Chapter 2.6 Translating Creativity

Translating Creativity

If non-verbal aspects of our mind are able to find a way into expression there must be a form of translation or associative meaning that allows us to create concepts that can support attached words and semantics. The application of metaphor is also incredibly important then, because it gives a framework for creating new meaning or combining concepts from old ones already understood by the recipients, thus enabling them to understand your new concept with minimum effort or need for the creation of new words.

The Anterior Superior Temporal Gyrus (aSTG) has the function of finding distant associations between concepts, and this enables us to build metaphors. It is also key in understanding them; “[the aSTG] has been linked to aspects of language comprehension, such as the detection of literary themes, the interpretation of metaphors, and the comprehension of jokes” (Lehrer 2012, p.18). Bowden and Beeman (1998) argue that insight can be attributed to linguistic skills because the aSTG is capable of making original connections between distant concepts.

That some people imagine bizarre and impossible events or scenes shows how good the aSTG is at finding representation for endoceptual expression, if it is not inhibited by the logical left hemisphere, it can combine and mix many incompatible concepts to represent it. The idea can then be imagined as if it were a real image or experience, just as Hume described with the concept of a golden mountain (Hume 1748, p.11). Kubie describes these preconscious thoughts as being negotiators that have secret instructions not to back down from their position, and attributes the repeating themes in many artists to these types of thoughts which refuse to be altered by the conscious translation.

As we have seen in the previous sections, creativity from endoceptual tension can form in anyone, but certain individuals are better at expressing endocepts than others. These more creative individuals seem to be better at accepting their emotional conflicts or tensions that develop in the unconscious. They can also act on the energy created as a result in some form of expression. When they do express their internal tensions, they seem to translate external or symbolic meaning onto their endocepts and this allows their expressions to be understood by others. Our aSTG and other sense-making parts of our brains can ‘translate’ original (and pleasurable to the dopamine reward pathway) creations into the symbols that make them up, allowing us to understand the tensions involved in the piece. The difference between random combinations and “good combinations” then seems to be one of subjective reward – we are at the mercy of our dopamine reward pathway in both the creation and the comprehension of creativity.