“Process” may not be the right word for this…

We are accustomed to thinking that what we do involves processes.

Let’s stop right there and unpack that statement. “Accustomed” is another term for conditioned. “Thinking…” well, there we go…. So, by the time we get to “process” we’re already in suspicious territory!

What led to this question was a mediation on creativity and its connections with insight, and the ways in which creativity is not made but recognized.

Here’s the insight as it arrived:

Creativity, recognition, insight

Instead of producing what we know, we create what becomes illuminated through insight.

Clarity and letting go of thought creates a space in which this can occur. ‘Progress’ may not be the right word for this…

You see, process implies a precognition of what will be done. A process is a conveyor belt of assumptions about how we operate. Process is also closely linked with progress.

In each case, process ties us to the mechanisms of thought. In this way, process ties us to the limitations of thought. There can be no creativity – which is the creation of something beyond what is already part of our conditioning, our programming – without setting these limitations aside. This, unlike so much of what we’d like to do in this world, is something we can actually accomplish. Thought and its limitations are chosen as a mode of being, or maybe it’s more accurate to say, this is a default way of being given our history; but it is not the only way of being available to us.

It is beginning to appear that there is another mode of access to mind that is not thought. Insight. Insight arrives. It is not made. It ties in with considerations that while the brain is a processor, that is not its only mode of operation. If we look at the intelligence of a number of creatures lacking the weight of brain we have, creatures like cuttlefish and crows, where no scale of brain size to intelligence makes any sense at all; we are opening to another possible function of the brain as a transmitter and receiver of intelligence via insight. This is, to parallel the technological analogy of the brain as computer, to see the brain as a radio. The size of a radio does not correlate directly to the quality of what it can send or receive, only the relative power of its signal.

In this analogy, if we are bedazzled by the power of our programming and the spinning scenarios it entices us with, then we lack the attention to mind its other function as a sender and receiver of intelligence via insight. This is another, brief explanation of why we are prone to the incoherence of thought.

Functioning within this other mode or realm then is not following processes, is it? The entire notion of process is inextricably mired in the incoherence of thought. Our predilection to fall into these usages is an aspect of why thought maintains such a pernicious hold over us even as we begin to see through its fatal flaws.

As soon as we begin to misunderstand what is occurring and see it as another process, we spiral back into the realm of thought. We are functioning technologically. In that we are jumping onto that conveyor belt of expectations and preprogrammed actions in the mistaken expectation that we will arrive at what we seek.

Here is a grand illumination we receive from David Bohm’s insights into the Implicate Order. The explicit takes form – or appears to our perception as if it were actual – out of a sea of implication. Such a world has nothing in common with the expectations thought imparts on us that what we perceive is sure and that we can interact with certainty acting via a direct linkage of cause and effect.

To navigate implication we need to focus our attention on recognizing what is appearing and having some sort of intelligent manner of interacting with it. Insight seems a good candidate for this manner-of-interaction.

For now, let’s stay with this awkward construction, manner-of-interaction, instead of process; and see how that goes….

Published by Antonio Dias

My work is centered on attending to the intersection of perception and creativity. Complexity cannot be reduced to any given certainty. Learning is Central: Sharing our gifts, Working together, Teaching and learning in reciprocity. Entering into shared Inquiry, Maintaining these practices as a way of life. Let’s work together to build practices, strengthen dialogue, and discover and develop community. Let me know how we might work together.

3 thoughts on ““Process” may not be the right word for this…

  1. Tony,

    This is great! You bring to mind a lot of which I have thought for a long time.

    Except for story telling and song, all endeavor starts with some form of destruction. That may be the intentional clearing the slate for creative activity. I have known artist who take it to great extreme. One ,a metal sculpture, would procure a huge three inch thick sheet of bronze, at great expense, and intentionally destroy its faces and edges with explosives and high voltage electricity, jackhammers, torches, dropped boulders etc. When it no longer was recognizable as a sheet of bronze, he would go on a week long “bender” and start searching for something , an image ,a form, a shape, a story ,amid the ruin. His work was always dynamic, free flowing, spontaneous, full of poetry and fantasy. I don’t know if the “bender” was a good idea, as the booze and drugs to a huge toll on him physically over the years, but it his way of unclogging the mind, and seeking pure creativity.

    But, this was still a process! maybe process only means starting and moving forward, to proceed. We can get mired in process and futility that comes from preconditioning and drown in the duplication of our efforts, or take seriously the urge to see and respond to creative chaos, and have the veil lifted from our eyes so we can see differently.

    I like the receiver idea! I have my own idea how it works. Imagine life’s experiences all on separate spinning disc in our mind. We are experiencing the world with sight, sound, touch, smell taste. We experience cues, miscues, pain,delight, fear ,ecstasy ,love ,hate, etc. Being reasonably commutative as a species we also share these experiences with each other.
    What we then imagine the world to be, then, becomes the distraction. So we proceed in lock step to beat the same path to the same ends.

    But take away that distraction, let your attention free to skip from spinning wheel to spinning wheel, connect the reality and fantasy and experiences in a totally different rational, that of attention and compassion, and you can see and feel differently, do and respond differently, create differently.

    It reminds me of the “Lomcevak”, an aerobatic maneuver that puts an airplane into a totally non-aerodynamic end for end tumble. The skilled pilots that perform this stunt take their aircraft to almost destructive extremes, and into a wildly spinning world beyond the aerodynamic. Once the airplane is in this attitude, the pilot must be patient to wait for the aircraft to pass into a state that is recognized as recoverable, respond instinctively without thinking, so as to recover the aerodynamic state.



    1. John,

      I’ve been archiving the last six months of posts and I just have to thank you here for your comments over the months, stretching over a year at least by now!

      That sculptor seems to me to be caught up in the drama of artistic ego. The great ploy of the Twentieth Century, in art and elsewhere, was to attempt to use drunkenness as a way to “defeat” ego. All it does is keep it front and center.

      That aerial maneuver does describe this being outside of process. It also captures the excitement in it!

      Intoxication is a toxic simulacra of this feeling.



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