Posted by: Xhyra Graf | 7 June 2010

Ineffability of Insight

Schooler & Melcher[1995]. Ineffability of Insight, pp 97-133 in The Creative Cognitive Approach, Smith et al – Editors


  • p98: “If insight represents only a small portion of the full creative process, it nevertheless constitutes one of the major sources of ineffability with which discussions of creativity have grappled. Thus, if we want to explore the unreportable aspects of creativity, it makes sense to begin with insight.”
    • Woot! Let’s move on from there.  [Ah, the time I’ve lost because of Fisher’s “I don’t see what autobiographical memory has to do with art-making.” Why, oh why don’t I listen to my mother? And why was I so easily discouraged? Of course now I think I overcompensate by not paying attention to  most ‘experts’ — this is probably not good 🙂 ]

 Theoretical Characterizations of Insight

  • p100: “…suddenness of insight … postulate a role of unconscious … unreportable processes. Accordingly, dismissing the possibility that solutions truly come out of nowhere [duh!] (as is often the phenomenological experience) means that the critical processes leading to insights are outside [of] awareness.”
    • Can the impasse state be analagous to the some version of the Free Harmony state? — interference or depth of embedding that prolongs the length; all of the ’causes’ tie us to the previous manifold… Freud. Yeah, no one can know what it’s like to be me. follow that train of thought if you can.
    • In a Buddhist sense, practicing a mindful awareness of these experiences, even if only in the ritual repetition of the art process,  leads you to be able to identify the ‘strata of delusions’ that make up an illusory [and historically pervasive, annoyingly persistent belief in the artistically creative as, at bottom, epistemically blind] phenomenological experience of the impossible scenario of ‘something out of nothing.’
  •  Mention of verbal overshadowing
  • Pre-Information Processing Approaches
    • Restructuring – Gestalt
    • Context Induced Mental Set – unwarranted assumptions
    • Unconscious Idea Recombination – ‘[T]heories differed … specific mechanisms … degree to which the unconscious was guided by intelligent vs random processes.” emphasis mine.  Isn’t there intelligence involved in attention to specific random information? This is my beef.
    • The Constraint of Language on Insight – Hadamard “… words are completely absent from my mind when I really think.”
    • Information Processing Views of Insight – problematic due to flow chart nature…my interpretation.
    • Dismissal of Insight – Insight no different from other problem solving…I think, yes and no. 
      • Oh yeah, see Nature of Insight Epilogue on the importance of making a distinction between the Insight Event and the processes leading up to it.

Will update/elaborate later and continue with Reconceptualizing Insight Constructs Using Current Theories of Cognition.

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