Short answer is – conscious and subconscious remixing of sum of past experiences multiplied by signal to noise ratio of stored info.
Let me elaborate – our brain isn’t exactly perfect. Information is stored in synaptic links between neurons.
Over time, the information stored in them gets partially or even fully erased. That happens as both direct orders from brain to free up space for new information, or just as a natural cause because cells are constantly getting renewed, biological makeup of our bodies at different times of our lives, contents of our blood and some other factors such as presence of electromagnetic fields – all contribute to information degradation.
Some brains, either by training, or naturally, tend to be more precise with information storage, while others squander it more freely. That’s the case with mathematically built minds against..uh…art students minds (as a crude example).
Then again, it can be trained regardless, since any brain gets noise to the memories over time, it’s just with simpler minds – it happens quicker with larger amount of info noised, and, just to re-iterate – creativity happens both consciously and subconsciously. Conscious recalling and mixing can be both as precise pure math, or imprecise as unconscious one.
Thing is – that even fully deleted info still contributes to noise – since our neural cells tend to emit echoes of past signals applied to them…hang on, let me back up.
This is a crucial point to understanding where brain noise comes from. Classic neural model of “Cell has signal – cell processes it > cell has no signal – cell seizes to operate” IS completely false.
In reality when a neuron cell stops receiving info because it’s a biological cell – it keeps emitting echoes of it with diminishing returns. This is why, to example; when you get stabbed, and you then remove the source of pain (e.g. needle), you still feel the pain – cell keeps sending signals (although this is a huge simplification, obviously it revolves around large amount of chemical reactions happening in the background, but i’m not going to go there in this article).
So actual neural model should be more like “Cell has signal – cell processes it and passes it on along with small percentage of past echoes > cell has no signal > cell keeps sending echoes of last signals with freshmost signal giving most weight in echo”. Or something like that.
And this – how creativity works – you apply your brain both consciously and subconsciously (after getting inspiration or otherwise) to harmonize “echoes” of stored information along with freshly stored information, or freshly recalled information of experiences, and then try to harmonize it.
On top of that, if mechanical skills are involved (drawing, music) there are also mechanical imperfections of information transmission by hand, or throat, which also contribute to final piece being different.
Also this is why drugs lead to weird creativity – the information decay and, due to intoxication – misinterpretation of stored info, coupled with over-sensitized neurons firing non-stop – and trying to harmonize all that on paper.
Brain.Random(Drugs, 0, 10000000) 😀
That’s all for now folks. I am going to run this piece against some neuroscientists to see what of this has been studied throughout recent years. As for now, please treat it like a philosophical piece, even if i’m dealing in absolutes here.
Original post – Smoke Fumus.
Editing and spell check – Xiszyy.