Are You Creative? Look Up

You might see something you didn't expect.

René Müri and Nicole Göbel, “See faces in the clouds? It might be a sign of your creativity,” in Aeon/Psyche, 15 July 2020. The authors provide a brief history of the phenomenon of pareidolia, or seeing faces and other images in random collections of things, such as rocks and clouds. 

By using such images in conjunction with other tests for creativity, they conclude that one’s ability to see faces in clouds or other randomly arranged items may suggest a lively creative ability. Many tests for creativity exist, but they don’t all work well with all people. Paradeiloia is an activity almost everyone can engage, with greater or lesser results.

By testing people’s ability to see faces in clouds, the writers predicted that those who could see such images would do well on other creativity tests, and they did.

They ask, “Pareidolias also raise deeper questions. Is all of perception an illusion? When letters become words with meaning, and dots and dashes form faces, what is real and what is an invention? The outer world must, somehow, be grasped and interpreted in a way that makes sense for the inner world. What is sufficient for this purpose? How can we distinguish a complete illusion, or delusion, from a useful creative interpretation?” Thy suggest that looking at clouds can be a good way to stimulate imagination, which seems to be an important element in the creative process.

Perhaps by spending a little more time looking at clouds and such, we might nurture a more creative approach to other aspects of life, such as seeking the Kingdom and righteousness of God?


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