On Subconscious

‘The writer who possesses the creative gift owns something of which he is not always master—something that at time strangely wills and works for itself.’
— Charlotte Brontë

‘Inspiration may be a form of superconsciousness, or perhaps of subconciousness––I wouldn’t know. But I am sure it is the antithesis of self-consciousness.’
— Aaron Copeland

‘Errors like straws upon the surface flow: He who would search for pearls must dive below.’
— John Dryden

‘Look sharply after your thoughts. They come unlooked for, like a new bird seen in your trees, and, if you turn to your usual task, disappear.’
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘In the creative state a man is taken out of himself. He lets down as it were a bucket into his subconscious, and draws up something which is normally beyond his reach. He mixes this thing with his normal experiences and out of the mixture he makes a work of art.’
— E. M. Forster

‘I hardly recognize what I do well. I just do it.’
— Stephen Jay Gould

‘Away with all ideals. Let each individual act spontaneously from the forever incalculable prompting of the creative wellhead within him. There is no universal law.’
— D. H. Lawrence

‘The definition of genius is that it acts unconsciously; and those who have produced immortal works, have done so without knowing how or why. The greatest power operates unseen.’
— William Hazlitt

‘I know when I have a problem and have done all I can to figure it, I keep listening in a sort of inside silence ‘til something clicks and I feel a right answer.’
— Conrad Hilton

‘When your demon is in charge, do not try to think consciously. Drift, wait and obey.’
— Rudyard Kipling

‘When you suddenly see the problem, something happens that you have the answer—before you are able to put it into words. It is all done subconsciously. This has happened many times to me, and I know when to take it seriously. I’m so absolutely sure. I don’t talk about it, I don’t have to tell anybody about it. I’m just sure this is it.’
— Barbara McClintock

‘Nobody ever arrives at a very big idea through a conscious, rational thought process. It comes from your unconscious.’
— David Ogilvy

‘Those things that nature denied to human sight, she revealed to the eyes of the soul.’
— Ovid

‘Most striking at first is the appearance of sudden illumination, a manifest sign of long unconscious prior work.’
— Henri Poincaré

‘In order to solve this differential equation you look at it until a solution occurs to you.’
— George Polyá

‘…those little people, my brownies, who do one half of my work for me while I am fast asleep, and in all human likelihood do the rest for me as well, when I am wide awake and fondly suppose I do for myself.’
— Robert Louis Stevenson

‘Sometimes I observe with curiosity that uninterrupted activity which, independent of the subject of any conversation I may be carrying on, continues its course in that department of my brain that is devoted to music.’
— Pyotr Tchaikovsky

‘We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal, and then leap in the dark to our success.’
— Henry David Thoreau

‘Innovators exercise their subconscious. Sometimes, late at night, my subconscious takes over and says, ‘We’ve got to make this happen.’ And then it strikes me. I jump up and down and I holler, ‘I’ve got it! I’ve got it!’ Then I rest up and get ready to go to work.’
— Albert Yu