Friday, 21 June 2013

Creativity - and its dark side II

The functional details described in the previous blog, Creativity - and its dark side I, can also be found on the larger scale. As we move from the individual to groups, to demographics, to society and beyond, affinity relationships between clusters and their latent and manifested versions can be identified too.

The larger scale does change the dynamics somewhat, if not in functional terms then certainly as far as their content is concerned. Instead of neurons we have people, the domains become demographics (ie, like-minded individuals), and the affinity relationships concern the ideas and concepts shared by their members. Communication does not occur via synapses but across the channels a society's infrastructure makes possible and which are used by the groups. Therefore what gets transmitted and how becomes once again a matter of affinities since such relationships in effect rely on the inherent nature of the former; that is to say, their functionalities.

How these interactions go through their paces is outlined below.

On the larger scale of wider society the variety of its members and the level at which the particular functionalities manifest become significant. The conscious is now the space of openly communicated ideas and concepts, the subconscious is found in the realm of the unstated, the hidden.

Just as in the single mind, the hidden is outside the direct control of regulatory processes but it still exists, takes part in information processing, and every now and then steps into the open. To what extent it is allowed to spread and so participate further in the explicit, depends on its neighbours and how their affinity potential is capable of interacting with a similar potential on the explicit's side.

The probabilities here follow similar comparative ranges to those on the small scale, and here they are influenced by the size of the population, the quality of infrastructure, and the quality and quantity of information as such.

The regulatory processes in the single mind, consisting of the conscious thought structures (TSs) with their affinities and relationships and honed through many years of exposure to society's mores and fashions, have their equivalent in the open. Here they are derived from our laws, regulations, and what is loosely called the zeitgeist. While they determine what is openly said and done, underneath their watch large-scale cognitive dynamics take place nevertheless. How well they are kept invisible is a matter of, once again, affinity relationships.

In this case however it is not the existent affinities which in the main define their visibility or otherwise, but the non-existent, latent ones. That is to say, the greater the number of such contact points between the visible and invisible clusters, the more hints can be expected for an observer to become aware of something more behind the immediate. Of course, like in any interaction between functional entities in a dynamic system, the outcome depends on their mutual relationship: the observer is as much part of the scenario as is the observed.

Descriptions, arguments, battles even, regarding the visible manifestations of the large-scale cognitive dynamics are conducted with the actor usually oblivious to the much larger realm of the unstated, and if someone should refer to them they leave themselves open to criticism - the aspect of intrusion being more decisive than any truth value.

Similarly, the dynamics resident in the single mind are also active. They inform the individual's response to any event, and in their aggregate form influence the ambience of wider society, or at the very least some part of it.

The overall ambience colours the wider space, which in turn evokes the affinities down to the small scale, which then become the source of further input to the wider space; the circle has closed.

The feedback loop creates the cultural continuum, and the smaller detail provides the elements for change. The lesser the potential for affinity relationships with the hidden, the fewer such agents of change there are. In terms of effect, censorship and/or lower intelligence (ie, more compact cognitive dynamics) lead to stagnation, to rigidity. Given the relationship between input and the creation of clusters, censorship, in other words paucity of information, makes for compact dynamics.

Conversely, their opposites create the framework for adaptability, progress, and so evolution. Both can be readily observed in the real. 

The two images represent a metaphor to the above. On the left is the original photo showing much detail (the ABC building during its construction at Southbank, Brisbane, Australia). On the right is the pixelated version. The mind is able to create a much more comprehensive 'story' from the first image, much less so from the second. As a consequence, the chance of anything else being related to the detailed content is considerably greater, giving rise to further TSs. Coarse TSs are far less fertile.

An example of the interplay between the conscious and the subconscious would be the concept of the 'demon lover', a conceptualisation of the hidden Eros seeking expression and so eloquently described in "Mad, Bad & Dangerous: The Demon Lover".

Where would Art be without our dark side?

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