Reality Tunnels, Differing Models of Reality and Cognitive Empathy as a key to Creativity.

“People create the reality they need in order to discover themselves.”

Ernest Becker

Cognitive Empathy, Theory of Mind (ToM) all suggest an ability to accept a model of reality as perceived by another.

Clearly in the case of Creatives (Games Designers, Animators, Comic Artists and Writers and Film-makers) who wish to generate characters, scenarios, even environments (previously unperceived or generated by fictional figures) that instill the suspension of disbelief of their audience, having some measure of insight into the workings of people other than, or very or even slightly different from themselves is an advantage; giving them the ability to, as Shakespeare put it:

…make [the] imaginary puissant

Conversely, reading (particularly fiction, but any subject that deals with a sense of  others or “otherness”) in modern humans may in fact generate/strengthen the same neural pathways* that allow empathy to arise, building mental simulations of the activity of these “others” and so experiencing it for themselves.

* technology – yes, books are technology – it seems has caused changes in our brains.

Reading, researching and finding out about others or things out of your immediate area of experience (evading reductive comfort zones – Uncertainty Avoidance? – and broadening your holistic perception of the world around you) seems to positively link to Creativity.

Different people experience the world as differing realities, regardless of the objective material “truth”.

0 Differing Modes of Reality

Seven people from different or related walks of life, but with a vastly differing ideological, philosophical, financial, social interaction with the world may pursue clearly unrelated “realities”.

It is without doubt that the reality of “money” (regardless of its physical manifestations) and it’s movement through the world is perceived in utterly unrelated ways by those with it and those without; and particularly by those who perhaps see it as something almost conceptual and fluid that shifts back and forth across borders and timezones as purely abstract notion.

The filter/overlay that enhances/distracts, frees or imprisons the individual is rooted in a non-uniform perception based on that individual’s:

1 – Education/Experience

2 – Insight/Faith/spirituality

3 – Need/Wealth/Liquidity

4 – Status/Regard/Position

…as are their priorities/life’s pursuit.

These realities may cross and juncture at various points but ultimately these realities are as separate as those of “normal mental state” and “mental disorder“.

Empathy allows this perception of Differing Models of Personal Reality to manifest without shaking the foundation of “a common material reality” – Perspectivism if you will, or the Jainist idea of Anekāntavāda.

Those that can perceive it can begin to create and partake in “bridging events*” that allow an inter-reality discussion beyond the simple selling of individuated personal truths.

*Literature, Art, Music etc.

Empathy is ultimately an in-built and intrinsic, evolutionary advantage trait, designed for teaching (self teaching in fact).

The experiments on Macaque monkeys that shows the firing of Mirror Neurons in the brain of one animal watching another animal perform a task, suggests that empathy allows the creature see for itself the joy, value or benefit of an observed event or action as if it where performing and benefiting from it themselves (somewhat like a dog salivating as it watching you eat food).



~ by hesir on March 18, 2013.

One Response to “Reality Tunnels, Differing Models of Reality and Cognitive Empathy as a key to Creativity.”

  1. […] Knowing a bit about other people – you are after all creating work for them too in the long run. […]

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