Flashes of suspicion

There Is No Such Thing as Unconscious Thought

The great French mathematician and physicist Henri Poincaré (1854–1912) took a particular interest in the origins of his own astonishing creativity. His achievements were impressive: His work profoundly reshaped mathematics and physics—including laying crucial foundations for Einstein’s theory of relativity and the modern mathematical analysis of chaos. But he also had some influential speculations about where many of his brilliant ideas came from: unconscious thought. Poincaré found that he would often struggle unsuccessfully with some mathematical problem, perhaps over days or weeks (to be fair, the problems he got stuck on were difficult, to say the least). ….[READ]