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:
A paradigm shift of our time is that nobody's mind is a mind by itself. Everyone's mind is connected to the computer clouds and to the collective intelligence of similar minds. This creates a super intelligence not anticipated in the slowly evolving mind scheme. However intelligent a dog or chimpanzee may be, their minds are still the essentially independent entities that they have always been, and the minds of prehistoric men were also essentially independent of some greater intelligence. Evolving DNA changed the design of the human brains, and some of the prebirth packaged intelligence in the human genome changed behavior, but these genetic changes have been and will be comparatively slow. We are finally understanding consciousness, imagination and self and how these relate to all other forms of intelligence with which they react.
Especially due to massive low-cost computer clouds and nearly limitless communications networks connecting them and us, evolution has taken a fundamental step that will change the ecology of the earth. The brain that made man special over all the other creatures has created a network brain about whose magnitude and consequences we can only speculate.
“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).