During our college days one of the known cinema personalities would ask a common sense but random question to anyone he met in his television (DD) programme, “Ariel, Mr. Gold” in which the winner was given a gold coin.I still remember two questions asked by the programme host to those who joined/met him on the street(s): one, if the first day of a month falls on Sunday, what dates would other Sundays of the month fall on? and in the second question the person had to guess the exact number of buttons on his shirt! Although the second question needed a witty guess but the first one indeed needed simple mathematics and thus a little abstract thinking. Still it would take the host a full episode to find/meet a person who would answer the question and thus clinch the gold coin.
The fact that different such questions in our daily life seem difficult remained a “great” puzzle for me until I recently watched a video on a web page (Big Think) in which the thinking process of humans had been made the subject.It thus came to fore that thinking, as a process, is not an effortless enterprise, and there is an “idle/habitual” side of human mindwhich performs things with proper management, the skills thereof are gathered from routine exercises and, as such, any new challenge (here, question) is not taking seriously by this side!As such, human mind takes its (due) time to respond to a new situation in a proper manner. And, if any haste is made in responding a query, the answer, it is sure, would nor be appropriate.
When this thinking faculty of human mind is taken into consideration, it can be easily understood that it is the cornerstone of all creativity both at the abstract as well as at the concrete plain of human existence. From a mathematical theorem (naturally, derived from an axiom) to the poet’s poem (with proper semantics), from the philosopher’s logical argument to the scientist’s postulate,from the painter’s image on canvas to the musician’s symphony on the strings of the instrument and from the sculptor’s possession tochisel the statue to the athlete’s concentration to achieve his target, all owe theirexistence to the thinking process of human mind which takes different forms at difference moments of time.
These and all other processes have thought at their background and all the creative activity manifest in the cosmos is thus driven by thought. Even those phenomena which seemingly need no thought to operate because their operations are of a routine nature, still need some kind of thought to keep going. We may assume, and we do assume, that the creatures other than humans work as per their instinct and the inanimate world works as per natural laws, but these instincts and natural laws, in essence,are thought driven!
No wonder then that Aristotle, the First Teacher (in philosophy) was so much possessed by thought that he declared that the One or the Absolute or the Eternal (or simply the God of theology) was “Thought thinking Itself!” Even the explanation thereof was given in such a way where thought again played the pivotal part. So, it was said that the thinking process of the Absolute was: “(Its) thinking is thinking on thinking!”
The same possession with thought led the Neoplatonist philosophers to put forth a system of cosmology which explained the relation of the One with many or of the Unity with diversity by dint of the theory of emanation. Thus, from the Immaterial (Absolute, Eternal) emanates the material or created world as an outflow of Its unbound “creativity” just like the “flow” of sun rays from the sun. However, for the maintenance of the essential unity of the Absolute, there is a series of “intelligences” between the Absolute and the material world. The theory, as such, also furnishes ontological principles to explain and exposit the “being” as a whole by giving a two-fold division of being as Necessary and Contingent. Thus starting from the First Intelligence, the series of intelligences ends, according to the Neoplatonists, at the Tenth Intelligence which serves as the Active Intelligence or the Over-mind of the universe.
To explain the operation of the Active Intelligence, the Neoplatonists have given a four-fold division of Intellect as: 1. Active or Agent Intellect 2. Latent or Potential Intellect 3. Acquired Intellect 4. Manifest Intellect or Intellect in Action Among the Muslim peripatetic philosophers, Al-Kindi has stated that Active Intellect is (like) the over-mind of the universe. It is the source of fundamental laws of thought, mathematical axioms, eternal truths and spiritual visions. Thus, it is said that from here comes the mystic’s illumination, the poet’s inspiration, and also of the scientist’s and philosopher’s.
Now, when the Latent Intellect acquires (receives) something from the Active Intellect, it thus turns into Acquired Intellect. This is because the humans have the latent capacity to acquire the eternal truths subsisting in the realm of the Active Intellect. Now, the acquisition of these truths in case of the “select few” transforms their Latent Intellect into Acquired Intellect. When the Acquired Intellect performs some function in the apparent or human realm, it becomes Intellect in Action.
As such, any creative action on the part of human beings needs a concentrated thinking process of the highest magnitude. This is the reason that a poet, a painter, a musician, a scientist or a philosopher achieves or contributes something to the humanity only when s/he is possessed by and engrossed in the vocation which s/he opts for. In other words, one cannot do anything substantial and tangible unless one combines one’s profession and passion and in this process s/he has to transform herself/himself into a storehouse of creativity by thinking!
(The author is Assistant Professor at GDC Kokernag. Email: email@example.com)