Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

“You must think faster than the horse…”

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David Bohm

In this connection, I am reminded here of what happened when I first got on a horse many years ago. The man from whom it was being hired told me: “You must think faster than the horse, or else you will go where the horse wants to go.” This made a deep impression on me, because it contained an important truth, i.e., that a given process can be ordered only by the intervention of a faster, finer, more subtle order of process. Thus, the rider is able, by tiny pulls on the reins, to change the overall order of movement of the horse. Likewise, the original and creative action of the mind could probably direct the mechanical function in a corresponding way…

But now imagine that the mechanical jogging of the horse has put the rider to sleep. Occasionally, the rider wakes up and is horrified to see where the horse is taking him. So he corrects the direction of the horse and the jogging soon sends him back to sleep again. Perhaps eventually the horse also begins to worry about whether he will ever be able to find his way back to the stable. So it occurs to him that he should wake up the rider. But he wants first to be sure that the rider will take him back to the stable, where he will get a good meal and a comfortable place to rest. Since his thinking is no match for the rider, he hesitates to awaken the latter, who may well direct him to an entirely different goal…

Is it possible in any way for the creative action of the mind to awaken? In my view this can be brought about only by the creative response of the mind itself, on those occasions in which it may happen to begin to wake up. It is as if the rider, when he was momentarily jolted out of his comfortable state of somnolence, began to be aware of the mechanical responses that were putting him back to sleep again. Perhaps in this way he could really wake up. Likewise, if one is serious about being original and creative, it is necessary for him first to be original and creative about the reactions that are making him mediocre and mechanical. Then eventually, the natural creative action of the mind may fully awaken, so that it will start to operate in a basically new order that is no longer determined mainly by the mechanical aspects of thought.

David Bohm, On Creativity

Written by nevalalee

January 1, 2015 at 7:30 am

Posted in Quote of the Day

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