March 29, 2012 § 9 Comments
“The creative act is a letting down of the net of human imagination into the ocean of chaos on which we are suspended, and the attempt to bring out of it ideas.” ~ Terence McKenna
The creative spark — that incandescent flash of insight known as a breakthrough — is known for being unpredictable, elusive and mysterious. Yet over the past few decades, cognitive psychologists have been studying the various neurological processes behind creativity.
“In the seconds before the insight appears,” explains Jonah Lehrer, author of Imagine: How Creativity Works, “a brain area called the superior anterior temporal gyrus (aSTG) exhibits a sharp spike in activity. This region, located on the surface of the right hemisphere, excels at drawing together distantly related information, which is precisely what’s needed when working on a hard creative problem.”
“If one particular style of thought stands out about creative genius, it is the ability to make juxtapositions between dissimilar subjects. Call it a facility to connect the unconnected that enables them to see things to which others are blind.
“Leonardo da Vinci forced a relationship between the sound of a bell and a stone hitting water. This enabled him to make the connection that sound travels in waves.”
Researchers of brain function have found that certain factors increase the likelihood of receiving an insight. For instance, subjects exposed to a short comedic video boosted creative solution performance by 20%.
Interestingly, studies conducted at the University of Illinois at Chicago found that drunk test subjects given word problems outperformed their sober peers by 30%!
The insight puzzles given were ‘remote associates,’ in which a person is asked to find an additional word that goes with a triad of words. For example:
Pine Crab Sauce
(the answer is below the picture)
(The answer is “apple” — pineapple, crabapple, applesauce.)
Why would subjects exposed to comedy score higher than peers not treated with a laugh? The same reason drunk subjects outperformed their sober peers.
“The answer,” according to Lehrer “involves the surprising advantage of not paying attention. […] We might be focused, but we’re probably focused on the wrong answer.”
Creative blocks occur when the logical left hemisphere of the brain has reached an impasse with its linear, systematic approach; interrupting its frustrated obsession with the wrong questions can free up the right hemisphere to supply the essential fresh connection. Relaxation helps.
“This research,” expounds Lehrer, “explains why so many major breakthroughs happen in the unlikeliest of places, whether it’s Archimedes in the bathtub or the physicist Richard Feynman scribbling equations in a strip club, as he was known to do. It reveals the wisdom of Google putting ping-pong tables in the lobby and confirms the practical benefits of daydreaming. As Einstein once declared, ‘Creativity is the residue of time wasted.'”
So next time you’re hitting your head against the wall of some creative problem, give the left brain a break and take a shower, play a game, drink a beer, watch a comedy video, take a nap or take yourself on a walk.
Studies show, this is a bona fide part of the creative process! The insight hiding in the superior anterior temporal gyrus of the brain needs a chance to offer its fresh connection.
“If you’re trying to be more creative,” concludes Lehrer, “one of the most important things you can do is increase the volume and diversity of the information to which you are exposed. Steve Jobs famously declared that ‘creativity is just connecting things.’ Mr. Jobs argued that the best inventors seek out ‘diverse experiences,’ collecting lots of dots that they later link together.
“Instead of developing a narrow specialization, they study, say, calligraphy (as Mr. Jobs famously did) or hang out with friends in different fields. Because they don’t know where the answer will come from, they are willing to look for the answer everywhere.”
“Original ideas,” agrees Michael Michalko, “inevitably are created by conceptually blending subjects from different universes into something new.”
March 17, 2012 § 22 Comments
“As artists we’re highly sensitive people, and this machine around us, this so-called ‘music industry,’ is such a demonic thing. It’s sacrifices people’s lives and their essences at the drop of a dime … I had a manager once say to me, ‘ You know you’re worth more money dead than alive.”’ ~Chaka Khan
An in-depth analysis of mind-control themes in contemporary pop music (see last week’s Mind Control in the Music Industry ~ Part 1) would be incomplete without addressing Metropolis. Written and directed by German expressionist Fritz Lang in 1927, the cult classic is set in a futuristic urban dystopia. The story highlights the struggle between two distinct classes, the wealthy rulers who designed the city and the oppressed, mechanized workers who live underground — without whom the elite’s metropolis could not be sustained. Freder, the son of the city’s creator, becomes entranced with a young woman, the charismatic, angelic Maria.
Though the restless workers are pressing for revolt, Maria acts as a people’s prophet, advocating peace. She entreats them to remain patient, promising that God will send a mediator to channel communication between the divided classes. However, Maria is abducted by Joh Frederson (city creator and father of Freder,) along with his accomplice, the mad scientist, Rotwang. The two men take her to a black magic laboratory and hook her up to a machine which steals her likeness.
Using a fusion of satanic ritual and Tesla-esque technology, Rotwang has created a “machine man” whom he considers “the man of the future.” The archaic android has the faculty to assume the physical appearance of any person Rotwang programs it to imitate. Employing this technology, the two men create a false Maria.
At the end of the procedure, the simulated Maria looks exactly like the beautiful young woman after which she has been modeled. But beneath the deceptively soft-looking skin lies a cold, programmed machine.
The false Maria is then set loose on the worker city to incite riots and discredit the movement started by the real Maria. The chaos is generated by an erotic dance performance by the false Maria in a red light district club.
In the end, Fredor becomes the mediator between the ruling and the working classes (though he can hardly be considered neutral, what with his father owning the city!) Yet the film closes with the feel-good caption: “the mediator between the head and hands must be the heart.” Metropolis is a stunning visual odyssey, a technical marvel. Widely and deservedly considered a masterpiece.
Like any work of art, the film can be interpreted in multiple ways and on multiple levels. Clearly the head in the closing epitaph is supposed to represent the elite, framing them as the brains, and the hands represent the workers, the brawny means by which the visions of “the head” are carried out. But what does the heart symbolize to the film’s creators?
Metropolis was co-written by Fritz Lang with his wife, Thea von Harbou. Though she would go on to become a passionate member of the Nazi party, the Jewish Lang held democratic political views, having no Nazi affiliations beyond the fact that Hitler famously admired the film. Some conspiracy sites (check out Vigilent Citizen’s “Occult Symbolism in Metropolis”) have suggested that the film is a statement made by the elite for the elite, and that the mediator symbolizes the media, which has become increasingly controlled by the same six corporations – in other words, a small handful of wealthy, elite individuals.
Whatever Fritz Lang’s intended cinematic message, the film sparks interesting speculations. For instance, note that the tool used by the elite (represented by mad scientist Rotwang and city creator, Joh Frederson) to manipulate the masses was a woman dancing erotically.
Could control of the masses be as simple as sex?
Certainly, though it is rare, the CIA has publicly admitted to infiltrating the media.
The message behind the woman as robot is similar to the message behind the woman as doll — another theme that shows up constantly in today’s videos and popular music symbology.
The visual cue subtly but firmly dictates: she is not in control of herself. She is programmable.
Often, with doll and robot imagery, comes a motif of missing limbs.
An internet culture has been built around the regularity with which these images recur in the pop mythos. Theories that pop stars are mere puppets for higher powers wishing to impart agenda-driven messages abound.
“The idea behind Illuminati involvement in the careers of popular music icons,” notes conspiracy site Parkalert Press, “revolves around the central concept that as new artists, athletes, and personalities arrive on the scene, there is a system in place where certain people are handpicked to go on to a further calling.” “Pop icons are influential,” continues Parkalert Press, “especially on young people, and their everyday movements attract the attention of millions. That’s why the theory exists that the Illuminati embraces them, ‘enlightens’ them, if you will, and then supports them, further adding to their success.
“In return, these people cooperate by showing their appreciation for how they got where they are through permeating their music, videos, interviews, books, and everyday actions with Illuminati-based symbolism, imagery, and terminology.”
Could the rise in mental health disorders today be exacerbated by the bipolar and dissociative themes in pop music today? It could be a self-feeding cycle. Is the recurring imagery simply a case of mental health issues being common in artists and performers?
Many believe the relentless plentitude of symbols point in a more sinister direction. Monarch Programming is a specific kind of trauma-based mind control which many speculate may be rampant in the entertainment industry, what with the plethora of butterfly imagery.
Cathy O’Brien is an outspoken activist spreading awareness about the phenomenon of trauma-based mind control. In her exposé “Trance Formation of America” she details her life as a Monarch Slave. Also known as Marionette Programming, this dark brand of psychological warfare originated in Nazi Germany.
After the allies won WWII, a slew of Nazi scientists, doctors and psychiatrists were brought over to the US — ostensibly so the enemy didn’t have access to their sinister skills. But then guess who did? Out of this infamous influx of mad Rotwangs, MK ULTRA was born: a covert, illegal human experimentation program run by the CIA’s Office of Scientific Intelligence.
According to whistleblowers like Cathy O’Brien, Project Monarch is an outgrowth of that program, designed to artificially induce MPD and DID in victims as a means of control, creating Manchurian candidate types to do their bidding; whether it be sex slavery or assassination. The conspiracy theory line of reasoning goes … why not pop stars, too?
Rosanne Bar has publicly asserted that her Multiple Personality Disorder was “deliberately induced by the CIA […] after they brought all the Nazis over from Germany to run the American Psychiatric Association.”
When Larry King, with whom she is interviewing, expresses disbelief, Roseanne sticks to her story: “I’m telling you the truth. It is all mind control and all kinds of things to invent people with multiple personalities.”
“So you have been captured by Nazis?” ribs Larry King, still not taking her seriously.
Roseanne responds, “Well, in a way, I believe the government has implanted some kind of a chip into my head.” Posts on her blog and repeated appearances at mind control survivor conferences affirm that her comments to Larry were no joke.
We are spoon-fed what to believe by advertisers. Traumatized on a daily basis by the violence in the news. Forced to compartmentalize in order to function, perhaps by wearing a fashionable article of clothing and conveniently blocking out the conditions of the sweatshop workers who produced it. Or by eating a fast food chicken sandwich, while avoiding thinking about the crowded, unsanitary conditions of the chickens; those rows upon rows of dirty cages. And who among us does not feel they have multiple selves living within them? Men and women alike are dehumanized, reduced to faceless consumers.
In a previous post, “The Mad Cult of the World,” I compare the socialization process to cult indoctrination. The similarities are actually quite noteworthy. Perhaps it makes sense for us to collectively express mind control themes through our chosen cultural archetypes.