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Symington, N. (1987). The Sources of Creativity. Am. Imago, 44(4):275-287.

(1987). American Imago, 44(4):275-287

The Sources of Creativity

Neville Symington

An attempt is made in this paper to understand the creative moment. Its thesis is that in the creative moment the thoughts and feelings of the genius reach through the protective shield erected by the human community to the reality of things in themselves. The paper examines Koestler's thesis that the moment of insight occurs through the ‘bisociation of matrices’, I have tried to amplify this and see in what the peculiar quality of the creative moment consists.

The Context of Man

At the moment of creation, the genius feels the universe. This paper will be an attempt to explain this statement.

Most lives, and the larger part of the lives of the genius even, are spent in a cocoon that shelters mankind from the smell, sound, sight and touch of the universe. It is a cocoon spun from words, concepts and theoretical systems which enclose an inner crysalis of unmoving phantasy. This is because to touch the universe in a sensuous way is frightening to us all.

The universe is a chaotic, wild and frightening place and, in the midst of it, man creates an image to which he desperately clings. In his inner world the images constitute unconscious phantasy whose outer manifestation are concepts and theoretical systems. Four thousand million years ago a gigantic explosion in one of the stars propelled some stellar gas into orbit. It cooled into solid orbs that continue to swirl around a vast galaxy of stars. On one of these orbs, a vibrating mass of activity appeared 1,000,000,000 years ago. Here was teeming life composed of myriad unicellular organisms. Over millions of years, there developed fish and from these, over further millions of years, there emerged amphibians.

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