Re: Rational Creativity (Was Re: Definitions for Transhumanism)

Dan Clemmensen (
Sun, 19 Apr 1998 19:45:03 -0400

Natasha Vita More (fka Nancie Clark) wrote:
> At 03:01 PM 4/18/98 -0700, you wrote:
> >In the same vein, I would say that all major scientific advances of the
> >past have come from highly creative thinkers.
> Free association (Einstein's basic inspiration) is non-rational creativity,
> not irrational creativity. Non-rational creativity is not in conflict with
> rational creativity.
> Rational creativity doesn't exclude the non-rational process of innovation,
> inspiration, originality, vision and daring.
> Rational thinking is advantageous to creative thinking. If I have a
> visionary idea (non-rational creativity) and want to take it to fruition -
> produce it - rational thinking is my best bet.
> >You cannot get these
> >things through "rationalism" alone.
> I don't think that anyone is making this claim.

Right, Natasha. Many people think that scientists use a purely
rational method, the "scientific method", to solve problems and
somehow generate scientific knowledge. I feel that scientists
actually operate by first generating a whole bunch of ideas
by non-rational processes, and then pick some of them for further
analysis. A creative scientist probabpy generates between ten and
a hundred such ideas a day, and picks between one and ten of them
for further analysis. Of these, most are discarded base on simple
"thought experiments", within a few seconds. Perhaps one a week
actually gets more than one minute of careful thought. Of these,
perhaps one per month gets written down. Some of these may then
be formally subjected to the scientific method.

The difference between science and other human endeavors is that
the creative process is finally subjected to rational, reproducable
analysis before it is accepted.