The creative circuit

On the connection circuit

(by Richard @ Flexible Reality – Jan. 2020)

The mind to eye to hand to object and back is a well-known interconnected circuit used by artists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and creators of all kinds. For entrepreneurs, something is perceived as missing, poorly implemented, or ripe for commercial exploitation. For the engineer, something exhibiting a logical, mathematical  or other physical property is examined and worked with for analysis, mimicry, creation, or recreation.  For the artist, this circuit is central to their being, and requires at least one element that is missing from the transcendental and meditative spiritualities; namely the use of hands  -with its attendant requirement: the application of insight, skill, training, effort, and applied work.

Mystics generally do not use their hands in their training and creative endeavors, and some would assert they assign a secondary role to physical realities. Also, the progression in spiritual realms from novice to expert is fundamentally different from that of artists and creators who work with physical things. The mystic learns to ignore or at least reduce the role of the physical from their participation in the spiritual. With sufficient experience, training, and the application of acquired skills, they ascend toward mastery of their disciplines.

The artist understands they can join the circuit at any loci, and develop into an integral part of it. But the acquisition of skills, the training of mind and body geared toward integration with the circuit requires working with one’s hands in the creative process. It makes little difference which hand-tools one uses; but art does not occur without work, effort, and the laying on of hands.

In a paper by Ambar Chakravarty entitled: “The neural circuitry of visual artistic production and appreciation: A proposition”, Mr. Chakravarty writes:

The cognitive neuroscience of creativity

The concept of creativity, in general, is an abstract one and simply speaking it involves doing something novel that ultimately proves to be good to human society. Artistry is indeed a creative endeavor as art imparts knowledge and pleasure to the viewer. Many create art or music and, logically, all may be considered creative. But, what determines this extraordinary creativity is not exactly known.

Andreasen suggests that extraordinary creative people probably have an extra degree of connectivity in their brains or perhaps harbor an unusual type of connectivity. This is difficult to prove as, of all the extraordinary creative individuals that we know of, only Albert Einstein’s brain had been subjected to histological studies, but that too in a very limited fashion. Einstein’s brain seemed to have an altered white/grey matter ratio, which was later conceived as suggestive of an extra degree of connectivity. Although creativity is likely to be a phenomenon of mind and hence somewhat abstract, it is indeed a brain phenomenon.

The brain is incredibly elegant but remains very mysterious. There are several areas of the brain that can be associated with the ability to produce art. Because frontal lobes are highly developed in humans compared with nonhuman primates who can not produce art, it might be reasonable to deduce that art arises from these structures. However, it seems more likely that the posterior parietal lobe, in particular on the nondominant side, is central to the ability to produce art. Visual artistic production involves a high degree of visual spatial skill.

Chakravarty Andreasen and Deitriech approach artistic creativity as a neurological process, but I’d like to suggest their focus on the issue of “connectivity” as being central to creative endeavors is congruent with the “artistic circuit” discussed above.

Mystics also attach reverence for the notion of interconnectedness – the “we are all part of the whole”.  Unfortunately, the current fascination in Silicon Valley, among other sites,  with assorted flavors of TM bear an uncanny resemblance to “Jedi Mind Games” simply because the focus begins, develops, and ends with the individual, with little attention and devotion to anything else along the route.

Ouida Cannady, an art teacher from Atlanta, described the circuit as bi-directional flowing from the object, to the eye, to the mind, to the hand, to the media, to the object, etc. In drawing, the pen or brush followed the lines, contours, colors, shapes, and textures of the object and that data moved along the circuit to be assimilated and recorded at every node along the route. An artist did not draw a line to mimic or signify a boundary, rather they used the media as if it were itself attached directly to the object and the hand/media was simply recording what it found there.

Modern practitioners of photographic, video and music arts use original data points as starting points, to be reworked by professional tools in the process of creating “Art” with a capital A. However, no amount of PhotoShop tools can disguise the lack of artistic circuitry – the audience just sees a nice product. Worse yet, the purely commercial attempts remove the “Deus ex machina” factor, so the audience doesn’t even get to participate in, or integrate with,  the creation. They are simply spectators.

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