Saturday 11 October 2014

The Baba Effect

The imagination is the fertile ground on which sprouts the flowers and beanstalks of our great ideas.It can be hazardous and joyful in our dreams. It can be inhibiting and liberating in our day time routines. It can be enthralling and enriching in our creative lives.

Where do the ideas come from? What prompts such ideas as the following?

1 A dream:

Two seals appear in a dream, followed by two wolves guarding them.

2. A poem:

There are kippers in the sky today
And treacle in the sea
And lemons growing on the moon
And magpies for our tea
And when you find a starfish
In your porridge, in your jam
You must return it to the sky
And say "That's what I am".

 3. A googled word 'Baba':

The last, I know the answer to and the answer  may even explain all three.

 I sat at my laptop testing the Internet by randomly googling a word. I typed   'Baba'. My colleague and I wondered why. I immediately made the only association I could which was with Babar the elephant, which I had watched as a child. Consequently I added the letter 'r'. The internet,  I found was working and we continued to chat until my colleague became distracted and said 'Baba' pointing to an old wooden Turkish delight box (now housing loom bands) which had been sitting to the side of my desk for the previous few weeks. I hadn't noticed and probably wouldn't have, had it not been for my colleague, the words written after the larger words' Turkish Delight' , the less distinct words -  'Hazer Baba'.

Our ideas are not in our heads. They are just visitors being transported and given a tour of our brains while originating in the native land of real life and sometimes returning to reality to make a little more sense of it if we spot the clues. The subconscious is like the subplot to the main story of our lives...eventually we will know where it is going, but not until we are there and can make sense of it. As 'possible's slow fuse is lit by the imagination' (Emily Dickenson), so too will we unravel the mystery of the dreams, poems and words...eventually, when we make the links

When conscious we are 'aware of a significant percentage' of our own thoughts and during subconscious thinking we can 'only sense some mysterious, hidden mental activity', while the 'preconscious state is the go between' (Gordon & Poze, 1982, pg.1). So when we try to solve a problem or access our creativity we allow the area we are developing to fall back out of focus into our subconscious. In my book The Generation G.A.P. , I realize my character Jez talks about this process. He talks of focussing and unfocussing, using metaphor and poetry to blur and refocus and how not seeing the wood for the trees can work. Gordon and Poze talk of the 'complete failure' of the creative process without relaxing any 'intense focus on the problem' (1982, pg. 1). Any writer will be able to identify with this process but why do we have to learn the hard way? Why don't we learn this at school?

We don't even learn how our memories work unless we study psychology. Why, when learning and problem solving skills are developmentally the most progressive of tools in the toolbox of life, are we left to discover them for ourselves?

How long would it have taken me to discover the word 'Baba' on my own? Maybe I would never have discovered it. How much more don't we know about ourselves because people took the time to teach us how to tie our shoelaces and how to learn our times tables but not how we think and learn and remember and solve problems (back to the Kolb Cycle)?

 Why don't we teach learning at school?
GORDON, W. J. J. and POZE, T. (1981), Conscious/Subconscious Interaction in a Creative Act. The Journal of Creative Behavior, 15: 1–10. doi: 10.1002/j.2162-6057.1981.tb00269.x

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