Carl Sagan on creativity

In a Tv interview in ’88, Carl Sagan was invited (remotely via satellite) next to Stephen Hawking and Arthur C. Clarke the author of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

From that interview I extracted only Carl Sagan’s answer to: How does creativity operate?, along with another excerpt to which he refers in his answer – and the relevant context of that excerpt, all chronologically.

Q [..] …an agenda for the future?

C.S. My sense is that the scientific way of thinking, questioning.. some delicate mix of creative encouragement of new ideas and the most rigorous and skeptical scrutiny of new and old ideas, I think that is the path to the future, not just for science but for all human institutions. We have to be willing to challenge because we are in desperate need of change.

[..]Q. You said science should be skeptical of politics, don’t you think we should be skeptical about science too? I mean can we trust you guys?

C.S. I think you should definitely be skeptical, but my view is that there is no community of people on the planet more skeptical then scientists, it’s our stocking trade, it’s the live blood of our subject.

[..]Q. The question of creativity, which fascinates me.. [..] how in fact does it operate? [..]

C.S. This issue of where creativity comes from.. I share your fascination with it. I don’t think we understand very much about it.. My practice is merely to respect my unconscious mind, who often is much wiser then the conscious part of me.. and pay attention to what it says. In fact I think this is connected to that delicate tension at the heart of the scientific method I talked about before, the unconscious mind proposes a range of possibilities and the conscious mind disposes – that is compares those ideas with the real world, checks for internal inconsistencies and so on. I think the creative process is a partnership between a conscious and an unconscious part of our minds, at least that’s how it seams to me.

See the whole interview here.

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