One basic creative technique is the rearrangement of parts. Through this rearrangement of parts, novel patterns of meaning can emerge. Imagine you have a picture which you cut into squares or triangles or curved surfaces and then you look at this puzzle and you start putting them together differently. I have been using this technique extensively in my artwork, as my mindn is prone to making associations and I like the delight of finding something surprising in what at first glance appeared to be fixed and pre-determined.
But rearrangement of parts should not be limited to re-shuffling what already is. In the same way in which we can rearrange colours, textures, shapes, photographs, drawings etc, we can re-arange ideas! And the novel meaning can emerge from their associations. The art itself, the esthetic quality of it, resides in the decision if the two parts, the two ideas (or the multiple ideas) go well together or not. If the result is harmonious or disharmonious. In intermediate phases, the association may come across as hilarious. And we all know fun is an important aspect of life.
Another creative technique would be a change of context, that is: one extracts something from Context X and moves it to Context Y. If a flower is about to die in Garden X, it can blossom in Garden Y. Similarly, we can take ideas from Art and apply them in Space Engineering. Or ideas from Space Engineering and apply them to Art. It’s not always going to work (according to the harmony criteria above, which is ultimately an esthetic decision, since harmony is not that easy to quantify. Or is it? That would be a good question: How can we quantify harmony?). It’s not always going to work, but it’s worth trying, that’s the experimental part and it’s crucial: if we don’t experiment, nothing happens, it will probably stay the same.)
Another creative technique is the change of view point and that’s the art of observation. Things can look differently in different lights, from different chairs or at different moments of time. Perspective taking is a natural phase in the psychological development of young children, as young as three years old (remember the book Behave by Robert Sapolsky, that I mentioned in a previous text? that would be a sort of Bible for our project). At human level, perspective taking is crucial for the good functionality of our relationships. It is also essential to our creativity and its development. I personally believe that all people are creative, but for one reason or another, the creativity gets blocked and it’s mostly because of society pressure and the thinking systems we are fed and take for granted. Therefore, critical thinking is important to deconstruct the set of false beliefs that hinder creativity.
In theory, perspective taking can go on ad infinitum. We are grounded by our human capacities and energy. And that’s okay, no matter how much artists may seek perfection, perfectiom is not tangible, at some point we need to integrate the vision into reality somehow.
Years ago I visited an exhibition in Amsterdam displaying art done by astronauts. And I was intrigued by it because the main message of the exhibition was that traveling in space results in a creativity boost. There was even one astronaut who proposed a revolution in the entire American art schooling system: we don’t need the art schools, everybody should go to space! Pretty nice level of enthusiasm!
Another book which I would recommend for the Truth Project book club would be Orbital Perspective by Ron Garan. It emphasizes the need to balance the orbital perspectives with the worm-hole view, that is: to connect mentally and harmoniously the broad context and the specific, situational context.
Since in our Truth Project, we want to somehow recreate a version of Plato’s commune, where philosopher are kings and hold all the jewelry inside the soul as virtues, but with the difference that we will employ all the technological means at date, we should find an optimal way to trade perspectives! And make sure the perspective taking capacity of all participants is enhanced. And here language and the art of teaching plays a crucial role. Because if we want to teach someone our way of thinking or our understanding of the world, we should be able to also speak their language and understand their values and beliefs. Therefore the exchange is bidirectional in one-on-one exchange and its evolution is towards multiple directions. Co-creation is based on the art of understanding.