“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead —his eyes are closed. The insight into the mystery of life, coupled though it be with fear, has also given rise to religion. To know what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms—this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.”
— Albert Einstein, [easyazon_link identifier=”1494877066″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]The World As I See It[/easyazon_link](1934)
Iconic Latvian photographer Philippe Halsman shot some of the most famous portraits of all-time for every major American magazine, including credits for more than 100 Life Magazine covers. He shot the Albert Einstein photo for Time Magazine.
But he’s also renowned for one of his side projects in taking black and white images of popular faces in mid-air “jumpology.”
During a six-year period in the 1950s, he’d request an off the cuff photo of a celebrity artist, author, scientist, or film star jumping into the air. He captured nearly 200 portraits of celebrities including the Marylin Monroe, Salvador Dalí, and Aldous Huxley and published them in a book aptly titled Philippe Halsman’s Jump Book.
“When you ask a person to jump, his attention is mostly directed toward the act of jumping and the mask falls so that the real person appears.”
Creativity is a game of trial and error. The only thing under one’s control is the willingness to experiment.
But being a creator doesn’t just happen. You must compel yourself to see in order to mix and match disparate things and tap into imaginative conclusions.
“Creativity is intelligence having fun.”
The right brain needs constant firing in order to facilitate new ideas. In fact, it’s the schooling that tries to steal its thunder. However, the synthesis of zero to one thinking and practicality makes for good business.
Creativity is free to practice. With an open mind and the right tools — even if it’s just a napkin and pen — anyone can recreate a theater inside their head.
If you’re looking to boost your memory and brain power, this video contains some excellent tips and reminders.
Exercise. Physical exercise helps form new brain cells and solidifies existing neurons. It also increases the hippocampus brain area which is responsible for memory and learning.
Never stop learning. Learning something new builds new brain cells. In fact, parts of your brain shrink when you stop learning. Be a life-long learner!
Play music. Learning to play music stimulates your verbal memory. This is because music training improves your left temporal lobe.
Use Mnemonics. Associate new information with a shortcut of memorable images, sentences, or simple words. Also, try the Acrostic and Mind Palace techniques. The more you can combine words with images, the stronger your brainpower. Keep in mind what Einstein said about creativity: “Words do not play any role in my thought; instead, I think in signs and images which I can copy and combine.”
Gain new experiences. Do small things like eating with your weaker hand to stimulate more connections between areas of your brain. Such practice also strengthens nerve cells and ward off the negative impact of aging.
Try brain games. You can also work out your brain with puzzles, crosswords, or Sudoku. Playing brain games improves cognition and keeps surviving neurons active.
Upon winning the MacArthur Fellow award for creating unconventional, immersive opera experiences, Yuval Sharon didn’t feel like he was a ‘genius’ in any sense of the word.
The fellowship is also known as “the genius grant” although the organization steers clear of using the term in its to describe MacArthur Fellows ““because it connotes a singular characteristic of intellectual prowess.” Yuval Sharon felt the same way.
The Foundation probably takes pains to say this because so many people find something deeply uncomfortable about the concept of “genius” — its exclusionary implications and air of elitism; a Romanticism that seems out of step with contemporary (let alone everyday) life; the affirmation of canonical standards set by … who exactly? Any person mature enough to strive for self-awareness finds the moniker embarrassing, and only an unstable narcissist could ever self-apply the title without shame.
But no genius is truly original, as Brian Eno alludes to. A genius is merely part of what he calls a ‘scenius,’ a community of fellow artists who share similar interests and collaborate, helping prop up the most notable. Says Yuval:
Moments, ideas, a single poem in a collection — a work of genius, no matter how individually wrought — is never the product of a single individual. We should stop thinking of genius as an attribute and instead start to think of it as a condition, a circumstance.
Genius is social and participatory
This notion of a sole genius reduces the collective nature of people. The world participates in the process of creation no matter how one artist tries to individuate their craft. Yuval sums it up nicely:
I spent part of the day reading about the other Fellows in my class and found myself feeling so inspired by their dedication and accomplishments in fields far removed from my own. The world seemed bigger. This may be where the “genius” moniker is still useful: by calling out examples of how and where the endlessly searching attendant spirit still visits the world. Because anyone, anywhere, can participate in it.