Obsession as high-order bit

It seems obvious, but: amazing creative work tends to come from people who find creation or discovery in their domain to be among the most meaningful activities in their world. An almost spiritual devotion to seeking moments where one can see beyond the profane secular world and come into contact with something “higher”, eternal, a patterned view of reality itself—whatever that means for one’s particular domain.

I think this is in large part what Michael Nielsen means when he describes himself as “searching for the numinous.”

Einstein, A. (1918). Principles of Research:

==The longing to behold this pre-established harmony is the source of the inexhaustible patience and perseverance with which Planck has devoted himself==, as we see, to the most general problems of our science, refusing to let himself be diverted to more grateful and more easily attained ends. I have often heard colleagues try to attribute this attitude of his to extraordinary will-power and discipline -- wrongly, in my opinion. ==The state of mind which enables a man to do work of this kind is akin to that of the religious worshiper or the lover==; the daily effort comes from no deliberate intention or program, but straight from the heart.

In An invitation to a secret society - Experimental History, Adam Mostroianni describes (basically) this as what it means to “do things the beautiful way”, as opposed to for some other purpose (ambition, money, utility).


Last updated 2024-01-15.