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When you think of imagination or creativity, you may automatically think of artists, poets, authors and composers. In today's world, imagination is typically paired with artistic endeavours but not scientific thinking. However, many of the great scientific minds of the past, including Aristotle, Plato and Leonardo da Vinci were also artists.
We can meld the two separate worlds of art and science by shadowing the lives of such visionaries, enhancing our minds and encouraging innovation.
I invent nothing, I rediscover.
Rodin is arguably one of the world's most talented artists. Known for The Thinker, The Kiss, The Gates of Hell and more, he was highly criticised in his time. His sculptures clashed with age-old traditions, and although he was aware of the controversy about his work, he refused to change his methods. His legacy has lived on, and will undoubtedly continue to inspire future generations.
As children, we are encouraged to invent, design and imagine. As we grow older, this inherent part of us seems to quietly wilt away, hushed into submission by the hustle and bustle of everyday business. We give in to the forces of work and life around us, and lose the spark of imagination. You can help rediscover this spark by studying artists and the works of art they produce.
Art can be print, sculpture, dance, music or a myriad of other forms; there is something for everyone. By studying the lives and thoughts of artists, you can enhance your creative processes and develop new ideas and thoughts. By blending art and science, you can drive innovation, mimicking the great minds of the past.
Technology allows us to unlock the secrets of the mind. Using various types of imagery, we can understand the art of neural networks. Just as a fine painting or brilliant sonata are art, so are the delicate workings of our brains. We are just beginning to unravel the intricacies of how these networks form, decay and how they can be enhanced.
Many creative people report that their best ideas arise during this lull in active thinking. Instead of considering art and science as two separate entities, science is showing that highly creative individuals (whether they are skilled artists or educated scientists) share similar patterns of brain activation. Both groups displayed similar activation during the default mode, or when the mind seems to be drifting (Andreasen, 2012).
One of the meta-competencies of the is innovation. Imagination is the key to driving innovation, and you can embrace the potential of imagination through daydreaming, brainstorming and pattern recognition. Our 'default network' is put to use when our thoughts sort of drift away.
You can stretch your own mind by studying the creative works of others, hopefully finding inspiration and accessing your own 'default network'. If you can open your mind and remember how to imagine, the possibilities are truly limitless.
Andreasen, N. C. (2012). Creativity in art and science: are there two cultures? Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 14(1), 49–54.
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