Ambiguity and Famous Chinese Saying

Topics: Ambiguity, Universe Pages: 9 (3735 words) Published: November 2, 2014
The value of nothing: out of nothing comes something. That was an essay I wrote when I was 11 years old and I got a B+. (Laughter) What I'm going to talk about: nothing out of something, and how we create. And I'm gonna try and do that within the 18-minute time span that we were told to stay within, and to follow the TED commandments: that is, actually, something that creates a near-death experience, but near-death is good for creativity. (Laughter) OK. So, I also want to explain, because Dave Eggers said he was going to heckle me if I said anything that was a lie, or not true to universal creativity. And I've done it this way for half the audience, who is scientific. When I say we, I don't mean you, necessarily; I mean me, and my right brain, my left brain, and the one that's in between that is the censor and tells me what I'm saying is wrong. And I'm going do that also by looking at what I think is part of my creative process, which includes a number of things that happened, actually -- the nothing started even earlier than the moment in which I'm creating something new. And that includes nature, and nurture, and what I refer to as nightmares. Now in the nature area, we look at whether or not we are innately equipped with something, perhaps in our brains, some abnormal chromosome that causes this muse-like effect. And some people would say that we're born with it in some other means, and others, like my mother, would say that I get my material from past lives. Some people would also say that creativity may be a function of some other neurological quirk -- van Gogh syndrome -- that you have a little bit of, you know, psychosis, or depression. I do have to say, somebody -- I read recently that van Gogh wasn't really necessarily psychotic, that he might have had temporal lobe seizures, and that might have caused his spurt of creativity, and I don't -- I suppose it does something in some part of your brain. And I will mention that I actually developed temporal lobe seizures a number of years ago, but it was during the time I was writing my last book, and some people say that book is quite different. I think that part of it also begins with a sense of identity crisis: you know, who am I, why am I this particular person, why am I not black like everybody else? And sometimes you're equipped with skills, but they may not be the kind of skills that enable creativity. I used to draw. I thought I would be an artist. And I had a miniature poodle. And it wasn't bad, but it wasn't really creative. Because all I could really do was represent in a very one-on-one way. And I have a sense that I probably copied this from a book. And then I also wasn't really shining in a certain area that I wanted to be, and you know, you look at those scores, and it wasn't bad, but it was not certainly predictive that I would one day make my living out of the artful arrangement of words. Also, one of the principles of creativity is to have a little childhood trauma. And I had the usual kind that I think a lot of people had, and that is that, you know, I had expectations placed on me. That figure right there, by the way, figure right there was a toy given to me when I was but nine years old, and it was to help me become a doctor from a very early age. I have some ones that were long lasting: from the age of five to 15, this was supposed to be my side occupation, and it led to a sense of failure. But actually there was something quite real in my life that happened when I was about 14. And it was discovered that my brother, in 1967, and then my father, six months later, had brain tumors. And my mother believed that something had gone wrong, and she was gonna find out what it was. And she was gonna fix it. My father was a Baptist minister, and he believed in miracles, and that God's will would take care of that. But of course, they ended up dying, six months apart. And after that, my mother believed that it was fate, or curses -- she went looking through all...
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