Thursday, September 23, 2010

Applying Occam's Razor has Put Your Abilities in the Sink.

It's easy to become conditioned into thinking in certain patterns and forms due to being locked outside the chaotic innards of the mind. The same conclusions are often reached repeatedly because you apply the same formulas to reach them. These formulas and conclusions become the only thing you know. Why do we fall into the same roads of thought? Is it a desire for closure that keeps us from thinking down different paths?

Writing requires a broader and more flexible interaction with the world and with the self.

Here is an example of insulated thinking from my own perspective:

As a very young man of eight or ten years old, I had a wallet with no money in it that I carried around with me constantly. I didn't have anything in it, actually, except for one piece of orange stiff paper that was signed  by Lillian Oppenheimer, President of the Origami Center of America, an organization that operated out of the basement of the American Museum of Natural History, a place that seems to have no end of interior chambers for personal exploration.

Origami was a soothing art for me. It had specific rules and diagrams to create three-dimensional objects from a two-dimensional sheet of paper. Its crisp lines and corners coupled with its sharp points and creases translated to me the mathematical and geometric nature of the world. One could have a diagram of an origami form and replicate it anywhere on any piece of paper. 

Hooray! You did i......zzzzz.

I was one step closer to understanding the universe. That is until I discovered the iconoclastic origami style of Akira Yoshizawa. This is his famous Gorilla, which is displayed in the Lourve in Paris:

Yoshizawa had had enough of the restrictions of diagram-based origami and sharp lines and invented wet-folding, which allowed him to sculpt the sheet of paper rather than merely fold it. He introduced curves to replace straight lines, which are seldom found in nature. 

His creative output was from a place that broke away from the strict methodology of other origamists of the time. But, he harnessed the chaos of the mind to the point of being awarded an honor by Emperor Hirohito called The Order of the Rising Sun, one of the highest recognitions of citizenry, second only to The Order of the Chrysanthemum.

Now, a whole wave of imitators who are actually innovators have swarmed in on the origami scene to make pieces like this:
and this:
and this:

All of these pieces are from one single sheet of paper, which prompts eight-year old me to remove the orange piece of paper from my wallet and, instead of folding it, putting it deep in the folds of a very large book, which will be stashed high on a shelf, away from my traditional origami shame, lest I be called on to create something original from it. 

Now, this is all entirely too dramatic. But, it does resonate with the creative process in regards to writing, which is something that, unlike origami, I am looking to achieve and fulfill. Are there predictable creases and folds in my methods? Am I looking for creative comfort in lines and planes that I go over and over again in my head? It's frightfully possible and more than likely.

In the next week, I am ordering the parts to build the hypnagogic mind machine from the last post and we shall explore the state of creativity possible through this method..


  1. This is good news. My arms are getting tired from constantly turning your damned Gysin's Brain Machine around and around while you try to fall asleep to it every night. Our friendship has limits.

    Water being the natural enemy of paper, I've never seen the two work together so well. Although now that I think about it, those sculptures must have smelled terrible for about a week after they dried.

  2. Funny you should bring up Gysin's Machine. I'm going to do a side-by-side comparison of the two machines. You're going to want to slap an anchor on your forearms when we're through.

  3. Micah Fitzwilliam Saccomanno, I hope you're not stopping M.I.M.