Are Accusations of Cultural Appropriation Misguided?

When Newton said he saw further by standing on the shoulders of giants what mattered was that he assimilated these 'giants' ideas perhaps more deeply than their own biological kin.

Toward a Quantum Model of Humor

The bisociation of incongruous frames or word meanings in jokes is modelled as a linear superposition of basis states, or possible interpretations, in a complex Hilbert space.

Creativity, Space Flight & the United (Or Un-United) States

Artworks from Earth could make astronauts homesick. But robots that generate artistic works in situ would not only provide fun and diversion but help forge a collective memory.

Is There a Physical Basis to the Notion of "Spirit"?

The feeling bears leave you with has little to do with how smart they are, or their demeanor. It’s more a sense of the essential life force they emanate from, corny as that sounds.

The Silver Lining Around Fearful Living

One good thing about fear, other than it stops you from doing stupid, dangerous stuff, is that can hold you back from learning the facts inside out, which may help keep that creatively inspiring sense of wonder and possibility alive.

Can Other People Make You Less Creative?

Do you sometimes feel more creative when you are alone? Though it is widely believed that stimulating environments enhance creativity this is not always the case. People may send out social signals to each other to conform, thereby ensuring that creativity--the process that fuels cultural novelty--is balanced by conformity--the process that perpetuates successful novelty.

The Disillusioning Drama of Jian Ghomeshi

If Jian hadn’t been so convincing as a gentle, peace-loving hipster, he might not have found so many alleged “consenting” violent sex partners. Who could have predicted it would take a sex scandal to reveal an ancient deep profound philosophical truth: The shadow side of appearing to be one extreme is that it makes it easier to be the opposite.

The Hidden Meaning of “It Is What It Is”

I suddenly hear wherever I go the phrase, “it is what it is”. I interpreted the phrase to mean “It’s something unique or subtle that I don’t have a specific name or category for, and I’m ok with that”. It seemed to imply acceptance of ambiguity, which can invite creativity. But to a friend the phrase implied resignation, acceptance of limitations. That got me thinking...

Racism? There’s an App for That

Avatars can facilitate an expanded sense of self that affects us at a gut level. When FaceFries users talk through avatars of different races, or mate their own face with those of different ethnic background to generate offspring faces that merge characteristics of both, their sense of personal identity is subtly transformed.

Fake Flooring and Fake People

The human mind uses everything it encounters as a potential metaphor for everything else. The message for kids growing up surrounded by fake stuff is: Rather than learning to come to terms with and appreciate what things really are, how things really are, who you really are, just fake it.

Does It Make Any Sense to Apply Quantum Mechanics to How People Think?

Go into any bookstore and you can find books on ‘quantum computation’, ‘quantum healing’, and even ‘quantum golf’. But quantum mechanics describes stuff in the microworld of subatomic particles, right? Surely it makes no sense to apply it to macroscopic stuff like computers and golf, let alone psychological stuff like thoughts, feelings, and ideas.

How Creative Ideas Take Shape

Divergent thought is divergent not in the sense of generating multiple possibilities but in the sense of producing a promising idea that is vague or unfocused, like a diverging beam of light. Similarly, convergent thought is convergent not in the sense of selecting amongst alternatives but in the sense of bringing a vague idea into focus, like a converging beam of light.
Are you the First Member of a New Species?

Are you the First Member of a New Species?

Think 'being different' is tough? It has happened millions of times on this planet that an organism's DNA mutated, and the organism was not the same species as either of its parents, nor anyone in the neighborhood, nor for that matter anything that ever lived before. It's bound to happen again in our lineage. Here's where to turn if you're REALLY different...

How a Generation Was Misled About Natural Selection

Those who have applied Darwinism outside of biology without grasping John von Neumann's basic insights have been susceptible to a host of pseudoscientific misadventures.

Are Effective Leaders Creative?

The results suggest that in a fast-changing world, where diversity of ideas is beneficial, it is important to be alert to situations in which leaders pull individuals off their own creative paths. The results also suggest that a startup company may benefit more from creative leadership while an established company benefits more from conservative leadership. 

Should Everyone Be Creative?

It goes without saying that creativity is a good thing, and that everyone should be creative. Or does it? Sure, our capacity for self-expression, for finding practical solutions to problems of survival, and coming up with aesthetically pleasing objects that delight the senses, all stem from the creative power of the human mind. But there are drawbacks to creativity.

Holistic Creativity

It seems reasonable that if knowledge is presented in compartmentalized chunks, students end up with a compartmentalized understanding of the world, while if knowledge were presented more holistically, a more integrated kind understanding may be possible.

The Power of 'Then': The Uniquely Human Capacity to Imagine Beyond the Present

Living in the 'Now' may help us appreciate our surroundings, forget our worries, leave our ego behind, and awaken spiritual dimensions in our lives. But we can also leave behind the ego and awaken new dimensions through fantasy and imagination, i.e. by living in the ‘Then'. When our ancestors acquired the capacity to break out of the present, it opened up for our species an entirely unprecedented and breathtakingly creative new kind of existence.

Un-family-ar Values

Nothing is more ingrained in society than the notion that those who espouse family values are good, decent people. But might those who do not have children be making life choices in a way that realistically matches what they can contribute to this overpopulated world with what it really needs?