Creative personality and emotionally-driven exploratory preoccupation

One of the features that seems to be common to creative personalities is an emotionally-driven exploratory preoccupation. Although I will look forward to reading more about their interpretation of this category, I found it immediately evocative: I have been trying to explain for years, especially to people who find it frustrating that I seem compelled to MAKE things out of ideas, that it is not so much an attachment to the production of creative products, but a compulsion related to the process that produces them. By this logic, creative production involves acting on the compulsion to explore (often by making something exploratory out of it) the dissonance between the way I understand the world to be and the way I am emotionally experiencing it at a given moment.

And the final piece of this small narrative puzzle came into place as I triumphantly described this very satisfying explanation for something that is quite puzzling—because how does that creative production soothe the anxiety and irritation of the billion angry tiny dragons that might bite me anywhere? On my way out of Toronto, one of our neuroscientist colleagues suggested that the process of creative production—as it builds patterns in the bewildering flight of the agents of what is unknown and daunting—helps partly because it creates neural connections that constrain the systems being activated by the dissonance between my understanding and my experience in moments when the unknown becomes immanent via those billion angry tiny dragons that might bite me anywhere. Very satisfying.

OnFiction: Story Preoccupation, or, Ways to Herd a Billion Angry Tiny Dragons

Philosophy’s Western bias (excerpt)

The West has an extremely rich philosophical tradition — one of the two or three richest, in fact — and it is eminently worthy of preservation and transmission to future generations. But its richness has always been a result of its place as a node in a global network through which ideas and things are always flowing. This was true in 500 B.C. and is no less true today. Increasingly, moreover, this interconnectedness is something that is not only of interest to the antiquarian trivia collector who can’t wait to tell you where the printing press really comes from. It is fast becoming the defining fact about our geopolitcal reality. In this reality, Western academic philosophy will likely come to appear utterly parochial in the coming years if it does not find a way to approach non-Western traditions that is much more rigorous and respectful than the tokenism that reigns at present.

Philosophy’s Western Bias Justin E. H. Smith at NYT Opinionator blog on Western philosophy’s bias.