The Act of Creation the sleepwalkers koestler pdf a 1964 book by Arthur Koestler. It is a study of the processes of discovery, invention, imagination and creativity in humour, science, and the arts. It lays out Koestler’s attempt to develop an elaborate general theory of human creativity.
The concept of bisociation has been adopted, generalised and formalised by cognitive linguists Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner, who developed it into conceptual blending theory. The Act of Creation is divided into two books. In the first book, Koestler proposes a global theory of creative activity encompassing humour, scientific inquiry, and art.
Employing a spatial metaphor, Koestler calls such frames of thought matrices: “any ability, habit, or skill, any pattern of ordered behaviour governed by a ‘code’ of fixed rules. Koestler argues that the diverse forms of human creativity all correspond to variations of his model of bisociation.
The structure of a joke, then, is essentially that of bait-and-switch. In scientific inquiry, the two matrices are fused into a new larger synthesis.
The recognition that two previously disconnected matrices are compatible generates the experience of eureka. Finally, in the arts and in ritual, the two matrices are held in juxtaposition to one another.
Observing art is a process of experiencing this juxtaposition, with both matrices sustained. According to Koestler, many bisociative creative breakthroughs occur after a period of intense conscious effort directed at the creative goal or problem, in a period of relaxation when rational thought is abandoned, like during dreams and trances. Koestler affirms that all creatures have the capacity for creative activity, frequently suppressed by the automatic routines of thought and behaviour that dominate their lives. The second book of The Act of Creation aims to develop a biological and psychological foundation for the theory of creation proposed in book one.
Koestler draws on theories of play, imprinting, motivation, perception, Gestalt psychology, and others to lay a theoretical foundation for his theory of creativity. Encyclopedia of contemporary literary theory. University of Toronto Press, 1993, ISBN 0-8020-6860-X, pp.
Mark Turner, Gilles Fauconnier: The Way We Think. Conceptual Blending and the Mind’s Hidden Complexities. New York: Basic Books 2002 , p. The Act of Creation, p38.