vacuum of space is not “nothing,” Quantum field theory tells us that it is the sum of all unrealized possibilities. From electron-positron pairs to all the works Shakespeare might have written, admittedly with very low probability.
Just as in the adjacent possible, one brushstroke led to the next unknown move that was not only invisible before, but didn’t exist before. Likewise, one painting led to the next and the next- all unknown territory but explored stepwise, adjacent upon adjacent.
Discovery is only part of creativity. Being able to incorporate the discoveries, making decisions and carrying them forward is the other major part.
Pay attention to microgripes and microjoys, particularly when they happen incessantly. Addressing them can outweigh many seemingly big decisions that are taken singly.
It is this juxtaposition of familiar and unfamiliar that draws us onward. Artists, like scientists, are involved in sense-making, but in their case in worlds of their own creation.
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