The Work of Ron East

Imagine → Create


The fourth system is the imagination, which includes cognition. It is not a separate identifiable physical structure located in specific areas of the brain. Instead, it functions as patterns of possibilities, in all functional processes, and substrates of the imagination form a part of all aspects of brain function. In a sense we can say that the other three systems – the epigenetic, chemical, and neuronal systems are brain ‘hardware’ and the imagination is its operational ‘software’. The patterning process employed in the first three systems is evident. They are all networks of patterns – architecturally, ecologically, interactively. The key to this process is possibilities.

Living Metaphors: Neuro-plasticity and Creative Practice

New neuro-plastic pathways develop in the brain as a result of specific creative training practices. The training practice I have employed has three stages:  identification, consisting of recognition and empathy through affective response; transference, the projection of the self onto the resonant metaphor (embodiment); and transformation, shaping the resonant metaphor into semiotic artifact.

Since the body forms links between creativity and the conscious and non-conscious imagination, the creative imagination develops as neuro-plastic patterns of possibilities, expressed through embodied metaphor. Embodied metaphor is the pictorial language of the imagination – meaningful patterns of images. Embodied metaphors are discovered. They do not emerge out of rational thought. I say embodied metaphors because there must be a physical base to the experience to anchor the imagination into a reality.

Living metaphors, like masks, are a means to discover in all of the arts, and in all creative communication. They are not personal and have no psychology attached. This is brain-based experiential learning. It is not only learning a task, in a sense it is learning how to learn, through improvisation.

The following are excerpts from Ron's ongoing research into the connections between the brain and creativity.

Patterns of Possibilities
There are four operational systems in the brain. The first is the epigenetic system which functions as an architecture of pre-disposition and patterning for all of the systems operating in the brain through genetic selection. The second system is brain chemistry, which acts as brain ecology, providing a balanced environment through chemical patterning to optimize day to day function. The third system is the electro-magnetic system of neurons, axons, dendrites and synapses which act as multi-layered patterns to enable brain communication and stimulus. All of these operate principally on the non-conscious level, although both influencing and being influenced by consciousness. They are connected to the nervous system, the body, and all of its internal organs, as well as the senses, locomotion, and communication in the external world within a supportive architectural and ecological internal framework. These systems are highly adaptable, employing layers of interconnectivity. They all employ patterns of possible outcomes.

The purpose of all of these operational systems is the survival of the human organism over a finite period of time. They have imperfections. Adaptability is our principal asset. It is our genetic response to our own imperfectability in recognition of an ever changing external environment. The human organism is a unified and entirely symbiotic organism, so the brain is embodied and the body is ‘em-brained’. They function as a unified single organism, and are entirely interdependent.