We have already discussed in depth how associations lead to creativity. Like most of the other mind structures, association happen at several layers right from connecting two thoughts/memories (in the process called thinking) to connecting to unrelated concepts.
One of the interesting expressions of the power of association can be seen in stories. You must have seen people who have a story or an anecdote for any situation which entirely captures the essence of it, but comes from totally different plane altogether.
I would like to illustrate two incidents that happened yesterday in office, each of them show how powerful the capacity of the mind to process things is.
1) As some of us sat chatting over a coffee in the evening, the conversation drifted to the recruitment drive that was on. Someone (he has recently joined the organization) remarked : “What is the need to recruit so many people like this, I do not see any need”. Some one else responded to this with the below story : Someone was trying to get in to a train. The compartment was already full, so the passengers were ‘physically’ resisting anyone who was trying to get in. But our man somehow forces his way in to the compartment much to the displeasure of other passengers.
“Don’t worry, I will also join you from the next stop” he tell them.
“What for” asks an irate passenger.
“To prevent anyone else from getting in to the train.”
2) Any conversation these days ends up in us discussing about this particular manager, his manners, approach etc. And when this happened for the umpteenth time, some one stood up in the bay to narrate this story :
“Once upon a time, there was this small boy preparing for an examination. He was expecting an essay on coconut tree (the story is in Indian context, this is one of the common topics for essay in primary schools..) and prepared a good one. But he was asked to write an essay on Cow instead. The boy had only prepared for the essay on Coconut tree. So he began “Cow is a very useful animal which gives us milk. A cow is normally tied to a coconut tree. A coconut tree…” He continued the essay with what he prepared about the coconut tree.
Later, when it was time for the next exam, he was sure that the topic would be coconut tree this time. But unfortunately the topic was Hen. He began: “Hen is a very useful bird that gives us egg and meat. Hen is not usually tied to a coconut tree. A coconut tree…” He continued the rest of the essay with what he had prepared about the coconut tree.
I believe that anything in the mind exists in several layers some in abstract form and others expressed in languages. If you see the incidents and the stories above, you can see that they are connected at a higher level. It’s a marvel how the mind is able to pick these two incidents, extract a pattern from them and connect them in a manner that makes sense for others.
Perhaps, this is the same quality that enables the mind to see patterns.