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Schmukler, A.G. (1990). American Imago. XLIV, 1987: The Sources of Creativity. Nevile Symington. Pp. 275-287.. Psychoanal Q., 59:171.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: American Imago. XLIV, 1987: The Sources of Creativity. Nevile Symington. Pp. 275-287.

(1990). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 59:171

American Imago. XLIV, 1987: The Sources of Creativity. Nevile Symington. Pp. 275-287.

Anita G. Schmukler

The creative moment is examined, the contact of feelings and imagination which permits the scientist and artist to dissolve the resistance that impedes free, original, expressive production. We are protected from constant bombardment of external stimuli by defenses inherent in both our sensory and our feeling apparatus. Mental constructs, such as an image of the world as a "flat, solid, and stable place," serve a defensive, protective function. Thus, we create images to deny or distance ourselves from reality. In Koestler's study of creative insight, a sine qua non is the fusion of "matrices" into a single integrated art. Symington suggests that one reason Freud encouraged analysts to permit their thoughts to wander (evenly hovering attention) was to promote integration of matrices. In addition to flashes of insight, the creative moment involves displacing a previously held belief, which may have taken the affective form of true worship, for a belief which corresponds to a reality of the universe in an essential form. The great difficulty with which this dissolution of previously held beliefs occurs is demonstrated by three examples from Koestler: Copernicus was aware that the heavenly bodies actually move in an elliptical fashion, but he promptly dropped this notion and referred to the planetary motion as occurring in "perfect circles"; Kepler described universal gravity, but abandoned this idea; and Galileo provided us with the telescope but insisted that comets were "optical illusions." Freud underscored this phenomenon by describing people who could communicate knowledge which they themselves did not yet possess. The author emphasizes the profound influence of our attachment to inner objects (conscious and unconscious ideas). The ability to pursue bursts of insight is based partly upon self-belief. In terms of early development of this ability, Bion has stated that it is essential for the mother to contain the anxieties of the infant, to digest them, and to return them to their source. This enables the infant to possess the courage to bear his own thoughts.

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Article Citation

Schmukler, A.G. (1990). American Imago. XLIV, 1987. Psychoanal. Q., 59:171

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