Peat, Peating, And Creativity

narouz

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This thread started elsewhere, so I'm making a new thread for it.
It began by my asking "peatarian" about writer's block:

narouz said:
peatarian said:
...problems ranging from writer's block...

peatarian--

This maybe could turn into a separate thread,
but I wanted to ask you:
You mention "writer's block."
Have you noticed any correlation between Peatism and Creativity...?
 

narouz

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peatarian said:
Yes. But that would be a different thread.

About Ray Peat:
“That he sometimes completely stops reading and talking for several days because he believes too much verbalisation damages the brain. During those days he paints and does sculpture instead to stimulate the areas of the brain that are responsible for creativity and three dimensional thinking.”


By Ray Peat (from an e-mail):
"While I was (...) a psychology major, I did some surveys (1957) relating to creativity and types of thought and dreaming, following up some ideas I found in Brewster Ghiselin's book The Creative Process. I felt that the current US view of the brain as a computing device with nerves serving as wires and switches was completely inappropriate, even for understanding things such as the perception of odors and musical pitch, and around that time a practical study of creativity was published, in a book called Synectics, and I saw that Pavlov's colleague P.K. Anokhin had been developing a much better understanding of brain function. The fact that sensations and perception of space in dreams can be so convincing led me to feel that biological/metabolic processes in the brain reproduce in fairly direct or literal ways things in the external world, i.e., that our experience of internal colors and smells and sounds are probably a sort of electrochemical resonance within nerves---with a nerve and its surroundings, spatial parts of the brain, taking on energetic states with the frequencies that are closely analogous to the frequencies produced by the external objects, colors, chemical odors, sound vibrations, as well as other kinds of patterned relationships. If "photons" or electromagnetic interactions within the organism are the substance of consciousness, then the electronic properties of nutrients, hormones, and drugs are important, rather than their geometric form, as interpreted by the "lock-and-key" "receptor and ligand" doctrine. I think the active chemical in St. John's wort is hypericin, an anthroquine (very similar to emodin, in cascara, and to vitamin K and tetracycline), which is a large system of conjugated electrons, that interacts powerfully with our cellular regulatory systems.
(...)
I suspect that growing up with creativity involves opportunities that cause the brain to develop various sensitivities and resonances, and that the brain functioning in these ways calls up the energetic and hormonal resources that it needs, and ideally that includes an array of chemicals that enrich and intensify consciousness, allowing very complex internal experiences to be generated."
 

narouz

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"P. M. Wise has demonstrated that the "menopausal" pituitary hormones, high levels of LH and FSH, are produced because the regulatory nerves in the hypothalamus have lost their sensitivity to estrogen, not because estrogen is deficient. In fact, he showed that the nerves are desensitized precisely by their cumulative exposure to estrogen. If an animal's ovaries are removed when it is young, the regulatory nerves do not atrophy, and if ovaries are transplanted into these animals at the normally infertile age, they arc fertile. But if animals are given larger doses of estrogen during youth, those nerves atrophy prematurely, and they become prematurely infertile. The mechanism by which estrogen desensitizes and kills brain cells is now recognized as the "excitotoxic" process, in which the excitatory transmitter glutamic acid is allowed to exhaust the nerve cells. (This explains the older observations that glutamic acid, or aspartic acid, or aspartame, can cause brain damage and reproductive failure.) Cortisol also activates the excitotoxic system, in other brain cells, causing stress-induced atrophy of those cells. Progesterone and pregnenolone are recognized as inhibitors ofthis excitotoxic process." - Ray Peat, PhD

Danny Roddy had this up on his website today,
and I noticed the theme of brain cell destruction, desensitization, and atrophy,
all linked back to our old pal estrogen.

So, while this may not directly scream "creativity,'
I would think that brains cell health is probably a good foundation for creativity.
Just pointing out that many of the same Peat principles
we are familiar with in discussion of the biological bases of health
also apply to the more complex and elusive area we call creativity.
 

Ray-Z

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I'm neither the most creative guy around nor the best read on this topic, but I want to throw out a few ideas that I find helpful. I do not claim that Ray Peat agrees with anything I'm about to say.

As mentioned in the thread on drawing, Betty Edwards wrote a book titled Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, in which she relates art and creativity to what was, at the time she wrote, current neuroscience. I read the book years ago, so you have my apologies if I mischaracterize it.

Edwards argues that we can distinguish two modes of human consciousness.

One mode is an analytical mode, in which we think with ideas and concepts, i.e. abstractions. The analytical mode uses language, symbols, and rules of logic or syntax. This mode mechanically simplifies, categorizes, and evaluates our experience; it is fundamentally "reductionist." In the analytical mode, we judge constantly and can be harshly critical of ourselves or our experiences. In this mode, we are aware of the passage of time and can reflect on the past or future, both of which can be great sources of stress.

The other mode is an artistic or perceptual mode in which we perceive without judgment or analysis. In this mode, the mind makes no attempt to impose order or consistency on our experience; it is simply aware. The artistic or perceptual mode makes no use of language, concepts, or rules of any sort. This mode is holistic rather than reductionist. Intuition arises in this mode as direct experience of reality. While the analytical mode is critical, the artistic mode is accepting of all our experience. In the artistic mode, we focus on the present moment and lose contact with notions of time. In short, Edwards describes the mind in its artistic mode as calm, relaxed (but energetic), non-verbal, intuitive, focused on the present, and above all, aware.

Modern people living in conditions of chronic stress, immersed in language, and pursuing occupations that require analytical thinking spend much of their time in the analytical mode and have difficulty moving to the artistic mode -- hence Edwards' emphasis on how to access this mode.

What I find so interesting about Edwards' description of the artistic mode is that it is very close to a seasoned meditator's description of the mind in deep meditation: calm, deeply aware, focused on the present moment, non-verbal, non-conceptual, non-judgmental, accepting. (Of course, there are lots of other ways to enter into meditative states besides meditation -- martial arts, tennis, yoga, gardening, hiking, and so forth.)

In the thread on meditation and CO2, several of us argued that deeply meditative states are also states of high oxidative metabolism and low stress. These states are like the energized state of a cell as described by Ray Peat -- highly energetic, yet also relaxed. I won't rehash the argument, but will make use of it here.

If Edwards' artistic, creative mode is indeed a kind of meditative state, and if meditative states are states of high oxidative metabolism, then creativity and CO2 are good friends. I would therefore expect all the various methods of Peating to enhance creativity over the long term, and I would expect artistic activities to help stressed, sick, hypothyroid people to recover (to the extent they can engage in such activities without frustration).

This connection between Peating and creativity is intuitively plausible: What could be more conducive to creativity than a state of low stress and ample resources with which to perceive and respond flexibly to one's environment?

OK, time for me to shut mah big mouf. :mrgreen:
 

Ray-Z

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Thank you, narouz and Rachel.

The dancing banana never fails to brighten my day! :mrgreen:
 

kiran

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Ray-Z said:
What I find so interesting about Edwards' description of the artistic mode is that it is very close to a seasoned meditator's description of the mind in deep meditation: calm, deeply aware, focused on the present moment, non-verbal, non-conceptual, non-judgmental, accepting. (Of course, there are lots of other ways to enter into meditative states besides meditation -- martial arts, tennis, yoga, gardening, hiking, and so forth.)

For me, I find that driving gets me into a meditative state. It's too bad it's also very tiring, and gas is so expensive.
 

charlie

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kiran said:
Ray-Z said:
What I find so interesting about Edwards' description of the artistic mode is that it is very close to a seasoned meditator's description of the mind in deep meditation: calm, deeply aware, focused on the present moment, non-verbal, non-conceptual, non-judgmental, accepting. (Of course, there are lots of other ways to enter into meditative states besides meditation -- martial arts, tennis, yoga, gardening, hiking, and so forth.)

For me, I find that driving gets me into a meditative state. It's too bad it's also very tiring, and gas is so expensive.

Ray-Z, excellent post! That all ties into what I am looking into now, getting to that meditative, right brain state.

Kiran, I have found the same thing to. I just told a friend a couple days ago that my soul is the happiest when I am driving. :lol: I truly really feel happy when driving, deep down.
 

narouz

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kiran said:
Ray-Z said:
What I find so interesting about Edwards' description of the artistic mode is that it is very close to a seasoned meditator's description of the mind in deep meditation: calm, deeply aware, focused on the present moment, non-verbal, non-conceptual, non-judgmental, accepting. (Of course, there are lots of other ways to enter into meditative states besides meditation -- martial arts, tennis, yoga, gardening, hiking, and so forth.)

For me, I find that driving gets me into a meditative state. It's too bad it's also very tiring, and gas is so expensive.

I agree about the driving.
I've never hated long drives like most people I know.
I guess you could think that attention to the road
substitutes for attention to breath....
 

charlie

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narouz said:
I agree about the driving.
I've never hated long drives like most people I know.
I guess you could think that attention to the road
substitutes for attention to breath....


Long drives are the best! If you drive right, you should be highly aware. This high awareness gets you to that meditative type state and makes me smile. :mrgreen:
 

Ray-Z

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Charlie said:
Ray-Z, excellent post! That all ties into what I am looking into now, getting to that meditative, right brain state.

Thank you, Charlie. Appreciate the encouragement.

It can be challenging to find time for the right brain state. When we are in the analytical mode, our minds can always find plenty of "busy work," anxieties, and stories to preoccupy us and keep us out of the artistic/perceptual mode. I find that keeping my computer, phone, and TV off as much as possible clears a little bit of space for the perceptual mode. And of course, you're right that with the right attitude, everyday tasks like driving can help us access that mode.
 

charlie

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Did my first sketches today, well, if you can even call them that. :lol:
 

charlie

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Thanks Ray-Z. I actually quite enjoyed "creating" something. Look forward to doing it again.
 

kettlebell

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Hey Charlie,

Are you sketching from memory or from an object in front of you and does this make a difference in regards to which parts of brain you are using?

My main query is does it have to be a "Made up" sketch/painting for it to have the beneficial effects we are going for or will painting an object/scene have the same beneficial effects considering you are visualising that scene in your mind while trying to get it onto the canvas/paper?
 

charlie

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Kettlebell, I havent received the book yet, so I am not sure about the correct way to do it. I found a site online that has a couple of practice lessons that are in the book, so I will be starting those soon. All I did last night, was find some simple sketches online, then tried to do them for myself. I did this to get an idea on how much improvement I get in the future, more of a baseline per say.

Here is one of the exercises:

http://www.learn-to-draw-right.com/righ ... brain.html
 
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