To make new theories, new inventions, and other great creations, we have to do better than adjusting existing theories and designs. We must move out of our conscious world and focus our mind in a new place occupied only by the new creation.
When an inventor comes up with a truly novel idea or insight, he or she has been exploring relationships, patterns, and associations until a productive interplay of ideas, images, and data of all kinds is found. That encouragement signals the brain that the chase is on. The mind is to be projected to a special little world encompassed by this project.
Einstein placed himself in speeding trains, moving clocks and elevators in space. This was more than metaphorical thinking; it was a mind transforming itself to another place. Einstein's strength came from his imagination and creativity.
My father, Peter Kilham, invented a phenomenally successful bird feeder that is the very familiar plastic tube with metal perches. He started by imaging himself to be a bird on a perch. Then he envisioned a geometry that would be most accommodating to the bird. Only after the bird was satisfied did he select the materials and manufacturing processes to make an attractive and economical product.
Very popular for some reason:
I don't know where truth ends and fiction begins. Let's explore this together.
Think of subsumed or meshed bodies and minds:
The mother and son.
The long married couple
finishing each other's sentences,
physically develop, suffer and die the same way.
The owner and dog.
Then there was Hal the Computer.
Then, man and computer.
Then man and accumulated internet sites for him.
We all know about someone else who we know can finish our sentences. How about a computer that can finish our sentences? A virtual mirror of our brain and whatever it has memorized?
Certainly the reverse is true for the young people of the upcoming generation. Many of them are extensions of the characters in songs, movies and video games. To them, it is easier and more fun to absorb the programming of an electronic medium than it is to accumulate a lifetime of microexperiences that would become the intellectual essence of one's mirror medium.
For those so trapped in virtual reality, real megareality is no longer frightening or to be confronted because it has been denied and blocked out. When there is a megacrisis such as someone trying to conquer the world yet again, will anyone care?
Life is an adventure to be lived. Now there is the antilife of the computer.
With the development of the Worldwide Web all information that can be written down is interconnected as one resource. Apparent answers become so easy that imagination and invention cease to be worthwhile.
As the new generation and younger people with formative minds become absorbed by virtual reality and standardized information formats, imagination may whither away. Society will look like computers living and dead.
As Albert Einstein wrote: The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed.
(c) Lawrence B, Kilham 2005
“For three weeks, the Huygens probe had coasted, dormant, after detaching from the Cassini spacecraft and being sent on its way to Titan. Those of us watching anxiously felt a deep personal connection with the probe. Not only had we worked on the mission for a large part of our careers, but we had developed its systems and instrumentation by putting our minds in its place, to think through how it would function on an alien and largely unknown world.” So wrote Ralph Lorenz and Christophe Sotin in the Scientific American about their great space adventure.
These space scientists nailed it: to make new theories, new inventions, and other great creations, we have to do better than adjusting existing theories and designs. We must forcefully move our mind beyond the existing thinking about the subject. We must move out of our conscious world and focus our mind in a new place occupied only by the new creation.
Reduced to its simplest elements, what you are required to do is solve a problem or construct a work of art without a complete set of instructions or without comprehensive data. In a creative process you are using your imagination to make an appealing or useful whole from a set of components that would not appear to be sufficient or adequate for the job. To do this you need to see beyond mere recollection or simple association. You are projecting the mind’s eye to another point in space or time. You are putting your conscious being in an entirely different surrounding environment.
One way of looking at this process is that you will be creating a new mind out of your regular mind.
Einstein placed himself in speeding trains, moving clocks and elevators in space. This was more than metaphorical thinking; it was a mind transforming itself to another place. Einstein’s strength came from his imagination and creativity. For the most part his mathematics is a precise description of the relationships he discovered rather than the way he arrived at those relationships.
See more at the invention page.
Larry Kilham is a Sloan School of Management graduate from MIT, received three patents, and has founded two high-tech companies. Many of his product designs required innovative use of computers, and as early as the 1960s he was researching artificial intelligence (AI).