Resonant Thoughts: James Dyson On Creativity


Here is British inventor/engineer James Dyson,
known for his innovative vacuum cleaner design:

“People think of creativity as a mystical process. The idea is that creative insights emerge from the ether, through pure contemplation. This model conceives of innovation as something that happens to people, normally geniuses. But this could not be more wrong. Creativity is something that has to be worked at, and it has specific characteristics. Unless we understand how it happens, we will not improve our creativity, as a society or as a world.”

-James Dyson in Matthew Syed, Black Box Thinking, p. 196.

Resonant Thoughts: Unlearning And Disciplined Dissidence In Andy Merrifield’s “The Amateur” (2017)


“I consider myself as deschooled: I learned how to unlearn, and continue to follow the twisted path of ‘disciplined dissidence.’”*

(*“Disciplined dissidence” is a phrase of Ivan Illich, who speaks of it in his Deschooling Society as a quality “which cannot be measured against any rod, or any curriculum, nor compared to someone else’s achievements” [1973, p.72]).



Consider yourself
and everyone around you
as consummate practicers

refining ways of being,
honing their speaking tones and counterpoint gestures,
assuming the sound and the movement
of who and what they want to be

we’re practicing all the time,
practicing the patterns
of what we can’t yet play.

Resonant Thoughts: On Simon Critchley’s “What We Think About When We Think About Soccer” (2017)


On phenomenology:

Phenomenology is the attempt “to get close, as close as possible, to the grain, texture, and existential matrix of experience as it is given, and to allow words to echo that experience in a way that might allow us to see it in a new light, under a changed aspect” (17).

On rhythm:

“The rhythm of football is…a legato, a smooth, emerging and subtle flow of time. Football is about shifts in the experience of time. These are shifts in the intensities of experience, when time is revealed—when that moment of moments occurs—to be something malleable, plastic, and elastic” (28).

A Forest Xylophone Plays Bach

This is a charming video, but it also illustrates some deeper ideas:

Composition. It shows how a piece of music can be rendered on an unusual instrument and remain recognizable.

Instrument. It shows how a musical instrument can be fashioned out of descending wooden steps and a falling ball.

Agency. It shows that a music “performance” need not have a human performer.

Context. It shows a world of tempered melody set against a forest soundscape.