Undocumented Title

What would I write, if I weren’t paying attention to what I was writing? That is, if I weren’t analyzing each word and sentence to make sure that it was part of a coherent narrative, a story or process converging toward a final conclusion.

This post is not the answer to this question. Nor will most of the posts posted within the “Divergent Thinking” category. Though I didn’t start writing this post with any particular goal in mind, the words and thoughts that I’ve written down have quickly gained a sort of momentum, and I have difficulty not pruning and modifying as I write so that momentum is preserved. Nor do I think I would find it particularly aesthetically pleasing, except every so often, to engage in writing down a complete stream of consciousness.

So, perhaps this idea of starting to write without a clear goal or purpose or plan–perhaps just the vaguest notion of a topic or concept–is what I intend by the category of “Divergent Thinking.” Reading the book “How to Change your Mind,” by Michael Pollen, has impressed upon me the role of regulatory structures in the brain (the Default Mode Network or DMN), correlating roughly with the mental structure of the ego, which serve to impose top-down order on the subservient structures and operations of the brain, which would be otherwise more chaotic.

Incidentally, it seems that certain life trajectories or events can send these regulatory structures into an escalatory cycle, with the result that the person is overly reflective and introspective or given to depression and other psychiatric disorders. One of the reasons that Psychedelic drugs have shown success with treating depression is that they are able to suppress the activity of the DMN, giving the patient the ability to “reset” the cycles of introspection and self-awareness which occur therein.

I find the fact that there is a psychological (and underlying neurological) connection between creativity and depression to be inviting, in a way. As someone with tendencies toward an excess of introspection, I have recently wondered whether my inner critic might be stifling my creativity. Work with psychedelics indicates that the use of drugs to suppress the inner critic (or the brain structures which give rise to it), can increase creativity. But I wonder if the process can go the other way as well. Can practicing unconstrained creativity, e.g. flow of consciousness, or simply writing without a specific goal and seeing what comes out, lead to a relaxing of the ego’s grip and a reduced disposition to depression?

Obviously, I don’t have an answer to this. But the point of the going-nowhere rambles that you might see posted under “Divergent Thinking” is to test this hypothesis.

Why the Sky Was Blue

The sky was blue today. And one can only wonder—why today? The sky has always been blue, when I’ve been able to see it. But always with a good reason. Today, the reason wasn’t so clear. It had many spectators wondering if the sky was blue today simply because it has always been blue–without any other special reason. This is a difficult concept to fully grasp, but many seem to think it not totally unreasonable. I’m in the other camp. I think that there is a reason even for today’s blue sky. We just haven’t found it yet. Maybe there was some hidden reason that we won’t be able to understand for many years to come. Maybe even something of great significance or importance. Or maybe just a small reason, highly meaningful to a small few, but of little consequence to the rest of us. Maybe we’ll never know. But to say that there is no reason for the sky to be blue today seems… irresponsible.