Intuition and Imagination


 A Fragment of a Possible World

Imagining a fragment of a possible world,
The fruits of being intuitive,
Of playing around the puddles.
But to talk of creativity and imagination
seems slightly disreputable
in the rarified world
of the academy,
and the comfort of the clinic.

From the writings of Nobel Prize-winning biologist, Peter Medawer:

“Scientists are usually too proud or too shy to speak about creativity and ‘creative imagination’; they feel it to be incompatible with their conception of themselves as ‘men of facts’ and rigorous inductive judgments. The role of creativity has always been acknowledged by inventors, because inventors are often simple unpretentious people who do not give themselves airs, whose education has not been dignified by courses on scientific method. Inventors speak unaffectedly about brain waves and inspirations: and what, after all, is a mechanical invention if not a solid hypothesis, the literal embodiment of a belief or opinion of which mechanical working is the test?

Intuition takes many different forms in science and mathematics, though all forms of it have certain properties in common: suddenness of their origin, the wholeness of the conception they embody, and the absence of conscious premeditation…. [such as] thinking up or hitting on a hypothesis from which whatever we may wish to explain will follow logically. This is a generative act…the invention of a fragment of a possible world. ‘Creativity’ is a vague word, but it is just such a context as this that we should choose to use it.” [from P.B. Medawer Induction and Intuition in Scientific Thought, London, Methuen 1969 p55-6]

Can you invent a fragment of a possible world in response to the photograph of the boy and the puddle and the terraced homes? Try writing a few words or sentences about his life.

Maybe this image will help to loosen up your inhibitions….


Next …  The Art of Medicine