Monday, October 6, 2014


Reverse Viewing


My creativity manuscript, The Two Way Street, Chapter Five, begins with the sentence - "Seeing things from more than a single point of view is the fuel for creativity."  "There is no such thing as a one-way street; it is only usage that makes it so.  If there is no requirement that there be only one solution possible to a problem, there is no inherent logic that limits the possible solutions to two or more."


The answers to evolutionary questions have often been short-circuited by buying current fads and not looking for alternative solutions.  The fad may have some value in partial solutions, but can obstruct a view giving a more complete or accurate answer if we buy it as the total answer.  For example, catastrophism and inheritance of acquired characteristics were early views of little value beyond the historical aspect.  Embryological similarities and current limited DNA studies are of partial value but inadequate as currently applied in major phyla relationships.  A major focus of many other posts on this blog is presenting evidence to help straighten out the current mess in the view of higher phylum relationships.


I am not immune to making errors, some basic ones, as well as some simple typos.  Misapplication of the theme of this post  and my fallibility is the theme of the cartoon below from chapter five.

The caption, "This thing should be slippery in either direction!", has an element of truth but isn't of much functional value without some force to counteract gravity.  But it does indicate how I can get carried away with an idea.

The final paragraph of the chapter

"This point is the essence of creativity, looking actively for another answer.  Examining all points of view; submerging our inherent self-centeredness to see answers emerging from other points; proceeding in other directions; such an approach with people can improve our relationships, the happiness of all concerned, and increase our creative potential.  It is the beginning of understanding and rapport to look for the other person's point of view.  If you have not done that but begin to do it, do not be discouraged if your action is not reciprocated.  Remember how long it took us to reach that point.  We must retain our breadth of view in all areas if we are not to let a self-limiting, self-serving view encroach on our creative potential."

[The quoted portions above were written in the early 1970's, about ten years before I had the "eureka" event seeing how the pogonophorans were the major link that had been missing for understanding the origin of deuterostomes from protostomes.]


Reverse viewing is one of several metal habits that can be useful in becoming more creative.  A questioning attitude, with a willingness to accept what we question if it is supported by the facts, is another way to break free from the "status quo" resistance to change common to our thinking.  Most change is bad in a well-designed system.  The chromosomal repair mechanism has evolved and generally does what's best.  But in our own thinking we need to evaluate proposed changes, as well as what is presently the case, in order to progress to an improved solution.  Look for what makes a seemingly erroneous view be endorsed by others.

So question, evaluate, search for solutions, be interested in the world around you, be humble, and be on your way to being creative.  Be convinced that there are causes for everything; it is easier to believe so and more convincing if you believe in an Ultimate Cause; it impedes looking for an answer if you think there may not be one.  Time is on your side.

Joseph G. Engemann     Kalamazoo, Michigan    October 6, 2014

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