Creativity and Dreaming

This excerpt is from Chaos, Creativity and Cosmic Consciousness, discussions among Ralph Abraham, Terence McKenna, and Rupert Sheldrake.

  • Ralph Abraham, to Rupert Sheldrake and Terence McKenna: “You seem to agree that the next moment is created out of the present moment through a process involving creativity, imagination, chaos, and a world of possibilities located somewhere.”
  • Rupert Sheldrake: “I think creativity seems to involve a process like the welling up or boiling up of new forms in an incredible diversity. New forms are conditioned by memories of what has gone before and by existing habits, but they are new syntheses, new patterns. There could be a kind of unifying process at work such that anything that emerges above the surface of the unconscious or the darkness or the chaos has to take on a kind of wholeness to come above that surface. It has to take on a unified form. But it could be any unified form.
  • “One model for this creative process is dreaming. Dreams involve the appearance of stories and symbols and images that we don’t create with our conscious minds. In fact, we usually just forget this whole wonderful display of psychic creativity that happens for each of us nightly. When we remember our dreams, they’re bizarre and unexpected. It seems almost impossible to have an expected dream. This curious feature raises the question of where dreams come from. The Jungians would say that they come from structures and processes in the darkness of the collective unconscious. They’d see them not as descending from some higher world but as welling up.
  • “The human imagination obviously works through dreams. It works through language, through conversations, through fantasies, through novels, through visions and inspirations, and it is also revealed through psychedelics in a particularly extreme form. In what sense is this imagination that we know from our own experience related to the imaginative creative principle of nature? Is there a kind of Gaian dreaming? For example, is the Earth, Gaia, awake on the side of it that’s in the sunlight? As it rotates, is the side that’s in the darkness dreaming? At night, are plants, animals, and whole ecosystems in some sense in a dream state, when dreams and spontaneous images of what might be possible come to them? What form would a Gaian dream take? Or what form would a Gaian psychedelic experience take?
  • “The idea that we tune in through our own imaginations to the Gaian mind seems attractive, and I think it fits quite well with dreams, psychedelic experience, imagination, and so on. The next question for me is this: How is the Gaian imagination related to the imagination of the solar system, and that of the solar system to the imagination of the galaxy, and that of the galaxy to the imagination of the cosmos, and that of the cosmos related to what we could call the imagination of the cosmic attractor, or the Omega Point, or the Cosmic Christ?
  • “There’s a cosmic imagination, the imagination of the anima mundi, the soul of the universe. Within this are the imaginations of galaxies, solar systems, planets, ecosystems, societies, individual organisms, organs, tissues, and so on.”

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