Creativity’s dance with death

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What is creativity? How does the creative process work? And why do the most creative minds seem to be the most troubled? Gregory Feist digs deep into the Darwinian forces at play and argues that it is our relationship with death, particularly our desire to avoid it, which drives our creative urges. The world in itself—what Kant called the “Ding an sich”—is not directly experienced or known and never will be. Our sensory systems take in sound and light waves of certain frequencies or chemicals or tactile pressures and send corresponding neural signals to our brain. It is the brain’s job to make sense of these signals. Indeed, the human brain (and all brains) evolved for two basic functions: to keep the animal alive (regulate organ function) and to sense and make sense of its experiences (“what is that?”  and “can I eat that or will it eat me?”). Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio dubbed these the “house-keeping” and “meaning making” functions of the brain. Humans, however, possess a uniquel…

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