Tuesday, July 21, 2015

What is Creativity? - 14

Overwhelming threat and trauma can result in dissociation.

Here's a definition of "dissociation" found in The Body Bears the Burden: Trauma, Dissociation, and Disease, by Robert C. Scaer, MD:  "An unconscious process by which a group of mental processes is separated from the rest of the thinking processes, resulting in an independent functioning of these processes and a loss of the usual relationships; for example, a separation of affect from cognition.”

Does this definition mean that, without threats and trauma, affect and cognition work together? Are inseparable?

That's not how we think about our thinking. We think affect and cognition are completely separate - that when we are thinking we're using only the cognitive areas of the brain and we're walling off the affect areas so emotion won't taint our thinking. This idea is so prevalent that a head hunter told me, after he'd administered a routine psychological test, that I couldn't possibly think the way I thought - that I couldn't use both cognitive and affect thinking. I later discovered that a colleague in the Executive Program at Columbia Business School had been given a similar test and had been told that she couldn't possibly think that way. That was about a year before she became CEO of a tech company on the West Coast.

Creative thinking requires interaction between all our mental processes.

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