This act of wrenching away an object or concept from its habitual associative context and seeing it in a new context is an essential part of the creative process

This act of wrenching away an object or concept from its habitual associative context and seeing it in a new context is, as I have tried to show, an essential part of the creative process.

It is an act both of destruction and of creation, for it demands the breaking up of a mental habit, the melting down, with the blow-lamp of Cartesian doubt, of the frozen structure of accepted theory, to enable the new fusion to take place.

This perhaps explains the strange combination of skepticism and credulity in the creative genius. Every act–in science, art, or religion–involves a regression to a more primitive level, a new innocence of perception liberated from the cataract of accepted beliefs.

It is a process of reculer pour mieux sauter [to draw back in order to make a better jump] of disintegration preceding the new synthesis, comparable to the dark night of the soul through which the mystic must pass.

–From The Sleepwalkers: A history of man’s changing vision of the universe by Arthur Koestler

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3 thoughts on “This act of wrenching away an object or concept from its habitual associative context and seeing it in a new context is an essential part of the creative process

  1. This bears a wretched resemblance to a rejection note/piece of advice I got from the editor of Crazyhorse the other day.

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