Having an Idea – Guy Claxton

The mother does not engineer her child’s intrauterine development, but she influences it enormously through her lifestyle and her sensitivity, her anxieties, appetites and attitudes, her history and her constitution. Who she is, and the physical and emotional environment that she herself inhabits, affects the nature and the quality of the sanctum that she provides for the growing form of life within her. And so it seems to be with intuition: there are conditions which render the mental womb more or less hospitable to the growth and birth of ideas; and differing ways in which, and extents to which, different people are able, wittingly and unwittingly, to provide thsoe conducive conditions. The more clearly we can identify what these conditiona are, the more able we shall be to see how they can be fostered.

From Hare Brain and Tortoise Mind: How Intelligence Increases When You Think Less

Meditation and mindfulness are ways to foster intuitive awareness and intelligence. It allows our brain to synthesize and absorb information and feelings.  The book defends intuitive and creative intelligence, pooh-bear thinking, through an analytical “d-mode” rabbit logic. It shows the value of thinking differently as the need arises, “abiding in uncertainty” for fuzzy problems and seeking clear solutions for defined problems.

Deciding whether a problem is fuzzy or defined may require both.

Related to the complexity about how to think about X, Claxton explains the fallacy of dream interpretation according to James Hillman.

It is the very nature of nature of dreams to hint and allude. ‘An image always seems more profound, more powerful and more beautiful than the comprehension of it.’ To ask of a dream “What does it mean?” is as misguided as to ask the same question of a painting or a poem – or a sunset, come to that. “To give a dream the meaning of a rational mind is … a kind of dreading up and hauling all the material from one side of the bridge to the other. It is an attitude of wanting from the uncounsious, using it to gain information, power, energy, exploiting it for the sake of the ego: make it mine, make it mine.’ The proper attitude towards a dream, according to analytical psychology, is to ‘befriend’ it: ‘to participate in it, to enter into its imagery and mood, to …play with, live with, carry and become familiar with – as one would do with a friend.’ So, ‘the first think in this non-interpretive approach to the dream is that we give time and patience to it, jumping to no conclusions, fixing it in no solutions … This kind of exploration meets the dream on its own imaginative ground and give it a chance to reaveal itself further.’

Thank you, Kathy, my friend, for recommending this book! Looking forward to reading, Intelligence in the Flesh: Why Your Mind Needs Your Body Much More Than It Thinks.

May we all foster  creative conditions, have good  idea babies and befriend our dreams,


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