Creativity, Mental Blocks, and Perpetual Trance


Moving, vibrating in a harmonious rhythm with our surroundings is the natural way. But sometimes we can get stuck in a particular state of mind like an eddy reversing flow against a river’s dominant current.
My art classes are courses in creativity. This is the same as saying that I teach people how to interrupt the blockages that have developed over the years of living inside their heads in so-called “civilized society”.

While the overarching subject is aesthetics, source materials include information on perceptual illusion, right-brain/left-brain integration, conceptual art, subliminal persuasion, media manipulation, hypnosis, NLP, meditation, quantum physics, and neurofeedback. Each of these fields of research provide insights that are helpful in interrupting ways the mind gets stuck in reified perceptual, emotional, symbolic, and cognitive states.

Perceptual illusions reveal the very real ways that the world of our senses is a place where misinterpretation is rampant. We can easily be made to see continuity of movement, for example, where there is in reality only a staccato series of still images. Modes of thinking which involve left-brain dominance are so heavily rewarded in our culture (as opposed to right-brain modes) that we are conditioned to respond in a predictably materialistic and quantitative manner, even when dealing with our emotional experience. As the most powerful and influential tool ever devised by man, the mass media educates our children, defines us as consumers, and creates virtual environments for us to inhabit. We dwell in illusory media-induced perceptual states even when looking into the mirror. Our self images have been progressively chipped away and honed into simulacra of dissatisfaction by the tens of thousands of hours of commercial ads we process each year of our lives.

Once the mind is stuck in a repetitive mode of operation, it has effectively entered a state of trance. As a result of being influenced by our hyper-ritualized mechanical/cybernetic environment, we find ourselves entering into hypnotic states on a more or less perpetual basis. Addressing and interrupting these various states of trance can initiate a process of triggering the capacity for novel perception, thought, and experience, which is the hallmark of creativity and creative evolution.

To develop one’s capacity to perceive, think, and act aesthetically brings one to the very leading edge of the creation of the universe. It is the place where the still-warm embers of the big-bang itself are moving in sync with the rhythms of eternity and evolving continuously into infinite patterns of new form and content. Each instant the world is created anew as are we within it.
Image: “Mental Block 001,” by Tullio DeSantis, digital image, 2010.



Filed under ARTology Now

4 responses to “Creativity, Mental Blocks, and Perpetual Trance

  1. Jill Lincoln

    As you state…”As the most powerful and influential tool ever devised by man, the mass media educates our children, defines us as consumers, and creates virtual environments for us to inhabit.” I couldn’t agree more. Even if we don’t realize it, we are subconsciously absorbing these images and messages. I notice a difference in my son, if I allow him to watch TV or play video games for an extended amount of time. He is almost in a trance. When he disengages from the media, he is tired, and grumpy. It’s become so easy for us to just zone out after a long day at work and sit and watch TV. It’s easy to get lost in our self-centered universe, instead of living our lives and engaging with people.

  2. king

    This piece is outstanding. I like how the cube was 3d. It was also lighter inside of the cube. Everything else was darker. As I stared at the lighter part in the piece it became even more three dimensional

  3. Sarah Weld

    I love the idea of using a cube to illustrate mental blocks. How many artists have come up against mental blocks when trying to create new pieces. This really speaks to me because I have suffered artists blocks before and they are just the worst. The colors you used also help show the feelings of mental blocks. The light blue color in the cube reminds me of the potential art work that can come out if a block, if you can only break the walls.

  4. John Howe

    I see this picture in a couple different ways. For one, the image encased in the cube faintly looks like a human brain that is kept from free expression. The other way I see it is that the colored space is the creative section of the brain trapped in the cube (the mind block) and the gray contrast around the cube is mental frustration and misery.

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