Mister Deep Wanted to Know

Which part of the tree I was, if I thought I was a tree

the root, the bud (a modified leaf) the chloroplast

the stamen of the flower. I get it — if I can imagine part of it

I can imagine all of it — I might as well be the tip of the branch

Seeking the sun, as the place the two branches dissect, each seeking

its Own, or maybe the whole pattern, what’s wrong, Mr. Deep?

He was gone. I think I disappointed him. I think he wanted me to say

That I was both the thought that I was part of the tree, and also

the thought I was the whole thing? Maybe?

Not sure.

These days I disappoint everybody.


A Model for Creativity

Take the Joni Mitchell line:

Late last night I heard a screen door slam

and a big yellow taxi took away my old man

Now let your mind generate a variant:

Late last night I heard a GREEN door slam

And a big yellow taxi brought me a GREAT BIG CLAM.

And see if that variant is any good.

The model of creativity this presents us with is that our unconscious mind is constantly coming up with variations according to some formal restraints (in this case English with rhyme and meter) and presenting them to consciousness, and then we figure out if they are any good.

It’s a pretty good model of creativity except it doesn’t tell us:

(i)where the original constraints come from

(ii)where the variations come from


(iii)what it means for some versions to be good and others not and how we decide that.

Which, of course, are the only things we want to know.