Contact and Creativity: The Gestalt Cycle in Context

  • Gordon Wheeler


Creativity may be usefully defined as the capacity to generate novel solutions to problems, which includes of course the ability to see the world in problem-solving terms in the first place. Clearly, this creative capacity is the defining characteristic of our species, an extremely young branch of the primate order, which has managed to arise and then spread over the entire planet in the course of only 3000 or so generations, a mere blink of evolutionary time. This capacity, in turn, rests in some way on our biological history: specifically, the remarkably rapid expansion of brain tissue in our ancestral line, in which the neocortex together with its infoldings has multiplied some fourfold in surface area in the brief evolutionary window of only a couple of million years (Calvin, 2002). Plainly, a pace this rapid points to a strong positive feedback loop between adaptation and evolutionary pressure, one in which each new degree of development opens up new environmental territory, which then exerts strong selective pressure for expansion of that new capacity, in the recursive way of evolution. It is this expansion, together with accompanying reorganization, that has both permitted and been driven by the growth and elaboration of imaginal power and the nesting of active and long-term memory, which are key to our ability to experiment - i.e., to create and try out these novel solutions flexibly, both in our heads“ and in the ”real world“.


Creative Process Outer World Social Field Imaginal Power Experimental Zone 
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© Springer-Verlag Wien 2003

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  • Gordon Wheeler

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