Vantage Quest

Vantage Quest Home | VQ Introduction | Enter to win | Tool for Exploration | Sound Sample | What is VQ | Specific Applications of VQ
The Coyoté Oak: Burgeoning Wisdom | Welcome | Preview, Chapter 1 | Howling Reviews | Carlisle Bergquist | Author Appearances | Wholesale Inquiries
The Big Idea | 10 Mil Million Golpes - Español | The Intention Experiment | The Plan | 10 BB Registration Page | I Want to do More | 10 BB Movie
Transpersonal Counseling Center | Contact Counseling | Carlisle Bergquist
Coyote Oaks | The Grounds | For Presenters | Questions about Coyote Oaks | Past Events
Thoughts Beneath The Trees | Dancing: Part 1 | Doorways: Part 1 | Your Inner Creator | Comparative Theories | CREATIVITY& SHAMANISM | Submissions
10 Billion Beats Network
subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link

Infinite Beginning

VQ Logo

"Infinite  Beginning"
A Transpersonal Theory of Creative Systems

©2008 by Carlisle Bergquist, LCMFT


1.  "There was a beginning."  (The Huai-Nan Tzu)

"In the beginning..." the lights faded and the timbre of anticipation congealed into a rhythmic clap.  Darkness engulfed the area as the rhythmic pulse increased in speed and amplitude.  Small beams of lights appeared, swinging across through space as if they were floating in the blackness.  Each moved hesitantly to a separate position and then disappeared again into the darkness.  A united rhythm formed which became still more thunderous until it broke into thousands of smaller cadences and became a cacophonous roar.  Then, that too disappeared into the darkness.

"In the beginning..." curiosity drew me to this place, a chance last minute invitation.  I did not know what to expect for I knew little about what would unfold from the darkness before me.  My hands too joined in the rhythm of the night.  They found their own cadence, and then settled back again at my sides in the silent cover of the night.  Tints of lime green and a rich lavender slowly appeared from the darkness.  They washed over the area and into my eyes.  The vivid colors seemed to pierce my separateness and stir the core of my being.

"In the beginning..." chaos changed into rhythmic ovation and back again into a discordant roar.  At last, harmonic sounds emerged with the growing radiance of colors:  together they seized the night.  Excited stillness replaced the clamor.  Then union:  the rhythmic pulse between the shadowed array and the being shrouded in a cloud of lavender smoke before it began.

"In the beginning..." just a little moisture glazed my eyes.  Only a small lump inhabited my throat.  Only a slight tremor moved my lower lip.  I felt just a faint rap on my heart's door imperceptibly knocking loose memories I had worked so hard to repress.  Then it happened.  The moisture in my eyes welled up into tears.  The knot in my throat swelled into a mountain that collared me with emotions.  The tremor of my lip was no longer noticeable for my face and entire body shook with pain and feeling.  I had traded places with the figure on the stage.  As if I had stepped out from a looking glass, out from the spotlight, I stood peering back at myself, or at what I once was.

"In the beginning..." I was furious.  Why him instead of me?  Why not me?  If not me, what am I supposed to do?  No answers!  Internally order crumbled, the meaning I thought I had found dissolved and again I stared into void.  Two hours passed as the figure entranced the crowd.  I hated the way I loved his act.  Still no answers!  I recognized the way his music knew me.  It touched me in spite of my defenses.  Out of order I was reduced to chaos and chaos I recognized.  I wasn't at the end:  I was not looking at the whole.  I hadn't stepped from the looking glass nor from the spotlight.  I was experiencing an aspect of the creative process first hand that I had been searching for words to write about.  I was a living "feedback loop" [1]  in a system much larger than the experience to which I surrendered, a system larger than me.  Again I was "in the beginning...."

Beginnings, like births, are hard painful experiences.  The event described above illustrates some key facets of such an experience; aspects of the creative process I wish to address in this writing.  It serves as a place to begin describing a process that is ostensibly like a Mobius strip that casts the illusion of duplicity.  The event described further illustrates that creativity is a sympathetic process that resonates everywhere and thus, it replicates itself.  Beginnings beget beginnings. 

People commonly view creativity as something possessed by some (those in a spotlight whether scientific or artistic), and not by others; yet, creativity mystifies those "who have it," and those "who don't" equally.  The process shows only its products:  it glimmers in reflections and serenades in overtones but never reveals its substance or origin.  This paper will explore the characteristics of those enigmatic resonances:  it will propose that creativity is our ground of being and is therefore inescapable.  It will attempt to connect our human creative ability with a larger universal pulse.  To describe this "shrouded cadence," this paper will be hermeneutic, highly theoretical, and use widely divergent illustrations.  These examples are metaphoric and represent isomorphs of the process operating in a different medium.  This exploration will include:  theories of creation and stories of inspiration from several religious traditions, an application to the human developmental process, and a systems model of the process as it occurs in the work of creative artists.  This paper does not claim to prove what creativity is:  that continues to elude.  Rather, this paper seeks to  stimulate a new view of creativity that diminishes the separation felt by both the individuals who feel themselves uncreative, and the artist-scientist-creators banished to live in the spotlight.  I. Mitroff and R. Kilmann (1978, cited by Krippner, 1983) outline the nature of social scientists based on two pairs of opposites in the personality described by Jung:  sensation - intuition, and thinking - feeling. [2]   By this measure, this exploration will be the work of a conceptual theorist.  It all starts "in the beginning...."

2.  "There was a time before that beginning." (The Huai-Nan Tzu)

In this "time before the beginning" this paper will detail an initial model of the creative process:  many have been proposed.  This paper will use the four stages first described by Graham Wallas in The Art of Thought:  Preparation, Incubation, Illumination, Verification (1926, cited in Harman, 1984).  Two other stages described by Lois Robbins, frustration, between preparation and incubation, and communication that ends the process (1985), will be mentioned briefly.

cycle 1

Creative Cycle

In "Preparation," all is first drawn together with intention.  For example, to build a house, one gathers materials and plans before proceeding.  If the product is artistic, one formulates a question or idea, equips oneself, and tries various combinations of the collected parts.  Nurturing, research, and continuous input characterize this stage.

"Incubation" is the stage when gathering stops.  Further input of information, nutrients, or ideas becomes difficult:  all is satiated to the point of compression.  This satiated point is the stage Robbins refers to as Frustration.  Incubation is the mysterious "black box" stage in which change occurs unobserved.  The final creation (or at least critical portions of it), forms but remains unknown.  It is symbiotic.  Within the mind of its creator, the creation is as yet unable to survive independently.  The aggregate gestates and seemingly concludes with sudden "Illumination." 

Illumination is output.  Accumulated resources, ripened and settled, thrust into a new state of being.  The creation surpasses dependence on its conceiver and takes on a "life" and identity of its own.  Illumination is the glamorous stage for it appears easy as if the creative product has sprung forth effortlessly.  The apparent effortlessness and high visibility of this stage may contribute to people's belief that some individuals are creative while others are not.

"Verification" is the final stage in which the product of "Illumination" is reviewed, refined, and adjusted to the realities of a new state of being.  The product of inspiration and illumination is now subjected to reason:  it must actually work in its applied field.  This stage separates fantasy from creation.  Finally, the creation must be communicated and shared with others who can assess and confirm its value.  Robbins (1985) views communication as a separate subsequent stage however, it seems more fitting to consider it a special aspect of the verification process.

As mentioned, other stages of the creative process have been proposed.  Wallas' four stages however, convey the essential qualities of the process.  Frustration, Robbins' second stage, seems rather to be a characteristic of the transition between any two of the four stages; distinct boundaries do  not otherwise separate the stages.  A creator may move back and forth through various stages of the process before achieving the product.  The process, like the Mobius strip, may fold back into itself at any point.  Likewise, some stages of the process present the illusion of being opposites yet also exhibit similarities; i.e., preparation versus illumination, incubation versus verification.

Preparation and illumination require energetic involvement; one is input oriented the other outgoing.  In preparation, the creator works to set the process in motion, if you will, it is the "horse (creator), pulling the cart" (process).  In illumination the "cart pulls the horse," the creator must keep up with the rapidly unfolding idea.  Preparation is like illumination in that an idea (for the creation), has begun to emerge.  Illumination resembles preparation because it also gathers information (in this case the new creation), for processing during verification.  Preparation moves the creator towards Gnosis.  Illumination crosses the same territory in the opposite direction to move the creation into the world. 

Incubation and Verification also share similarities.  Both are processing modes.  Incubation processes the products of preparation in the subconscious and yields illumination.  Verification processes the results of illumination consciously and yields a usable creation.  Balancing  opposites is embedded within the creative process itself.  This balance is also characteristic of creative individuals (discussed later in this paper). Balance leads to an examination of the stories which first describe the dance of the opposites.  However, a few more aspects of the creative process must lay a theoretical foundation for viewing creativity as a transpersonal system before such examination.

(3)  "There was a time before the time which was before the beginning."  (The Huai-Nan Tzu)         

In this "time before the time which is before the beginning" one must learn to see.  See, as much as possible, the full range of the creative process from our limited human perspective.  We pursue such vision through what St. Bonaventure describes as; "the eye of the flesh, the eye of reason, and the eye of contemplation."  (Cited by Wilber, 1990, pages 2-5)  The task is to learn through which "eye" we perceive a given type of reality, and to which category, or "realm" such knowledge is applicable.  Further, one must see in which realm a specific task of creation lies and to which such knowledge applies.  Thus, to be human is to be a crucible in which data from these three "eyes" are perceived, given meaning in the world around us, and with which one then creates or re-creates that world.

Knowledge gathered, processed, given meaning, and used to create in this "human crucible" is as mentioned, of different types.  It is therefore applicable to discrete areas of the human experience and of the creative process.  Failure to discriminate with these different "eyes" results in what Wilber (1990) calls "category error" and renders creation impotent, if not destructive.  It is perhaps natural that we assign a hierarchy of importance to these three ways of knowing:  herein lies much dissension often found at the core of the triadic exchange among the natural sciences, the social sciences and philosophy, and the mystic and artistic visionaries of the world.  This dissension also often fragments or blocks the creative process and thereby distorts its outcome.  It is useful to describe briefly  each of these realms of knowledge before relating them to the act of creation.

Data gathered through the eye of the flesh forms empirical knowledge.  It is knowledge learned and verified through the physical senses or instruments that extend them.  The eye of reason is interpretive.  It deals with the symbolization,  organization, and interpretation of ideas, impressions, and feelings.  St. Bonaventure (cited by Wilber, 1990) said this realm as deals with the "threefold activity of the soul" (perhaps more accurately described in contemporary terms as the activity of the ego); i.e., the psychic functions of memory, reason, and will.  The eye of contemplation opens in the experience of gnosis to behold knowledge from transcendent realms.  It is the instrument of inspiration.

Knowledge in this essay means information, however attained, that has been or will be verified, and of use in the act of creation.  Ken Wilber (1990) describes three qualities that validate knowledge:  injunction, illumination, and confirmation.  The "injunctive stand" refers to the desire to know accompanied by a proposed action to find out.  Illumination or the "apprehensive stand" refers to when the injunction has evoked a response thus yielding information.  Finally confirmation, the "communal stand," refers to sharing the yield of injunction and illumination with others who can then witness the same results by repeating the process using the same "eye."  Wilber considers all knowledge, whether attained empirically or through gnosis, which exhibits these three qualities to be valid.  I concur and suggest that such knowledge is then useful as "raw material" in the creative process.  Thus, we find ourselves again on the Mobius strip for these stages, with the addition of an incubation period, constitute the creative process itself.  The process nests within itself.

In gnosis, one unites with the transcendent realm of inspiration and illumination.  Most religious traditions allude to transcendent states though descriptions and names for them are a source of division and debate amongst them.  The difficulty likely stems from an inability to convey the experience adequately through language and thus share it with those who have not experienced it.  Wilber (1990) gives an excellent example of how this reduction takes place as information is transferred from a "higher" dimension to a lower one:

Whenever higher dimensions are represented on lower ones they necessarily lose something in the translation...whenever a three-dimensional sphere is reduced on a two-dimensional surface it becomes a circle.

Logically, the next reduction would be that if the circle were represented on a one-dimensional media it would appear as only a straight line.  Thus, the "higher dimensional" transcendent (or inspirational experience), itself and the knowledge gathered therein are similarly reduced, and abstracted.  Thus, representing higher knowledge in the dimensions of reason or the empirical "flesh" often diminishes it to dogma.  The skill needed by a creator is to bring back the experience in its purest form and transmute it so the eyes of the flesh, and of reason, can perceive it.  Thus informed, we awaken with three-fold vision to examine the creation myths.  The stories are the products of Gnosis  transmuted to the "lesser" dimensions of the eyes of reason and the empirical flesh:  they suffer from the reductions and abstractions of such a transmutation.    Ergo, we are again "in the beginning..."

(4)  "There was being."  (The Huai-Nan Tzu)

1  ....In the beginning this world was merely non-being.  It was existent.  It developed.  It turned into an egg.  It lay for the period of a year.  It was split asunder.  (Chandogya Upanisad)

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2 And the earth was without form and void....(Genesis 1: 1-2)


In the great beginning, there was non-being.  It had neither being nor name.  The One originates from it; it has oneness but not yet physical form....That which is formless is divided [into yin and yang], and from the very beginning going on without interruption is called destiny.  Through movement and rest it produces all things....Being one with the beginning, one becomes vacuous (hsu, receptive to all), and being vacuous one becomes is then united with the universe.  (The Chuang Tzu)

Order emerging from chaos is a common theme in the creation stories of most religious traditions.  Each has its own associated dogma but there remains a striking resemblance amongst them.  Similar cosmologies exist in the Egyptian story of the becoming of Khepri and the birth of Ra (Lamy, 1981), and in the Babylonian myth of Tiamat who embodies chaos and Marduk who defeats her and imposes order.  The balance of order and chaos is ever represented in them.  Western religions focus more on order whereas many other religions see chaos or the void as the supreme ultimate.  Most indicate a polarity in some way.  Yaweh, I AM THAT I AM, the God of ancient Israel and the Father in the Christian Trinity (perhaps by extrapolation), shows himself as both creator and destroyer.  For example, when Moses encountered God directly it evoked both adoration and fear.  Fear and adoration, creator and destroyer appear in many other stories such as the dialogue between Krsna and Arjuna in The Bhagavad-Gita (11: 1-55).  Thus, polarities whether physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual are attributes of the creative experience and the created form.  An individual acting as creator must also hold pairs of opposites in balance.

Albert Rothenberg (cited by Briggs, 1988) calls this ability to conceive of antithetical concepts simultaneously "janusian thinking."  Similarly, Arthur Koestler (1964) terms the process of bringing together "habitually incompatible frames of reference" as "bisociation."  In the cosmologies referred to above the process of change from non-being to being involves the origin of polarities and the creation of form through their bisociation.  Taoism provides a clear example of this in the Tao that is said to be the supreme ultimate:  it is formless and can not be named.  From the Tao emerge first yin [3]  and yang, [4]  and finally form.  Being from non-being.  One might assign the qualities of chaos to the Tao in such examples but I would like to use this Chinese metaphor to consider another view of chaos and the creative process.

Yin is the receptive principle.  Yang is the creative principle.  The name may cause confusion since the entire creative process involves both yin and yang.  Therefore, this writing will refer to yang as the projective quality and yin as the receptive quality.  These qualities remain consistent with their meanings.  The interaction of yin and yang produce form and thereby order.  Thus, yin and yang are an intermediary step between non-being and being.  Two questions arise then if order is created from chaos:  First, are we to suppose that chaos is the formless aspect of the Tao?  Second, is yin synonymous with chaos?  I suggest yet another alternative, that chaos is an aspect of being that is fixated in either extreme of the yin-yang polarity.

Two Poles of Chaos

Figure #1 illustrates these positions of fixation.  Imagine oneself, if possible, solely in either the yin or yang pole.  The view if you will, from either position would be chaos.  Fixated in yang, all is being projected; all is moving away with neither constraint nor return.  The view would be like staring into the void.  From the yin pole the opposite would be true.  Everything is drawn in, introjected.  Nothing escapes.  Gary Zukav's (1979) description of particle physics might fit the view from the yin pole as follows:  "...particle physics is a picture of chaos beneath order...a confusion of continual creation, annihilation and transformation."  Within the physical universe, one might think of perceiving either a quasar (yang), or a black hole (yin) from its "complementary opposite" as metaphoric examples of these two frames of reference.  Thus, chaos has a different face at either of the two extremes.  To change Chang Tzu's statement slightly:  That which is only yin or yang is chaos.

Two Poles of Chaos

Therefore, if chaos exists at both poles, then form and order must seem inhabit the territory between the two poles; accordingly, form (whether a poem or universe), arises in the interactive tension between the two.  Figure #2 illustrates this range in which order is created and suggests that varying degrees of balance between the poles are possible.  The range of tension invites further exploration.  In this effort, a contemporary creation story, the study of chaos, serves as a useful metaphor.  Before discussing chaos theory, I will briefly note another image associated with the creative process that will be useful in the discussion.

Howard Gruber, in work describing the scientific creativity of Charles Darwin, says that creators develop images that allow them:

...a wide range of perceptions, actions, and ideas.  This width depends in part on...the intensity of the emotion which has been invested in it, that is its value to the person.  (1974, Cited by Briggs, 1988)

Gruber calls these "images of wide scope."  Darwin's image was a tree.  The tree allowed him to organize the branches of life in his thoughts and eventually led to his theory of evolution.  I also have a central  image in my thought process, the image of a wave.  The wave will serve this time as the first metaphor to explore creativity in chaos theory.

(5)  "There was non-being"  (The Haui-Nan Tzu) 

A sine wave is a simple wave form.  It is a smooth vibration characterized by frequency and wave length.  It is energy in oscillation between two states or poles no matter what the medium through which the wave travels.  Open ocean waves move in all directions and are of many lengths and frequencies.  They travel at varying speeds.  A normal ocean wave is complex; it consists of many varied sine waves.  Such a wave changes shape and dissipates as its component energy waves gather and separate because of their independent rates of travel.  Occasionally, a unique wave does not readily dissipate.  This wave is called a soliton wave.

Soliton waves arise from the chaos of many frequencies and maintain a single wave form and frequency for a considerable time.  The process realigns the component sine waves feeding their energy back into one another and thus creating a solitary wave rather than dissipating.  This phenomenon occurs within a critical window of kinetic energy; with too much energy the wave breaks into turbulence and with too little it dissipates.  Likewise, soliton waves only form when bottom conditions are such that the sine waves translate linear motion into the nonlinear feedback and thereby maintains congruity.  This process, creating order from chaos involves the same four stages:  preparation, wherein the energy collects in the chaotic mass of water; incubation as water is amassed; illumination wherein the wave becomes a discrete "entity" and moves as a unit; and finally verification as the sine waves feedback into one another and thereby continue the wave as a unique self-organizing system.  Self-organizing solitons exist in many mediums from the atmosphere to biology.  Solitons are a metaphor for self-organized form as it appears at any given "point of tension" shown in Figure #2.  The soliton wave, like form, is a result of the attraction and interplay between polar opposites.  "Attractors" are another concept found in the study of chaos that may be useful in the exploration of creativity. 

Attractors exist in a mathematical construct called phase space.  Phase space is used to express the "complete state of knowledge about a...system" (James Gleick, 1987).  Phase space provides a way of turning numbers into pictures and therein accounting for all the dimensions of the system.  Attractors represent a point towards which systems approach as they atrophy.  In a system with continuous energy input that point in never reached but instead is the center point (attractor), around which the representation of the system orbits continuously:  such points are called as "fixed point attractors" or "limit cycles."  In a dynamical system this center point is itself in constant flux creating an endlessly changing pattern in the "phase space cartograph."  These points are called "strange attractors."

Attractors are creations in a hypothetical mathematical world; yet, like soliton waves, they provide another useful view of the creative process and creative systems.  The name attractors suggests a similarity between attractors and the unobservable, receptive yin principle described by the Tao.  The patterns that form around the various attractors are created in phase space by the periodic sampling and mapping of systems:  are they  analogous (though isomorphic), to forms created in "real space" by our senses sampling operative systems in the world around us and thereby structure our experience of it?  The attractor organizes system dynamics around it and thereby forms seemingly come into being.  The actual point of the attractor represents the end of the system.  Figure #1 shows that "absolute" yin, like an attractor, is the end point of dynamism:  nothing escapes from it.  Absolute yin is 100% atrophy, a face of chaos. 

The attractor (as if it was the yin principle), draws the dynamic or projective (yang), principle toward it.  In a stable system negative feedback maintains the congruity of form, much as in a soliton wave, until the system finally expends its energy through the course of function or through internal friction.  When the attractor is a strange attractor, a positive feedback loop is introduced which causes the form to change continuously.  If that change is too energetic, the form returns to chaos (yang face of Figure #2):  if too little energy is introduced, the form atrophies (yin face in Figure #1).  Thus, through the attraction of the receptive principle the projective principle takes form.  Form is maintained through negative feedback loops but through positive feedback, form evolves.  It is another promenade around the Mobius strip, the unending dance of the attractors and the attracted.

Creation is ever the result of the  dance between attractor and attracted; it is "bisociation" as Koestler called it.  The dance might more properly be termed polysociation for it is the interaction of many opposites simultaneously.  It is multi-dimensional. 

The multi-dimensionality of a process involving such polysociation again conjures up images of strange attractors as they might relate to creativity.  The "dance" between the opposites concurrently occupies many ballrooms.  Multi-dimensionality again suggests the creative process nests within itself.  Creativity is a system and simultaneously its own subsystems each producing portions of the final creation.  Therefore,  acknowledging the multi-dimensional dance, I will continue to discuss only the one pair of opposites, the receptive principle and the projective principle, for convenience and simplicity.  I will adapt them as needed.

Two Poles of Chaos

The creative cycle dances between opposites and the wave form (my image of wide scope), describes the dance.  Figure #4 shows this rhythmic pulse overlaying a simile of the Tai Chi, the Taoist symbol of the interplay of yin-yang.  This portrayal suggests the nature, or quality of the interplay in each stage of the process.  The I Ching, or Book of Change, an ancient Chinese text helps further illustrate these qualities in its depiction of this interplay.  The I Ching, a method of divination, uses lines depicting yin (—  —), and yang (———) to build hexagrams.  Hexagrams are six such lines stacked vertically that show the pattern of change occurring regarding a specific question.  The lines are also said to be either young (shown above), or old shown as follows: yin (—X—), and yang (—O—).  Old lines are allegedly in the process of changing into their opposite.  In Figure #4, preparation and incubation dip into the lower hemisphere; therefore, the realm of yin most strongly influences them.  Preparation could be said to be young yin; i.e., the stage is in the "flower of receptive youth" seducing action from its counterpart.  Incubation may be thought of as old yin.  It has matured and begun to lose its attractive power.  It has begun to change in to its opposite.  Illumination and verification arc into yang, represented by the upper hemisphere.  Illumination, like young yang, is active, aggressive and projects the ripened product outward.  Verification then, is like old yang that seeks validation as its strength wains and it reverts to its opposite.  The cycle requires both yin and yang and is not either principle exclusively during any stage:  form only dances between the two faces of chaos.    This paper will now explore this model of the creative process as it incarnates through human development.

The Creative Process of Human Development

The journey out of emptiness is the creation of love...

Drawn into life by allurement [love] in a thousand different ways, he himself then became alluring...

Love is the activity of evoking being, of enhancing life.

- Thomas, The Universe Is A Green Dragon  (Swimme, 1984).

Allurement between the projective and the receptive produces form.  Over time and visa vie positive feedback, the result is evolution, or development.  Human development is a prime example of this evolutionary process.  I will now use Wallas' (1926) four stages [5]  of the creative process to illustrate physical, emotional, and psychological unfolding.  Figure #5 shows how the stages of creativity might coincide with development from conception to death.  Along the horizontal (X), axis are the perinatal stages (Grof, 1988), the stages of Object Relations (Mahler, Pine, and Bergman, 75, cited by Hamilton, 1988), and Erik Erikson's Eight Ages of Man (1963).  The vertical Y, axis of this chart indicates the prominent quality of the creative process; i.e., below the X axis the focus is inward, creating the individual being; above the X axis, the process extends the individual outward, creating social and perhaps spiritual connection.  Below the X axis again indicates there is greater yin influence:  above the axis indicates greater yang influence.  It is a rhythmic interaction of these opposites, not total domination by either:  that is chaos.


Figure # 5

The Creative Cycles of Human Development

This metaphor allows the observation of human development through ever smaller increments without losing the qualities inherent in each creative stage.  The chart shows three frequencies of the cycle indicated as follows:  S, A, W.  There are undoubtedly many more.  This suggests the intricacy and multi-dimensionality of the process.  It highlights the complexity of being human.  This section will correlate the qualities of the various creative stages with those of the various developmental models chronologically from conception to death (Figure #5).  It will start with the Perinatal Matrices described by Stanislav Grof (1988).

The Perinatal Matrices

In Figure # 5, sine wave A cycles through each of what Grof labels the "Basic Perinatal Matrices" (hereinafter referred to as BPMs).  On Figure # 5, BPMs I and II indicate inward focus (yin), while BPMs III and IV evince the cycle extending outward (yang), to connect with others through birth.  Grof believes the Perinatal Matrices, experiences in the womb and birth process, profoundly effect our lives.  They are our first creative experience.  I will examine and compare only what occurs during the stages, and not the associated psychological states that the individual may experience in later life [6]  to curtail the length of this writing. 

 The fetus forms in Basic Perinatal Matrix I (BPM I).  The mother's life processes focus on the womb, as in the creative stage Preparation, materials and nutrients are gathered around the genetic plan.  The excitement of "what is to come" permeates pregnancy as it does the start of all creative projects.  Grof points out that this stage can affect the fetus positively or negatively; either way, the focus of energy is inward creating the individual.  The matrix is like young yin drawing yang into form.

Though still merged, in BPM II the unity between the fetus and mother is ending.  There is no longer room for growth in the system so the focus shifts from "gathering and building," to changing the system.  First, chemical signals change, then, mechanical contractions begin but the cervix has not yet dilated; the system is still closed.  Like the creative stage "Incubation," growth and planning have stopped:  they are frustrated.  Though transformation has been continuous, now the system waits for the new state of being.

"Illumination" compares with BPM III.  The cervix opens gradually propelling the imprisoned fetus through the birth canal to freedom.  It is a dangerous struggle toward independence, and survival.  In "Illumination," the creative process is likewise vulnerable.  Interruption and disturbance may result in the death of an idea, or a fetus.  If the processes go properly, they flow with a natural rhythm and elation.  The illumination of BPM III is active young yang.

BPM IV is emergence.  It compares with the stage of verification.  It is the end of the aggressive struggle for birth.  The relationship changes between mother and newborn, between creator and creation.  The infant loses its umbilical connection to life and must adjust to the realities of independent life.  In the adjustment, the infant must verify its physiological functions.  Like old yang, the focus of BPM IV marks the turn inward and away from intense action with the act of verification.

Object Relations

The next phase for comparison on Figure # 5 is complicated.  As the chart shows, in this stage there are three creative cycles (probably more), indicated by sine waves; A, S, W.  The stages through which A cycles, are those of Object Relations.  In cycle sym, the newborn undergoes four stages:  Autism, Symbiosis, Separation-Individuation, and Object Constancy. 

In the autistic phase the focus again is inward.  Freud called this phase primary narcissism.  "All emotional energy remains within or attached to the baby's own body" (1914, cited by Hamilton, 1988).  It is a stage of "Preparation" when the infant is nurtured as it was in the womb without much reactivity to outside stimuli.  The infant gathers strength and nutrients from its parents to build body and emotions with little reciprocation.  Like young yin, it takes everything in.  The infant operates on instinct and reflex action (Spitz, 1965, cited by Hamilton, 1988), to satisfy its needs. 

Symbiosis marks a change in the infant's awareness, and in the flow of physical and emotional energy.  There is an equilibrium.  During this stage the nervous system matures.  As in Incubation, supplies that have been gathered now simmer internally reforming in a new creation.  The creator and creation remain symbiotic until the created object is expelled from the individuals unconscious.  A similar process occurs in symbiosis.  The infant develops the ability to hold and incubate patterns from outside inducements but remains fused with the external objects.  This equilibrium precedes a gradual shift to the outward focus that follows.  It waits for a re-birth, a hatching from its shell:  like an old yin line, it awaits transformation.

The third phase, Separation-Individuation, has three subphases; Hatching, Practicing, and Rapprochement.  Hatching occurs when the sine wave A  crosses the X axis at the start of this phase (Figure # 5).  "Fully fueled the infant now develops a look of alertness, persistence, and goal directedness" (Mahler et al, 1975, p. 54, cited by Hamilton, 1988).  The child discovers independence and strains away from the mother's body.  Like young yang the child aggressively projects itself.

In the Practicing subphase, the child expands its world and explores ever larger areas of its environment.  It crawls away from the mother and returns for emotional refueling.  Greenacre (1957, cited by Arieti, 1976), says the child has a "love affair with the world."  Interestingly, this is also her description of the future artist.  The elation of Illumination may be first experienced in the Practicing subphase of Separation-Individuation.  Mahler (1975, et al, cited by Hamilton, 1988) says:  "Narcissism is at its peak" in the Practicing subphase.  If the emotional object (home base), is not available for the infant, the grandiosity of this phase may not resolve satisfactorily.  Arrest in this subphase is the proposed root of the Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  Perhaps arrested Illumination also yields artistic narcissism.

Rapprochement (the final subphase), in some ways, is the end of the innocence.  No longer imperviousness to frustration as in the Practicing subphase, the child is increasingly aware of aloneness.  The child responds to its vulnerability and becomes more dependent on the mother for emotional support and love.  The child is conflicted between security and the independence gained by newly mastered skills.  The healthy child has created an internal image of mother and self, but has not yet learned to trust them for emotional support.

Object Constancy is the final phase of the Object Relations model.  Now the child has an increasing sense of who it is in a variety of moods and situations.  It holds internal images constant when the mother or other object of importance is not present.  This stage is "Verification" for the child steps back from the object of attention, and verifies itself as a separate being.  A process that will continue throughout life.  Thus, in the Perinatal Matrix the creative process built the form and brought it to life:  now in the Object Relation stages the focus turns outward to others and creates a sense of self amongst them.  The infant has thus completed the first stage of Erikson's model as indicated on Figure # 5 by cycle W.

Erikson's Eight Ages of Man

Erik Erikson organizes human development in eight ages, or stages. [7]   During each stage the individual increases his his functional ability and mastery over the environment.  Each stage describes how an internal essence crafts the needed tools for the tasks of life.  Erikson points out that the results of any of these stages can also be positive or negative just as the outcome of any creative process is not guaranteed.  Each stage requires the individual to balance a new pair of opposites:  one life teaming with opposites, and again we walk upon the Mobius strip.

Basic trust versus mistrust are the polarities of Erikson's first stage.  Finding balance between them is the foundation of our ability to open to others and experience life.  This period includes all the stages of object relations, from birth to one or two years; yet, it is also a "Preparation" stage in which we gather a sense of self and others upon which to build.  Like the Tao, balance between the opposites, achieving a "flux equilibrium," is the way of growth.  Table # 1 illustrates these poles.

 Table #1
Unhealthy Extreme <---------Healthy Range--------> Unhealthy Extreme
Extreme Trust Basic Trust            Basic Mistrust Extreme Mistrust

                                                       (Frager and Fadiman, 1984, p.153)

"Autonomy versus Shame and Doubt" begins at one or two, and concludes between the ages of two and four.  During this stage, one adjusts to the demands of socialization; toilet training is an example.  In comparison to the creative cycle this is an Incubation stage; the introjects of the previous stage now seeks equilibrium in social interaction.  The toddler seeking autonomy, like old yin waiting to change, remains symbiotically dependent on its social support system.

During Erikson's first two levels, creation is primarily an internal process influenced by the receptive yin principle as shown by cycle S.  The creative process builds cognitive and emotional structures, and the physical body without conscious interaction by the individual.  At the third stage of "Initiative versus Guilt" the creative process turns outward:  it illuminates.  This transition is marked when cycle S crosses above the X axis on Figure #5.

Human creativity usually begins during this stage:  "Initiative versus Guilt."  In the creative process, it is a stage of "Illumination."  For example, I started writing songs at age four.  This exemplifies the age range Erikson (1963, cited by Frager & Fadiman, 1984) describes.  Erikson suggests the child gains responsibility in this period.  The child is increasingly inquisitive and "into everything"; the overriding quality is being "on the make."  This also describes the intense curiosity of the creative personality.  Rollo May (1975) says artists, or scientists, are constantly "on the make of life."  This fits the child who (like the young yang line of the I Ching), having gained a sense of will and autonomy, pursues, and fully encounters life.  Erikson (1965, cited by Frager & Fadiman, 1984) says: 

"He appears more himself, more loving, relaxed and brighter in his judgment, more activated and activating.  He is in free possession of a surplus of energy which permits him to forget failures and to approach what seems desirable...." [8]  

This age holds a unique quality:  we possess both innocence, and burgeoning experience.  This new sense of mastery is not yet jaded as it often is in later life.  This characteristic innocence and wonder remain in the life of creators:  those few among us who refuse to surrender it.

The social pressure during "Industry versus Inferiority," ages six to thirteen, becomes "what can you produce?"  The child in this stage:  "wins recognition by producing things...To bring a productive situation to completion...gradually supersedes the whims and wishes of play" (Erikson, 1963, cited by Frager & Fadiman, 1984).  Fantasy must be put aside in lieu of productivity.  The child's attention progressively shifts from imagination to concrete cognitive processes reviewing and adapting to the changing demands of society:   The crisis of this stage comes balancing the polarities industry versus inferiority in the acquisition of competence; i.e., the child seeks "Verification." 

Identity versus Identity Confusion is puberty to young adulthood.  It is a struggle to create a new identity much as if being reborn.  It is a "Preparation" stage shown by the creative subsystem cycle S, but another cycle W (see Figure #5), externalizes as we prepare a social role in the adult world.  The diverging forces created by being simultaneously in a preparation stage as shown on cycle S and in an illumination stage as shown on cycle W may contribute to the great turmoil of adolescence.  Robert Oppenheimer describes scientific breakthrough as "groping, fumbling, tentative efforts" (cited by Johnson, 1983, p.37); so it is in this stage as old self-images are destroyed to rise anew in the adult.  Erikson says the challenge of this period is "to be oneself," to develop "fidelity" (Erikson, cited by Frager & Fadiman, 1984, p.150).

"Losing and finding oneself again in another" characterizes Intimacy versus Isolation (Erikson cited by Frager, Fadiman, 1984, p.150).  It is a transition from adolescence to adulthood.  It is learning commitment.  Like other "Incubation" stages (Figure # 5), in my creativity model, it is a time when elements in the psyche are variously recombined, a time of waiting for change.  In this period, the recombination of psychic elements creates ones sexual identity, ability to love, and fidelity.  It is waiting for the transformation from childhood to an accepted member of the community.

Generativity versus Stagnation is a stage of Illumination.  That which has incubated bursts outward; intimate commitment expands into concern for the next generation, creating and caring for the created.  Again, it is like a yang line in its youth.  It is the power of adulthood at its fullest and most active.  There is a desire to pass on what one has learned which is perhaps the beginning of the need to be remembered after passing.

The final stage in Erikson's model is Ego Integrity versus Despair.  During this stage the individual, like old yang, develops wisdom.  It is a stage of Verification; one reviews, and evaluates, life and accomplishments.  If one can not find self-acceptance, if one can not verify their self-worth, life may end in despair.

Thus, human developmental may be an isomorph of the same creative process at work in our being.  Figure # 5 shows this process as it oscillates, first creating the physical individual and then a connection between the individual and society.  This rhythmic pattern operates at different frequencies simultaneously throughout development illustrated by the sine waves S, A, and W.  These sine waves represent only a few of the cycles occurring simultaneously in our being:  there are no doubt countless more.  We appear to have formed around a truly "strange attractor" to which this multi-dimensionality must be attributed:  in this sense, we are a chord of many frequencies being played in the universe.  Or, perhaps we are a soliton appearing for an "earthly moment" as innumerable feedback loops maintain our congruity.  Each time the cycle crosses the X axis of Figure # 5 there is a change in the state of being, a death and rebirth of some part of the developing individual.  In the Perinatal Matrices the physical body is created in a dependent state and then released.  In the phases of Object Relations an "emotional body" forms and connects to others.  Erikson's stages of development describe psychosocial development.  The first four stages create a sense of self and a personality with all its functions.  The latter four stages extend the individual into relationship with the world, and eventually the spirit.

Thus, the allurement between projectivity and receptiveness draws us into life and expands our being.  It is a constant "polysociation" of opposites, an oscillation between yin and yang.  Psychosynthesis, developed by Roberto Assagioli (1976), uses a holistic model of an individual's state of being called the Egg Diagram.  I have combined the stages of development and the creative cycles as illustrated in Figure #5 with Assagioli's Egg Diagram to argue further this creativity model of the developmental process (see Figure below).  First, in the lower unconscious, the Id drives the infant.  Then the field of awareness forms with the birth of a sense of self.  The Transpersonal Self (Soul), then draws the field of awareness, and the self, ever closer.  Within the expanding system some experiences settle into the lower unconscious while others surface.  If the system evolves without interference, access increases to all levels of consciousness:  the Soul infuses the whole being. 

Transpersonal Cycle

The act creation, whether the product is a concert performance as in the introduction of this paper, the cosmos as told by the creation myths, or a human being as outlined by this model of human development, follows the rhythmic pulse of the projective and the receptive principles.  These varied examples of the creative process intend to expand the traditional view that creativity is only a function of the human psyche; they advance a creative-systems paradigm. 

The transcendent is implicit in the systems paradigm; therefore, the methods used must allow one to work with a holon (Arthur Koestler, 1978) or iteration of a system without each time ascending the hierarchy to transcendent realms.  This problem is nowhere more evident than in this creative-systems paradigm.  We may best be able to work with suprasystems beyond our comprehension by observing the behavior and relationships of isomorphs more accessible in the hierarchy or, as the metaphysicians have earlier stated:  "As above, so below."  Thus, to understand systems, models are a useful tool.  An observable isomorph may tell us much about the nature of those we cannot observe directly.  Furthermore, constructing models [9]  of observable systems makes such a study more manageable.

I suggest that human creativity is a special case, an isomorph, of a much larger, perhaps infinite process.  This paper humbly acknowledges the impossibility of modeling an infinite system and will therefore model the creative process in our special case, " below," in a human artist using systems methodology.  The example used  will be the artist whose concert opening begins this paper supplemented by my own experiences as a performing artist.

The Creator System:

Imagine a great number of tiny bells hanging near each other.  If some of these are struck sharply, they will transmit their own resonance throughout the ensemble.  No bell will remain the same, thus creating a new state for the whole of them - Thomas, The Universe Is A Green Dragon  (Swimme, 1984, p. 92).

Like the tiny bells that are each responsive to the whole, humankind exists inextricably embedded in a universe of creative systems.  Artists, who are embedded in human subsystem, serve as a vehicle through which information is transferred across the subsystem's boundaries.  As with the bells, when any one member, or artist-creator, in a system "chimes"  a new state exists in the whole.  Humankind, and our activity systems appear (at least from our anthropocentric view), to be above the hierarchies of nature but, like the tiny bells, our independence is but an illusion.  When another "bell" sounds, our human systems, like the rest of the universe, must resonate in response or be shaken from existence by the overwhelming tones of the environment.  It is the receptive "artist-scientist-creators" in whom the first overtone of such resonance appears.

In the beginning, this paper describes the opening sequence of a concert.  It could have been the opening sequence of many creation events.  That sequence represents an iteration of a creative system wherein the product is exported to society.  Arthur Koestler (1978) calls each iteration of a system a "holon."  The holon is both a system and a part of a system.  The holon, with the characteristic emergent properties indigenous in each level of a hierarchy, struggles for balance between its own autonomy and its dependence on the holon of which it is a part.  Fritjof Capra (1982) postulates (as this paper has previously done in different regards), that this struggle is described by the Taoist model of yin-yang in which both self-assertion and receptiveness are necessary for continued existence.  He states that Taoist thought bares a strong relation with modern systems theory.  Just so, the concert performance is a holon with its own emergent properties and dependencies.  In society the performance will take on its own life, new properties will emerge and the process will repeat.  This section will model the process, and a creator system wherein such an entity is formed, moved across the boundaries of the system (output), and thus given to society, the suprasystem.  However, before modeling the specific system a brief overview of the nature of systems and systems methodology is useful.

Peter Checkland (1981, cited by Bergquist, 1991) classifies systems in five categories: natural systems, designed physical systems, designed abstract systems, human activity systems, and transcendental systems.  Checkland says:

Any whole entity which an observer sees as a figure against the background of the rest of reality, may be described either as a system of one of these classes or as a combination of systems from the five.  (p. 111)

Checkland's typology would classify creativity as a transcendental system.  Paradoxically, creativity seems both an observable process and the background against which it is seen.  I will use Swimme's story of the bells related above as a metaphor to describe Checkland's system classes further. 

Natural systems are as if the system of bells originated through the same forces as did the universe.  A designed physical system is as if the bells were made and hung in a particular order by man's design.  One would create a designed abstract system if one were to play a melody on the bells.  The bells would be a human activity system (metaphorically), if they were sentient, purposeful and able to chime at will individually or in response to other bells.  They could, theoretically, play a song together collectively and thereby design an abstract system.  If these bells were beyond knowledge they would then be a transcendental system and play the music of heaven.  Each class however  emerges upon a background of creativity.

Human activity systems are functional, purposive, organismic systems in N. Jordan's (1968) [10]  taxonomy.  They are often creative systems that are also purposeful and self-reflexive.  As such, human activity systems occupy a unique position in Checkland's typology of systems in that human systems can interact with all other system classes.  They become part of all other system classes in this manner.  Thus, they consciously and subconsciously create change in all other systems.  These human activity systems will hereafter be called creator systems.  Bela Banathy (1984 a, cited by McBreath, 1987) further characterizes human activity systems (some of which are creator systems), using levels of confirmation and openness to change (i.e., verification and transformation) as follows:

Banathy elaborates four criteria and develops four continua for classifying human systems.  These include: (1) Mechanistic to Systemic -- whether parts or interactions between parts are of primary significance;  (2) Unitary to Pluralistic -- whether the system possesses a single goal or has diversity among goals;  (3) the continuum from restricted to more complex variables within the system; and (4) a measure of how well defined and protected or flexible the systems boundaries are and how much interchange there is With the systems environment (pg. 11)

This section will be model a creating-performing system (creator system).  Using Banathy's continua, the system is more systemic than mechanistic.  Its goals are more unitary than pluralistic.  The system also contains complex variables and is open to strong interchange with its environment.  As mentioned previously, creator systems are often the vehicle for such interchange with the environment.  Banathy (1979) further describes five types of human activity system: [11]   Rigidly controlled, Deterministic, Purposive, Goal formulating, and Indeterminate.  A creator system is an indeterminate system with a high degree of self-direction:  its structure, relationships and, general state change over time.

I believe it worthwhile to add another system class to describe creator systems.  I will term this class; "transpersonal systems."  Transpersonal systems involve an interaction of individuals in the development of a "conscious ordered product" that goes beyond a physical, emotional and mental collaboration.  Checkland describes designed abstract systems in this way; however, I am differentiating transpersonal systems in that they also involve a collective consciousness that is altered by the interaction and shared by system members.  Thus, the collective consciousness is the newly emergent property.  The system achieves this altered state when individuals entrain with one another and perform "as if" they are one.  All performers do not achieve this transcendent state.  However, if a creator system achieves such a transcendent state and reproduces in performance, it helps create another transpersonal system:  one that includes the listener.  Such a performance alters the listener's state of consciousness in such a way that the listener and performer unite.  This is the vehicle through which creator systems can most influence their environment.  It is the experience described at the beginning of this paper that brought me to tears.

The creator system under consideration contains subsystems, or holons, from all the classes of Checkland's and Banathy's typologies.  These component subsystems receive input in many ways.  For example, the designed physical systems (instruments), receive input in the form of human intention and, physical and electrical energy.  They convert it into harmonic tones and chords.  These harmonics, along with inspiration and human intention, form rhyme, rhythm and melody.  They are the input to the designed abstract system which after transformation becomes a song.  The song and human resources are in turn input to the performing system that transforms them into an inspiring performance.  The performance then is the product and the output mechanism of this creator system.  The performance, with its component subsystems, enters the environment physically, emotionally, mentally, and through the interchange of the transpersonal system between performer and listener.  In its highest and purest form, this process results in the inspiration of humanity. 

The steps that lead to inspiration, the purest product of the system, can be illustrated in several models [12]  that describe the system's various structures, relationships, and process stages.  However, a root definition (Checkland, 1981) of the creative process in this creator system is useful before constructing more models.

Root Definition of the Creator System:

A root definition expresses what the system is in a series of verbs.  The goals that appear in Figure #8 (page 47), are for all the subsystems in a creator system.  Evoking emotions and transforming them are shown in italics because they are deemed the  core of the system; i.e., they produce change in the system's members and the recipients of its product.  Peter Checkland coined a mnemonic "CATWOE" to illustrate six important characteristics included in a good root definition.  Each letter represents a characteristic as follows:  (C) customers, (A) actors, (T) transformation, (W) Weltanschauung, (O) ownership, and (E) environmental constraints.

The "Customers" are those who receive the benefit or harm from the activities of the system.  The customers of this creator system are the listeners be they individuals, concert or club audiences, or record and broadcast audiences listening in their homes.  The writers and musicians, though active participants in the system, are also customers in that they are also transformed.

The "Actors" in this system are the writers, musicians and, producers.  They perform the primary transformation activities but managers and promoters are also actors in the system as is the song itself.

The "Transformation" process performed by this creator system is to write, rehearse, perform and, market songs of such quality and intensity that they inspire.  Thus the system evokes, liberates and transforms the listener's emotions and consciousness.  For example, a love song that expresses how the listener feels in a way they can not express for themselves, or a song of social consciousness and motivates listeners to action.

The "Weltanschauung" of this root definition, as it has been through out this paper, is that the creativity is a universal process that transcends individual artists.  Humankind interacts with that process in creative activity.  In its higher forms, it transforms (perhaps heals), those involved through inspiration.  This process eventually affects the entire race; e.g., the impact of the songs of Bob Dylan, or in other  fields, breakthroughs like Einstein's theory of relativity.

Several individuals and subsystems share "Ownership" of this performing creator system.  I can only speculate about the kinds of organizations and individuals involved with this particular artist.  Ownership is likely spread amongst the artist-writer, a record company, a publishing company, assorted managers and agents.  The members of the performing subsystem may also share ownership.

The "Environmental constraints" on the system include:  the trend in popular music and the financial demands placed upon the system in creating and maintaining a product and a vehicle to deliver it.

Therefore, the root definition of this creator system is:  an organization that senses, evokes, liberates and transforms human emotions and thereby produces change through musical composition and performance.  This contains all the characteristics listed in the CATWOE mnemonic.  The song remains the prime product (a designed abstract system).  Sensed and designed by the writer(s), it evokes, liberates, transforms emotions, and thus produces change.  The remaining subsystems all  help deliver the song to the environment in some way.

A Systems-Environment Model

Figure # 7










Figure #7 (#3)
The Creative Process:
A Systems-Environment Model

Figure #7 shows a modification of the systems-environment model (Banathy, 1973).  This model has been modified to indicate that a creator system returns it's product to itself or to other creator systems.  It is a multi-dimensional process the illustration of which suffers from reduction to a two-dimensional drawing as Wilber described earlier (see page 11).  As mentioned throughout this paper, creator systems beget creator systems.  Creativity, like a multi-headed and multi-tailed Uroboros, everywhere feeds upon, and reproduces, itself. 

Figure #7 shows that the four stages of the creative process correlated with the  stages of the systems-environmental model.  The correlation is relatively obvious but a brief elaboration on the stages of the systems-environment model follows:  Input includes all the energy, information, people, materials, and "holons" brought to the system from the environment.  Transformation, like incubation, is the stage during which the input is formed into the final product.  Output is the product of the system that is sent to the environment.  Finally, feedback is the process through which the system receives information about the nature of its product and adjusts as needed.  Feedback, like verification, can (and to be most effective should), take place throughout the  process and not solely as an end stage.

The systems-environment model shows the space occupied by a system within its environment.  Generally, a system exports its product, or output, into the environment.  Creative systems also release output to the environment.  However, because inspiration is infectious, the output of a creator system often reenters the system, re-inspiring its component subsystems, and thus creates feedback beyond the normal environmental verification.  Since the focus of this exploration is the creative process, the additional models that focus on a specific operating system must be considered special case examples that embody the process.  The next such model is the spatial-structural model of the creator system.

A Spatial-Structural Model

Figure #8 shows the spatial-structural model of the performing creator system.  It is organized to show the goals of the system, the functions it must perform to attain the goals, and the components of the system that will perform those functions.  Figure #8 further illustrates the structure through which the system receives information across its boundaries, transforms it, and exports it to its environment.

Figure #8

Figures #7 and #8 represent a creator system engaged in the creative process using Banathy's (1973) systems-environment, and spatial-structural models.  Banathy's remaining model is the process model that shows how a system operates through time.  Further modeling of the input, transformation, output and, feedback operations inside the system would be appropriate to explore a creator system but the length of this paper prevents doing so here; instead, I have hybridized Banathy's process model with a problem solving model of Edwin M. Bartee's (1973) called the Four Phase Holistic Chronology.  The hybrid result (Figure #9), cogently describes the process in creator systems.

The System Process-Chronology Model

Figure #9 shows my hybridization of Bartee's chronology within the context of a process model.  I have termed it the System Process-Chronology Model.  Each of its four phases is three dimensional; it shows a problem solving taxonomy on its Y axis, the problem solving modes on its X axis, and the problem-solving process on its Z axis.  This three dimensional model is useful with the root definition of a creator system because it helps clarify an otherwise obscure process.  I will briefly examine each phase. 

The three dimensional vectors (shown in Figure #9), delimited in each of the "problem solving spaces"; i.e., personalization, collaboration, institutionalization and, socialization show different areas of the creation-transformation process.  Bartee (1973) says each of these vectors represents "different types of activity."  For example, diagnosis in the individual mode of an empirical problem qualitatively differs from genesis in the group mode of a behavioral problem and so forth.  I will describe each phase and its vector on my hybrid process-chronology model.  The first creative act is the writer's, composing the song.  It is Personalization, the phase on the model. 

Personalization - Song-Writer:

Personalization in this creator system is the phase when the writer works alone composing.  At this stage the problem, creation, is an internal process within the writer.  For the creator system holon, this is a Preparation stage.

The taxonomy of the problem axis (Y), shows four types of problems:  conceptual, empirical, behavioral, and societal.  Each of these represents a different type of problems or, in this model, different levels of the creation-transformation process.  The conceptual level is as the song is first imagined; i.e., what is it about, key words, phrases, or melody "hooks."  The empirical level brings the experiences of the writer into the process.  Examples are emotional experiences such as love, grief, joy and, despair.  The behavioral level includes conceptual and empirical data but might add to it the intention to change one's actions based on the concepts and experiences expressed; e.g., "I'll never fall in love again."  Finally, the societal level subsumes all the previous levels and relates the song  to a broad range of society.  An example of this might be a song that speaks for social change such as Bob Dylan's "Where Have All The Flowers Gone."

The X axis shows the four modes of problem solving.  In this application, it represents a mode of composition and an increasing level of sophistication.  As an example, in the individual mode the composition need only conform to the writer's taste.  It could be atonal, without harmony or rhythm and yet satisfy the writer:  he may solve the musical problem to his own approbation.  The group mode complies with wider standards.  In this mode, the composition must agree with common standards so others can perform it.  The song must have harmonic structure and rhythm that others can replicate.  The third mode is organization.  In the organization mode, the writer composes the song to conform with the needs and style of the artists who will perform it.  This mode contains both the individual and group modes of problem solving.  Finally in the society mode, the writer attempts to comply with the tastes of the public market place.  In the society mode the composition task is to appeal to the broadest range of people.

The final Z axis of the personalization problem solving space describes the problem-solving, or in this case the creative, process itself.  The process again nests within itself.  The first stage, genesis, is the birth of the song in the imagination of the writer.  The song, without distinct form, is more sensed than known.  The diagnosis level begins to isolate the problems that must be solved to transform the song from the sensed state to an external reality.  As examples, this may involve isolating the melody line or, writing a lyric in poetic form.  The analysis level intensifies this process as specific musical and poetic problems are addressed like arrangement, length of verses, rhythm, rhyme and so forth.  Synthesis is the final level in which "the pieces fall into place" and the final solution is enacted.  The  song-writer subsystem then exports the song (output).  If it is verified by system components and adjusted as necessary, it becomes input for the musicians subsystem where it will undergo collaboration.

Collaboration - Musicians:

Creative activity shifts in the collaboration phase from the writer capturing the song, to the writer passing his vision to the group of musicians and receiving feedback from them.  The process again undergoes the activities of each vector and its stages.  The goal is to achieve a collective vision.  On the X axis the process occurs as follows.  Musicians and vocalists each contribute their own style to the song:  they bring their interpretation of the song to their instrument and performance.  The group stage subsequently focuses on how each member's part congeals in the song to create a group sound.  The organization stage involves creating a sound that meets the contractual expectations on the artists.  Finally, the society stage focuses on how the song, when performed by the musicians and supported by an organization, finds a market in society.

The taxonomy of problems to be solved on the Y axis is similar to those experienced in the personalization phase.  This this time however, each member of the system brings concepts, empirical experiences, behaviors and social views to bare on the creation.

Finally come the stages of the creation-transformation process (Z axis).  The group learns the song in the genesis stage where it first gathers a sense of it.  During diagnosis, the musicians consider various styles the song might take and consider each for its possible interest.  In the analysis stage the musicians select an approach and polish each musical detail, carefully scrutinizing and adjusting it.  When synthesis occurs the musicians have changed the song from the writer's original form by infusing it with each member's individual contribution.  They have collectively formed a new creation.  This reshaped song is the output (again verified by the surrounding system elements), that becomes the input for the institutional phase.

Institutionalization - The Performing Unit:

Bartee stresses that at the chronological transition from collaboration to institutionalization as follows:  "the effectiveness of implementation becomes the major subject and further development of the solution content becomes a secondary concern."  This is equally true in a creator system.  The group must now play the song "as if with one voice."  The focus is no longer upon re-creating the song as a group:  it is upon effectively delivering it as a unit.  Therefore, Institutionalization has similarity to Personalization but in Institutionalization the unit has congealed around the song and begun to perform as if it were one individual.  The system effectively achieves the institutionalization phase only if the writer (in transition from the personalization stage), has successfully collaborated with the musicians.  Each of them must have relinquished their personal agenda and contributed to the song's growth in unison with the other players, and the writer's intent.  Many performers, as well as systems, are unable make this transition. 

To "effectively implement" in this phase, the drive that Bartee points out, means that just as the writer must effectively communicate the song to the band, the band, as a performing unit, must likewise communicate the song to the audience.  To accomplish this, the performing unit will encounter the taxonomic levels of axis Y and, use the problem-solving modes of the X axis.  As examples on the X axis:  the performing unit will use the charisma and ideas of its individual members to communicate with the audience.  The group will collectively have ideas and an ambiance that is greater than the sum of its members that will implement communication.  Organizations such as managers and record companies will aid in implementation.  Finally, society forms opinions about the song and the performing unit that will implement communication with the audience.

The problems encountered in effectively implementing the root definition of this creator system will include all the levels shown on the Y axis of Figure #9.  The conceptual problems will involve developing promotional ideas and production decisions about live and recorded performances.  The empirical level task will be to collect experiential data from all individuals and organizations involved which will help implement communication.  The behavior of the performing unit on stage, as well as that of their audiences, will excite and implement the communication process.  Societal and cultural norms will also place certain expectations and constraints upon the performing unit that either implement or impede communication.

The problem-solving, or creation-transformation, process shown on the Z axis of Figure #9 describes the stages needed to produce a performance that implements the root definition.  The genesis stage is the moment when the performing unit emerges as a self-organized entity instead of group of individuals.  Genesis is when the unit has taken ownership of the song and embodies the "one voice" phenomenon described earlier.  In the diagnosis level the new "holon" begins to identify and overcome problems that inhibit its ability to evoke audience  emotions.  Thereby, the holon perfects its ability to reach beyond the boundaries of the system.  In analysis the performance is clarified, cultivated and, production nuances perfected.  In synthesis, the group "takes flight."  It now performs the song with skill and impact.  The song, the performing unit and the performance fuse to form a new creation that alters the collective consciousness of the system and its environment.  As a personal example of this synthesis stage, often the emotions described in a song overcome me while writing:  when the performing unit achieves synthesis those emotions are clearly visible in the eyes of the audience.  The introduction to this writing recounts my experience as an audience recipient of such synthesis.  In these examples the tears verify the emotional transfer between the polar opposites the performer and the audience.  The soul of the experience has stepped out of the looking glass, out from the spotlight and into the hearts of the on looking audience.  This evocation and transfer of the emotional experience embodied in the song verifies the song-performance and fulfills the root definition of the system.  In this act, the system exports its creation to enter society as new input.  Thus, the process of socialization takes place largely outside the system's boundaries.

Socialization - Audience:

The song now exists in the minds and hearts of the audience.  If it is of sufficient quality, it may become embodied in their experiences and will thus spread throughout the culture.  I will not describe each stage on the three vectors for this phase for there are infinite possibilities.  Clearly  songs and other creative works have a powerful impact on social norms and cultural mores.  The music of the "Woodstock Generation" reflects in values throughout society today.  One can not dismiss the effect of writers or performers such as Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Michael Jackson and others on our society whether one agrees with the values they instill or not.  As the change occurs in society, it provides an environment that may re-inspire the creator system and thus reiterate the process.

In the systems process-chronology model I have attempted a holistic consideration of the creative process in four phases:  Personalization, Collaboration, Institutionalization and, Socialization.  The process-chronology recounts a creator system's product development through its delivery to society.  Similarities exist between the "problem solving spaces" of the chronology and the stages of the creative process as Wallas described them.  The creator system, now an entity with characteristic and properties, receives input and prepares to create during the personalization space.  It incubates and transforms materials into product in the collaborative space.  The creator system illuminates as the product of collaboration bursts forth transformed.  The creator system then receives feedback as it verifies its product in the crucible of society. 

There are two polar relationships that may elicit problems in Bartee's original model:  Personalization-Institutionalization and, Collaboration-Socialization.  These polar relationships are likewise present in my hybridization.  The poles of each of these pairs are similar in quality but the latter in each pair is more diffuse.  Thus, in the first pair problems arise forming the system if its members remain fixated in the personalization phase when it is appropriate to diffuse individuality and be inclusive.  Institutionalization, which is effectively illumination for the system, may not be successful and creation will fail.  In the second polar relationship, collaboration-socialization, creation may fail because the collaborative venture dissipates into cliquish elitism  among system members.  The creator system thus becomes exclusive and can not achieve socialization.  It therefore fails to achieve acceptance and verification of its product by society.  Groups who "jam" more for their own enjoyment than their audience's come to mind as examples of this.  They seldom develop a product to export from the system. 

The system process-chronology model further illustrates several points about creativity that have appeared repeatedly in this exploration.  First, it shows how pervasively the creative process nests repeatedly within itself.  The entire  process cycles in each of the problem solving spaces and yet iterates again in the chronology's entirety.  It circles within its circles everywhere beginning itself.  Second, the rhythmic vibration between multiple pairs of opposites continues in the process-chronology.  As indicated earlier in this paper by Capra (1982),  each "holon struggles to achieve balance between its autonomy and its dependence on the holon of which it is a part."  The oscillation in the chronology is likewise reminiscent of the pulsing cycle of creativity in human development (Figure #5), first focusing inward and then out, toward the individual and then society, the projective and receptive, yin-yang in seemingly endless succession.  Finally, the process-chronology shows the multi-dimensional nature of the creative process.  Again whispers of "strange attractors"  waft the imagination when envisioning this process that repeats endlessly in so many forms yet its yields remain unique and infinitely diverse.


This exploration has touched upon much diversity in the creative process.  Diversity that demonstrates an idiosyncratic problem of holistic, or systems thinking:  the finite quickly becomes the infinite as each iteration leads to the next in an incomprehensible hierarchy.  As mentioned, this is the work of a conceptual theorist:  it attempts to synthesize and bridge the diverse examples and seek their common pulse, the creative pulse upon which their myriad forms cavort. 

The oscillation of the creative process portends omnipresence.  Thus entraining with this rhythm, as we can observe it, may be a path to understanding creativity, and to consciously creating.  William S. Condon (1975, cited by Leonard, 1978), through the study of muscular micromotions, noted the compelling role entrainment plays in our communication with others.  People must entrain in conversations to understand one another.  Thus, if to be out of cadence with another in conversation leads to miscommunication and conflict, how much more perilous it may be to be out of time with the beat of creation?  As noted earlier we are "a chord" resonating in a universe of vibration.  Tung Chung-Shu (104 B. C .) spoke further of the harmonic quality of entrainment twenty centuries ago in Luxuriant Gems Of The Spring And Autumn Annals an ancient Confucian text.  He also warned as follows:  "A beautiful thing calls forth things that are ugly thing...things that are ugly...for things of the same kind arise in response to each other."  By tuning our own presence we may find greater response in the universe around us.  Thus, consciously entraining may enable us to communicate more effectively with the larger creative pulse and increase our individual creative expression.  Taoists call this finding one's Te, one's unique, individual expression of the Tao.  A universe of rhythm must surely request that we dance.  George Leonard (1978) expresses similar thoughts in The Silent Pulse as follows:

At the heart of each of us, whatever our imperfections, there exists a silent pulse of perfect rhythm, a complex of wave forms and resonance, which is absolutely individual and unique, and yet which connects us to everything in the universe.  The act of getting in touch with this pulse can transform our personal experience and in some way alter the world around us.

Participating in the dance of Shakti and Shiva, the dance of creation, requires that we perceive with all three "eyes" that St. Bonaventure described.  The eye of the flesh makes preparation in the empirical world.  The eye of reason separates "the wheat from the chaff" and provided entrance to the receptive womb that sustains the embryonic creation.  The eye of contemplation perceives illumination and births the ripened creation.  The eye of reason then becomes the birth canal transmuting illumination back to the empirical world.  Finally, the eye of the flesh verifies the creation in the world of the senses.

Many images have been generated throughout this paper; the soliton that dances in the point of tension between polar opposites; the Mobius strip, a unitary plane that masquerades as a duality; the Uroboros, the mythical serpent devouring its tail; and others.  A synthesis of these images yields a fanciful, but interesting apotheosis.  If it is possible to "bisociate" the image of the Mobius strip and the Uroboros with numberless heads and tails as described earlier, the resulting image is one dimensional yet seemingly occupies three dimensions.  If on that image one imagines that countless more loops are possible on each of its Mobius like loops and then again on those, etc., the resulting image approaches the multi-dimensional quality expressed by strange attractors.  Then, if within that image, one can further imagine the stability of a soliton wave recycling its energy and thus sustaining its form, one has envisioned the infinite.  One has likewise sensed the ubiquitous finite iterations within creator systems.   A Course In Miracles describes it with spiritual eloquence as follows:

"Creation is the sum of all God's thoughts, in number infinite, and everywhere without all limits...God's thoughts are given all the power that their own Creator has.  For He would add to Love by its extension.  Thus His Son [creation] shares in creation, and must therefore share in the power to create (Anonymous, 1976).

In conclusion, this paper is also the product of a creator system.  Through this writing, the system has sought to empower the members of its environment with a new view of the creative process.  Through this new view, it is hoped that individuals may move towards discovering their own creative rhythm, may learn to sound their own unique chord in a vibrant universal symphony.  As each of us resonates clearly, a new state is created in us all.  This essay seeks to portray a vision of creativity that the eyes of the flesh can witness in the world, portray a vision the eye of reason can ponder in human development, and portray a vision the eye of contemplation can aspire too in "the sum of all God's thoughts."  Creativity is work in process.  It seemingly eludes yet, gamboling about before our eyes, it bids us to join the dance.  Creations are about us everywhere yet the process never concludes; for, like a Mobius strip,  creativity has only infinite beginnings.

Experience Carlisle Bergquist's creativity in his current book - "The Coyote Oak:  Burgeoning Wisdom."  Available here, at,  and booksellers worldwide.

[1] Feedback loops will be discussed in the systems portion of this paper.

[2] Four types of scientists are described:  sensing-thinking types who are analytical scientists, intuition-thinking types who are conceptual theorists, intuition-feeling types are conceptual humanists, and sensing-feeling types are particular humanists


[3]  Yang is the Creative principle in the I Ching or Book of Change.

[4]  Yin is the receptive principle in the I Ching.

[5] Preparation; Incubation; Illumination; Verification.

[6] Readers are directed to The Adventure of Self-Discovery  (S. Grof, 1988), for a full discussion of the psychological conditions associated with each Matrix.


1.  Basic Trust vs.  Mistrust

5.  Identity vs.  Role Confusion

2.  Autonomy vs. Shame & Doubt

6.  Intimacy vs.  Isolation

3.  Initiative vs.  Guilt

7.  Generative vs.  Stagnation

4.  Industry vs.  Inferiority

8.  Ego Integrity vs.  Despair


[8] Philip Weissman, cited by Arieti (1976), refers to this energy as follows:  "the child who will become a creative person has the ability to diverge the energy originally invested in primitive personal objects and invest it again in creative work."

[9] Banathy's Systems-Environment, Spatial-Structural, and Process models are useful examples.

[10] N. Jordan (1968, cited by Checkland, 1981) details a "dimension-based" systems taxonomy in Themes in  Speculative Psychology that includes the variance caused by three pairs of properties.  These pairs of polar opposites are:  Rate of change - Structural (static) versus Functional (dynamic); Purpose - Purposive versus Non-purposive; Connectivity - Mechanistic versus Organismic.   According to Jordan, any system is described by using one or the other of these poles from the three categories.  Eight categories are possible using this taxonomy; for example, living systems are Functional, Purposive, and Organismic.

[11] System types are: "defined by the degree of freedom they have to define goals, objectives, means and methods and, their permanence versus change through time of systems state, structure, and functions." (Banathy, 1979, p.192)

[12] Banathy's Systems-Environment, Spatial-Structural, and Process models are again useful examples.

About Us | Site Map | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | ©2009 Vantage Quest