The waves of creativity

Thursday, May 17, 2007

There are a lot of environmental factors that go into fostering a creative environment. As creative persons mature, we become more in-tune with what works best for us when it’s time to dream up new ideas and solutions. Some of us trek to coffeehouses while others listen to Bach, Satie or Mogwai. Whatever we do we’re all essentially trying to achieve a certain state of mind.

Before I go any further here is a quick explanation of the human brain by neuronal scientist, Richard Restak):

My very basic understanding is that synapses are essentially electrochemical connections that vibrate at varying frequencies. These frequencies can be measured and grouped into four different categories: Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta.

By now you’re probably wondering what the hell does this have to do with creativity. Well let me quickly explain these four “states of mind.” Beta is the frequency we find ourselves in all too often. It’s associated with being tense, alert, or afraid. Alpha is a state of relaxation without the loss of awareness. Theta is a day dream state and Delta is a state of unconsciousness, a sleep state.

When we seek out our ideal creative environments we are essentially trying to lower our brainwaves from Beta to Alpha. This takes time and cannot be done instantaneously. We can immediately go from Delta to Beta but not vise versa. We have to be someplace familiar where we feel safe and secure. A place were we can let our guard down.

Certain types of people exist in a constant state of Beta, some job types require it. When you intermingle Beta’s with Alpha’s and Theta’s you undoubtedly create a source of tension. This is because the Beta’s set the tone for the room and raise everyone to their frequency. This is why you rarely see sales and account management mixed with designers and illustrators.

Environment is worth more than any salary. I think most designers would agree when I say I’d much rather be making peanuts at a Googleplex than six figures at Joe’s Banner Ad Emporium.

More info can be found here:

Disclaimer: I’m no scientist. I just think this stuff is interesting and worth spreading. Correct me in the comments if necessary.