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Biology 202
2002 Second Paper
On Serendip

Creativity, the Subconcious, and Daydreaming

Melissa Hoban

When an artist of any sort is inspired they have what can very closely be compared with a spiritual feeling. Some have said that this state in which, the imagination flows so freely is that of a conscious dream. In this short essay I will explore the ideas behind creativity and this dreamlike state of inspiration. In order to do so we must first decide what creativity is and then how it is affected.

Creativity¡¦ is it merely the expression of ones ideas, or must it be something that none has ever thought of before? My answer to this question is that neither idea is a proper definition for creativity. To be creative is the ability of the individual to express themselves in a passionate manner that is unique. The expression must be unique in the fact that the way in which it is expressed demonstrates the emotions and feelings of the creator. Also there are other forms of creativity such as inventing in which although the idea itself may not be completely new, or unrelated to something else, but that this idea is a composite of the information, which one has obtained throughout their life. This idea in order to be creative cannot be just a regurgitation of the ideas, but rather it must be an individual perspective. Creativity can be found in every day life in the simplest things, as in the way in which a person observes a flower that they are passing. However, what causes a creative genius is the way in which they express their unique perspective.

Creative Geniuses when asked about their feelings of inspiration have often said that they feel that their spiritualized feeling is similar to that of a dream. Could the dream-like state which artists experience during inspiration be similar to that of daydreaming? Absolutely, Day dreaming is when one¡¯s mind drifts from the task that it has been set to do. In this state we are still conscious unlike in sleeping dreams, but our mind is able to, so to speak drift into the depths of itself. There have been studies done that say that daydreaming is connected with intelligence and creativity. This is partially because sometimes our brain needs time to process information and although this is generally done during our REM sleep cycle sometimes it can carry over to our wakeful states. The benefits of daydreaming to creativity stem from the idea that, when our mind is in a sleep cycle it wanders to the subconscious.

When our minds are able to wander the subconscious, while conscious of our thoughts, and are able to regurgitate the ideas that are within our subconscious we are at the beginning basis for creative genius. Some artists that have been very interested in the subconscious are Dahli and Michael Parks, just two very well known surrealist painters. These painters try to visually relate what they see within their subconscious, and to spark thoughts within your subconscious. Also, many poems, songs, and stories stem from the subconscious. Much poetry is based upon deep human emotion felt at a level that few people truly feel. For a blade of grass or a cloud to inspire one as they have inspired Wordswoth is unthinkable. I believe that these inanimate objects to Wordsworth, as they are demonstrated in his poetry, show that these objects were merely a springboard for other emotions. Songwriters, such as Bjork and Anastio (songs are written for Phish) generally try to find a universal subject such as love, or inner turmoil so that it will affect a number of people whenever they hear it. Fictional stories such as those done by Edgar Allen Poe or J.R. Tolkien explore the limits of the human mind. Stories such as these could only be thought of by ones inner thoughts because they are so far from reality.

Imagination and artistic passion must stem or at least be easier to retrieve from our subconscious mind. The subconscious mind contains the runoff of emotions that are so passionate that although our brain produces them, they are inappropriate to express within normal social limitations. Perhaps the brains of true creative geniuses produce more emotions than most individuals or they merely suppress more emotions. However these so called geniuses definitely do have the gift of expressing these emotions.
That is what makes them geniuses and causes millions to admire their work. So, in my next paper I will begin to explore further the manner in which these emotions are expressed. In this paper I have set a basis for the next with the ideas of where the emotions and creativity itself stems from in order to form a work of creative genius.


1) (1983). The Journal of Creative Behavior (Vol.17). Buffalo, NY: The Creative Education Foundation.

2) Summerfield (Ed.). (1960). The Creative Mind and Method. Austin, Texas: University of Texas.

3) Singer, Jerome L. (1975). The Inner World of Daydreaming. New York, NY: Harper and Row, Publishers.

4) Sartre, Jean-Paul. (1948). The Psychology of Imagination. New York, NY: Philosophical Library.

5) Solomon (Ed.). (1979). Myth, Creativity, Psychoanalysis. Detroit Michigan: Wayne State University Press.

6) Boden, Margaret A. (1992). The Creative Mind. New York. NY: Basic Books.

7) Stein, Morris I. (1974). Stimulating Creativity. New York, NY: Academic Press.

8) Damasio, Antonio R. (1994). Descartes Error. New York, NY: Quill.

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