Creative Intelligence Versus Conventional Intelligence

Like every human who ever lived, you have two different ways of observing and experiencing your life and the events that unfurl within it.

You see that picture of two white faces, which, when you look again, is actually one black candlestick? One picture, but if you shift your perspective what it represents totally changes.

Our view of our world, our life and what’s going on in it is like that. We are constantly shifting between two broad perspectives: the conceptual and the creative. In the Creativist Club, we call these the con-state and the create-state.

Con-State vs Create-State

Con-state relies on the outer senses and its primary intent is to keep us safe. It believes in survival of the fittest and takes the safest, most conservative approach.
When in this mind-state, we want to keep things as they are.

We frame concepts, respect convention, rely on conditioning and tend towards the conformist. Yes, that’s a lot of “con” words. Con-state, furthermore, tends to be full of conviction, even confrontational, in gross or subtle ways seeing itself as separate, existentially alone and needing to defend itself. Keen to control or even to conquer, which can lead us into conflict.

The defining quality of the con-state is that it is contrary: it opposes. It critiques, judges, assesses, debates, decides. It doesn’t go with the flow.

Create state is in many ways the opposite. It relies on the inner senses and its primary intent  is to keep us evolving. In this mind state we are creative. We want to change something, make something new. In this create-state, we open to non-thought, respect the unknown, trust the process, seek originality and individuality through exploration and experimentation.

Create-state has little time for opinion or critique, it’s too busy making stuff.



Communicates through thoughts, concepts, opinions and ideas

Communicates through feelings, emotions, insights and intuitions

Reasons and critiques

Observes and explores

Aims to control

Aims to allow




Throws the catalog away

Looks outward; sees human reality as material and fixed (shit happens)

Looks inward; sees human reality as imagined and created (shift happens)

Persuades through intellectual opinion and argument

Persuades through story, symbol and song



Likes answers

Likes questions

Sees failure as disappointment and a defeat

Sees failure as a learning opportunity

Plays safe

Takes risks



Consumes art, writing and music as entertainment

Creates art, writing and music as expression

Fears death as annihilation

Welcomes death as a new blank page – the ultimate open moment

If we don’t balance con-state with create-state — and few of do, often enough —  con-mind has us forever thinking, thinking, thinking: trying to make sense out of what happened, trying to anticipate what coming. It constantly takes us out of the time and place where our actual life is creating itself: the present moment.

The challenge we face is not the con-state itself, which is utterly necessary, but an imbalance that arises from how our society favors it.

Bringing both state of minds together, then, is our task.

Con-state: tints
Con-state: tints

It might help to think of these two states of mind as two pairs of eyeglasses.

Being in con-state is like putting on sunglasses. You look through tinted lenses that shade out sensory overload, that protect you from glare and bright lights. Con-state’s conclusions and conformities have protected you since you were born and protected your species since the beginning of the beginning.

Over-reliance on this frame of mind, however, dims and dulls our connection to the bright light of our own creative spirit and to our own unfolding life.

We all live from con-state, we have to, or cease to function. If we spend too much time there though [and most of us do], we are creating a lot of redundant, uncreative thought: thought that is caught in knots and blocks, that goes round and round the same old tracks, that fails to flow. Thought that does little but keep us thinking.

Switching to create-state is like taking off your sunglasses and putting on a pair of magnified, reading glasses. In create-state, the present moment looms up, large-as-life.

Create state: magnifies

We experience things and people, traits and experiences, as though they were new minted. We are returned to the clarity and “innocence of eye” that all artists reach for, that was ours in childhood, and to the light, bright spontaneous, creative overflow that arises from it.

Instead of judging and labelling, we regain our sense of wonder and surprise.