All entries for Tuesday 15 February 2005

February 15, 2005

Freeing the concept of creativity from the concept of possession

Follow-up to Concepts as powers from Transversality - Robert O'Toole

Does the concept of 'creativity' have this power? Many of the questions that are asked of creativity actually concern its relation to a possessor: can I possess creativity? can it create creativity? can it transmit, and hence carry, creativity?

Perhaps the task is to free-up the concept of creativity from the concept of possession in which it is lodged?

Concepts as powers

Follow-up to Some questions concerning creativity from Transversality - Robert O'Toole

The concept of 'I', that of the cogito, works as a concept through its application to a range of components, through the inseperability of those components from the concept. Thinking is concieved as belonging to an I or otherwise, as a posession of an I. Similarly, being, which only achieves certitude through being thought, must therefore be the property of an I that thinks. In a Cartesian world, 'thinking' without the I loses its sense, is hardly an activity at all, is a free-floating component, with no definite concept. Clearly it is still an 'activity', or at the very least some kind of event. But they are vague and empty concepts, place-holders that absorb differences.

In this way we can see that being a concept means having a power over a set of components, of raising issue with them. The power of 'I' is to ask the question of possesion, in fact and by right, of everything. Leading directly to the transcendental I as the concept is developed.

Some questions concerning creativity

What is creativity? In what sense can someone be said to possess creativity? In what sense can an animal, environment, culture, society or other formation possess creativity? Can creativity be a property of a technology? Are there a set of 'problems of technology' recurrent in all human activity? Do these problems necessarily relate to the possession of creativity? In what way is creativity in science ("scientific imagination"), the same as in art and philosophy? What does it mean for creative processes to be 'blocked'? How is creativity surpressed and encouraged by social, psychological, political and economic organisations? Does creativity flourish more easily in such conditions (minor literatures)?

Companion concepts, black–hole concepts, apocolyptic concepts

Follow-up to Schizoanalysis as philosophical imagination, as philosophical method from Transversality - Robert O'Toole

To repeat that conjecture: there is a class of special helper concepts that assist us through the pain and uncertainty of deep conceptual change, that manage our entry into and exit from chaos, being companions on the journey, modifying appropriately with the new situation, being recognizable as we emerge out of the other side, but at the same time being different. Art .

The second conjecture is that: there are some concepts that appear to help us through such change, but in fact are empty, absolutely un-changing, and hence of no effect, black-holes that merely absorb any efforts to effectuate change. Origin .

A third conjecture: this class of pseudo-helper concepts exist to offer hope and comfort in the face of deep and irreversible material change, apocolypse even. Being completely transcendent, they are the first tool that we reach for after the disaster. God .

What sort of concept is creativity ?

Schizoanalysis as philosophical imagination, as philosophical method

Follow-up to The double agenda of this thesis: a method and an application from Transversality - Robert O'Toole

Schizoanalysis as a method brought together a psychotherapist (Guattari) and a philosopher (Deleuze). Guattari was concerned with the provision of philosophical concepts to patients in an attempt to give them room to manouvre, the chance of escape, freeing them up from patterns of addiction and inescapable habits. Deleuze moved in the opposite direction, from his studies in the history of philosophy, seeking to re-personalise, situate, and re-animate philosophical concepts, restoring their vitality and application, reconnecting them with their generation in a powerful philosophical imagination, with 'conceptual personae', and hence making the emergence of new concepts a real possibility for us.

The method that resulted, schizoanalysis, tends towards the production of concepts, philosophical creativity and experimentation. The elements of this being:

  • the creation and pedagogy of the concept, its creation and re-creation, its journey (deterritorialization and reterritorialization) in time and space, localized in and transported between people, places, societies, texts and other abstract machines;
  • the result of what could be called a 'philosophical imagination';
  • an imagination that acts to 'free-up' abstract machines, not simply by offering a novel set of possible-worlds, but more radically by offering new sense to what it means to be possible and impossible, to be a world;
  • an imagination capable of taking us beyond the permutations of our operational ontology;
  • doing so in response to and to enable changes in the material of thought and the apparatus of reality, for example at the extremes of physics, or the social production of the human;
  • freeing up and enabling new directions in science and art otherwise locked-in to the currently operational ontology;
  • providing a special class of concepts that can be relied upon to help carry us through these changes, concepts such as 'art', 'science', 'imagination', 'schizoanalysis', and perhaps also 'creativity';
  • whilst guarding against concepts that appear to have this power, but which in fact are empty, meaningless, black-hole concepts that merely absorb energies that drive towards such freeing-up, that act on every such desire with indifference – transcendent.

The double agenda of this thesis: a method and an application

The agenda for this thesis is double:

  • on the one hand the task of defining, applying, testing the concept of creativity, seeing what work it can do, what it has done in the past, what it could do in the future, discovering its effects, which pathways it opens up and which it closes down, if it in fact can take us anywhere at all;
  • and at the same time, an elaboration of and testing of the method that is implicit in the investigation, the method or pedagogy of the concept as described by Deleuze and Guattari, and identified as schizoanalysis – that is, schizoanalysis the therapeautic or micro-revolutionary technique taken as a philosophical methodology, bridging between Capitalism and Schizophrenia and What Is Philosophy?