Second Aspect of Creative Interchange
The Right Side of the Lemniscate
Characteristic 3: Creative Integrating
Creativity, like authenticity and appreciation, has a specific meaning in the creative interchange process. As was stated earlier Dr. Wieman focused on the creativity that creates the human mind, rather than, the creations proceeding form that mind; for example work, art, science, technology and the like.
The Indo-European roots for the word create, as used here, mean becoming, to grow, to bring forth. The creative integrating characteristic of creative interchange brings forth growth by expanding the range of what we can know, appreciate, imagine and control from the inside out. It incorporates the promise of transforming our be-ing through our be-coming. This means we are both, a human being and a human becoming. We are a being that continually becomes a new being. We are not either a being or a becoming. We are both a becoming being and a being becoming.
Becoming in the realm of creative interchange involves transcending. To transcend means to pass beyond the limits, to surpass, to leap and to climb. In order to create, to grow and become our mind moves beyond its current understanding, meanings, limits, structures and expectations. It is a movement outside and beyond our current mental model or mindset. Of course, such movement precipitates uncertainty, ambiguity, unknowing and potential confusion. Many people experience anxiety at such moments. This is an interlude between being the way we’ve been and becoming a new and different way of being.
Most people resist such moments of ambiguity and anxiety. Instead of moving beyond they become protective, defensive and often offensive. Nevertheless, this is a critical characteristic of the creative interchange process. It requires a willingness to let go of the way things are in order to embrace what they can become. Those who are willing to remain open, curious and accept and embrace ambiguity are more apt to have an “aha” experience or what Maslow called a peak experience. It paves the way for what he called “synergistic awareness”. Synergy involves an experience that is different from and more than what was expected. It is a moment of originality and novelty. It’s an interlude of creativity beyond the current created self. It is an experience of the creative self-awareness penetrating created self-consciousness.
The “aha’ occurs from a common meaning that is forming and integrating a new and expanded meaning from the ambiguity and uncertainty through connecting elements of the paradox. A new perspective is emerging. It is a transformational moment in the mind of moving form and through one form of being and doing toward a another. Sometimes the new form is an “incremental” change, while at other times it evokes a “transformational” change. It requires the capacity to suspend judgment and delay gratification and remain within and between transcendence and integration. It is an interlude when the creative self is transcending the created self, a time of expanding the valuing consciousness.
Transcendence moves us beyond our existing mindset while the integration provides the parameters for the emerging mindset. Integration means to bring parts together into a whole, to unify, to join and to make complete. Some of the Indo-European roots include, bring into contact, to connect, to touch, to arrange and to bring together. The integration brings together a new arrangement of the current configuration of the created mindset and combines and integrates new material experienced in the transcendent ambiguity of the creative self. The old mindset is transformed into a new one that is different form and more than the old. This transcending and integrating is at the heart of the third characteristic of creative interchange.
Interrelating characteristics 2 and 3
(The basis for Becoming)
This interrelating is pictured by a “skewed or diagonal 8” connecting the left (the observing, perceiving and thinking) part with the right (creating and transforming) part of creative interchange process (the Lemniscate or “horizontal 8”).
The integration of characteristics 2 and 3 form the basis for our Becoming. This is the process of allowing our created self to become permeable, pliable and open to entertain and appreciate differences. The more we trust, are curious, observe, perceive and “appreciate” new ways of being, the less intimidated we are by ambiguity, uncertainty and interludes of frustration and confusion. This is the prerequisite for letting go and letting the process of transformation “flow” without becoming anxious and stressed. During this integration of the two characteristics being accepting and engaging ambiguity is paramount.
Appreciative understanding and creative integrating are distinct but not separate. The more we expand our valuing consciousness the more information, images and options become available and acceptable the more there is for adapting and inventing new mental models. We are more willing to let go of our current mental models as we appreciatively understand the limitations and errors that can and be corrected. The process of becoming and merging into a new way of being is our also provides us with the highest form of satisfaction. No amount of pleasure derived from any other way of being can approximate becoming a higher level of who we are capable of becoming and being.
Characteristic 4: Continual Transforming
Without continual transforming, much of the potential gain of the 3rd characteristic is lost. Habits are not easily changed. It takes commitment, discipline, integrity and perseverance to sustain “aha” moments into new habits of behaving. Good intentions can initiate change but not sustain it. As pointed out in characteristic 2, sustainable change means there has been a change, a development, in our valuing consciousness. We must value the new emerging mindset in order to make the effort to form the new habits required to establish and sustain it. A friend of ours summed it up by saying, “If you’re willing to pay the price (make the effort), you can keep the change.” The price to be paid is the amount of attention we put with our intention. Many people abandon their intentions through distraction. They have good intentions, but not much discipline to sustain their attention.
While characteristic 3 makes differences mutually supportive characteristic 4 makes them habitual. This characteristic is dependent on the degree of motivation, the value and the amount of attention placed on developing the new mindset. It also, requires courage to engage and persevere through the ambiguity and uncertainty of the transition. This characteristic carries our intentions to fruition through attention and repetition on to action. Characteristic 4 completes the synergy initiated during creative integrating. Both 3 and 4 bring elements of the old mental model to merge with the new elements of the “aha” moment and habituate them into a new mindset. The original creative self energizes an expanding transformation within the created self.
It is an emergence from one version of stability into a new one. The integration of these two characteristics provides a converging and emerging dynamic. It moves from ambiguity toward stability via spontaneity, simultaneity and novelty. It merges the best of the old with what is better in the new. This requires a two-fold commitment. It keeps the “old” from obstructing the emergence of the “new” and keeps the “new” from abandoning and discarding the value of the “old.” Wieman said this requires a two-fold commitment. A commitment to act on the current best we know and a commitment to remain open to what in truth can transform our current best to what is better.
Far too often, we are committed to our current best on the assumption it is THE best; it is somehow TRUE beyond doubt, question or correction. Such rigidity is an instance of the created self-obstructing a creative interchange with our created self.
Interrelating characteristics 3 and 4
This interrelating is pictured by a “Vertical 8” within the right part (the creating and doing part) of Creative Interchange (the Lemniscate or “Horizontal 8”).
Creative integrating and continual transforming are distinct but not separate. Simply put, as the quality of what we creatively integrate increases the more transformational the change. Usually, as the benefit of a change increases the motivation to become the change we want to “see and be” increases. Conversely, the more we become the change the more we are drawn toward the satisfaction experienced in and through the transforming process.
These characteristics are not sequential. The more we expand the range of what we know, appreciate, imagine and control the more competent we become at continuing to expand and creating ever-new ways to integrate and adapt creatively. The movement from stability to change to an expanded stability provides a felt quality of satisfaction that is more than and different from such notions as fun, excitement and pleasure. The latter are derived from one’s current mindset. They tend to be temporary and their opposite experienced when their pursuit is obstructed, frustrated and denied. The deeper experience of “bliss”, “peace” and “joy” are not emotions in the conventional sense of the meaning of satisfaction. The distinction between “feeling” and “emotion” is taken up in the section on CI conditions.
Thus, Characteristics 1 and 2 support divergent thinking while Characteristics 3 and 4 support convergent thinking. These characteristics integrate and stabilize the current mindset into a new configuration that expands and transforms the existing mindset into a new and more comprehensive mindset. Transformational change is more of a paradigm shift, a new worldview, an epiphany of life changing proportions. Such interludes provide us with what Maslow called “Peak Experiences.” These have often been identified with “religious” and “mystical” experiences.
Summary Second Aspect of Creative Interchange
The second aspect of Creative Interchange is about becoming who we can become through creative integrating and continual transformation.
Interrelating characteristics 4 and 1
This interrelating is pictured by a “Diagonal 8” connecting the right (creating and transforming) aspect with the left (seeing and thinking) part of Creative Interchange (the Lemniscate or “Horizontal 8”).
The integration of characteristics 4 and 1 form the basis of our Being. It is a process of making the emerging integration of the old and new mindsets into a habit. It is a process of aligning our intention with what we say and do. It is process of completing our becoming in characteristic 4 with our authentic interacting in characteristic 1. It is about integrity of being our best current self. It is acting on the best we now know, appreciate, imagine and control.
Continual transforming and an authentic interacting are distinct but not separate. As the quality of whom we transform into increases, the more courage we develop for being who we are and authentically saying and acting on the best we now know, appreciate, imagine at any given moment. The realization that we are who we are and who we are yet to be allows us to be open to sharing and experiencing differences that will act as the precursors to who we are yet to become and be.
Question: Is the creative interchange process primarily individual or social? The answer is a resounding, yes! In a letter to our friend Mike Murray, dated March 6 1973, Wieman posed this issue as a question. He moreover wrote the question in capital letters; “HOW TO RELEASE AND DEVELOP THE CREATIVE POTENTIALITIES OF THE INDIVIDUAL IN COMMUNITY WITH OTHERS?” He continued, “These potentialities are not in the individual apart form community with others but neither are they in community apart from the unique potentialities of each individual. How to bring these two together in such a way that they create one another: the free, full, unlimited potentialities of the individual and the kind of community with others in which each fosters his development in one another. This is the basic problem of human existence. The expression ‘creative interchange’ seeks to summarize it.”
Henry spent his later years seeking the “required conditions” that foster creative interchange within and between individual living in such community. In the next section we will examine some of those required individual/social conditions.