“A composition is always more than the sum of its parts. In other words, a really good piece of music is more than itself. It’s sort of like a prism, which you can see from each facet a single totality.” – Yo-Yo Ma
I was watching a discussion between Dr. David Buss and Richard Dawkins about evolutionary psychology and I started noticing the word “hypothesis” pop up a little too frequently. Instead of turning it into a drinking game I made a note of looking up its etymology.
Turns out that the word “thesis” has an interesting past. Apparently it was used as a musical term for the “downbeat” before becoming an expression for a logical proposition. It’s opposite is “antithesis” (opposition) and the combination is called “synthesis” (composition).
Now, when I notice these weird coincidences I’ve just got to go deeper!
The conversation provided some good insights even if it at times felt like a stroke job. What I took away from it was the insight that we rarely reflect over our actions from an evolutionary point of view rather than a psychosocial one.
In hindsight it’s cool to see that those four words (hypothesis, thesis, antithesis & synthesis) are a tool we can use to work with our creativity.
We get an idea (hypothesis/supposition), put it to work (thesis/proposition), try to poke holes in it (antithesis/opposition) and arrive at a solution (synthesis/composition).
Everyone’s lives can benefit from this type of contrast with tension and release. Just having an echo chamber doesn’t do us much good. Especially if we want to continue evolving as people and as a species.
Whether it’s in business, politics, art or life in general we should try to apply these steps more conciously so that it becomes part of our creative habit!
Linda Hill – How to Manage for Collective Creativity