Insight, spontaneous ordering?

In summary, many top scientists believe that insight or a moment of understanding comes when the brain is silent and a spontaneous perception occurs. This may be different for each person, and may be hindered by the brain's tendency to fill in the silence with words. This might be why many top scientists feel guilty about their ideas, since they know they stole them from others. Additionally, wild speculation might lower the signal to noise ratio and lower one's chances of being successful.f
  • #1
It seems that many top scientist, mathematicians, composers etc speak of the moment of insight, including Feynman and Bohm, and it seems to come down to when the brain is silent. Being clever as Feynman was, he sought to figure out if there was some mechanical process, some pattern that could be followed to repeat that moment so that he could be significantly more efficient, but he realized that this could not work. So here lies my question/point: This moment of insight seems to occur when the brain is silent and then there is a spontaneous perception, which seems to be a kind of spontaneous ordering. If this occurs for the brain, then is it not possible that this action takes place in the movement of evolution and in other processes in the cosmos which appear to be strictly mechanical and deterministic?
  • #2
I didn't really think that anyone would answer this:) It is ironic that this spontaneous action is operative in scientists' activity, yet it is the one thing that none of them will acknowledge. Any comments? P.S. I do acknowledge the movement of evolution, I just question the precise nature of the process.
Last edited:
  • #3
Insight, at least the type scientists seek involves the generation of a new idea. This idea cannot have a name since it's the first time it has been thought. Therefore the normal stream of consciousness can't apply.

The brain seems to abhor this state and quickly finds words to fill the silence, thus choking off new ideas. Perhaps creative scientists are a little slower than others when it comes to this step?

Or perhaps the process is different for different people?

The reluctance to discuss this likely comes from people not wanting to expose ignorance. I suspect most top scientists feel a little guilty that they stole their ideas. Of course all new ideas are built on what came before, but there's always that nagging suspicion that they alone relied on the work of others while the other guy was truly original.

Besides, wild speculation lowers salary potential. Plus it lowers the signal to noise ratio.