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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Pattern Recognition

Pattern Recognition

"And all shall be well and All manner of thing shall be well When the tongues of flame are in-folded Into the crowned knot of fire And the fire and the rose are one." In this strange passage from Little Gidding, poet T.S. Eliot links the mental image of a rose to the image of an infolded knot of flame. We see the connection; yes, a rose does look something like a knot of fire.

Much has been written about intuition and creativity. Most of it is wrong.

Allow me to explain; Intuition is merely pattern recognition, a principal function of the right hemisphere of your brain. Centered in that wordless realm, intuition whispers, "I've seen this movie, or one similar to it, so I think I know how it ends." But your right brain is without word-language, so this thought must emerge in your consciousness only as a hunch, a gut feeling, a precognition, an inexplicable insight. When such insights flow unrestricted from the right brain to the left and then out through the tip of a pen, they become powerful, poetic language, such as that of T.S. Elliot above. When from the tip of a brush, fine art. And when from the point of a draftsman's pencil, a new invention.

Intuition and art, indeed all "creativity," is based upon seeing the link between two dissimilar things that have no obvious connection.

Gutenberg connected coins to books and invented the printing press. The link between them: duplication. "Gosh, if a coin die will stamp an image onto countless pieces of metal to make coins, couldn't the same be done with letters of the alphabet to make the pages of a book? All I would need is something to hold the movable letters in place that could then be easily lifted up and pressed down. A wine press! I'll use the plate of a wine press to hold the letters!" And the world was changed that day.

Your left brain is the home of sequential, logical, analytical thought - business thought - always seeking to forecast a result; "What is the next step? How do I get to the next level? What would be correct?" For those familiar with the Myers-Briggs instrument, left-brain preferences are identified by the S and J designations.

Your right brain is the place of complex, fantastical abstract thought, ever seeking to find a pattern.---Roy H. Williams

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