On some roots of creativity

The possibility has to be considered that the infant, in danger of overwhelming himself with his own excitement, forms object-representations in ways dictated by expediency. It is necessary for survival to establish in one's mind an all-powerful and loving object-representation that contains in it major parts of the self-representation. In fact, all the vital and affective functions are attributed to the parenting object and are used only under a "franchise-like" illusion. From infancy we are just like the "hypnotized" person or the patient who has received a placebo and carries out self-caring or self-soothing functions under the illusion that he/she is not doing it on their own but the transference object is doing it. In considering the challenge of creating a coherent self-representation within the amazing world of perceptions and affects, it can be readily seen that it is very easy to overwhelm oneself, even for an adult just trying to imagine it. It is most helpful to use Stern's suggestion that probably a sense of self emerges gradually from the consolidation of various nuclear clusters of self-views. He listed (1) a self-agency, representing the recognition of one's volition and capacity to act; (2) a sense of self-coherence, representing a sentience of what remains constant within one's own purveyance; (3) a sense of self-affectivity, representing the recognition of feelings, that is, the subjective aspect of affective living; and (4) a sense of self-history, representing a registration of continuity and a recognition of what "goes on being." In our perusal of what we can learn by confronting the alexithymia picture lessons from developmental psychobiology and direct observations of infant behavior, we get useful clues to the origins of creativity. The epigenetic history of affects and the development of affect tolerance show us how these functions evolve in the context of the interaction of the infant and mother. The success in containing one's own excitement and keeping one's affects in manageable intensity so that they are useful for information processing is made possible by congruent responses of the mothering parent. This situation prolongs the illusions of symbiosis and omnipotence to their optimal duration, permitting a period of guilt-free practicing of self-soothing and self-gratification. By not forcing the conscious recognition of mother's externality and the confrontation with one's own rage and helplessness, the mother helps the infant to avoid a premature formation of an "external" object-representation.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Krystal, H.
Item Type: 
Journal Article
Publication Title: 
The Psychiatric Clinics of North America
Journal Abbreviation: 
Psychiatr. Clin. North Am.
Publication Date: 
Publication Year: 
Library Catalog: 
PMID: 3067233

Turabian/Chicago Citation

H. Krystal. 1988-09. "On some roots of creativity." The Psychiatric Clinics of North America 11: 3: 475-491.

Wikipedia Citation

<ref> {{Cite journal | doi = | issn = 0193-953X | volume = 11 | pages = 475-491 | last = Krystal | first = H. | coauthors = | title = On some roots of creativity | journal = The Psychiatric Clinics of North America | date = 1988-09 | pmid = | pmc = }} </ref>