The Genesis Project Episode Four

As Grace was the preparing dinner she and Dr. Stone would share, she was thinking through the next round of questions she wanted to ask him. His explanations of the three brain regions was very helpful, but she still wanted to know what led to an idea being entered into the brain. Where did they come from?

“Could you help me understand why some people have ideas while others do not”, Grace began.

“I can tell you that biology has nothing to do with creativity, but let’s save that for another discussion. We are learning a lot about the formation of ideas, but we still don’t have all of the answers. Have you ever had an idea as you were falling asleep?”

“All the time. My trouble is that I can’t remember them when I wake up in the morning.”

“That’s a common problem that many creative people have had. Edison held a steel ball in his hand and right when he passed into a sleep stage, the steel ball would fall, causing him to wake up, then he would jot down the idea he was thinking about at that moment. That way he could not depend on trying to remember it the next morning. Other creative people did the same thing.”

“That doesn’t sound like a way to get a refreshing sleep.”

“It isn’t, but a new technology developed by MIT is helping us capture ideas in a more humane way. The technology is called Dormio, and it’s basically a glove with sensors. The sensors can detect that transition moment from being awake to falling asleep. The device then sends you an audio signal to record your thoughts at that moment. Hopefully you won’t return to being fully awake. The system then gives you trigger words to help you resume thinking about the idea. There may be several more of these dream reports before you fall into a complete sleep.”

“That’s fascinating, but also scary. But why is it that important to capture ideas at the moment just as we are going to sleep?”

“That moment is called hypnagogia. Our thinking at that moment is very different from when we are fully awake. It’s when we are less critical and more exploratory. We are thinking but not censoring our ideas. When we are in that hypnagogic state, we are inspired and more visionary.”

“You know, I’ve experienced that in my own ideas. What I have found that the time before I go to bed is critical to the types of ideas I develop. I can’t be angry. I like to read, so I try to put myself to sleep with books which inspire me.”

“I’ve experienced the same thing. We still have a lot to learn about our creative minds, but I hope this was helpful.”

“It really was, let’s set up another time to explore this further.”

* * *

“I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.” – Vincent Van Gogh

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