Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Creative imagination in writing #artofeducation

I am at this point now, where there is a deadline coming closer and closer, but I have nothing to deliver. The usual student syndrome. How to find the creative side in myself despite the stress?

Hours are passing. I am writing nothing. But instead reading, small talking, chatting, skyping, blogging, reading again...

What is the flow?

First I am in the  #slowtwitter discussion @tammevelin with a Swedish educational scientist (Bertil Törestad) about the meaning of "flow" and unconscious in our behaviour. That keeps developing. What is creativity and how does it occur? I am very creative here, flow is the main mood of working for me.

I think flow is when you are unconsciously processing what you are up to and everything just flows....
 View conversation 

Törestad has a PhD in psychology. I disagree because I have a book called "Flow" from Csikszentmihalyi (I´ll never learn to write the name correct! I guess that is not so special.):
Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does. Proposed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, this positive psychology concept has been widely referenced across a variety of fields. (
I think that the flow means that you are fully present and conscious of what you are doing, the senses are wide open but you stay focused. It is exactly the opposite of unconscious mood. The psychology PhD says nothing after a while, I guess he did not know about the flow so much. So I am all alone and getting back to my previous topic which was to write something for

Word is the beginning of intelligent design

A moment later I am sitting here watching videos with David Dennett about "Intuition pumps" and "intelligent design", again getting into a discussion. Now I am disagreeing with some of his arguments. Dennett talks about his newest book "Intuition pumps and other tools for thinking", there are 77 thinking tools he is sharing in the book, he presents some of them to this audience. Interesting, he calls it the App-s for the brain. Sounds like something you would like to download: "rhetorical question" we should try to answer these anyway (!), "surely-alarm" being usually the weakest link in argumentation and "rathering-signals" that very often present a false dichotomy. These are nice little tools that are used regularly, start noticing it and you are able to avoid at least some of the classical "white men´s traps".

Dennett himself is a nice old man, little bit like a grandfather or a Santa Claus figure for a mankind. Sweet and innocent. I have a good relationship with old men with white beards, at least usually I have. Perhaps that is changing now because  recently I wrote a blog post "Mom, watch me, I am doing the impossible" questioning "their" real expertise in a most straightforward manner. That, of course, is nothing personal, I am just exercising my rights to think and question the world as perceived by our grandfathers, turning off some of the common "fixed points" or "intuition pumps", to use Dennett´s vocabulary.

Dennett´s discussion and claims were actually quite interesting, until he mentioned Stalin "treating" people instead of "punishing" and asking if we want Stalin`s methods back. That is a tricky road, specially from a person talking about thinking tools while standing in front of an admiring global audience... Hearing that sentence, made my my eyeballs want to jump off, and roll away to opposite directions. What a naive approach from an old educated man, especially if you want to advocate for punishment, as Dennett did! I guess he has not heard of Gulag prison camps in Siberia and millions sent there to die. Punishment was the favourite thinking tool for Stalin, he exercised it on millions and millions of people. It was no way a therapy or a treatment machinery that put 10 016 persons (June 1941) and 20 701 people (March 1949) in Estonia on animal wagons and send them to Siberia (Estonian population all together was about 1 million or even less back then). They were innocent people sent to die of hunger and cold, 90% of them never returned (women, men, children, old people). Calling that treatment, is an obvious misstatement.

I find it interesting how people build up their claims, it is a kind of emotional ladder, very often there is no rational explanations behind the ideas. These old men with their beautiful Santa beards are probably one of the cleverest people on Earth, they are used to people just staring at them. This admiration does not mean that we are stupid, we just love the Santas. I have the feeling that real discussions are not posted online because clever people sometimes underestimate their audiences, they underestimate us, ordinary people. I love to meet these men every now and then and talk face-to-face because they are just so sweet and lovely. It always feels like Christmas then.

IMAGINATION. Am I becoming the Sherlock Holmes of the www?

How to write new meaningful texts for wider audiences? Maria Konnikova says: "Imagination takes the stuff of observation and experience and recombines them into something new." She advises people to step back and take a wider view on the topic they would like to write about, because "one of the most important ways to facilitate imaginative thinking is through distance." The Sherlock Holmes´ view reveals details left unnoticed, enables us to combine our knowledge in a new way, create and innovate.  When I moved to Sweden then I slowly discovered much more about Estonia and Estonian culture, the ways of being there. That 300 kilometres distance changed my view tremendously.

It is easy to be creative and write if you are passionate about your topic. I could write books about Estonian history for example. I have collected materials, stories, pictures etc through many years. This is a way how to get your imagination going! The hardest thing for me to manage is discipline, it is not so easy to keep the focus, when distractions are everywhere...  

Time is passing, the lines are here, but still I have nothing to deliver. @tammevelin in #slowtwitter mood.

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