The study of the human psyche, improving the means of labor, is of great importance for the study and understanding of the laws of technical creativity – the basis of technological progress.
Unfortunately, there is an obvious gap between the enormous importance of technical creativity and the attention that has been given to it in psychological science so far. It is enough to say that the only monograph on this issue in Soviet psychological literature is the book of P.M. Jacobson “The process of creative work of the inventor” – was published back in 1934 . In the absence of other studies, the book of P.M. Jacobson, despite the author’s incorrect starting points, has had and continues to have a serious impact on the presentation of the psychology of technical creativity in general psychology courses, in monographs on the organization of work of scientists, and, finally, in popular science literature.
The basis of this work is the formal-chronological system for classifying the stages of the creative process put forward by D. Rosman.
Instead of exploring the internal laws of the creative work of the inventor, D. Rosman and P.M. Jacobson equate processes that are so different in their psychological nature, such as the stage of finding a solution and the stage of technical design of an invention. This is caused by the fact that neither D. Rosman nor P.M. Jacobson did not reveal the features of technical creativity in general and inventive creativity in particular. The basic fundamental questions of the psychology of inventive creativity remained unresolved, instead of the study of which the authors operated with such names devoid of specific scientific content as “insight”, “enlightenment”, “conjecture”, “origin”, “bearing”, etc.
The corresponding sections of the monograph by K.G. Vobly “Organization of the work of a scientist.” “At the preliminary stage of the creative process,” writes KG Voblyy, “one can distinguish between such stages – preparation, gestation, maturation and insight. In the daily stream of thoughts, these stages often overlap.” It is interesting to note that this “analysis” is by no means a step forward compared to T. Ribot’s statement made more than 50 years ago: “When this hidden work is sufficiently completed, the idea of a solution is suddenly, due to intentional mental stress or at some some mental remark, as if lifting the veil, behind which was hidden the image of the proposed solution.
The basis of these views is the theory of “constructive intelligence” advanced by A. Ben, which reduces the whole variety of processes of technical creativity to a “thought experiment” conducted according to the “trial and error rule”. The influence of this theory manifested itself even in such capital work as the “Foundations of General Psychology” S.L. Rubinstein: “When a point requiring rationalization, change, the introduction of something new is found, noticed, realized and, as it were, it has settled in the mind of the inventor, a peculiar process of pulling to this point and taking into it the most diverse observations and all kinds of knowledge that comes to his mind: all these observations and facts are, as it were, tried on to a central point and correlated with the task that owns the inventor’s thought, and many sometimes unexpected comparisons arise in his head. “
At the same time, S. L. Rubinstein first correctly pointed out the characteristic features of inventive creativity: “The specificity of an invention that distinguishes it from other forms of creative intellectual activity is that it must create a thing, a real object, mechanism or device that allows This determines the originality of the creative work of the inventor: the inventor must introduce something new into the context of reality, into the actual course of some activity. We solve a theoretical problem in which a limited number of abstractly distinguished conditions must be taken into account, while reality is historically mediated by human activity, technology: it embodies the historical development of scientific thought. and take into account the relevant scientific context. This determines the general direction and specific nature of the various links in the process of invention. “
This definition, however, is not entirely accurate. For, for example, the architect has to create a “real object”, introduce something new “into the context of reality” and take into account the “corresponding scientific context”.
Owing to this inaccuracy, a very fruitful and valuable thought actually went unnoticed: in widespread school textbooks, to this day it is only referred to creativity “in general”.
The psychology of creativity is one of the most poorly developed sections of psychological science.
Creativity is a complex process, the laws of which are diverse and subtle. But the specificity of inventive creativity to a certain extent simplifies the task of the researcher. The results of creativity in art depend not only on the objective reality that the work of art reflects, but also on the author’s worldview, on his aesthetic ideals and on many, even random, reasons. Inventive creativity is associated with a change in technology, developing according to certain laws. The creation of new means of labor should, regardless of the subjective attitude to this, obey objective laws. The image in art, generally speaking, can largely come off reality (for example, in fairy tales, legends, myths). Any technical problem cannot be solved otherwise than in accordance with the laws of science and depending on the laws governing the development of technology.
The study of the psychology of inventive creativity cannot be conducted in isolation from the study of the basic laws of the development of technology. The activity of the inventor is aimed at creating new technical objects, the inventor is a participant in technological progress. Therefore, the psychology of inventive creativity becomes understandable only with a deep knowledge of the laws of technological development. The foregoing, of course, does not mean that the researcher should only study the mechanism of technological progress. The peculiarity of the psychology of inventive creativity as a scientific discipline lies in the need to simultaneously take into account the objective laws of technical development and subjective, psychological factors. The psychology of inventive creativity is primarily a department of psychological science. Therefore, the focus of her attention is the mental activity of an inventive person, a person who perfects and complements technology. The psychology of inventive creativity serves as a bridge between the subjective world of the human psyche and the objective world of technology, and therefore must take into account the laws of technological development in the study of inventive creativity.
The process of creating an invention has two sides: material and mental. To identify the material-subject side of invention, it is necessary to know the history of the development of technology, an understanding of the basic laws of technological progress. The study of materials on the history of technology, the analysis of specific inventions are one of the most important sources of psychology of technical creativity.
To identify the psychological laws of invention, it is necessary to systematically monitor the process of creative work of inventors, summarize the experience of innovators, experimentally study the process of inventive creativity by setting up experiments in conditions as close as possible to the real ones.
We have been working in this direction since 1948. We have studied numerous materials on the history of technology, and extensive memoirs relating to the work of major inventors. Descriptions of inventions included in the Code of Inventions of the Soviet Union, as well as patent literature of foreign countries, were systematically studied. Particular attention was paid to generalizing the experience of innovators of advanced enterprises of Soviet industry. We also used the results of our own observations of the creative work of inventors and rationalizers of the oil industry of Azerbaijan. The findings were subjected to practical testing at two engineering plants, at the Vano Sturua cracking plant and at the N8 field of the Leninneft Oilfield Directorate.
For the correct understanding of the findings it is necessary to familiarize yourself with the basic laws of the development of technology. These patterns are complex and diverse. Since their presentation is not included in the task of our article, we restrict ourselves to the information necessary for understanding the essence of the creative process.
K. Marx in “Capital” gave a structural and functional description of machines: “Every developed set of machines (entwickelte Maschinerie) consists of three essentially different parts: a machine-engine, a transmission mechanism, finally, a machine-gun, or a working machine. Machine-engine acts as the driving force of the whole mechanism: it either generates the driving force itself, like a steam engine, caloric engine, electromagnetic machine, etc., or receives an impulse from outside, from any ready-made force of nature, like a water wheel from falling water, a wing windmill mills from the wind, etc. The transmission mechanism regulates the movement, changes, if necessary, its shape, for example, turns it from perpendicular to circular, distributes it and transfers it to working machines. Both of these parts of the mechanism exist only to set the working machine, thanks to which the latter captures the subject of labor and expediently changes it.
There is a certain correlation between the main components of the machine – the working body, the transmission mechanism (transmission) and the engine, because all these parts are closely interconnected and interdependent. Biologists have long known a law that Darwin called the law of the ratio of growth: a change in individual parts of an organic being is always associated with a change in its other parts. This law is a special case of the well-known position of Marxist dialectics on the universal interconnection of phenomena. The interdependence of the individual components of the machine in the process of its development is another special case of the universal law of dialectics.
The presence of a relationship between the main components of the machine leads to the fact that the development of a particular part is possible only to a certain limit – until there are contradictions between the changed part of the machine and other parts that remain unchanged. So, for example, even a simple “increase in the size of the working machine and the number of its simultaneously operating tools requires a larger propulsion mechanism … Already in the 17th century an attempt was made to set two runners in motion and two sets by means of one water wheel. But the increase in the size of the transmission mechanism came into conflict with insufficient water power … The contradictions that arose between the individual parts of the machine are a brake on the overall development, because further improvement of the machine is impossible without making changes eny in the relevant part of it, without a radical improvement of their properties.
Here are the basic facts from the history of the bicycle. In 1813, the Austrian forester Drez built a “running machine” – a prototype of a modern bicycle. In Western Europe, L. Shamshurenkov and I.N. designed by remarkable Russian mechanics were not known Kulibin’s self-propelled carriages, and the first bicycles of Drez lacked what the crews of Russian inventors had — transmission: when driving, it was necessary to push off the ground with your feet. Without the transmission, further improvement of the working bodies (wheels) and controls did not make sense, and thus a fun toy was obtained, not a means of transportation. Only the introduction of pedals mounted on the front wheel axle opened up opportunities for the improvement of the bicycle. The pedals made it possible to increase the speed of movement, but with the increase in speed, the danger of driving increased, due to the imperfection of the controls. The invention of brakes (1845) eliminated the obstacle: it was possible to further develop the working body, increasing the diameter of the drive wheel and thereby increasing the distance traveled by a bicycle in one pedal turn. The diameter of the front wheel increases from year to year: spider bikes with a huge front wheel appear. Finally, the quantitative development path has exhausted its possibilities: a further increase in the diameter of the drive wheel sharply increased the danger of cycling. The contradiction that arose was eliminated by a change in the transmission – the use of a chain transmission, which allowed to obtain high speed not due to the large diameter of the wheel, but by increasing the number of revolutions. Improving the transmission again opened up scope for the development of working bodies: in 1890 pneumatics were introduced. The increase in speed caused by this necessitated a new change in the transmission — the use of the freewheel mechanism. So a modern bike was created.