Universal mechanisms of Creativity

Universal mechanisms of creative dialogue with the World

The hierarchical system of mechanisms is outlined to account for the creative dialogue that may occur between personality and the objective world. It is proposed that each level of creative interaction manifests itself through opposite, mutual complement pairs of mechanisms:
The axiological (Idealization vs. Problematization), cognitive (Decentration vs. Simplification), emotional (Identification vs. Meditation), behavioural (Self-actualization vs. Personification).
This unified system of opposite mechanisms manifests itself as a “double helix of creativity” and allows to consider the process of bringing into existence as an assembly of complement elements and constructing to the whole.
The dynamic multilevel system of mutual connected mechanisms is an generated matrix and core structure of the creative vision and creative attitude toward the world. Also it may serve as an effective method for the finding and solving of diverse life problems and conflicts, as a method of stimulating creative activity, or as a form of creative self-training and meditation.
Creativity manifests itself as the real essence of being. That is why its main laws and mechanisms can be concluded from the most general and  universal principles of a structure and development of the world.  However phenomenological wealth and variability of nature do not allow to speak about identity of things, but only about unity of continuity, unity of certain rules of changes (Wolman, 1965).  Namely mechanisms of evolution and creativity reflect universal processes of transition and serve as invariant  pattern of changes.
It is no wonder that today the leading researchers of creativity show increasing interest in its philosophical, essence and global questions (Hofstadter, Floistad, Feldman, Csikszentmihalyi, Gardner, Barron, Stein, Sternberg, Simonton, Torrance, Runco). Besides today some authors elaborate the general theory of creativity – called creatology (Isaksen, Murdock, Magyari -Beck).
Some both the simplest and the most generalized principles should be laid down in a basis of organizing framework. Such universal category as interaction can be considered as a one of the basic conception of the of creativity theory. This idea is put forward and is supported by many authors (Amabile, 1983; Csikszentimihalyi, 1988; Gardner, 1993). Moreover, the necessity of more steadfast study of space of creative interaction and peculiarities of its various types is emphasized: additive, synergetic, modifying (Albert, Runco, 1990).
It is especially essential to realise that the space of creative interaction represents the completely special type of coherent, coinciding reality, having own, specific laws. Thus the subject and object manifests itself not as opposite poles, but as inseparable parts and aspects of the whole. Moreover, any change in one pole leads to changing in the other. This specific space of a synergetic resonance is guided by the laws of universal order, by the definite rules or grammars of harmony and beauty. It gets new dimensions and appears as special kind of environment, saturated by new opportunities.
Besides, the creative interaction has immanent recursive character. Such numerous copies and models which are produced by the definite set of generative rules still interact among themselves, guided and submitted to the same basic laws or “generative grammars” (Chomsky, Anisimov).
In the most general sense, creativity can be considered as mutual reflection and mutual enrichment of systems, therefore new essences and forms are born.  Thus mechanisms of creativity can be understood as the highest level of manifestation of the fundamental principles of nature, and the basic patterns of changes and evolution.
At a social-psychological level it is revealed as creative interaction of the person with the world, other people, and self. Thus the dialogue between person and the Absolute, Supreme values, Culture, Mystery, History, Virtual future and Domain has a especial significance. At the same time the universal structure of dialogue penetrates all levels of complexity and manifests itself in polycyclic interaction of hemispheres of a brain, in mutual penetration of conscious and subconscious, logic and intuitive, abstract and imagery, in spontaneous combination of diverse, especially opposite, ideas and images.
Recursive character of creative self-consciousness allows to reflect and to contain the opposite poles and the whole space of interaction. It presumes the persons to overcome narrow frameworks of ego, to rise over dialogue and to find the centred state, the integral vision of self, world and their relations. Thus the person occupies a position of centre (Assagioli,1965), center of  pure awareness, experience and  will, center of self-organizing, transformation and choice, center that allows to pronounce  courageous and sacramental creative word -“Fiat”!
The answer on a question “How is creativity possible?” can be addressed by revealing of the basic mechanisms of creative activity – definite groups and links of operation,  repetitive patterns of changes, rules of manipulation of internal and external stimulus.
Definition of the basic mechanisms of laws, interrelations and processes is the supreme and final aim of every science.  On the one hand it allows to substantially simplify the complex phenomena and to achieve the high level of understanding of their vital essence. On the other hand it makes possible to transform system of mechanisms to system practical techniques and by that to facilitate realisation of energy of knowledge.
So it is possible to suggest  that :
– there are  specific social-psychological  mechanisms  of creativity which are formed  and manifest themselves in creative dialogue person with the world;
– the unified,  hierarchical system of creative mechanisms reflects integral system of universal evolutionary principles and mechanisms;
– this same  system of mechanisms  lays in the basis of varieties of person’s creative manifestations.

System of universal mechanisms of creativity

The creative interaction between the person and the world has a complex, multi-level character, which reflects universal structure of all integrative objects. This fundamental, united structure is reflected in a hierarchical creative attitude of the personality, which includes axiological, cognitive, affective and  behavioral components, where  the first  component is  not the highest separated level of the structure, but its basic system-forming factor,  the core and  center of organization.  Each of these components manifests itself through the means of the appropriate pairs of opposed, complement mechanisms of creativity:

Table  Double Helix of Creativity Mechanisms 

                Idealization              Problematization
is  understood as seeking, vision and revealing  of the ideal nature  of  object,  a mental constructions  of  its  ideal  image in which supreme values are harmoniously blended and the vital contradictions are resolved. It is a new opportunity of finding, fulfilment of supertask and ideal plan, generation of daring hypothesis, embodiment of pragmatic and aesthetic ideal, realisation of ideal final result. is a revelation, discovery and intensification of vital contradictions of the object,  problem finding and problem construction. It is perception and  search for shortcomings, blanks, discord, asymmetry and imperfections  of object.  It is  a strive for splitting of  the united object,  finding opposite, complementary features of phenomena, as vision an anti-objects, its dark sides and “shadows”.
Realization of the  bunch pair of opposed mechanisms “Idealization – Problematization” manifests itself as a process and ability to reveal a vital problem, which reflects the contradiction between ideal and reality, capacity to use energy of tension and asymmetry.  It reveals as ability to consider conflict and problem as a creative challenge, and to resolve them by effective, elegant and human way guided by ideal task and plan.
 Decentration Simplification
manifests itself in a personal ability to create different approaches toward an interaction object, to change one’s mind and to take into account various points of view.  This mechanism represents the process of mental replacement of habitual connections, deviation from traditional patterns of thinking, destruction of traditional notions, mental inertia and stereotypes overcoming. It is the process of generation various ideas and images and mental manipulation and their transformation. is understood as getting rid of something complicated inconsequential, tangled, insignificant and confusing, as achievement of clarity and elegance of the form and at the same time depth and accuracy of the contents.
It is ability to concentrate upon the essence of an object, express its complexity by means of simple, separate notions.
It is capacity to choose and select combination based on criteria of hidden order, harmony and beauty.
The  bunch of mechanisms “Decentration – Simplification”  is generation of multifarious ideas and choice the most elegant and useful things.
Meditation Identification
is aloofness and feelings of isolationfrom the outer and inner world, maintaining necessary distance fromthe object of interaction, impassiveand fresh perception of its nature,real relationships, its harmony, beautyand symmetry. It is a vision of theworld and oneself in a new way through defamilirization or making familiar things and phenomena to be strange. is realised by means of active immersion, embodiment in objects and their circumstances, blending with them and experiencing emotional resonance. By means of this mechanism, personality is absorbed in the object of material and non-material nature, transfers into them and gets to know their internal impulses and circumstances.  This striving to be similar with another objects is expressed by Sanskrit formula:  “Tat twam asi” (“That you are”).
The  bunch  “Identification- Meditation”  manifests itself as a  making the strange familiar and the   familiar  strange.
Self-actualization Personification
is understood as a process of the most complete and long-lasting revelation  and development of one’s  personal  potentials, as a need in  a  unified self-realization of creative possibilities. Mechanisms of self-actualization reflect not only free and spontaneous self-expression of a subject, but its internal activity, ability to make efforts, and come with an initiative aimed at the self-mobilization, and  ultimate realization of one’s  own creative potential. Integrated self-fulfilment involves realization of one’s own creative  potential, designs,  plans, ideal models. It is powerful  self-unfolding and creative self-fulfilling, spontaneous self-expression of creative potential,  self-mobilization and enhancing self-empowerment and self-assertion, high-spirited expression of the deeper, authentic and creative Self. is an ascription of human properties to objects of the outer world, endowment them with the characteristics of the subject and ability to self-development, recognition of their independence and their right to self determination. It is realisation of the principles non-action and non-intervention and strategy “Let it happen”. It is letting objects to go, getting them right on free activity, letting them take its own direction. At the same time it is art of waiting, release and activation of unconsciousness.
Thus, if superconsciousness is impersonated by the idea of Divine force or Muse, that means that unconsciousness by is impersonated Intuitive Self or Inner Advisor.  Besides this mechanism manifests itself as creation of a self-generating and self-developing structures – a certain unified internal and external patterns – which independently move to an ideal goal.
The  bunch  self-actualization-personification” manifests itself as alternation of spontaneous activity and stops for optimum use of the energy and possibilities of  internal and external  structures.


Sergey L. Markov. Mechanisms of Creative Dialogue With the World. Paper presented at the 105th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association. Chicago, 1997.