Follow the stream

The word is coprolalia, and it refers to the involuntary and repetitive use of obscene language. You might picture a person afflicted with Tourette’s syndrome, for example. You might picture a firehose-spray of vulgarity, of profanity, of spoken-word rapid-fire filth.

You might picture a useful tool to dislodge the best ideas from your brain.

In an interview with Tim Ferriss, accidental economist Eric Weinstein describes the 7-second ritual he uses to prepare for deep mathematical thinking: “Just talking streams of shit.” He continues:

“I find that when we use words that are prohibited to us, it tells our brain that we are inhabiting unsafe space. It’s a sign that you are going into a different mode.”

One of the greatest obstacles to creative work of any type, whether it’s composing a sonnet or assembling a powerpoint deck, is that creativity is typically at odds with our routine mental state. We spend much of our day thinking deliberately, reactively, and cautiously, while creativity demands we process the world intuitively, unconventionally, and fearlessly.

Creativity is inherently disrespectful. Every act of creativity is a micro-rebellion against the world as-is. The world is not enough, you declare, and so I must bring something new into being.

To disrespect the world with our creativity, we must disrespect its expectations, violate its invisible social rules, its taboos. We must tell our brains that wherever we happen to go, whoever we happen to be when we get there – that’s okay.

Like superheroes, we must first shed our pedestrian identities before we can fly.

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