Monday, March 19, 2012

Dylan v Auden?


Mar 15, 2012 The Daily Beast

Dylan versus Auden? To brainstorm or not? Just a few of the questions that Jonah Lehrer considers in his engaging new book on creativity, “Imagine.” Casey Schwartz on whether we can create better.

Imagine: How Creativity Works. By Jonah Lehrer. 304 pages. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. US$26. 

We begin with Bob Dylan. Dylan in 1965, during the low point of his career, as Jonah Lehrer writes in his new book Imagine. He was sick of his sound, ready to give up on the whole enterprise. He’d found commercial success, but he’d lost his taste for it. He no longer had the sense of doing something original. He was going to quit music, he said, and he took off to a secluded cabin in the woods. He didn’t bother to bring his guitar.

It was here, alone in his cabin, feeling irrevocably stumped, that Dylan, as if out of nowhere, had his major breakthrough. The lyrics came rushing out of him. He scrambled to write them all down. The result would transform his career. “Like a Rolling Stone,” with its vivid, raw, unrestrained lyrics, changed rock n’ roll, breaking the rules of tidy song composition that had previously dictated the shape of most pop songs.
“It is often only at this point, after we’ve stopped searching for the answer, that the answer often arrives,” Lehrer writes. “And when a solution does appear, it doesn’t come in dribs and drabs; the puzzle isn’t solved one piece at a time. Rather, the solution is shocking in its completeness.”
Just 30, Lehrer has become something of an empire unto himself in the world of science journalism. He has a column in the Wall Street Journal, a blog at Wired Magazine, and regularly contributes to The New Yorker. He is now the author of three books. His focus is neuroscience, his persona affable, reasonable, and calm.
In his new book, Lehrer takes a Gladwell-esque approach, weaving together examples of creativity—including people, places, and spaces—with the science that might explain it. So Lehrer turns to neuroscience to see what it has to say on the subject of how an insight like Bob Dylan’s suddenly comes to surface.
Full piece at Daily Beast

No comments: