Today, I return to one of my earlier themes on this blog, neuroscience.
I just read another of Jonah Lehrer's postings on his blog, Frontal Cortex. He asks, are distractible people more creative? As someone who is definitely both easily distracted and creative, I'd have to say yes.Others may beg to differ.
I love the quotation Lehrer takes from that great melancholy Dane, Soren Kierkegaard (author of such laugh fests as Sickness Unto Death, which I had to read in Philosophy class), undoubtedly referring to (what else?) the downside of multiple options: "Drowning in possibility."
However, all that sensation rushing in can cause a log jam. That's why we need discipline, guidance from the Master, and so on. The selection process (instinct, carefully employed memory, experience, education) has to work, otherwise what occurs is far worse than an embarrassment of riches. It may bring creativity to a complete stop. (Been there, done that.)
The modern world provides access to millions of data to anyone with a computer. And yet a distractible person can be overloaded even while walking down the street. In the extreme, of course, it's mental illness.
No wonder we think there's a thin line between genius and madness. Creative people walk that line almost all the time.