An Idea About Creativity and Agitation
I find that when I am creating designs and ideas, I often feel agitated and need to move from place to place. I work in one place - for example this music room in my friends' home in Florida, and then after a while I feel uncomfortable and need to change to a different room, or I feel the need to exercise and come back and work again. Or regularly I drive to a bookshop, or the library, and work there.
I understand that the agitated state has been associated in psychology with the rise of unwelcome feelings. My theory is this: that the unwelcome feelings are associated with the handling of two or more ideas or concepts which are unfamiliar and disparate.
The creative state necessarily involves "finding the new", by combining unfamiliar or disparate ideas or concepts. Before these apparently unrelated notions combine or synapse, to cause a synergy, they must inevitably be carried for a while. Human beings, always desiring resolution and harmony, inherently feel uncomfortable entertaining notions that appear to have no usable relationship, thus producing agitation.
For me, I can only describe it as a feeling of "crawling out of my skin", it is that unpleasant; and after a life of creative adventures, you would think that the feeling would itself become familiar, and effectively disappear.
The creation of the "new", whether it is in science or art, is by definition - the combining or previously unfamiliar ideas, for example "man" and "flight" were unrelated until the first aeroplane was invented. Carrying the two ideas together may have seemed crazy, and certainly counter-intuitive, before the combination was proven in the form of an aeroplane.
The willingness to be in the creative state can perhaps be defined therefore, as the willingness to collect, and then to carry apparently unrelated ideas, continually trying like a child to manipulate them, in search of a relationship. We have all seen children sitting, engrossed in trying to fit two toys together. I believe that during play, children are literally learning the relationships (spatial, functional, and otherwise) between things: relationships which are commonly known to adults.
In the world of art, a composer, artist or sculptor might for days or weeks carry a handful of ideas, and might be continually simultaneously searching for new "components", and trying multitudes of ways of relating them. The final "relationships" might require the abandonment of some of the early chosen components.
The scarcity of truly original art - in the broadest sense - might be explained by the fact that really creating new relationships involves enduring the inevitable agitation.