Cross-Pollination Vol. 8
Creativity and LEGO
Why do we love LEGO?
Of all the toys that have come and gone, why has LEGO stood the test of time?
They answer, arguably, lies in creativity.
The more building blocks we have, and the greater diversity of shapes and colours of them we possess, the more interesting our creations will be.
Maria Povova, author and creator of The Marginalian, theorizes that creativity is combinatorial. Where nothing is original, and that everything is built upon that which precedes it. That creating is a byproduct of taking existing pieces of inspiration, knowledge, skill and insight, gathered over our lifespan, and recombining them into new creations.
Much like LEGO.
“We take information, from it synthesize insight, which in turn germinates ideas. And then we take these ideas, ours and those of others, we toss them into our mental reservoir…where they sit and sort of just float around until one day they float into just the right alignment to click into a new idea.”
We just have to remember that nothing is truly original.
“In order for us to truly create and contribute to the world, we have to be able to connect countless dots, to cross-pollinate ideas from a wealth of disciplines, to combine and recombine these pieces and build new castles.”
LEGO has not changed. Yet our creations become more and more astonishing every year.
The keys to creativity and the ability to “make seemingly random connections across disciplines,” for Popova, are curiosity and choice. With “curiosity” being the hunger for knowledge and understanding and “choice” being the discipline to focus and channel our attention.
We all love LEGO. And we all love information. But I think we can do a better job, if we want to, in both reinvigorating our child-like curiosities and channelling a monk-like discipline.
“How we choose to pay attention, and relate to information and each other shapes who we become, shapes our creative destiny and, in turn, shapes our experience of the world. And, in my mind, there’s nothing more important than that.”
Speaking of creativity...
Creativity at Play
Lil Jazz here from the 1998 DMC World Championships.
Like playing with LEGO, Jazz takes independent and diverse pieces of music and uses them as building blocks in a combinatorial manner to form new sounds. New creations. Creations that were the result of deep work and trial and error...
We all make errors. But not all errors are the same.
Recall that there are two types; errors of commission and errors of omission.
Commonly attributed to, and used in, the realm of accounting, the two errors can be understood as follows:
With the latter being the less harmful of the two.
In team sports, for example, a player can be where he/she is supposed to be, yet make a mistake. This is an error of commission. But if the player is out of position, leading to the opposing team scoring, this is an error of omission.
So where am I going with this?
It is not uncommon for those of us in clinical realms to be presented with someone who is actively trying to be healthy but doing the "wrong" things. Chasing fad diets, doing ineffective exercises, etc. Although well-intentioned, often these individuals are unable to rehab their injury or improve their body composition due to errors of commission.
In contrast, we have also encountered others who don't make the time for exercise, rarely sleep longer than 5 hours, and/or never show up to their appointments or training sessions. Errors of Omission.
But Errors of Commission aren't always the innocent of the two...
ChatGPT has been rapidly rising in popularity and it’s been suggested that this new AI (artificial intelligence) tool may eventually replace google’s search engine. However, what are the chances this leads to misinformation?
This is what Kompella and Cooper have to say,
“What complicates matters is that AI-generated content will commingle fact and fiction, and the end result will often seem believable enough. How will we know whether the AI-written output is accurate? Some parts of the content make sense and some parts may not. It is not always clear which is which. Well-meaning users can actually end up believing in falsehoods and unwittingly spread misinformation.”
While we’re certainly not immune to this in our current state of wired connectedness, my personal concern is that not only will we be unsure of accuracy of information but effort in knowledge seeking may be reduced further in future years to come.
Especially if the sea of information continues to wash over us in repeated tsunami-like fashion...
Rapid Innovation vs Creativity
"The difficulty seems to be, not so much that we publish unduly in view of the extent and variety of present day interests, but rather that publication has been extended far beyond our present ability to make real use of the record. The summation of human experience is being expanded at a prodigious rate, and the means we use for threading through the consequent maze to the momentarily important item is the same as was used in the days of square-rigged ships."
So it has never been more imperative than now, with the rapidly evolving landscape of technology and information retrieval, for society to take command and control of AI innovation and more importantly, creative thought.
"Much needs to occur, however, between the collection of data and observations, the extraction of parallel material from the existing record, and the final insertion of new material into the general body of the common record. For mature thought there is no mechanical substitute. But creative thought and essentially repetitive thought are very different things."
For it is not the search of information, or knowledge, that we must seek but wisdom...
Knowledge vs Wisdom
And perhaps, according to Morris et al,
" (The) difference between wisdom and knowledge (is) information about something? The latter being driven by certainty and control; correctly labelling objects inspected, destined to be classified away into their ‘correct’ places as if the world is static. The former being driven by uncertainty and humility; appreciating that the world is not filled with objects to be inspected and recorded, but is a dynamic, tangled mesh of things woven together, things perpetually on the move."
We must embrace what we do not know and more importantly, embrace WHEN we do not know. For it is within this space specifically, that we are most curious, most attentive, most malleable.
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