“We must jump into the unknown to gain new insight.” Nicoletta Baumeister (from The Painter’s Keys)
Artists are frequently accused of being flighty, flakey or daydreamers by analytical reasoning types. The accusation is not intended to be flattering. The artistic daydreamer is completely misunderstood by the analytical reasoner. New research is pointing out the misconception in this thinking and the fact that the daydreamer may actually be in the process of coming to a place of new insight. According to this latest research, those “Aha” moments of insight are actually the direct result of allowing the brain to wander off into unstructured daydreaming.
The Wall Street Journal featured an article on the latest neuroscience studies into the precise mechanism of how the brain arrives at the creative “Aha” moment that results in new and often complex insight. The article’s author, Robert Lee Hotz, states the research has shown, “People who solve problems through insight generate different patterns of brain waves than those who solve problems analytically.” The researchers, Hotz points out, found the brain of the daydreamers to be actively involved in complex problem solving while appearing to be lost in wandering thought. The brains of the daydreamers have actually solved the problem about eight seconds before the “aha” moment arrives in conscious thought.
There you have it! Daydreaming is a good thing so go ahead and indulge yourself. Ruminate with the butterflies. Relax in a sunny meadow and mediate on the clouds drifting by. Sit by a stream and tune in to the water bubbling over rocks. Wandering off into the unknown thought world may actually be the process of jumping into new insight. According to the Journal article, Post-its, ice cream cones and Velcro were all the result of minds allowed to meander into the unknown abyss of daydreams. Those mental meanderings could possibly be on the road to an epiphany. You never know what insight might be developing. It’s doubtful any of the so-called analytical thinkers would ever have the insight to come up with Velcro.