Chapter 2.6 Finally, Expression


Endocepts seem to be at odds with the conscious mind as they represent conflict with its environment representation. The conscious mind can inhibit expression and therefore creativity (Lehrer 2012, p.109). But the experience of ‘flow’ is the opposite (Csikszentmihalyi 1997). Lehrer (2012, p.103) describes his interview wth a drama improvisation teacher who describes flow as “leaving your mind”. The actor’s self-consciousness recedes so completely while they are ‘in the moment’; that they have no recollection of their actions during the performance. Flow represents the ultimate state of unconscious expression: the consciousness is bypassed or at least relaxes enough to allow for conceptual continuity.  While ‘great’ creativity requires skill in that craft, ordinary people can also express themselves in ‘flow’ and find pleasure in doing so through their dopamine reward pathway. But it is likely they will express themselves through movements they can perform without conscious effort, such as drawing or speaking or dancing. We need to learn the ‘language’ well enough to express internal narratives of emotion in order to communicate them effectively to others. The person’s practiced skill (or automatic functions, such as movement or drawing), will hold the strongest efficacy for this kind of expression, as a state of flow depends on the ability of the mind to relax its conscious control of processes in order to be effective.

This sense of ‘leaving your mind’ can also be described as the prefrontal cortex stepping back and removing the layer of ‘self-awareness’ that it creates in order to create a theater of imagination. This means endocepts can be translated straight into physical action or expression, rather than into imagination. Interestingly, the brain may not see a difference between the two; both stimulate its senses.

Expression is important in this process because it is the point that all this theory becomes a measurable, externally observable phenomenon. If it wasn’t for my own personal belief in the value of my experiences of this I would not have begun to explore the world of endocepts. This creative “vomit,” as Bob Dylan is attributed with describing it, is expression in ‘flow’ that cannot be edited or processed by the conscious mind until afterwards (Sounes 2001, p.181). The processes I have discussed come together in showing how we can express endocepts that resonate or hold enough tension and emotional energy to create the need for expression in the individual. There is also an interesting overlap between our observations of preconscious expression and research on inducing savant skills (Young et al. 2004, Snyder’s 2009). They show, through suppressing the activity of the left Anterior Temporal Lobe, that normal people could exhibit levels of creative ability that defy expectations. Test subjects reported being able to see more detail in the room they were in and draw with uncharacteristic ability from memory (Osborne 2003). This research strongly supports the theory that preconscious expression is somehow a person’s ability to by-pass their conscious mind and directly express their endoceptual cognition. They can translate the raw information inside themselves into expressible forms without the concept defining process of the conscious mind.

There is a correlation between the ideas absorbed by the mind and the ideas expressed, even if they are mixed and combined in original ways. The same can be said about style that a person expresses, such as narrative voice or form of media. This is to be expected – after all the information going in is remixed and edited, not actually created. Creative individuals are not fountains of new ideas with no context of information or ideas. As research shows, creative people are in fact better at creating new conceptual combinations because of the large amount of diverse information and experience they open themselves to (Baer 2010).