Unlimited input, the bane of creative thought

I have been musing on the smartphone and its 24-7 sensory assault. I was watching a program on the top 100 gadgets as voted on by the editors of Popular Mechanics. There were a lot of great ones, like the light bulb, modem, even the lowly computer but some what to my surprise the smart phone was listed as number one. That is fine, a matter of opinion, however in the lead up to its formal pronouncement a montage of smart phone users was shown, all saturated in input. There was one little piece was telling, in that piece the voice over said “when ever your a little bit bored, the smart phone is there.”. This also is fine for the most part, because let’s face it most people are not paid to be creative problem solvers, however some are. I know from long experience that my best solutions, have been the result of being decoupled from input in a somewhat zen state. I was just wondering if how many of you are in the “zen” group, or in the “input” group.

This is why I love to drive old cars that tend even not to have a radio.
The mechanism between my ears has time to spin free and click as it

Sorry. No google online for my car.

Aside of that I tend to get bombed with info 18 hours of 6 days. It is not
the smartphones “fault”. Radio started to get into our heads, TV expanded
the space and the only positve of the all surpasing web is its passive-active


I am certain I just read a paper on this but I am unable to locate it. Maybe too much input? :wink:

But the gist was: A constant barrage of stimuli stifles the imagination. The lack of imagination retards creativity and innovation.

I flip flop. To make progress, I need the isolation and space to think. To avoid reinventing the wheel, I need to be plugged in. There is nothing I hate more than wasting my time re-solving a problem that has already been solved.

I tend to do my best work on vacation (where I’m both disconnected from the normal crush of email and crap and seeing new things), or on airplanes (where I’m disconnected from everything). I believe the brain needs some quiet, unencumbered space to make new connections. Having the internet in your pocket definitely takes away some of those opportunities.

Gadgets, to me, are by definition, something with no real need. Smartphones included.

iab: I heard a comedian say that you need to be bored to be creative. I agree. The mind definitely needs a blank sheet of paper in front of it to fill.

… my best solutions, have been the result of being decoupled from input in a somewhat zen state.

This is why I love to drive old cars that tend even not to have a radio.

An old motorcycle, and a long ride on twisty roads does it for me every time. There’s not much mental capacity left when your brain is processing visual information, and directing two hands and two feet, to maintain the line. I don’t know how this works, perhaps it breaks down the synapses and frees up alternate routes for neural signals…

For me it is a long bike ride. Granted I don’t need the mental concentration needed for your high speeds, but I do get a good endorphin buzz from pushing it hard. I guess you could say best ideas come from a pleasure/pain dichotomy. That explains a lot.

Zen. I walk to and from work. 45 minutes each way. There is a lot of stimulus in the city of course, but just walking around jogs a lot of ideas. By the time I get to the studio I’m ready to go. It is the most productive thought time for me. I also do a lot of thinking on the airplane. I don’t mind a 14 hour flight to China. It is nice to just have the quiet time to myself.

From what I am reading here, most folk view/use their smart phones as a adult mobile pacifier, or am I being a bit combative and a Luddite grump? :laughing:

Perhaps instead of the Razor, or Iphone the next big thing in smart phones should be called…
The CUD (placidly"Chew" on the pretty colors, and sounds)
Inuk (feeling cranky, bored, or lonesome just embrace your nuk and let it sooth you into a feeling of belonging…and Inuk store will sell you more good feeling at 1 buck a throw.)
The Shepard (its nice having a strong connection to the herd after all)

I would agree with that. I’m much more of a “broadcaster” on my phone. I post to facebook and twitter much more than I read other people’s posts. I tend to capture thoughts, usually in the form a photo of something I see along the way. Fro me, the smart phone is primarily an email and social media device with music. I don’t play many games (just solitaire occasionally). The only time I’ll surf the web on it is on the couch if I’m too lazy to get up and get my laptop or if I want to google something to settle an argument like if Starbucks got it’s name from a character in Battle Star Galactica (BTW, there was a character named Starbuck in Battle Star Galactica, they both got their name from Moby Dick)