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.

tranquility vs zen

“- You see, we all can be the master of our selves, in control and aware, pure if you like. We just have to give up on the things that hurt us, that destroy us.. he says looking at the cigarette and then slowly taking a smoke. But we can’t.. we’re addicted, we’re the slaves of our own ignorance, the pawns of our own self destructing plan, following it blindly.. Although! (after suddenly reducing intensity of speech) at times we realize, we know.. Some just can’t live with the self that they have become, that has been affected and build by the path they find them selves on.. and let go into ignorance.. apathy, surrender to the sweet immediate reward, (a sudden rise of intensity, exclaiming) the instant gratification! why get your self all beat up in tiredness and compromises when in one day!  you can be the king of procrastination, the lord of Bohemia! You feel full power over your self and stand naked in the middle of your living room with Tchaikovsky floating all around you and over saturating every cell of your eardrum when, in a high peak, while neighbors are hitting on your walls and shouting, you roar: “I don’t give a fuck!”..  and feeel soooo freee.. (he said slowly, enjoying the moment in a sudden stop from adrenalin, but after another second a bitter realisation is reflected in his suddenly dimmed face).. Of-course.. the day passes.. and you find your self in the morning making re-acquaintance with your life, (starting an expression of discontent like hatred towards that discouraging moment of re-acquaintance) which it felt so good to just ditch!.. and enjoy tranquility..  it almost feels right to make the same choice this next day too.”

By me.

PS. I just find my self imagining these kinds of dialogs or monologues after experiencing or witnessing intense emotions, sometimes it’s something I see on the street or anywhere outside, reading something (not as often as I would like), hearing someone’s own story or remembering moments of intense feelings or situations. Another often occasion is after seeing a movie. And in this above paragraph in particular it was after seeing “Black Swan” – still, it has nothing to do with the movie’s story.