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“On Creative, Psychotic and Ecstatic States” by Roland Fischer

It is the contention of this chapter that “normality,” “creativity,” and “schizophrenia” represent states of increasing arousal and, therefore, can be conceived as lying on a continuum. Creativity is an excited-exalted state of arousal with a characteristic increase in both data content and rate of data processing. The acute schizophrenic state is marked by an even higher level of arousal, but the increase in data content is not matched by a corresponding increase in the rate of data processing. The creative state is conducive to the evolution of novel relations and new meaning, whereas the schizophrenic, “jammed computer” state itself interferes—through “protective inhibition” and a narrowing of the field of attention—with the individual’s symbolic interpretation of his own central nervous system activity.

The Model

But what are the data which are the content of consciousness, or con-scientia? What is permanence within change? Or, in the words of Plato: “What is that which always is and has no becoming, and what is that which is always becoming and never is?”

These questions shall be answered by the introduction and exposition of a steady-state model which depicts geometrico modo “what there is.” The model consists of an equilateral triangle with its base standing for invariant stimulus configurations (or objects), its left side for information (or percept), and the right side for organismic matching response.

The base of the triangle extends between the two foci of an ellipse, while the vertex of the triangle is lying on the ellipse (fig. 1 a). One can visualize exponentially increasing states of arousal by shifting the vertex to the left (fig. lb) which results in decreased information and an increased matching response, i.e., an intensification of meaning and total response manifested as a high sensory to motor ratio. The amplification of sensing, knowing and attending by the organism is an experience of increased meaning or, in Gelpke’s words, “a torrential flood of inner sensation.” High sensory to motor ratio, that is the predominance of the sensory here over the motor component, is characteristic of daydreaming, the REM stage of sleep, hallucinations, the psychodysleptic (psychotomimetic) drug produced sleepless dream state and other phenomena of motor deprivation which customary language inaccurately terms sensory deprivation.

The relations obtained under increasing tranquilization are illustrated by the transformations of the triangle toward the right side in fig. 1.b; they display a need for more information and a substantial decrease in the matching response or meaning. Such a state is exemplified by the patient who was frightened by his image of the devil; after tranquilization, he could still see the devil but was no longer frightened.

Matching response within the model, thus, assumes a dual character: on the one hand it stands for the experience of meaning; on the other it denotes a specific sensory to motor ratio. A particular sensory to motor ratio is the reflection of the subjective and objective facets of our nature. With eyes closed we can experience the universe inside ourselves in sensation, that is, subjectively, whereas with eyes open we can change “what there is” outside ourselves through voluntary motor performance, that is, objectively. These experiential and experimental facets are implicit in the nature of self-referential, self-organizing systems. Self-reference implies that the universe exists subjectively, that is, in reference to the self, whereas self-organization, or goal seeking, refers to the ability to rearrange the outside-universe.

The ratio of the experiential or sensory to the experimental or motor component within the large matching response of a high level of arousal, expresses the type of experience an individual has. High or low sensory to motor ratios within a sensorimotor performance—behavioral state—can be illustrated by the extreme examples of either the catatonic hallucinatory state with its extremely high sensory involvement and no motor performance, as opposed to the sprinter’s performance during a running race with his very high motor to sensory ratio. There is, of course, an infinite variety of behavioral states between these two extremes.

The steady-state system model (fig. 1) can be made even more useful by rebuilding it into the context of three space-times, and by postulating that the fabric of experience is synchronized in cerebral, sensory, and physical (survival) space-times (fig. 2).

The cerebral space of thought, dreaming and hallucination stores memories of imageless schemata for waking and dreaming reference with feedback to sensory space. Meaning, as perceived-created by self-referential systems, is most likely multivalued in its logical form, and, being without dimension, has no geometry.

Immediate—raw—and uninterpreted, i.e., a-logical, sensations are the content of experience in non-Euclidean, hyperbolic sensory space-time, whereas survival space-time is the realm of active waking experience, a modified sensory space constructed by and reflecting life experience. Euclidean geometry, two-valued language, and logic are operative here, and decision-making with regard to survival is the dominant activity.

“On Creative, Psychotic and Ecstatic States” by Roland Fischer is an extract from The Highest State of Consciousness edited by John W. White, published by White Crow Books and available from Amazon and other bookstores.

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