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From the Great Hall of the Cooper Union in New York City. National Educational radio presents the Cooper Union forum series on peace love and creativity the hope of mankind. These programs are recorded by station WNYC. Here now is the chairman of the Cooper Union forum Dr. Johnson yfere child. Thank you very much good evening ladies and gentleman welcome to the appropriate forum as your chairman Johnson the ferrets are speaking to you from the great hall of the Cooper Union. The subject of discussion at this particular moment has to do with the development of creativity. And this week here is Dr. Alfred Hughes a psychologist co-director of the mental health consultation Center here in New York City. His background to do with New York City Columbia University the New School New York University.
So a practicing psychologist. He has been a visiting lecturer at such places like Columbia. And New Jersey state coverage. He is a member of the numerous Association contributed very much to our union forum series. We hope to create activities here in the great hall of the Cooper Union. He has been a great help personally to me and also to the people you know in the Cooper Union forums spoken here on No Reservations and it's always a pleasure to welcome Dr. Alfred Jones speaking on the development of creativity. Dr. Oliver Jones.
Well the turtleneck tonight is because it's cold. Also it's appropriate to the village. I understand there's been a division between the hippies and the squares. We take a look at history. We can remember the parades called the great unwashed. Well don't blame our hippy friends. We taught them that cleanliness is next to godliness. But it turned out that we were not so godly.
I remember as a student in public school. A great joy when a visitor came and taught us how to sculpt in soap. We all ran out and we bought bars of Ivory soap and pen knives and we made animals and all sorts of lovely formulas. And what a great disappointment it was for me. When I first went to Brooklyn College. And found out. But these representatives who taught us how to sculpt and so were clowns from the soap company whose design was Tobias more soap. Yeah.
That was a period of questioning for me and I've continued to question ever since. There are many questions asked here after the talk. And after the talk is broadcast and I've received quite a few telephone calls and I'm sorry that I haven't been able to answer these calls all the letters. They're not answering to soon or even as adequately as I may have wished. But I ask the people who did write and who did call to please be patient. The other day a question came up in the mail which referred to my lecture at the beginning of the series. I made a rather negative remark. How about doctrinaire science and the
question this person asked is whether scientific knowledge. In psychology and physics it depends only and solely or importantly on what is called a positivistic approach to reality. Or can it. The person asks involve subjectivity. This person then wrote. That Einstein and we all bow to the east and believed in an external world independent of the perceiving object. And that this belated belief was the basis of all science. Well I believe that Einstein said that. But there was more to it and he has said more about it. While it is a truism about pissed I'm ology that we can never prove conclusively the existence of an independent
physical world. We do we have to deal with this world. If we are defining ourselves as scientists Einstein put it this way and I quote him. The question of whether object of truth can be attributed to or attained by human thinking is not a question of theory but rather is a practical question. In practice one must prove the truth or reality of thinking. The dispute over the reality or of the non-reality of thinking which is isolated from practice is purely a scholastic question. And I might add that dancing with angels on the head of a pin is a tiresome
task. And I really don't remember. Whether it was Nikolai Lenin or one of the pope's I get confused sometimes between the two. That theory without practice is sterile and practice without theory is blind. I elaborate on this theme on this question because I feel it touches on the problems of creativity which have to do with theory which have to do with practice. Which have to do with the subjective nature of man and the objective world within him within which he must live. What position can you and I take. When we examine creativity
and how does the position that we take affect what we see and how we describe it. But before that why do we take a position in the first place. We assume such positions any positions. Because there seems to exist a passion for comprehension. Just as there exists a passion for music or a passion for art. We see it very clearly and very very often in children. Where I am the present why and original question not an original sin which springs from oppression fresh perception of life. And the freedom that children have to express their fantasies. Some people claim that creativity and its development
lie outside the domain of psychology that it really cannot be explained. The creative aspect of life says young and ponderous. The creative aspect of life which means its clearest expression in art. Battles all attempts at a rational formulation. A creative act according to the psychologist will forever elude human understanding. It can be obscurely sensed but never wholly grasped. Art for him is a kind of innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him his instrument and the artist is not a person in doubt with free will who seeks his own ends. But one who allows art
and creativity to realize its purpose is through him. This view in my view a mystical notion holds that creativity is inscrutable. Well I personally side with the philosopher who said let's unscrew the inscrutable. But in doing that let us not damage the thread. Because we may never find another screw. The unique experience of our passion for comprehension will force us whether we like it or not. To try to understand creativity and we may even nurture the illusion that we are able to
comprehend the subjective or object of world of creativity by pure thought. Without any empirical foundations by metaphysics alone. On the other side of the fence we have the pragmatic of the positivistic approaches which would treat the creative expression or experience by breaking it down into its elementary stick elements winding up however. With a Museum Catalogue rather than a trip to see the paintings in Melrose say praise. We do need a museum without walls. So we can more fully listen to the silent voices. We need to understand the creative process.
As a psychology that is not the property of a chosen few but rather something of a longs to all of us since it does spring from each one of our own beings. Let us for a while leave aside from the philosophical dilemma of the subject object dichotomy and look at the process of creativity and looking is a very very apt word. Many years ago I spent. A Sunday on Long Island with some friends and in talking about his work. One artist said that it was best described by a quotation of a rule that he had read and I quote it now for you in truth. I have painted by opening
my eyes day and night on the perceptible world and also by closing them from time to time. So that I might better see the vision blossom and submit itself to orderly arrangement. Here is a statement of an artist that dispenses with the subject object problem and goes directly to the sensual experience. This is important in the development of creativity. D.H. Lawrence proposes that the great religion is a belief in the blood. And in the flesh. As being wiser of n the intellect. He can see use a man's body as a kind of
flame. Like a candle flame forever upright and yet flowing. Lawrence tells us that we have become so ridiculous Lee mindful that we never know that we ourselves are anything we think we are are only the objects we shine upon. And there the poor flame goes on burning ignored. But it produces the light. Well this is a very very important view even though an extreme one. In my view of the intellect two is important it's important to see things multi-dimensionally. We need the force of our passion to inflame
our sense of justice over the plight of a sin Yassky or a Daniel. But we also need our intellect to examine whether Le Roy Jones is being put in the same place. We require a creative experience the force that is our passion. Created as it is in our senses and desires. It is our animal heritage. We must experience it and freed our awareness in relation to it and also a recognition that it is only a reflection of instinct. And some people in an emphasis upon the flesh. On the body or on the sensual experience have
gone to yoga to increase their sensitivity. But please I ask you to remember that the aim of this philosophy or practice is to eliminate the censors. We need to develop our capacity for choice and our ability to exercise choice. To free our will from internal obstructions and distortions that are unconscious places in our path. So that we no longer need to live under the influence of the residues of the insatiable hate and lust of him can see in childhood. We should really produce more and devour less. We should look towards a life less dominated by the bitter shards of patricide old mattress Sidle and even fratricidal hatreds festered in
childhood. And promenaded later in crime and war in illness and in the Envies of rivalries in spite of every day life. We need to develop a flexible response to external reality so that we can learn from the impressions of the story ality neurotic or sick or even deadly. Are those aspects of our experiences which are determined by the rigid compulsive and unconscious influences of our infantile past. And please this is not a plea for religious transcendence. The frustrations of reality are a necessary component of our lives. Uncertainty and uneasiness are both part and parcel of human
existence. They provide the condition of our existence. But we need to deal with these without engaging in complex and compulsive rituals serving goals of which we are not aware. Having purposes we do not understand and finding excuses which we like to call reasons. In our quest for experience. We should avoid the ubiquitous value systems of our society which are notoriously acquisitive. Our economy and the Theros of the advertising people urge us to have new things all the time. You know each year of the new car is the best ever.
By the way I understand that in 1069 the best car of the year will have a brand new feature. We're going to call it a hammock. They're going to put it under the car to catch all the broken parts. But we need not deny the material values of our society. In our quest for experience we should sample the plenitude of the sensory impressions provided to us infinitely provided by our objective world. But we must also remember that a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose. One of our purposes should be to extend ourselves. Constantly we have a lifeline to the future. A line that is made up of creative forces which for man and his mind
involves the fusing of inner and outer experiences. If we could develop this then the development of this early age would ensure the identity and self-acceptance of the uniqueness of the individual and also spread to the social body. It would develop a sense of identity with things and people of the past present and future. And they bring us to share in the experience of others of their different pursues their creative production and all of the things that convey human dignity. To experience oneself and at the same time be open to the experience of others. It requires the
diminution of irrational guilt but also of Christian guilt. The idea that man in his will wishes to be omniscient and creative. You see self the experience of one's own being self-knowledge not self consciousness. Because there is nothing shameful or embarrassing about being conscious of one's self. This self from the self knowledge. Maybe first experienced as a conscious willing. Which many many times can be a negation or a denial of willing in others. But if it is this way and if it is a negation of the will of others and is met by domination then the feeling of unworthiness a curse.
And there is not only a stunting and in Him mission of our individual impulses. But the other person becomes the frightening stranger who needs to be placated by compromise. And then that ties of love are subtly transformed into the bonds of the young. And the overt demonstrations of concern merge into the mewling mortifications of apology. I read this someplace or I heard somewhere there's an example of what I'm talking about. The person says to his loved one oh sweetheart Oh darling I'm sorry I'm truly sorry I can't begin to tell you how deeply sorry I am for doing whatever it was that I did.
This spreads not only to the individual transaction but also to the society. The other person becomes a society which in turn becomes a corrupter. Whether it be the brutish exploitation of a burgeoning capitalism the pounding of a totalitarian upper rot. Or even the quiet leaving of a benevolent welfare state. We become corrupted by the promises and the gains. Our attachment even our ardent championing it becomes a soulful price we pay to maintain our livelihood. You see. The requirement. Of our institutions
is membership. They don't demand that there be institutionalization rather than individuation. And the price of our membership is survival and the survival becomes a process where the individual identifies himself with a process that has as its aim his own destruction. How do we escape. How do we develop the unique experience of creativity. Well let's look at the process. In the development of creativity we find a number of steps. The first of these is preparation. And this is the period of acquiring information or experience.
It can be deliberate. It can be non-deliberate. It extends from minutes to years. If the problem we have in mind is not focused there is no unpleasant feeling state. But as we get closer and closer to its realization there is an unpleasant feeling. The period of gathering information becomes more and more charged and you can see how the neurotic with his low tolerance for anxiety. I would be very uncomfortable and have to use defensive measures in the period of preparation in the period of gathering information in the period of increasing his pool of information of skill of sensual experience. One the Rodek result is an increase in narcissism and a denial that any preparation whatsoever is needed I can do neurotic says.
Do it any time I feel like it. The trouble is that it ever feels like it.
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Peace, love, creativity: Hope of mankind
The development of creativity, part one
Producing Organization
WNYC (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program presents the first part of a lecture by Alfred Jones, Co-Director, The Mental Health Center.
Series Description
This series presents lectures from the 1968 Cooper Union Forum. This forum's theme is Peace, Love, Creativity: The Hope of Mankind.
Media type
Producing Organization: WNYC (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Producing Organization: Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
Speaker: Jones, Alfred
Speaker: Fairchild, Johnson E.
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-10-32 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:27:08
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Chicago: “Peace, love, creativity: Hope of mankind; The development of creativity, part one,” 1968-07-16, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 23, 2024,
MLA: “Peace, love, creativity: Hope of mankind; The development of creativity, part one.” 1968-07-16. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 23, 2024. <>.
APA: Peace, love, creativity: Hope of mankind; The development of creativity, part one. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from