Tip that first domino

March 12th, 2006

About 15 or so years ago, after learning that Domino‘s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan was donating huge sums of money to anti-abortion, right-to-life type organizations, I refused to buy any more of the company’s pizza. It was a small gesture but it felt like right. Of course, Monaghan can make any donations he likes, but not with my money. He sold the pizza company years ago, but I still choose to support small pizza parlors, hoping my few dollars will remain in and maintain the economy of my local (and still “free”) community. Today I found this link.

Reading in the car

March 5th, 2006

If Oprah gets a book list, I get a book list. So it begins…

February Fiction Favorites 2006:

kite runner book cover link to Amazon crusaders cross cover link to amazon up country cover link to amazon

The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
Crusader’s Cross, James Lee Burke
Up Country, Nelson DeMille

During the school year most of my recreational “reading” is done in the car. I love audiobooks. By far the recent best was The Kite Runner, read by the author Khaled Hosseini. While, as Kenneth Champeon says “the book can sometimes be melodramatic and garrulous,” the story is compelling and presents historical and cultural insights from the perspective of an Afghan-American. There is much to learn from the novel, about Aghanistan, about love, about life, about good and evil, about ourselves.

Read reviews

What is Creativity?

February 12th, 2006

In November a student asked me to participate in a survey as part of an assignment he was completing for one of his classes. I agreed, and, off the cuff, provided the following responses to his four questions.

1) What, in your opinion, is creativity?
In my opinion, (and without looking up the definition!) creativity is one of the abilities that higher thinking creatures possess. It occurs as the result of an intellectual process. That process involves many steps, but can sometimes seem to occur spontaneously.

a. What is the problem?
When facing a situation, or problem, the first step one takes in the creative process is to analyze that problem and reach an understanding of the problem itself.

b. What do I know about this?
With an understanding of the problem itself one can draw on prior knowledge and experience to reach a solution. If one stops the process at this point, and many creatures do, the solution reached will be limited to what is already known, already done.

c. What can I discover about this?
Taking the process further involves investigating one’s environment, also known as research. This step allows the individual to discover resources that may further enlighten both the problem and potential solutions. Through this step, the individual also increases their bank of prior knowledge and experience.

d. How can I use this information?
The research is only helpful if one analyzes it to discover relationships between the new information, the old information and the problem. This step, sometimes called “brainstorming” is where the individual applies the new information to reach solutions that are new to them.

e. Is this the best I can do?
Evaluating the solutions is an important step in the process. Through evaluation one determines which solution(s) will work best for the given problem.

Under stress or in emergencies, individuals compress this process into a split second reaction. Under normal circumstances, individuals have plenty of time to explore and compare numbers of possible solutions to any given problem and, through trial and error, reach a (hopefully) successful decision.

2) Would you say you believe creativity comes from a biological source or some other source?
I think that the ability for creativity is biological in nature. However, environmental factors are partially responsible for determining which individuals excel in that ability and for what purpose.

3) Are creativity and imagination the same?
No, not at all.

4) If you don’t believe this, what is imagination?
I consider imagination to be the ability to form images in the mind. Can you imagine yourself sitting on the grass with the sun warming your skin while a light breeze gently blows through your hair? That does not require creativity. Creativity and imagination work in synchrony.

I formulated those answers around my ideas about creativity as a very general term. Today, I decided to begin to investigate writings on creativity (in part to validate my answers!) assuming that there must be volumes written on the subject. Of course, there are volumes! Here begins an effort to undestand what has been written and to invite discussion in a non-scholarly forum.
So far (one hour into the research) I have at least discovered some writings about creativity as a definable process, which seem to support my own initial answers. Further, not everyone accepts the various “process” models, including Gestalt philosopher Wertheimer who considers the process linear and continuous, rather than segmented.

Enough for now…

Design Manifesto

February 6th, 2006

Have you read it? No? GO!

First Words

February 5th, 2006

Ready or not, here I come! I’m told that is what I shouted from the top of the high dive when I was 4 and unable to swim. That’s how I feel now. But my brother Bob isn’t there to catch me…Oh, who needs a safety net anyway…