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Michael: this is all too reminiscent of the manner in which the vast majority of my painting ideas come to me. They present themselves to my "mind's eye" suddenly and in complete form, leaving me to fill in some incidental details (such as tree bark texture, grasses & shrubbery, specific cloud forms and such like). I've been fascinated for years about the level of conceptual sophisication displayed in the images (not all of which I post on my website): subtle, well-considered symbolism on some quite involved subjects, such as the treatment of rape victims, the relationship of dream-derived information to physical existence, maintaining efforts at the pursuit of unanswered questions, social persecution and others too numerous for brevity. The images would clearly require careful consideration and planning to become a fully-realized concept for a painting, but I experience no such process consciously. My own description is that my paintings are "involuntary images", but my sense of amazement since the phenomenon began back in the late Seventies has never diminished. Neither, for that matter, has my bewilderment.

"I learned not to think about anything that I was writing from the time I stopped writing until I started again the next day. That way my subconscious would be working on it and at the same time I would be listening to other people and noticing everything, I hoped."
--Hemingway

Very interesting Michael, I think I mentioned before that when I was in college, if I couldn't figure out a complicated math proof or problem, I would set it in my thoughts before I fell asleep. In the morning, or during the night, I would wake up with the answer. I have no doubt that my mind continued to work on the problems while I was sleeping.

One could probably write a whole book on how the teachings of Milton Erickson tie into this notion of the subconscious mind and its inherent intelligence/wisdom--but this'll do for starters:
http://www.changeforhealth.com/2010/05/31/should-you-trust-your-unconscious-mind/

There's another possibility apart from the subconscious mind or discarnate entities. It is that - as at least one other commenter here recently mentioned in a different context - there is a creative principle/force/energy/intelligence that runs through reality. What would be required for these imaginative leaps would be tuning into this creativity and allowing it to work through your mind.

This creative principle might also be involved in all kinds of areas, such as evolution or in the complex patterns of physical reality uncovered in physics.

Certainly, when it comes to evolution I think we need an alternative explanation to the existing mainstream dichotomy between an entirely random process (pretty far fetched the more we find out about the hypercomplexity within organisms) or a some God getting involved in designing every detail of organisms (also pretty far fetched if you ask me).

This idea seems to me to fit better with the evidence. But then again what this creative principle might actually be... that's not quite so easy. But it might be something like the implicate order Bohm talks about.

How about when the situation works in reverse? I repeatedly have dreams in which I'm struggling to solve a problem that doesn't exist, wake up, go back to sleep, and then start dreaming of the same problem all over again. For instance, last night, I dreamed I was going to a U2 concert in Western Europe (I'm not, unfortunately), and was trying to figure out flight and hotel arrangements. I then woke up, realized it was just a dream, and then went back to sleep - only to start dreaming and wrestling with the same flight and hotel arrangement problems all over again.

iCertainly, when it comes to evolution I think we need an alternative explanation to the existing mainstream dichotomy between an entirely random process (pretty far fetched the more we find out about the hypercomplexity within organisms) or a some God getting involved in designing every detail of organisms (also pretty far fetched if you ask me).

The mainstream of evolution does not asserts that evolution is a process entirely random, but asserts that evolution is random and natural selection. The problem is if random and natural selection are sufficient to explain evolution.

Juan is right. Mutations are thought to be random, but the process by which beneficial mutations are retained while adverse mutations are discarded (natural selection) is not random.

The two big questions are: 1) Are the mutations completely random, or is there some mechanism that encourages beneficial mutations in a crisis? and 2) Are there other mechanisms at work, such as epigenetics (expression or suppression of genes in response to environmental stimuli) or morphic fields (the species-wide influence of an informational field) or even teleology (some sort of cosmic imperative toward more complex and intellectually aware life forms)?

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