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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021


The purpose of this essay is to explore the mental posture, or frame of mind phrases with sufficient common-sense meaning for enquiry - by examining the mental phenomena evoked subjectively when in the process of creative thinking. For this purpose we take the original meaning of creativity, that is, the bringing forward of new ideas through the courage to go beyond the existing and institutionalised domains of knowledge. This meaning has been diluted and nowadays the term creative is applied to anything novel. There are, however, human beings who perform daring, creative acts, often outside the confines of current thinking and discourse: the discovery of a scientific law, the authorship of new writing, the making of a poem, the forging of a painting, or any work of art, for instance. These acts have special value for society and civilization. Yet, despite the plethora of research, the essential nature of creativity still lies beyond the grasp of scientific investigation, not quite able to encompass the combination of uniqueness of process and daring of endeavor involved.We believe that the crucible of creativity lies outside of conscious goal oriented thinking. Although conscious thinking has a place insofar as creative products are integrated into culture, it is from another place that the creative spark comes. How that place is reached, or better, how it reaches us is our concern and with what frame of mind we entertain it. To develop our enquiry, we adopt ideas from systems theory, especially ideas of complex, chaotic systems together with ideas from psychoanalysis, in particular, the psychoanalytic thinking of Wilfred Bion.