Main CategoriesPsychology and JungHumanistic and Transpersonal Psychology Act of Creation, The

Act of Creation, The

Product no.: 0-14-019191-7
Koestler suggests that we are at our most creative when rational thought is suspended - for example in dreams and trance-like states.

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Publisher's Synopsis
Koestler affirms that all creatures have the capacity for creative activity, frequently suppressed by the automatic routines of thought and behavior that dominate their lives.

Taking humour as his starting point, Koestler examines what he terms "bisociative" thinking - the creative leap made by the mind that gives rise to new and startling perceptions and glimpses of reality. From here he assesses the workings of the mind of the scientific or artistic genius.

Reviews
"Some reviewers (and it was reviewed profusely and often at great length) professed to think that, however improbably, The Act of Creation is itself a true act of scientific creation, conceivably the greatest and certainly the most ambitious work in the life sciences since Darwin’s epochal Origin of Species... Practicing scientists will be, have been, disposed to dismiss Koestler as a possibly gifted but presumptuous and uncritical 'writer' who has wandered unaccountably into a field for which, by training and aptitude, he is intrinsically unfitted."       ~The New York Review of Books

Excerpt
"...the Pythagoreans transformed the Orphic mystery cult into a religion which considered mathematical and astronomical studies as the main forms of divine worship and prayer. The physical intoxication which had accompanied the Bacchic rites was superseded by the mental intoxication derived from philo-sophia, the love of knowledge. It was one of the many key concepts they coined and which are still basic units in our verbal currency... 'Pure science' is another of their coinages; it signified not merely a contrast to the 'applied' sciences, but also that the contemplation of the new mysteria was regarded as a means of purifying the soul by its immersion in the eternal. Finally, 'theorizing' comes from Theoria, again a word of Orphic origin, meaning a state of fervent contemplation and participation in the sacred rites (thea spectacle, theoris spectator, audience).

Contemplation of the 'divine dance of numbers' which held both the secrets of music and of the celestial motions became the link in the mystic union between human thought and the anima mundi. Its perfect symbol was the Harmony of the Spheres - the Pythagorean Scale, whose musical intervals corresponded to the intervals between the planetary orbits; it went reverberating through 'soft stillness and the night' right into the poetry of the Elizabethans, and into the astronomy of Kepler.

It was indeed this sublimated form of Orphic mysticism which, through the Pythagorean revival in Renaissance Italy, inspired the Scientific Revolution. Galileo, Descartes, and Newton all regarded God as a kind of 'chief mathematician of the universe. Geometry existed before the Creation, is co-eternal with the mind of God, is God himself', wrote Kepler; and the other giants echoed his conviction. The 'oceanic feeling' of religious mysticism had been distilled into differential equations; the mind of the anima mundi was reflected in the rainbow colours of the spectroscope, the ghostly spirals of distant galaxies, the harmonious patterns of iron-filings around a magnet."

Author Koestler, Arthur
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 751 pp.
Publisher Penguin Books 1989
Browse these categories as well: Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology, Individuation and the Collective Unconscious, Pythagoras and Sacred Geometry

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