Thanks, Science – You’re Awesome


I go on a lot about my theories on practice and creativity. Creativity is important in everything from writing to cooking to living to love. The more you practice it in one sphere, like writing, the more creative you can become in others like cooking and love. Creativity isn’t just about making shit up, it’s about cognitive flexibility, emotional content, courage and practice. Once again Science supports my rantings. Thanks, Science – You’re awesome.

Evidence suggests that creative output depends strongly on motivation. Increased motivation can secondarily increase talent, when creators who work hard increase their skill through practice effects. As drive raises productivity, it can increase the number of creative ideas independently of increased creative skill, per se, because even if talent and average idea quality are not higher in a very productive person, chance ensures that the total number of creative ideas increases with the total number of ideas. Of course, the number of uncreative ideas increases with productivity as well. As W H Auden wrote, “The chances are that, in the course of his lifetime, the major poet will write more bad poems than the minor.”

Creativity requires brains with adequate capacity for goal-oriented motivation, novelty seeking, flexible associative networks, and lower inhibition. The novelty-seeking and unusual behaviors that confer vulnerability to environmental stressors may underlie inventiveness in tolerant surroundings. One way to separate illness from creativity, then, is to place patients in more enriched or supportive environments.

Flaherty, Alice W,M.D., PhD. (2011). Brain illness and creativity: Mechanisms and treatment risks. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 56(3), 132-43.

Dr. Flaherty also noted this in her article – now you know why I blog every day:

Temporal Lobe Epilepsy . One-tenth of patients with temporal lobe epilepsy exhibit a personality cluster that includes hypergraphia, a pressured drive to write. The phenomenon is interictal, and anticonvulsants do not decrease it. Epileptic hypergraphia correlates with hypomanic traits and is inversely correlated with depression. Numerous prolific creative writers, such as Charles Dickens and Fyodor Dostoevsky, suffered from epilepsy.

Persian-Italian Eggplant Stew
Get creative and make this tonight. (V, VG, GF) from http://herbivoracious.com

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  • 3 medium or 2 large eggplant (I used normal Western style eggplants)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
  • several grinds fresh black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons mosto cotto (saba)
  • 2 tablespoons honey (replace if you want vegan)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons roasted, unsweeted sunflower butter (or see above)
  • 2 cups water
  • salt
  • handful parsley leaves
  • 2 teaspoons sumac powder
  1. Trim the eggplants and cut them in quarters, lengthwise. In a large skillet, heat the oil over a medium high-flame. Fry the eggplant on all sides until well seared and golden brown. Remove to paper towels and season with salt.
  2. Leaving the remaining oil in the pan, reduce the heat to medium and fry the onion and garlic for 3 minutes. Add the cumin, cinnamon, cayenne and black pepper and cook for one more minute. Add the mosto cotto, honey, red wine vinegar, and sunflower butter and water. The sunflower butter will be a lump at first, but once it heats up you can whisk it in easily.
  3. Simmer for a few minutes and then season with salt as needed. Cut the cooled eggplant into bite sized pieces and add back to the sauce. Reduce heat to a bare simmer. Cook until the eggplant is fully tender and the sauce thickened, about 10 minutes.
  4. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, cayenne, or vinegar as needed to achieve a complex mixture of spices, sweet, and sour.
  5. Garnish with parsley leaves and sumac and serve.

 

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