Tag Archives | Creativity

Coffee vs. Beer: Which Drink Makes You More Creative?

Photo: ondrej.lipar (CC)

Photo: ondrej.lipar (CC)

Mikael Cho, Co-Founder of @ooomf, takes advantage of a ban on drinking water in Montreal to test out coffee versus beer in the creativity stakes, writing at Medium:

What is creativity really?
From a scientific perspective, creativity is your ability to think of something original from connections made between pre-existing ideas in your brain.

These connections are controlled by neurotransmitters like adenosine, which alerts your brain when you’re running out of energy and reacts by slowing down the connections made between neurons by binding to adenosine receptors.

Adenosine is kind of like your brain’s battery status monitor. Once your energy levels get low, adenosine alerts your brain and starts to slow down brain functioning.

This is why after a few hours of intense work, you begin to feel tired, like your brain has run out of juice.

The only way to recharge it is to take a break; unless, you’ve got a secret weapon handy.

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Does Prozac Help Artists Be Creative?

Prozac pills croppedHas creativity been squelched in our Prozac nation? Alex Preston discusses whether or not SSRI antidepressant drugs “hamper the creative process, extinguishing the spark that produces great art, or do they enhance artistic endeavour?” in the Guardian:

Twenty-five years after pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly unleashed Prozac on the red-braced 80s, SSRIs are still the world’s most popular antidepressants. They are swallowed by more than 40 million people, from Beijing to Beirut, knitting a web of happiness from New York to New Caledonia. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, of which Prozac is the best known, are the defining drug of the modern age, the crutch of choice for the worried well. In the US, where one in 10 takes antidepressants, you can buy beef-flavoured Prozac for your dog, trademarked Reconcile. The Prozac revolution has not only changed the way we think about depression (aided by Eli Lilly’s mammoth advertising campaign); it has also changed the way we think, full stop.

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Future of Work: Finding Value in the Rejects of the Job Economy


Nick Meador outlines a project called Funding My Existence, intended to enable creative visionaries to act as stewards of our society’s future, on h+ Magazine:

Unless one is capable of staying in what our society has deemed a “normal” state of consciousness for 20-40 hours per week, week after week, one cannot “make a living.” I for one agree with [Bucky] Fuller’s argument that no one should have to make a living. If the time and energy required to pay bills and feed ourselves prevents us from actually making the changes and progress that we envision in the world, then we are in trouble and we have also lost our link with America’s founding mission statement to guarantee “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” to all.

At the very least, FME could be an information hub and support network for those pigeonholed into various subordinate groups, such as people on the autism spectrum, people undergoing spiritual emergencies, and more.

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Social Rejects Are More Creative

Picture: MJT16 (PD)

Most of the outliers know that being strange, unique, and original has always been advantageous to creative ingenuity and discovery. Drawing, for example, is not simply the muscle memory of the hand, but a different way of ‘seeing’. Actors and writers succeed mostly due to their ability to craft alternate realities based on experiences from their twisted past. Scientists, futurists, inventors, political scientists and philosophers make history by asking heretofore unthinkable questions, and proposing even more absurd answers (both of which may have elicited some odd looks from peers and family members alike).

It’s about time science recognized the value of being a loser, an outcast, or a social reject. Many successful ventures, after all, may have been the result of a fair bit of name-calling back in middle school.

From Fast Company, found via Big Think:

Researchers at Johns Hopkins and Cornell have recently found that the socially rejected might also be society’s most creatively powerful people.

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Noam Chomsky On The Purpose Of Education

Maria Popova of Brain Pickings highly recommends this Chomsky lecture video, saying:
In this talk based on his presentation at the Learning Without Frontiers conference in January, philosopher, linguist, and cognitive scientist Noam Chomsky — easily one of our time’s sharpest thinkers — discusses the purpose of education. Despite the slow pace and the cheesy AfterEffects animated typography, the video is a treasure trove of insight on everything from the role of technology to the pitfalls of policy.
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Are Creative People More Likely to Be Immoral?

InkblotTravis Riddle writes in Scientific American:

In the mid 1990’s, Apple Computers was a dying company.  Microsoft’s Windows operating system was overwhelmingly favored by consumers, and Apple’s attempts to win back market share by improving the Macintosh operating system were unsuccessful.  After several years of debilitating financial losses, the company chose to purchase a fledgling software company called NeXT.  Along with purchasing the rights to NeXT’s software, this move allowed Apple to regain the services of one of the company’s founders, the late Steve Jobs.  Under the guidance of Jobs, Apple returned to profitability and is now the largest technology company in the world, with the creativity of Steve Jobs receiving much of the credit.

However, despite the widespread positive image of Jobs as a creative genius, he also has a dark reputation for encouraging censorship,“ losing sight of honesty and integrity”, belittling employees, and engaging in other morally questionable actions.

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Funding My Existence

LightbulbNick Meador writes on his blog:

It appears we are living at the dawn of a new era. Throughout our culture we see signs of change, progress, and evolution. A “Creative Class” is on the rise that—with the help of the Internet and other related technologies—will reportedly transform our entire socio-economic system.

And yet, at the same time, something is amiss. Much of this so-called Creative Class can only prosper by finding work within the current corporate infrastructure, resulting in very little actual creativity or innovation. The very ones who might create the necessary change in society must expend their time and energy worrying about “making a living.” Those who can keep a job have to sacrifice ideas that contradict the wishes of bosses and the company’s stockholders.

For those who have been diagnosed “abnormal” by our society, this problem is especially prevalent. Such people are variably labeled anti-social, eccentric, introverted, highly sensitive, ADD, bipolar, neuro-atypical, differently abled, gifted, or one of many other similar terms that have a derogatory effect.… Read the rest

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Why Being Sleepy and Drunk Are Great for Creativity

HSTCreativity can seem like magic ... actually, it's not. Jonah Lehrer writes in the Wired Science:
Here’s a brain teaser: Your task is to move a single line so that the false arithmetic statement below becomes true.

IV = III + III

Did you get it? In this case, the solution is rather obvious – you should move the first “I” to the right side of the “V,” so that the statement now reads: VI = III + III. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of people (92 percent) quickly solve this problem, as it requires a standard problem-solving approach in which only the answer is altered. What’s perhaps a bit more surprising is that nearly 90 percent of patients with brain damage to the prefrontal lobes — this leaves them with severe attentional deficits, unable to control their mental spotlight — are also able to find the answer ...
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A Plan For A Post-Labor America

The WallBecause I share the concern that the Occupy Movement has no plan for change, I humbly present for consensus. . .

A PLAN FOR A POST-LABOR AMERICA

Education reform. A popular misconception about the American ED-U-SYSTEM is that it is ‘broken.’ When in fact, it is quite good at what it was designed for; creating dependable laborers for Industry. Thanks to the schooling system, youth are trained very early in how they are expected to be useful in the “REAL WORLD.” The real purpose of public education consists of three courses: one in punctuality, one in obedience, and one in rote, repetitive work.

Labor-based economy demands workers who show up on time, workers who will take orders from a management hierarchy without question and it demands men and women to slave away at machines or in offices. Rather than lament or ignore these facts we should look at this system as a necessary evil that has allowed us to develop ourselves to this present state of technological sophistication — actually paving the way for what comes next.… Read the rest

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