Notebooks of the Mind: Explorations of Thinking

By Vera John-Steiner | Go to book overview

3
The Invisible Tools

During their diverse apprenticeships, creative adolescents immerse themselves in the work of their elders. This is also a time in their lives when they first explore their inner resources, those varied invisible tools that help transform a gifted young person into a productive artist or scientist.

The paths which lead to such transformations are varied. Some individuals first approach their task externally, by exploring forms rather than their own personal sources. The writer Lawrence Durrell described such a process in commenting on a young friend of his: "She is still playing with forms in order to learn the job of bookmaking from the outside until she hears her own voice". 1 Others struggle with their inner experience, which drives them toward exploring their artistic world. Herman Hesse in his autobiography evoked his stages of immersion:

At first, swimming in modern, indeed the most modern literature, and in fact being overwhelmed by it was an almost intoxicating joy. . . . after that first joy was exhausted, it became a necessity to me to return from my submersion in novelties to what is old. 2

Hesse also described the difficulty of finding ways to shape one's poetic intent:

The thing was this: from my thirteenth year on, it was clear to me that I wanted to be either a poet or nothing at all. To this realization, however, was gradually added a further, painful insight . . . there was a path to every profession in the world, there were prerequisites, a school, a course of instruction for the beginner. Only for

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Notebooks of the Mind: Explorations of Thinking
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction to the Revised Edition xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Part One - Sources of Thought 11
  • 1 - The Beginnings 13
  • 2 - Apprenticeships 37
  • 3 - The Invisible Tools 59
  • Part Two - The Languages of the Mind 81
  • 4 - Visual Thinking 83
  • 5 - Verbal Thinking 111
  • 6 - The Languages of Emotion 141
  • 7 - Scientific Thinking 173
  • Conclusion: the Creativity of Thinking 205
  • Appendix 1 225
  • Notes 229
  • Bibliography 245
  • Index 253
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