An exploration using General Living Systems Theory

©1999 Carlisle Bergquist, LCMFT, Ph.D.c

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Section II: A Model of a Transcendental Creative System

Transcendental systems allegedly exist beyond knowledge and the reach of our empirical senses. Nevertheless, numerous philosophic and religious treatises refer to transcendental systems surmising them as God, a system of Deities, or some other form of infinite being. As examples: the apostle Paul unknowingly describes a transcendental system as follows: "For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, for we are also his offspring." (Acts 17:28) The African religion Candomble (Levy, unpublished work) (Villoldo, & Krippner, 1986, 1987) proposes a polytheism with a multitude of deities called Orixas. Likewise, the Egyptian and other cultures had a polytheistic system to explain the transcendental realms (Lamy,1981). The eastern religions of Buddhism and Taoism held that infinite being was indescribable as Lao Tzu wrote: "The Tao that can be told of is not the eternal Tao" (Tao-Te Ching, 1:1). Thus, models of transcendental systems quickly lead to infinite, inexplicable regions of being and are often left, as in the examples, to the realm of faith. This essay does not propose to model the infinite and acknowledges the difficulties inherent in describing a system that is beyond our tangible reach. This essay will rather propose a possible model of the process by which creations move from the intangible to the tangible, from the infinite to the finite as if it is the activity of a living system. I shall heed Lao Tzu's suggestion and consider the system itself to be untellable.

Transcendental systems extend beyond our knowledge and thus easily become unmanageable. It is reasonable to assume a hierarchy of transcendental creative systems ranging from the realm described by subatomic particle physics ( Zukov, 1979) and culminating with the infinite system. All of these systems create by merging information with matter-energy. However, lest this essay attempt to prove the existence of God, some limits must be set. The transcendental creative system this essay will describe will be that aspect of an infinite teleonomic field that affects the collective human mind. (Rather than Jung's definition of the collective unconscious, I will use the term collective mind and thus include our collective conscious, subconscious, and unconscious.) In particular, I will describe that part of the teleonomic field that manifests in the creative endeavors of humankind. The individual creative human being thus becomes a teleosponder, e.g., a medium that responds to the purpose of the teleonomic field through its hierarchical suprasystem, the collective mind. The hypothesis of this writing is that the teleonomic field through a hierarchical structure of creative consciousness has the capacity to maintain itself, respond to the needs of its subsystems, and produce output in both the forms of products and other creative systems all be they subsystems subsumed within the infinite field. I will use Miller's (1978) set of subsystems in this model; however, I will involve both abstract space (the collective mind), and physical space (the physical universe), in the description of this conceptual system.

The 19 Subsystems of a Transcendental Creative System

Subsystems which process both matter-energy and information.

1. Reproducer

Living systems are able to replicate themselves, therefore to apply this model to a transcendental creative system that system must also generate other creative systems. The following examples demonstrate that creative systems have this capacity, at various hierarchical levels, in conceptual space, and that they produce observable effects in physical space.

Creativity has long been associated with sexuality. Freud (1908) postulated that creativity results through the sublimation of libidinal (sexual) drives. Sex is clearly an act of creation in physical living systems when modern medical technology and cultural mores do not suppress it. However, there are also transcendental systems involved in, and at times accessed through sexuality; for example, at the most obvious level, arousal. Erotic states of consciousness and behaviors, whether depicted in words, acts, pictures, or thoughts, encountered by one individual reproduce a similar state of consciousness and potential erotic behavior in that individual. This transcendent creative system of consciousness affects other systems that occupy physical space and, left uninhibited, it will result in a new living system capable of creative acts.

Sexuality has another role in the reproduction of transcendental creative systems exemplified by the Eastern religious practices of Tantric Yoga in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, and the Taoist Yoga called "Sexual Kung Fu" (Chia, 1984) in the West. Both these disciplines use the sex act between male and female as a metaphor to merge a greater pair of opposites. The Tantric tradition describes it as the marriage of Shakti (the divine female force residing at the base of the spine) with Shiva (cosmic consciousness). The Taoist metaphor merges yin and yang by circulating "Chi" (life energy), through the body and consciousness of the lovers in the "microcosmic orbit," an alleged system of energy meridians in the physical, and energy, bodies (Chia, 1984). Both practices perform what Arthur Koestler (1964) called "bisociation" or, the synthesis of diametric forces into a new whole without diminishing either. These practices achieve a new state of consciousness; it is a process of spiritual transformation that transcends the physical bodies, and the individual consciousness of each of the lovers.

Thus, sexuality has two possible systems outputs when viewed as a transcendent process that subsumes the biological systems involved. It is a state of creative consciousness that reproduces itself. The first output example is the reproduction of another organism (system), similar to the ones having sexual contact. In the second example however, the energy of consciousness takes another path and produces a wholly different system - a new state of consciousness - in the beings having sexual contact. The sexual act thus becomes a vehicle through which to repeatedly create this new state of consciousness.

In the above examples humankind is the reproducer subsystem of a larger consciousness. This metaphor is also equally useful in creative acts other than sexuality, e.g., scientific innovations, and the creative and performing arts. I will describe the human role as the reproducer subsystem of a transcendental creative system with an additional metaphor that I have adapted from the chromosomes found in the DNA molecule. I have termed this metaphoric model a "creatosome" and will briefly explain it before proceeding.

A chain of variable components (like the chromosome), is a useful model for creative potential because it allows for individuality. It also incorporates the many psychological theories about the development of a person's creativity. The psychoanalytic school proposes that creativity is the sublimation of the primitive drives of the id. Proponents of behaviorism suggest that creativity is the skill of recombining previously learned behaviors and responses at a preconscious level. Humanists, like Abraham Maslow and others, view creativity as the actualization of the healthy self. Each school of thought emphasizes a different aspect of our humanness as being pivotal in creativity; respectively, our primitive or instinctual nature, our environment, or our higher thought process. I would add to these the indwelling consciousness many spiritual traditions describe. Thus, a "creatosome" acknowledges the materials described by each of these schools as if they were component "genes" in a metaphoric double helix. In this creatosome model, an individual's creativity is a unique combination of qualities that, like genes, determine their particular receptivity and ability. There may be many component "genes" in this double helix but, as an example, it would include the following: biological factors, including physical prowess, acuity of the senses, and intelligence; psychological elements such as emotional make-up, primary and secondary processes; learned behaviors from their environment and experiences; and (arguably), abilities brought into this life experience by the indwelling consciousness whether one wishes to use the Eastern idea of reincarnation or the Judao-Christian perspective that talents are God given to a newly created soul. These factors combined, as if forming one strand of a double helix, each attracts and bonds with a second strand made of the flow of inspiration and information coming from an infinite transcendental suprasystem. Thus, like a DNA molecule, individuals exist with a distinctive creative potential that arises from this combination. Taoist philosophy describes this as a person's Te, their unique purpose in the universe (Chan,1963).

The creatosome model also allows description of the two forms of creativity presented first, for living systems and then, for the states of consciousness described. These two forms of the process resemble their biological counterpart, mitosis (fission), and meiosis (fusion). One can observe and describe both fission-like and fusion-like forms of creativity in the work of creative artists and thinkers. Carl Jung (1953) also described, and divided artistic creativity into two categories, psychological art, and visionary art.

Primary processes generate psychological art and relate to the creativity produced by fission (mitosis), in the above model. Visionary art, according to Jung, "derives its existence from the hinterlands of the man's mind." This second category connects us with the super-human, timeless worlds beyond our conscious knowing; thus, it correlates with the creative process described as fusion (meiosis), in the above model. When a creator, in any field, approaches this second category, s/he becomes a scout for all of humanity. S/He transcend personal fate, and speaks to, and for humankind. Such work is "channeled" through receptive individuals who respond to the collective needs of the race. Marshal McLuhan, described such people as the "dew line" for society at large who capture and express the spiritual meaning of the culture (May,1975). The collective unconscious described by Jung ties the psyches of humanity together; creativity thus includes the expression of the species' needs, not solely the individual's. Creating thereby becomes a function of humanity: the individual, the creative process, and the creation, form a gestalt within the context of a larger "whole." The transcendental creative system embeds them. This essay will now give brief examples of these two forms of creativity as expressed in the work of an artist.

An artistic work begins with the process of fusion. An individual artist who opens to inspiration, and meets the infinite flow previously described. The original work shows a merger of the individual blueprint (represented by one strand of the creatosome), and the infinite flow that forms the complementary strand. The appropriate elements from this flow link up with matching receptors on the first strand and thus, the artistic work that reflects the make-up of the artist at that time of creation. It is conception. However, such a work is primarily psychological art (despite its beginning as a product of fusion), because it is an expression resulting from a stable state or, cumulative life experience.

Once an artist has found a means of expression, the two forms of creativity become more clearly delineated. As with the development of a living organism, the initial creation (or perhaps conception), occurs through the fusion of two strands of the chromosome (or in this case the creatosome), that form a new system. After this beginning however, the fission process produces the rest of the organism as the cells divide through mitosis to create more tissue of various types. So it is in the work of an artist. After the incipient work develops, the artist expands his/her portfolio by replicating of the original work in various forms. The theme of each work may vary but it still bears the blueprint originally present in the artist. It is psychological art, the work of the ego manipulating the medium according to the artist's skills. Such artistic works often go stale over time. The artist works, and reworks to extinction, the various forms of inspiration to which they were originally receptive. However, in the work of some artists a process of transformation is apparent: this results from a fresh, or continuous encounter with the source of inspiration. It forces change in the artist. This is visionary art, the result of fusion.

Visionary, transformative art results from the fusion of the artist's intrinsic receptive capacity and his encounter with the flow of infinite inspiration coming through the collective consciousness. The transformation of the artist and his or her work, occurs through a process similar to meiosis that changes the actual structure of the artist's creatosome as follows. Rather than replicating themselves in their work repeatedly, something of such magnitude occurs that it literally tears the artist's ego apart. The creatosome (ego structure), divides as a response to the over-stimulation it encountered from the source of inspiration. The stage in the meiosis process described as "crossing over" occurs. In crossing over, after the original strands separate and replicate themselves, rather than rejoining as two duplicate creatosomes (like in fission), the strands exchange portions with each other thus creating four strands that are new receptive combinations. The artist shifts to one of these new combinations that attracts and bonds with new information and energy flowing through the collective consciousness. The work will have a distinctly new quality that may reflect a complete shift in the life, and the medium of the artist.

Thus in conclusion, the reproducer conducts both forms of creativity. They cycle in alternation; but, the period spent in either process form may vary in length and frequency. Fixation in either form will result in one of two outcomes, a lack of continuity because the artist is in constant change and fails to deepen, or stagnation because the artist ceases to evolve.

2. Boundary

The transcendental creative system described here, is itself a subsystem of yet a greater ineffable system. This paper necessarily restricts the system described here to its aspect as human creativity though giving other examples of the two process forms. Thus, one boundary of this system is the interface of human consciousness with the infinite. This describes the boundary through which inspiration and information inputs the system but, matter-energy also enter this boundary in that it comes into awareness; for example, the physical material used by an artist whether it be paints and canvas, word processor, or musical recording tape. Unless both the appropriate matter-energy, and information, enter across the systems boundary creation cannot occur.

Subsystems which process Matter-energy.

3. Ingestor

The transcendental creative system both downwardly and upwardly disperses the ingestor subsystem. It is downwardly disperses it by relying on subsystems in the human organism to input many forms of matter-energy into the system for processing. Matter-energy input in this manner includes that which powers the subsystem (food), and matter-energy that carries information markers like those that enter the system through human sense organs. Examples of matter-energy bearing markers are; light, in color and intensity; sound, in tone, rhythm and volume; smell; touch, in texture, weight, permeability; and taste. Each of these forms of input also carries information to store in memory and use later in output. They are also wave-form energy the system may use internally.

Along with the matter-energy just mentioned, the ingestor subsystem imports the materials (raw and processed), needed to express any given creative medium. These materials might include, but are not limited to, building, office, art, music, and other supplies as needed for each field of endeavor.

4. Distributor

Once matter-energy enters the transcendental creative system, in this case the creative consciousness of humanity, the distributor subsystem must transport it to the subsystems that will use it. The distributor subsystem must also remove refuse from the system. This creative system downwardly disperses the distributor subsystem to accomplish this task as follows.

Other systems that operate in parallel with the transcendental creative system distribute raw and processed materials within the system. They may not be subsystems of the transcendental system in the usual sense. Such systems include supranational systems, roads, railways, shipping lines, and the infrastructure of society. Power lines are also part of the infrastructure that distributes matter-energy for use by the creative system. Thus, a transcendental creative system uses other living systems as its distributor subsystem.

Groups and individuals may distribute subtler forms of matter-energy. Subsystems of the individual organism distribute the energy necessary to perform work. As an additional example, some creative acts produce abstract systems of thought. Thus, the individual organism is distributing energy to the brain to conduct the thought process even though no tangible product is output. That output may also be in the form of a book or lecture and thus uses and distributes physical materials. Finally, the organisms involved in creating (first theory and then product), may themselves be distributed to enhance the process. An example of such distribution is the Manhattan Project during World War II that gathered a group of scientists to develop the atomic bomb: a product of the transcendental creative system albeit from the darkest reaches of our collective mind.

5. Converter

A creative system may ingest, distribute, and use materials in a usable form. When such materials are not usable, the converter subsystem must change them into a usable form. This process occurs at many hierarchical levels as needed. For example, the organism functioning as the vehicle of the creative process must convert food into accessible energy, distribute, and use it. Raw materials must be converted into a usable form like converting timber into paper or lumber. This subsystem only concerns itself with matter-energy. It is dispersed through many other subsystems like the distributor subsystem. Therefore, it converts physical materials into a configuration that will merge (inform), with information at various hierarchical levels that all engage in the final act of creation by the transcendental creative system.

6. Producer

The producer subsystem brings materials together in stable relationships. Again the system disperses this task among many systems that function in concert with the transcendental creative system at many hierarchical levels. The relationships represent an element of creativity as well in that they are a merger of information and matter-energy even though they are not the final creation of the system. Some examples of these products are; the enzymes needed within the vehicle organism; canvas, paint, brushes, and other art supplies; musical instruments; nails, windows, prefabricated building components and other building materials; laboratory equipment, chemicals and compounds. These products, and countless others, have stable physical forms yet they will merge with further information in the creation of the final system output. These artifacts are creations at many hierarchical levels within the creation that remain available for use by the transcendental system.

7. Matter-energy storage

In many ways the earth itself stores matter-energy for use by the transcendental creative system. Paradoxically, much of this storage occurs as if the producer subsystem were continually recycling materials to keep an ever available supply to transform into new creations by merging it with new information.

The materials more idiosyncratically thought of as creative supplies, (including those mentioned in the section on the producer subsystem), can be warehoused for later use. Groups, individuals and organizations all may put materials in storage, maintain and retrieve them as needed. These storage facilities may serve the purpose of another system of which they are a part, as well as providing resources for the transcendental system. For example, a laboratory supply company has its own agenda; yet, for an inventor working in a fever of inspiration (as a vehicle responding to the transcendental creative system), it is a storage unit from which to retrieve materials to meld with the inspired information. Thus, the transcendental creative system disperses matter-energy storage through the physical world and, as if enfolded in a hologram, it may serve the same, or similar subsystem in other systems concurrently.

8. Extruder

Systems output matter-energy either as product, or as waist through the extruder subsystem. However, since a transcendental creative system is "transcendent," it acts in intangible realms as well as at all tangible hierarchical levels, it is therefore difficult to say if anything truly leaves the system. Rather, matter-energy takes on relationships that are stable for an indeterminate period after which the relationships dissipate and the system recycles matter-energy for use at various hierarchical levels.

9. Motor

The motor subsystem moves its system within its environment as needed to accomplish system goals. However, a transcendental creative system, again being transcendent, is without the need to move or, perhaps exists in an environment in which we cannot define such movement. The system, arguably omnipresent, is sessile. Individuals, groups, and organizations may move about freely within the system performing system processes. For example, an artist might go to the mountains for an inspiring experience and work environment. The Manhattan Project (described briefly as an example in the distributor subsystem) is another example of how the motor ability of component, or affiliate, subsystems operate as the motor subsystem. Thus, the transcendental creative system disperses motor functions to affiliated systems.

10. Supporter

Living systems require support to maintain integrity. They must maintain subsystems in proper spatial relationships to function appropriately and thereby accomplish system goals. Living systems, specifically human systems, are the vehicle through which the transcendental creative system produces order from chaos. Thus, various systems in the life chain perform much of the support functions. In this way the supporter subsystem is downwardly dispersed. However, since this is a transcendental system the supporter subsystem must also include features that are empirically less defensible yet, required to maintain system integrity. The following words of Paul Weiss begin a speculative depiction of these particulars.

The features of order, manifested in the particular form of a structure and the regular array and distribution of its substructures, are no more than the visible index of regularities of the underlying dynamics operating in its domain....Living form must be regarded as essentially an overt indicator of, or clue to, dynamics of the underlying formative processes. (1971, p. 284)

The above quotation refers to the underlying dynamics that, to notice, require more than a cursory, or surface observation of the overt order. The supporter of a transcendental creative system must maintain another dimension of relationships not addressed in the living systems model: it must also support an open, receptive state that enables system components an awareness of, and response to these underlying dynamics. It must accommodate nuance. John Briggs (1988) writes of nuance, "Nuance is the electromagnetic field surrounding the themata. In this nuance field we can get a glimpse of the true power of the prima materia." The prima materia is the mythical First Matter believed by alchemists to represent the underlying principle of unity and order in all things. The supporter subsystem of the transcendental creative system must maintain the system's components in such a way that they are receptive to the visions in the nuances they encounter. This paper will now consider the information processing subsystems that perceive and inform new order in nuance.

Subsystems which process information

The point is that higher realms everywhere leave their footprints in the lower. The higher realms form and inform, create and mold, produce and alter, all manner of forms in the lower realms. But those productions cannot be grasped by the lower realms nor reduced to them. (Wilber, 1990)

Wilber's statement seems to portend the futility of any effort to grasp and thus describe the realms beyond our empirical experience; however, he indicates that footprints are left in the lower realms. Weiss (1971) conversely (in the previous quotation), suggests that "form must be a clue to the underlying formative processes." It therefore seems reasonable that some understanding of higher realms may be achieved by studying the footprints and formative processes. Thus, the following descriptions are of the footprints as they appear in subordinate systems with the assumption that some knowledge is gained by reversing the perennial metaphysical statement "As above, so below" to read - As below, so above - if adequate transformations are made between transcendent and physical spaces.

If one strand of the metaphoric creatosome consists of receptors based in the physical and psychological environment of the vehicle artist, then the second strand of this double helix represents the information that enters the system from its suprasystem to interact with matter-energy in the creative act. Wilber's statement points out this infusion of information from higher hierarchical levels to the lower ones, and it acknowledges the difficulty inherent in translating from transcendental space to empirical space (and visa versa). Saint Bonaventure (1993) suggests three methods of attaining knowledge (information) that describe this translation process; knowledge gained through the "eye of the flesh," that gained through the "eye of reason," and that knowledge gained through the "eye of contemplation." I will use Bonaventure's metaphor to describe the input of information, its processing, and eventual merger with matter-energy in creation.

11. Input transducer

Information enters the system through the input transducer subsystem. Though information bearing markers enter the system along with matter-energy (as mentioned in the ingestor subsystem), in this model the input transducer receives the information that informs from "the higher realm"; that is, the inspiration that comes from beyond the experience of the creating individual. This information comes from the system's suprasystem. The suprasystem may transmit such inspiration directly through the collective consciousness or through other systems, but it represents the needs of the collective. This is the creativity earlier described as visionary art.

Bringing such information into the system requires a particular state of consciousness; it requires reverie. St. Bonaventure (1993) describes this state as beholding with the "eye of contemplation" with which one looks into the transcendent. For the Christian mystic, this meant gaining knowledge of God. Other religions likewise refer to knowledge of a greater order, whether that order be the infinite void, Brahman, or Ala. In this realm, inspiration is more than a reshuffling of existent knowledge. It is a state of gnosis in which the inspired becomes one with information from beyond and thus brings it inside the system's boundary.

The state of reverie that, if maintained, leads to vision through the eye of contemplation, is associated with low-frequency alpha and theta wave states in the brain. Elmer and Alyce Green (1971) reporting on their studies of this creative reverie say as follows:

The "reverie [mentioned above]...seems to be associated with and make possible, under certain conditions, the detection of hypnagogiclike imagery, the sine qua non of creativity for many outstanding people.

The Greens go on to suggest that autogenic, or yoga-like training may allow people to remain conscious during theta wave production, and that biofeedback may be useful in such training. Many artists, and shamans throughout history have developed methods to attain such states of consciousness and see knowledge from beyond the systems boundary. Thus, the eye of contemplation is the input transducer.

12. Internal transducer

Knowledge gained through the eye of contemplation is often abstract and transcendent, lacking definition, or even a clear relation to the four dimensions of waking reality thus, to be useful, the system, must translate it into a usable form inside the system. This is the internal transducer's job; it is the task of St. Bonaventure's "eye of reason."

When focused on, the knowledge glimpsed by the eye of contemplation may overwhelm the eye of reason that can not absorb and comprehend it all. Thus, the eye of reason constructs symbols to represent perhaps ineffable ideas. The "hypnagogiclike imagery" referred to by the Greens is part of this process of symbolization. Through symbolization the mind (the eye of reason), can manipulate and process as much transcendent knowledge as possible and, to some part of it, find meaning. The internal transducer may translate the information into many symbolic forms for use by the system. Words, pictures, sounds, digital signals, electrical impulses, all are examples of symbols generated by the eye of reason for system use. Symbols may group together (like these words), to develop the meaning of the original glimpse of inspiration, or they remain as a single powerful concept like the archetypes described in Carl Jung's (1969) psychology. In either form, they allow information transfer in the creative system. The internal transducer is the first stage of developing meaning from the information. The associator subsystem will further assign meaning to the information.

The eye of reason similarly gives meaning to the information that enters the system through the eye of the flesh, the empirical world of the senses. Empirical information enters the system with matter-energy through the ingestor subsystem. Likewise, the mind uses energy first input through the ingestor. Because of the close link between the mind and the physical, the eye of reason, often predisposes the meaning it assigns information received from both the eye of contemplation, and the eye of the flesh. The metaphor of the creatosome earlier in this writing describes this predisposition, or one's propensity toward a certain form of creating. Gerald Holton (1973), a Harvard physicist and professor of the history of science similarly suggests in his study of scientific creativity that clusters of presuppositions and "gut" assumptions shape one's creative work. He calls these assumptions "themata" or themes that run throughout a creator's work. Thus, the themata of the beholder color the interpretations of the eye of reason. A dedicated creator may minimize the coloration in this interpretive process, but it is unlikely one can eliminate such alteration translating knowledge from one hierarchical level to another, and communicating within a system.

13 Channel and net

The transcendental creative system downwardly disperses its Channel and Net subsystem and subsumes the Channel and Net of a myriad of associated systems. As examples; the nervous system of the individual creator transfers information internally; a creator group of individuals, exchanges information through verbal and written communication, computer networks, sketches and so forth; on a larger scale, organizations or supranational systems pass information through the air by way of electromagnetic radiation or by wire. The transcendental creative system may use all of these possible means to transfer information in processing. These examples also represent nodes in the Channel and Net where signals sent from one subsystem may exchange with those coming from another. Finally, since this is a transcendental system, another channel is plausible. Though not readily observable, several experiments in quantum physics suggest it. Henry Stapp wrote of the phenomena suggested by these experiments as follows:

Quantum phenomena provide prima facie evidence that information gets around in ways that do not conform to classical ideas. Thus the idea that information is transferred superluminally is a priori, not unreasonable.... the fundamental process of Nature lies outside space-time. (1977, p.191)

Thus, if such communication exists in the creation of the physical universe, it is not unreasonable to suggest that it may also exist in the creative reveries of individuals engaged in the processes of a transcendental creative system.

14. Decoder

The decoder subsystem is downwardly dispersed. The decoder must change the signal codes of information from the input transducer, and some information processed by the internal transducer: it must make it relevant to the system's project. The eye of reason is the decoder mechanism (it is also the internal transducer). Through reasoning, the decoder derives meaning from the information delivered from the input transducer and other internally transduced signals arriving through the channel and net from other subsystems. The decoder subsystem discerns the meaning the various bits of information have to the system and its goal.

15. Associator

The associator subsystem continues assigning meaning to the information received; through the input transducer (eye of contemplation); the information markers attached to matter-energy received through the ingestor (eye of the flesh); the information transferred through the channel and net; the internal transducer (eye of reason); and from the information stored in the memory subsystem. The meaning assigned by the associator places information in relationship with other information. An artist may for example, receive and associate information makers about the frequency of matter-energy that enters the system through the ingestor that s/he perceives (the eye of the flesh), as color. S/he then associates this information with information in memory about color, information coming from the input transducer about the creative goal, and information from the internal transducer about the state of the system. Relating these bits of information he/she may produce the color scheme of a painting, associating it with the scene of the painting and, the skills and themata of the artist.

16. Memory

Memory stores information thus completing the learning process in a system. In a transcendental creative system, memory storage may be limitless. The system not only downwardly disperses memory to the individual creative vehicle, but also stores it in artifacts like books, computer chips and disks, and in the genetic and chemical make-up of the materials and other living systems associated with any given creative task. The collective unconscious is also a storehouse for the memories of the species if Jung's depiction is correct. Hindu mystic traditions (arguably), refer to another memory bank above the collective consciousness of the species, the Akashic record that allegedly holds all that has happened in the history of creation. Thus, while some of these sources are themselves transcendent and therefore beyond proof, a transcendental system may access all these proposed memory banks and an individual in creative reverie may likewise access such information.

The memory subsystem stores, maintains, and retrieves information as needed for the system. Some of the possible memory mentioned in the above paragraph transcends our ability to observe. Thus, the process by which information moves in and out of storage is unobservable and defies speculation. Accessing transcendent storage might be done through the state of consciousness described as the eye of contemplation; however, how information enters into the collective unconscious, or the Akashic record, and any sense of their location and maintenance process is unknown. The biological and cognitive processes of the individual creative vehicle manage the memory that is downwardly dispersed to that vehicle.

17. Decider

The process of a transcendental creative system is to bring form and order from chaos; therefore, the decider subsystem must operate on several hierarchical levels. However, the operation of the decider is that of the executive, the place where, as the sign on President Truman's desk indicated, "the buck stops." Though it operates on multiple levels, the system cannot downwardly disperse its executive. Thus according to Miller (1978), in such complex systems the decider makes decisions through an echelon of command. In a transcendental creative system the upper end of the echelon exists somewhere in the ineffable beyond knowledge. We can only postulate through philosophy and theologics about the nature of the ultimate decider in the transcendental. However, we can observe the chain of command at lower levels of the hierarchy. For example, in the collective behavior, and seeming consciousness, of certain animals such as schools of fish or flocks of birds, one individual sensing danger, food, or something else required for the common good instigates a rapid change in the state of the entire group. Thus, that individual serves in the decider's echelon.

Creative individuals in society serve a similar purpose in the echelon of command. Marshal McLuhan, described creative people as channels of a greater vision who form the "dew line" for society at large and thus capture and express the spiritual meaning of the culture (May,1975). The collective unconscious described by Jung ties the psyches of humanity together; thus, creativity is an expression of the needs and wishes of the race, not solely the individual.

Individual creators serve in the decision echelon for society; yet within those creators themselves other echelon levels exist. The individual creator must decide which of the many bits of information and matter-energy s/he will act upon. The eye of reason accomplishes this. Upon receiving information from the eye of contemplation and of the flesh, the reasoning faculties marshal the creative process as the transcendental becomes the manifest.

18. Encoder

The encoder changes information from the private code used within the system, to a public form for communication outside the system. In a transcendental creative system this is the last act before the final creation is output from the system. (Arguably since the system is transcendental and potentially omnipresent, outside the system may be a misnomer.) The process of encoding may put the final output into one of many codes; e.g., written, a design blueprint, another artistic work, a chemical formula, mathematical proof, or some other code intelligible to others. In the creative transcendental system encoding and output transduction are both performed by the group or individual serving as the vehicle. However, this subsystem changes only the code of the information from, as an example, the neural signals of the thought processes and physical work performed by the creative vehicle, to codes for public consumption.

19. Output transducer

Once the system has encoded the information for public use, it is output from the system. This transcendental system manifests form from the transcendental; thus, the information markers output from the system are the final tangible matter-energy product. The output transducer changes the form of the information markers from those used privately by the system, into these final markers for public understanding. For example, a painting has physical form (matter-energy), that communicates encoded meaning, nuance, and emotional triggers for an observer to interpret. Thus the information markers, changed into an output form (in this case the painting), from those of the initial inspiration (matter-energy in an ineffable form), and from those communicated by the internal transducer, memory, and other subsystems (electrical and chemical matter-energy), will be available to the observing public.

Informed matter-energy is now created. The system input information, processed it, and brought it into a new relationship with matter-energy. Matter-energy has likewise been input, processed, either used to power the creative vehicle and its operations, or reformed with the information in the final output. Birthed by the system, they will now inspire other creative acts. Thus, the transcendental creative system, as if it was a living being, replicates itself. As mentioned, the process has two forms, one that (like meiosis), creates new forms that change the system and all it encounters, the second form (like mitosis), maintains and expands the status quo. There is a dynamic fluctuation between these two processes. This essay will now explore this transition from one form of creating to the other.

Assessment and Conclusions:

Modeling a transcendental system is an elusive task. This paper has explored general living systems to build such a model. Strengths and shortcomings exist in this application of the method. The living systems model provides an intricate observation of the many subsystems and their interaction. However, the subsystems of a living system as described by Miller's theory are available for empirical study: those of a transcendental system exist in both physical and transcendent space and are therefore less accessible. Unavailability thus forces a researcher to speculate about the location, structure, and precise function of many subsystems in a transcendental system. Since we are a subsystem embedded in the transcendental system it is difficult (perhaps impossible), to observe and describe suprasystems above our hierarchical level. The difficulty compounds with the fact that since we cannot see the boundary of the transcendental system beyond its interface with ourselves, one is prone to describing the limitless. Conversely, to counter the tendency to flee to the transcendent, one predictably focuses on the empirical and thus again describes existent living subsystems.

On the positive side, living systems theory led to the development of the DNA-like creatosome metaphor. The creatosome is a unique and inclusive model of the creative process. The creatosome (like the chromosome it imitates), shows how individual creators can form near infinite variety, and are themselves transformed in the process. Viewing creativity as a transcendental living system also allows us to broaden our idea of it. So viewed, creativity becomes a vital living process that includes physical and emotional healing, growth, the arts, innovations, and an expressive personal life.

Living systems theory relies on quantifiable data to construct system models. Therefore, it not precise methods for the study of transcendental systems. They provide another view of the transcendent, but must, like philosophic and theological descriptions, rely in part on speculation until we can measure and observe the matter-energy and information markers that stretch beyond our view.

Creation is ever the result of the dance between attractor and attracted. It is "bisociation" as Koestler called it. I would more properly term the dance "polysociation" for it is the simultaneous interaction of many opposites. It is the merger of a chain of opposites in the metaphoric creatosome. Finally, it is the endless expansion of consciousness and experience that occurs as our collective will to grow and evolve wells up within and through us. It is natural that we should use Living Systems Theory and all of the methods available in our quest to understand the creative process. We are in conclusion both creator and created. As we meld these opposites we create ourselves anew.


Experience Carlisle Bergquist's creativity in his current book - "The Coyote Oak:  Burgeoning Wisdom."  Available here, at,  and booksellers worldwide.




Article Summaries

Transcendental Creative Systems:

An Exploration Using General Living Systems Theory

Creativity is the merger of matter/energy with new information.  The process of bringing something new into existence, is an inherent characteristic of life.  To live is to create whether we do so unconsciously, or with full awareness.  This essay is an academic approach to the creative process using James Miller's General Living Systems Theory to model the course from non-being to created work.

A Comparative View of Creativity Theories:
Psychoanalytic, Behaviorist, & Humanistic

Three streams of thought in contemporary psychology view our humanness is distinctly different ways.  This is nowhere more evident than in their efforts to explain creativity.  This essay explores and compares these divergent views and provides a foundation from which to develop a new transpersonal theory of creativity.

Dancing With The Whole:
A Theory of Creative Entrainment

The holistic theory models entrainment as a communicative occurrence. Examples are given from several disciplines and four stages of entrainment are delimited. The essay compares theoretical quantum physicist David Bohm's notions of order with the realms of spirit, mind, and body. It proposes stages of entrainment operant throughout these realms and suggests that they perform cumulatively in the creative or unfolding process. The systems perspective develops the thesis that humankind is an iteration of a larger system and that entrainment is a central factor in the transduction of information between individuals and across system levels.

Doorways In Consciousness:
An Exploration of Resonant Being

Many cultures around the globe embrace sound in their exoteric and esoteric traditions. This essay reviews the role sound plays in the religions, creation myths, and sacred technologies of various peoples. This review connects creativity with healing which is considered an act of regeneration thus creating health in the body. Several varieties of healing through sound are discussed including music, drumming, toning, chant, instruments, Kabballah, and prayer. The essay proposes that techniques of sound healing and therapy currently rely on the intuitive ability of individual practitioners. Acknowledging the need for effective healing modalities, it calls for research that can qualify the elemental effects of existing sounds, tones and prayers. Such categorization may help construct an applied holistic healing technology.

Building A Better Thought Trap:
Nutrition for Colossal Creativity & Peak Performance

Colossal creativity is a state of balance amongst the mind, the body, and the spirit that actuates human potential. This article concentrates on the vitamin and nutritional components of our system so that they resonate more clearly. The focus is on the brain which rests at the focal point of our physical, mental, and spiritual worlds. It traps and interprets inspiration that comes from deep within, transforming it from one world to another. Colossal creativity unfolds when we nourish every part of our being. Digest new thoughts and ideas to nourish your mind. Develop a daily practice -- whatever your faith -- that invites active participation from your Spiritual-Self.

Accessing Your Inner Creator

An essay for general audiences that explores the creative process comparing it with the duality described in many philosophical and spiritual traditions. Techniques are given to apply these strategies to ones individual work.

Creativity, Healing, & Shamanism

An academic, yet deeply personal essay about exceptional encounters in Brazil with alternative healing and spiritual tradition. It details a dynamical systems (chaos theory) model of creativity: at "The Valley of The Dawn" a spiritual healing community; in Amyr, a physical medium; and in my experience using Ayahuasca with "The Santo Daime Doctrine" in Rio de Janeiro.

Guest Articles

How Money is Created

by Paul Krumm

Toward an Economy Based on Curiosity and Caring Instead of Greed

by Paul Krumm


  • While the network of money transactions around the world is very complex, the way money works is really rather simple, and is understandable by the ordinary person.

  • The study of the operation of money is pivotal to any discussion of cultural values and social justice, as money is the basic language of economic relationships, and the values built into this language impact all social relationships.

In this paper we will describe how the present money game is structured.  We will show that the idea that money is value neutral is not correct, and go on to describe how money functions to promote greed.

Some preliminary suggestions will be given, based on theory and what has worked in the past, to change the values built into our money to ones that are more congruent with a curiosity and caring driven economy.

We will also show how the present money game is not sustainable, note that the same changes that lead to a curiosity and caring based system are the same changes that make money and our economy sustainable.

Transforming Reality Through The Arts

by Coni Ciongoli-Koepfinger

Could this be the key to CREATIVE EVOLUTION?  Is the creation of a society that questions the reality of its fiction and the fiction of its reality be but a page turn away. Conceivably it is no longer a question of controlling what is real; instead, is it a question of controlling the market analysis that controls what the individual assumes to be real? Perhaps then, we will able to give birth to the new science that is no longer bipolar in its relations of the art and the social – a new science that is born out of a culture that was modified to be the perfect blend of both fact and fiction.

Staying Centered in Peace
by Lisa Hepner

An essay written in the wake of events on September 11, 2001.  This piece addresses the struggles we experience to see beyond the pain.  The author draws together the thoughts of many personal growth writers into an inspiring tonic for our wounded souls.