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Re: [biopoet] Re: On consilience and literary Darwinism (weblog post) - the `10-step Creativity algorithm' - on 1 page

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  • JT Velikovsky
    Hi Michael, This is an excellent and illuminating discussion (I do thank you for it...) You ve raised many points that I hadn t considered before. - But - I
    Message 1 of 11 , Aug 24, 2013
    Hi Michael,

    This is an excellent and illuminating discussion (I do thank you for it...) You've raised many points that I hadn't considered before.
    - But - I also think, we're still `talking across one another' a lot...?
    I think, many of the actual words, terms and concepts that we're each individually using (eg: `Creativity', in the arts & sciences), are still: incommensurable.

    - I suspect, we'll probably keep `talking across each other' - until (and, possibly, unless) you've read each book on that `Creativity & Consilience' list:
    ie - http://storyality.wordpress.com/2013/08/23/storyality-71-Consilience-is-coming-read-all-about-it/
    - Those are all the definitions/concepts I am using -- whenever I talk about: Creativity, in the Arts/Humanities, and also in the Sciences.

    (Also - Michael - Can I ask, have you read Creativity, 1996, Csikszentmihalyi?)
    - That is really the `core' work -- from which, all else flows. (Note also how Simonton also uses the DIFi systems model of Creativity, in the sciences.)

    So - that's really "the empirical and scientific definition of: Creativity" - in both the arts and sciences.
    (ie - The `Domain, Individual, Field interaction' systems model of Creativity.
    - It's a tripartite system (Individual, Field, Domain) - that uses Darwin's evolutionary algorithm: Selection, Variation, Transmission - for both: biology, and culture.)
    And - I may well be wrong - but Michael, I assume, you may not have read it (Creativity, 1996), or else, I expect, we likely wouldn't be having this discussion, anyway... (?)
    (Fascinating though it is... and I am not being facetious, nor sarcastic here...)

    - All I mean is - You still currently seem to have, a very different (and, I suspect, non-scientific) definition of `Creativity' to me...?
    (I am only ever using the accepted scientific ones, as far as I know.)

    In your mail below - You seem to conflate what Boden calls p-Creativity (personal Creativity - say, someone making a meal in a `bold' new way, say, mixing odd ingredients) with h-Creativity (historical Creativity, where the Field - as a whole - recognizes the creativity of the person's: idea/process/product/artwork)...

    ie - All the `classic' novels, films, paintings, scientific theorems, etc - that are the subject of both literary studies, and, the `metasciences' (ie - the history, philosophy, sociology and psychology of science).
    ie - They are: very different things? (ie: p-Creativity - and h-Creativity). See: Margaret Boden (2003) for more (in that `Consilience' blog post)...

    Anyway, my more detailed replies are inserted, below...
    - Hope this clarifies, exactly where I believe, we're `talking across one another'...

    (Which: is of course, nobody's `fault'. ie - How often, before: any given conversation, do both parties "exchange a list of definitions" ...?) * (see the PS for more)
    ie - We both use the same word - eg `Creativity' - but, it currently has a totally-different implied meaning, for each of us.
    (Michael - I'm certainly not suggesting any of your views are actually `wrong', just that, I do think, we are using: very different terms/concepts/definitions.)



    On 24/08/2013 8:39 PM, tintner michael wrote:
    Hi JT

    Thanks for a v. good-natured and detailed reply.

    But with respect you don't seem to understand algorithms/formulae.

    They are deterministic -recipes basically - they define a limited set of actions on a limited set of objects - and define precisely what must be done.

    So when an algorithm dictates how to multiply numbers, the machine has no choice - every step of the computation, and every part of the result are defined. If it multiplies 22 * 22 - the first number must be 4 the next must be 8 and the last must be 4. Can you move the numbers around? Can you add another number? Can you decorate the numbers with curlicues? No, no, no. Maths and logic etc are fascistic.

    So, the Darwinian `evolutionary algorithm' is:
    Gene: Selection, Variation, and Transmission.
    (`Transmission' equates to `heredity') using 3 parts: Organism, Environment, Species.

    See all these posts, from http://storyality.wordpress.com/an-index-to-this-blog/:

    On Cultural Evolution – and Memes

    1. StoryAlity #44 - Biological Evolution, Cultural Evolution, and Creativity: Film
    2. StoryAlity #45 - On Movie Memes and Memetics (and: How Memes Work)
    3. StoryAlity #45B - On Tracking Memes in The Meme Pool
    4. StoryAlity #46 - On Mayans, Memes, Creativity, Darwin and Dawkins
    5. StoryAlity #47 - Why are some Screenplays/Films more `viral’ Memes?
    6. StoryAlity #47B - More on Memes & Film (and: 3 solved problems in Memetics)

    On Holons and Holarchies

    1. StoryAlity #48 - On Film Holons and Holarchies – and How Holarchies Work
    2. StoryAlity #49 - On Movie Screenplays, Viral Memes, and Cultural Evolution
    I tend to think - (maybe) until you have read those posts, (and, you may never get the time) we'll still be conflating, many ideas and concepts...(?)
    (ie - about: Creativity)

    Formulae/recipes define OLD dishes. And those dishes must be just so.  (Even Genetic algorithms are only recipes for mixing recipes). Formulae are rule-bound.

    We're now specifically talking about Creativity in the domain of: Food/Cuisine...

    So - I think (perhaps) you are conflating the `specific details' of each-and-every recipe with -- the formulae/algorithm behind each recipe.
    ie - Rather than look at each recipe's `specifics', maybe consider - just how many (types of) meals this formula/algorithm below, now applies to:
    (and - I am not suggesting it applies to all meals, but - it likely applies to: many)


    1) Take a serving of protein/s (such as: meat, or nuts, or even artificially-created protein for vegetarians -- or a mix of any and all of these)
    2) Bake the above protein/s in an oven for [X] time (as a general heuristic: just prior to burning)
    3) While (1) and (2) are happening, take also a serving of carbohydrate/s (such as: rice, potato, wheat, or other grains, etc etc etc etc)
    4) Place carbohydrates in boiling water for [X] time (as a general heuristic: just prior to burning)
    5) Steam some vegetables for [X] time (as a general heuristic: just prior to burning)
    6) When all 3 of the above consumables are ready, place them all on a plate, in an aesthetically-pleasing manner and garnish with [herbs and spices] (NB - If `Nouvelle Cuisine', then try and make it all look like: a painting)
    7) Sit at a table and: Consume the above edibles on plate.
    8) Wash and dry - and store in cupboards - all food-preparation utensils, and plates/cutlery, used in the procedure above. (NB - Makes them all easier to locate, next time)
    9) If [morning or midday], get back to work... If [evening]: go and watch TV, or read a book, or whatever.
    10) Repeat above procedure, 3 x times a day. - i.e. If 4 hours have passed since previous execution of all the above steps in order, then: go back to (1)

    This all comes back to: agency and structure in Creativity...

    A `Creative' chef (e.g. say: Jamie Oliver) can insert: any manner of `creative' [fresh/new/`original'/odd/unexpected] ingredients into the above algorithm, and: if that specific combination of: proteins, carbs and vegies (and, the "unusual" herbs and spices the "creative" Chef may have chosen) turns out to be: well-liked en masse, due to adapted, evolved, human predispositions - that recipe is suddenly lauded/celebrated as `creative' by The Field. (Either commericially, or critically, or maybe even - both)
    (ie - the mass `eating-audience' who enjoy eating that particular recipe/dish.)
    Note that - not everyone in the Field (the `audience'/the world) will like the new dish... (eg - some people are biologically allergic to nuts.)

    - Do you see what I mean? The above list (recipe formula / structure) is: an algorithm.

    `Creativity' comes in with: the specific combinations of the variables.

    ie - The choices (ie agency) made within the algorithm (the `structure') by: the Chef.
    (This also all applies to: all stories, and fiction literature, and film, and songs, etc etc etc)

    I am also not suggesting that this algorithm above, applies to `every single meal'...
    (it completely ignores: breakfast-cereals and cold milk, and, desserts. Also: mid-meal snacks)

    And - yet - those (`breakfast cereals and cold milk', and `desserts' and `snacks') also all have an algorithm underneath them.
    (Breakfast cereals are usually carbs; desserts are usually sweet/sugary; snacks are usually high-energy)

    The only `rule' under each is that: it has to be edible (and not poisonous).
    I note, there are many other such meal algorithms. Such as: raw dishes. e.g. sushi.

    Note - If someone (such as the Kelloggs co) inserts a new and "original" breakfast cereal into the domain of: Breakfast, and it is well-liked en masse by the Field (ie - by: people who eat breakfast), that Breakfast Cereal is therefore: Creative.
    - It solves the `creative problem' of: "What can I eat for breakfast, that is: (1) affordable, (2) vaguely-nutritious, and (3) delicious or at least, edible -- all at the same time?"

    ...If any of this (above) doesn't make sense, I'd suggest reading: Creativity (1996) by Csikszentmihalyi. And indeed - all those (scientific) Creativity books, on that Consilience blog-list...
    ie - You may well want to argue with any of the points, made above... but - until you have read Creativity (1996), and all the others in fact - I expect, we'll still be talking at `cross-purposes' here...(?)

    If you introduce the slighest new element to an algo or formula, it simply cannot cope. There are sixty years of AI failures/total failure to back this up.

    The arts are about creating NEW dishes. THERE ARE NO RULES FOR THE NEW.


    So - how do you `explain away' the above?
    - There are indeed rules/algorithms for: cooking certain types of: hot meals...?
    (and this applies to: all novels about serial killers too)

    The `Creativity' (of the creator / `Chef') can be in:

    (a) choosing odd/weird/new ingredients (variables) in the above algorithm/formula
    (choosing/creating a new type of serial killer)

    (b) this also includes -- inventing new ingredients/variables... (eg See those weird `fake nut-meat in a can' dishes, that vegans seem to love. Tastes like peanut-butter mixed with tofu to me.)
    (inventing a new type of character, maybe a cyborg serial killer. Then again: that was the entire `Terminator' film franchise.)

    (c) Coming up with a new algorithm... (eg: Maybe - (1) Catch a human, preferably an enemy of the tribe (2) Kill them (3) Eat them raw.) - This was obviously used by many cannibals. Some chimps also catch some monkeys once a year, and devour them, raw. See a doco called "The Demonic Ape". (I certainly don't recommend cannibalism, by the way. Cooked pork is way better...)
    (see: the Dexter novels (and TV series), where a serial killer is actually the good guy/protagonist)

    (d) the amount of time each item is cooked for (see: noodles al dente vs. `overcooked', see: `rare steak' vs `well done/charred steak' etc)
    (How long do you want to spend on each murder, and the investigation of each murder, in your novel? )

    All Creativity is (scientifically) defined as something that is: "novel [new] yet appropriate [conventional]".
    So - there are indeed: rules for `the new'...
    Because - If it is too bizarre/different, it bends/reshapes too many of the the `rules' of the convention.
    And: will then not be accepted en masse by the field, and -- will therefore, not be viewed as `creative' (but rather, just bizarre, and will be: mostly ignored.)

    eg: An extreme counter-example is - Imagine, `cooking up' and serving a house-brick on a plate for dinner.
    - It bends the `rules', that dinner must be (a) edible (b) tasty and (c) nutritious.

    - It (a cooked housebrick) wouldn't even be p-Creative... (ie - personally Creative).... as its certainl novel (new!), but is not: appropriate. (ie edible, nor tasty)
    So - it would not likely catch on, en masse, and become `h-Creative' (historically Creative, as judged by The Field, en masse.)

    Note: the `judgements' of The Field (the Audience), on any creative artifact (eg - film, novel, meal, dance, poem etc) are never: unanimous.
    - It's basically, a `vote' by the mass audience, every time.
    Personal tastes en masse - and other (cultural and biological) predispositions, ie - `Human Nature' - always apply to the `vote'...
    (eg - some people are allergic to nuts; some people simply don't like the colour yellow; some macho guys don't like `chick-flicks'/romance novels, etc)

    Let's say your artistic project is to write a detective story,  featuring a new kind of serial killer. That's your brief.

    You play around with an opening sentence -  


    What is the next sentence?

    The next sentence, chosen from an infinite array of possible next sentences, could well be: anything...?
    But - I don't see why this `line of thought' solves any problems - or, addresses what we're talking about, with Creativity.

    ie - I could suggest - the next sentence could well be, something perhaps, like:

    Spring-Heeled-Jack-The-Ripper leaped over the fence away from the pool of blood, the fresh, bloodied corpse of the prostitute who was pregnant with the King's illegitimate child, still gripped tightly under his arm.

    (ie - See Stephen Knight's theories on `Jack the Ripper', and the resulting comic - and movie - `FROM HELL', etc)

    So - there you go. This actually satisfies your creative brief...?
    (I am not aware of any serial killers, prior, that have combined: the two `old'/previous ideas of Spring-Heeled Jack (Google him, he's amazing) and: Jack The Ripper.)
    But it would remain to be seen if an audience would like (would judge `creative' that `new type of serial killer.' ie a blend of the real-life (Ripper) and supernatural myth, ie `Spring-Heeled Jack')
    Then again - The Nightmare on Elm St film franchise shows that a `supernatural serial killer' can be incredibly creative (ie - popular). See: Freddy Krueger.
    As does the Friday the 13th, Halloween and Paranormal Activity series... (All: Top 20 RoI Films)

    The creative brief itself really needs a lot more parameters/constraints, though...?
    (1) What literary form is it? is it: Flash fiction (300 words), a short story (say 3000 words), a novel (say 80,000 words) or a movie screenplay (20,000 words), or what?

    (2) What Genre is it? - Is it a `serious' horror-thriller? (eg like - Jack The Ripper) Or - is it a satire? (eg American Psycho) Or - A black comedy? (eg Dexter) - etc etc etc

    (3) Who is the Target/Intended/Projected Audience for this story at any rate?

    (4) (etc etc etc.)
    So, I tend to feel you have perhaps given an off-topic `example' here...
    Stories currently don't have a `sentence-by-sentence' heuristic. (- They don't ever need to.)
    ie - Some authors (eg - Zane Gray) spend a whole page, on a description of just: the physical scene/setting/landscape/environment.
    Others, spend just a single line/sentence. (Some, even less, eg a few words.)
    - There is also, no specific `length requirement' in your brief...
    So - there is indeed, an infinite amount of answers to your question "What is the next sentence?" 
    Why indeed did you start with that one example above, as the first sentence(?)
    - There are also, potentially infinite/unlimited `possible first sentences'...
    See: http://americanbookreview.org/100bestlines.asp
    ie - There isn't a `clear pattern' in the above first sentences of novels. Nor, does there even need to be?
    (I do note, a lot of them happen to begin with the word "It" or "I", but - that doesn't seem to matter at all, for all the ones that don't.)

    But - a story algorithm is such as this:

    (1) A [Character/s] - has
    (2) a [Problem/s] - and
    (3) experiences [Conflict/Obstacles] - in solving it/them (the Problem/s)...
    (4) A [sacrifice] must be made by the [character/s], that (either):
    (5) finally, resolves (or - does not resolve)
    : the Problem/s.
    - End.

    So - within that algorithm - you can certainly put your "new idea for a serial killer" brief.

    And - yes - many infinite possibilities (at the level of the sentence, paragraph and word) always exist...
    Many of which (when typed up, submitted, approved, and published as a novel) may (or may not) be judged `creative' by the Field (Audience), and then - may indeed go viral in the culture.
    But - if you want to make the Story (whatever it is) have a greater likelihood/probability of going viral, then: Choose the story/structural elements/algorithms that `adapted human nature' seems to prefer.
    (You can choose to include any Theme/s you like, but I note, Survival, Reproduction and `Revenge/Retributive Justice' always seem to work, really really well...)

    But - that all, doesn't address the bigger question:

    Let's say, you are a novelist (or an aspiring one), and you want to create a creative work, with a memorable `villain/serial killer' horror-genre character in the league of say: `Hannibal the cannibal' (The Silence of the Lambs trilogy), or, Louis from Anne Rice's "Interview With the Vampire" series - or even Stoker's "Dracula", or Shelley's "Frankenstein", or even the Twilight series, etc etc etc. (arguably - the antagonists there are also all `serial' killers)
    (Note also that Twilight simply combined 2 x old ideas/memes: (1) The romance novel - and (2) the vampire and werewolf novel.)

    - All original ideas (memes) are just combinations of two old ideas (memes).
    Sometimes, they go viral in the culture. This is the same as a biological species increasing in population as: it is so well adapted to the environment.
    (eg say, plagues of rabbits in Australia)

    So: look at all the ones (novels/serial killer stories) that also went viral historically... and: look for patterns/algorithms underneath.
    - You will always find them.

    - You will not indeed find them, at the very-granular level of `the sentence', as you've aimed to illustrate above Michael, with your hypothetical example...

    But -- you will certainly find them, at the level of `story structure' / `plot beat' figurations...
    See: many of the articles in ELF, and also Joe Carroll on "Deep Structure".
    See also - all the `plot story templates' (Snyder, Seger, Vogler, Siegel, etc etc) in The Feature Screenwriters Workbook... They are just formuale/algorithms.

    Also, Michael I would also suggest - you perhaps could read my blog-posts about holons and holarchies.
    Any story (novel, short story, film, poem etc) is a memeplex: a hierarchy of ideas.
    You have `drilled too far down' - down to a `molecular-structure' (to the word and sentence) level, where `the details' of the figurations all appear: random.

    On Holons and Holarchies

    1. StoryAlity #48 - On Film Holons and Holarchies – and How Holarchies Work
    2. StoryAlity #49 - On Movie Screenplays, Viral Memes, and Cultural Evolution

    Also, a simpler version of the Creative Practice Theory algorithm - is on a single PPT slide, here: (also attached to this email)


    The ten (or eleven, if you’re really lucky) steps, over time, for an individual Person in the domain of Film, are:
    A person must (be):

    Compare the above to all `h-creative' creatives (Shakespeare, Mozart, Einstein, Picasso, Darwin, etc etc)

    Note also that `the 10-year rule' in Creativity is an average -- some people (some historical / h-Creatives) do it in 3 years, some may take 20 years. Or more.
    (Most people, obviously, never manage it.)

    In formulae and algos, the next sentence/number/action is always defined.

    In the arts - in the creation of new works - there are a potential INFINITY of next sentences, next parts. Is there any new element you *cannot* introduce into your second sentence?. Quantum mechanics? The price of tampons? How to spell "BLOOD"? etc etc... No there isn't. You have a world of possibilities at your disposal. 

    You have zero possibilities in a formula/algo.

    Michael - You are missing the `level' at which the (Story) algorithms apply...?
    You need to go much `higher' up the holarchy of the `story structure', than: the level of, the sentence.
    You need to go to the level of `plot figurations'.
    eg - The hero's journey monomyth, etc. etc.
    (See about 20 x Story templates in my Feature Screenwriters Workbook, it also applies to: novels, song lyrics, etc. It's a free 100-page PDF, at: http://uws.academia.edu/JTVelikovsky/)

    Note that - all the novel bestsellers are examples of the monomyth:

    Note also - what the monomyth (potentially) really is:

    Ditto if you are literally creating a new stew. What can you not introduce - eye of newt, toe of toad? What the hell give it a go.

    If you are reproducing a recipe and an old dish, you do not have a choice.

    You are exactly right...!
    (as you say: be creative, and try any combination of ingredients, and then: test it out on the Field.
    The Field / audience will tell you if it works or not, and is therefore "creative" or not.)
    - All `Stews' also have an algorithm - right? The variables are: the ingredients of the stew.
    But if you don't follow the `stew algorithm' you won't end up with stew...
    You will end up with: something else altogether.

    See my example above for The `Hot Meal' Algorithm...
    The range of foodstuffs, that can be `inserted' in the 4 x classes of (1) protein (2) carbs (3) vegetables and (4) herbs/spices in the algorithm - results in: a near-infinite amount of combinations and permutations. (With as many basic elements, as there are: edible foodstuffs)

    Some of these combinations, when eaten by the Field (people), are: vastly more popular than others. (Ergo: creative.)
    Then we have to ask: So - Why is that?
    Answer: Adapted human predispositions...
    (see Pinker on: strawberry cheesecake)

    Creativity - Idea/concept-based, informal/freeform, anarchic, pluralistic (good/bad) production of new courses of action and objects -

    is the diametric OPPOSITE of

    Rationality - Formula/algo-based, formal, ordered, "monistic" (right/wrong) production of old courses of action and objects

    Michael - if you are still under this impression - you do need to read Creativity (1996) by Csikszentmihalyi...
    Also, read those 2 x Simonton books... (ie Creativity in Science (2004), and also Great Flicks (2011))

    You may well still choose to disagree with them - but - they have the weight of, a vast amount (and over 30 years) of scientific evidence behind them (on: Creativity).

    New is the opposite of old/routine.

    No. You are conflating things here.
    Creative means: `novel yet appropriate'.
    `Novel' means new.
    `Appropriate' means old/conventional/routine.

    You need a `new' idea in a novel (eg say - a new idea for a `serial killer' villain.)
    But - the novel will have to follow all the old/conventional/routine `rules/structures/guidelines' for novels - or - it will not be judged creative.

    How `different/new' are the structures of all serial killer novels?
    - All are roughly around the same length, and format.
    - All feature: victims, good guys, cops/detectives/investigators (even `amateur' sleuths) and - the serial killer is usually caught at the end. Right?
    - Also - they all usually start with: the killer, killing someone. Then a detective is called in.
    Then: see about 10 x `procedural cop shows' on TV right now (all the CSI's, all the `Law & Order SVUs', etc etc etc)
    All formulas and algorithms...
    The creativity comes in the ingredients usually. (The characters.)

    ie By even suggesting a "new idea for a serial killer", you have alrady just committed yourself to: an algorithm.
    A serial killer story.
    Someone (presumably - the antagonist or "predator" archetype, though not necessarily, he could be the protagonist - like Dexter) in your story - now has to kill a whole lot of (or at least more than one) innocent victims.
    Presumably also - we have to identify with `the good guys' and the detectives solving who the `serial killer' is - and how to stop/catch him.
    All of that is: very old. Not new at all... (See: `M', the movie for example.)

    You are not going to produce a single genre of art where there are rules for the first sentence/part, or 2nd... nth.  Period. You are not going to produce a single genre of creativity among billions of contenders where there are rules for the first element.

    But - I have never said (nor suggested) that, this was indeed the case-?
    - You seem to have assumed otherwise.
    We are clearly: talking at cross-purposes, here...?

    But you are also ignoring cases where: a computer program created a poem - that was then judged `creative' by experts/critics. (Critics who: had no idea, they were being fooled.)
    (There are many many historical examples of this... if you read deeply in the research on Creativity...)

    Your contention about algo-based art won't bear the slightest examination - or be supported  by any evidence..(That goes for the various "artistic algos" that reproduce variations on old works of art).

    It's not `my' contention at all --- it's the accepted facts of the entire scientific Field of: Creativity...

    So - Michael - I suspect (maybe) you have not read any of those (scientific) Creativity books on that consilience blog-list, or else - you would already know all this...?
    ie - None of this (about Creativity) is my own contention; none of this is controversial...
    - It was all accepted (long ago, eg - 1988?) by the academic scientific field of Creativity.

    As it happens -- I personally, have also had, 20 years, in various fields of Creativity: (films, music, games, novels, short stories, poems, computer science, etc) - and I find that every single claim made by those scientific scholars of Creativity (ie - Csikszentmihalyi, Simonton, Sawyer, Boden, etc) to be totally validated, personally - by the evidence in my own (20-year) personal experience. (Working in many roles including as a professional story analyst for major film studios, etc etc)
    None of this scientific research on Creativity is contentious -- and nor has it been - for, around 30 years now...?

    So - please do, read all these books - ie - every word of them, in fact - and then I would certainly be very happy to continue this conversation:

    Currently though, we are: clearly not `on the same page' with Creativity, at all...
    None of what I am saying is: `my own ideas'... those are the scientific facts... (that, we are currently aware of. Of course, the scientific knowledge will improve, over time.)

    (Well - all apart from: Creative Practice Theory - as that is indeed my own - and - Prof Csiskzentmihalyi actually has personally congratulated me on that synthesis of 2 x major theories on Creativity...)
    ie - http://storyality.wordpress.com/Creative-Practice-Theory/
    (I certainly would have also run it past Prof. Bourdieu as well - but he is, sadly, now deceased...)

    But note also that both those scholars insist on: empirical and scientific evidence in the Creativity research.

    P.S.  There is something else v. important you don't understand.  Algos cannot handle IDEAS/CONCEPTS/LANGUAGE. They may appear to at a casual glance, There is no algo that can understand


    Yes there is.
    - I'm also an occasional Consultant for the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence. (http://singularity.org/ ie - Bruce Klein, Ray Kurzweil, and all those guys.)
    I also have a long history of work in the field of Artificial Intelligence (including, all my videogame work over many years, and also including that I've written many Pandorabot chatbots, etc etc) - And - what you say above is actually wrong...?

    *You* understand those concepts -   you know implicitly that "Going to the kitchen" might mean walking, jumping, hopping, crawling, bending double - or whatever it takes to get round an infinity of possible obstacles - and you will have no problem interpreting those concepts in up to an infinity of instantiations.  Algos only know v. specific ways of going anywhere.  Language is fundamentally creative and always open to new interpretations. Algos aren't.

    This statement above is all a bit too `general' to really go into, here...
    I just suggest: read Margaret Boden on Creativity (2003), she shows how artificial intelligence gives great insight into: How Creativity actually works. (All scientific stuff. Seriously!)

    So you JT seem to be under a common illusion that a "verbal formula"  such as the one you refer to - INCUBATION - ILLUMINATION etc - constitutes a computational formula/algo. It doesn't. Not remotely.  Concepts/language are open to infinite interpretations. Formulaic/algorithmic elements/variables are not.

    Michael - you are still conflating the small, `granular detail' -- where randomness emerges - with the `big algorithmic structure'...

    If it helps - An analogy, in Biology:

    You are looking at the `organ-structure' of various individual `people' (eg - You are now, comparing several x human hearts, or lungs, or livers - eg the first sentences of novels/stories) and - you are becoming confused when noting that, on a very fine level of detail, they are all: slightly different.
    ie - Though made of cells (though sentences are made of words) the cells are not all arranged in each organ, in precisely, exactly the same manner (even in identical twins).
    There are some (or even - many) variations each case.
    Yet - overall, the organ itself (ie - the heart, the lung, the liver, the brain, etc) performs the exact same function.
    There is an algorithm (in: DNA) that `tells' a body - how to build these organs and what they need to do.

    For how that applies to all stories - Please read my blog posts on Holons and Holarchies, above.
    Note also - Koestler's book "The Act of Creation"... (apart from "The Ghost In The Machine" 1967 where he coined the terms `holon' and `holarchy') - there is much in there you currently appear, not to be aware of...
    Thus, currently we are talking at cross-purposes. I know you are (clearly) extremely intelligent, but I think you are as yet unaware of some key scientific concepts in Creativity...
    None of what I say about creativity is my own personal opinion.
    Everything I say, results from the scientific evidence... (from other authors/scholars of Creativity...)

    This is the current key problem in the Arts/Humanities: Everyone thinks that their own opinion on Creativity, is what creativity actually is.
    They are mostly unaware of the scientific truth of what it is.

    Hence your v.g./important point about the nature of 2 + 2 =   is not in fact valid here.   As you say, there are in fact infinite solutions to that problem. But NOT for a formula or algo - or any current scientific model of the world.

    Yes there is.
    We know how ecosystems work, and we also know how the biosphere is composed of ecosystems.
    There is still chaos theory, and `the butterfly effect' at work in there, so - we can only make broad predictions...

    But some things we most certainly do know, the algorithms for.
    And - Creativity is one of them...

    (I need to note, there is not just one algorithm or system in play in Creativity... All human `systems' are composed of: physical, chemical, biological, psychological, social, cultural, and universal systems. They are all obviously running many algorithms at once...)

    There is also one other book I recommend: `Fooled By Randomness', by Nassim Taleb.

     *Your* mind - a creative mind - can endlessly search for new solutions to that problem - search a world of possibilities. QUATRE, - - - - , l l l l ,  o o o o , - using an infinity of means of representation and numeration. That's because *you* understand "2 + 2"  as *concepts* - open-ended concepts. Algos don't, and can't search widely. They always have a v. limited stock/set of options to choose from -never the wide world.  They cannot endlessly evolve.

    The evolutionary algorithm (selection, variation, transmission) does not evolve.
    - It is a law, just as there are laws in holarchies. (See the two weblog posts above, on holons)
    The individuals/organisms within that system (ie: within the 3 parts: organisms, environment, species) clearly do evolve.

    - If you don't think biology and culture both work via `the evolutionary algorithm', then - how can you explain: the evolution of biology and culture?
    And also - the emergence of new lifeforms/species, and of scientific knowledge/Kuhnian paradigms?
    (And, here I mean, using scientific evidence, and not just your own opinion on it)

    (That's another point! The arts also stand as contradiction of the idea of evolution by natural selection - they're evolution by human creation - human individuals not just cultures).

    No, this is wrong too...?
    You perhaps don't understand bio-cultural evolution? (ie Meme-gene co-evolution?)
    (I am not the first to ever say this...)
    I'd even recommend, reading all x 70 of my blog posts... http://storyality.wordpress.com/an-index-to-this-blog/

    At that point, we would no longer be `talking across one another'... (ie - using very different concepts of Creativity - in both the Arts/Humanities and the Sciences...)
    ie - Everything on the StoryAlity blog is consilient/scientific...
    - All other theories, in my view, just don't seem to be an accurate reflection of reality, at all...
    (I don't find any of them as personally-convincing - nor even compelling - as: a Scientific approach...)

    Hope this clarifies where we're `talking across one another.'
    (In Simonton's Creativity In Science: Logic, Genius, Chance, Zeitgeist he even notes, one famous instance where Einstein and another scientist were actually `talking at cross purposes' about a scientific theory - and never even realized it... it happens a lot...)



    * - RE: (How often do people exchange `definitions of key terms', before any conversation?)

    A Side Note - That might even be quite amusing as a Monty Python style comedy sketch, actually...

    e.g.: Boy meets girl... Though very physically attracted, before eng

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