I once owned an extensive collection of non-fiction books covering a wide range of work-related topics such as strategy, leadership, marketing, problem solving, creativity, change, and innovation.

The collection also included a large number of titles of the sort you’d find in the Mind–Body–Spirit section of a decent bookshop. Authors included Alan Watts, Meg Wheatley, Gregory Bateson, Caroline Myss, Peter Russell, Stafford Beer, Fritjof Capra, and Lau Tzu.

Then one day I decided enough was enough. I piled the books into boxes, loaded them into my VW van and carted them to Charing Cross Road in London, where the manager of the secondhand department of Watkins Books gave me a couple of hundred quid for them. I could probably have struck a better deal, but I was less interested in the money and more concerned with sending the books on their way to new homes.

Today, I only own about a dozen books, four of which live on a corner on my desk:

Creative Action
Creative Victory
Talking with Angels
Think and Grow Rich!
Click on an image if you would like to order a copy of the book from (L to R) Systematic Innovation,, Daimon Verlag, and Blackwell’s. I do not have a commercial relationship with these businesses. You can download Think and Grow Rich! here for free (pdf; 253pp). I suggest you treat it as a free sample then buy a copy of the physical book—you’ll probably want to annotate significant passages, of which there are many.
Creative Action lost its ugly paper dustjacket many years ago, and good riddance. The front cover of Talking with Angels came adrift and I reattached it with extra-wide Sellotape. The pages of all four are smothered in handwritten notes and Stabilo. And each has a been a strong influence on the ideas presented on this website, especially those you’ll be reading about shortly.

There are many threads linking the four titles. Talking with Angels and Think and Grow Rich! both stress the importance of purpose, faith, creative imagination and focused action. In Talking with Angels, the creating world and the created world correspond with the nagual and the tonal described by don Juan Matus in the Castaneda books and discussed in Creative Victory. Napoleon Hill’s fingerprints are all over Edward Matchett’s works, and I have hard copy evidence that Matchett’s later writings were inspired in part by Talking with Angels. I don’t know if he was familiar with the material in the Castaneda books but it’s highly likely, given his birth year, disposition and interests.

Curiously, there are echoes of the Angels’ teachings in the first edition of Creative Action, which was published in 1975, the year before Dialogues avec l’ange, the French language forerunner to Talking with Angels, appeared in print. This is a mystery, yet my entire relationship with Talking with Angels has been beyond rational explanation.

We’ll return to Edward Matchett’s work in the second part of this article. But first, I’m going to explain why we need to establish a three-way partnership with the manifest and the unmanifest if we want to activate creative imagination (rather than synthetic imagination), conceive truly original and highly potent ideas, bring them into existence and fully realise their value generation potential.

It’s going to be a rip-roaring rollercoaster ride. Hold tight.

The manifest

The manifest consists of “the sum total of everything that meets the eye, and everything the intellect can conceive of” (view source). If it can be named, described and explained, it’s part of the manifest.

This is the source of most new ideas in the realm of business and organisations. The required idea – already present in the deep recesses of people’s minds, either complete or as a component – is flushed out using SCAMPER, or brainstorming (both devised by American advertising executive Alex Osborn in the 1940s and 50s), or some other idea generation method.

The underlying assumption is that if you produce a sufficiently large number of ideas, the one that’s needed will be among them. This is like making a lot of different keys in the hope that one of them will fit the lock, rather than understanding the workings of this specific lock and making the one key that will allow it to open.

SCAMPER, originated by Alex Osborn
Ideas produced by means of combinatorial creativity – combining existing ideas to form a new one – may eventually yield some degree of value, but they will not be truly original and their potential for greatness will be limited. The same goes for ideas resulting from the deployment of the other SCAMPER options.

In the Carlos Castaneda books, don Juan Matus uses the term tonal when speaking about the manifest and nagual (“nah-wa’hl”) when discussing the unmanifest. He explains these distinctions lucidly and with characteristic wry humour in The Tonal and the Nagual, excerpted from Tales of Power by Carlos Casteneda.

“One can say that the nagual accounts for creativity,” [don Juan] finally said and looked at me piercingly. “The nagual is the only part of us that can create.”

He remained quiet, looking at me. I felt he was definitely leading me into an area I had wished he would elucidate further. He had said that the tonal did not create anything, but only witnessed and assessed. I asked how he explained the fact that we construct superb structures and machines.

“That’s not creativity,” he said. “That’s only molding.”

Tales of Power, by Carlos Castaneda

Source: The Tonal and the Nagual, excerpted from Tales of Power by Carlos Castaneda.
The manifest is the way it is, for better and for worse. It’s our co-creation partner when we want to make things happen, but it has no part to play in the conception of truly original and highly potent ideas.

The unmanifest

“… reason gets a C when it comes to the inner world, because the rational mind doesn’t even know where an idea comes from, much less the source of creativity, insight, love, beauty, imagination, and many other aspects of mind. Consciousness cannot be explained objectively, despite the hopes and claims of neuroscience. The brain functions like a radio, delivering the music of the mind, as it were.”

Source: A New View of Human Creativity, by Deepak Chopra.

“What we need is a theory of psychology which tells us where new ideas come from and a theory of society which tells us when new ideas are likely to have social effect and delineates the mechanisms through which that effect operates. As far as I know we do not have either of these theories.”

Source: At the Edge of the Modern, or Why is Prospero Shakespeare’s Greatest Creation? (pdf; 23pp) by William L. Benzon, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, in Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems 21(3), January 2009.
We do not know the source of the ideas we produce, therefore they must arise from the unmanifest. The logic here is irrefutable, because if they arose from the manifest we would be able to point to the place of their origination.

“The unmanifest is Brahman, the Absolute, the pure and formless ground of being from which creation and manifestation arise. As such, the unmanifest is free from change, the unmoved mover. It also, necessarily, cannot be explained or comprehended in terms of any manifest reality.”

Source: Wikipedia — Unmanifest.

“The field of the finite is all that we can see, hear, touch, remember, and describe. This field is basically that which is manifest, or tangible. The essential quality of the infinite, by contrast, is its subtlety, its intangibility. This quality is conveyed in the word spirit, whose root meaning is “wind, or breath.” This suggests an invisible but pervasive energy, to which the manifest world of the finite responds. This energy, or spirit, infuses all living beings, and without it any organism must fall apart into its constituent elements. That which is truly alive in the living being is this energy of spirit, and this is never born and never dies.”

Source: David Bohm, one of the most significant theoretical physicists of the 20th century, quoted in Infinite Potential: The Life and Times of David Bohm, by F. David Peat (1997) page 322 | see Wikiquote
The unmanifest lies beyond spacetime, beyond concepts and beyond description. However, lies beyond implies a location in spacetime, and that would make it part of the manifest. The unmanifest doesn’t lie anywhere. It isn’t even an it. But if we are to make progress, we have to call it something and treat it as an it, hence the unmanifest.

The unmanifest is our co-creation partner when we want to conceive truly original and highly potent ideas, but it has no part to play in making things happen.

The creative triad

The creative triad
A now-to-new practitioner forms a partnership of equals with the manifest and the unmanifest, respecting and acknowledging their distinct roles in the now-to-new process as if with flesh and blood colleagues.

Instead of seeing themselves as the source of their breakthrough ideas, these practitioners regard themselves as the channel through which these ideas move from the realm of potentiality into the realm of actuality.

This movement occurs not by deploying a codified creativity technique, but through a particular state of mind that has no name, although inviting, welcoming and collaborating sound the right note.

I collect quotes from people, most of them writers and composers, who report experiences of creative imagination in the course of their work. Here’s one of them:

The musician, singer and songwriter Nick Cave was asked:

“I’m a songwriter. I’m seriously blocked. Do u have any spare lyrics I can have?”

This is part of Nick Cave’s response:

“My advice to you is to change your basic relationship to songwriting. You are not the ‘Great Creator’ of your songs, you are simply their servant, and the songs will come to you when you have adequately prepared yourself to receive them. They are not inside you, unable to get out; rather, they are outside of you, unable to get in. Songs, in my experience, are attracted to an open, playful and motivated mind. Throw my song away – it isn’t that good anyway – sit down, prepare yourself and write your own damn song. You are a songwriter. You have the entire world to save and very little time to do it. The song will find its way to you. If you don’t write it, someone else will. Is that what you want? If not, get to it.”

View the entire answer on The Red Hand Files website
View more reports of this kind

Consciousness is much more of the implicate order than it is of matter¹ … Yet at a deeper level, [matter and consciousness] are actually inseparable and interwoven, just as in the computer game the player and the screen are united by participation.

Source: David Bohm, 1987, as quoted (probably misquoted – see note below) in Towards a Theory of Transpersonal Decision-Making in Human-Systems (2007) by Joseph Riggio, p. 66 | see Wikiquote
¹ This widely-quoted passage begins: Consciousness is much more of the implicate order than is of matter. This makes no sense unless is of matter is changed to it is of matter. David Bohm is saying that consciousness is less of the explicate order (matter, the manifest) and more of the implicate order (the unmanifest). I have amended the quote accordingly.
Manifest and unmanifest distinctions

Edward Matchett’s 5M Equation

Edward ‘Ted’ Matchett (1929–1998) was a genius and a giant in the field of industrial design and in the wider now-to-new arena.

He started out as a design engineer at Rolls-Royce—aircraft engines, not automobiles—in Derby, UK, later becoming a teacher of design.

From 1966 to 1970, he conducted an investigation into the creative process, sponsored by the Science Research Council of Great Britain. The aim of this research was to identify practical and workable means of injecting a new order of “creativeness, professionalism and achievement” into product design and development.

You can read more about Edward Matchett and his work here.

This is his 5M Equation (sometimes presented in a shorter 3M form):

“Appropriate form requires and demands that Media-plus-Matter be Made Meaningful in time dt {the immediate Moment we label ‘now’).”

Source: Edward Matchett, in his Introductory Comment, Creative Action, Second Edition (2010).
What does this mean and what is its significance?

I’ll share my current interpretation while recognising that this may change as the words appear on my laptop monitor, and between now and the next edit.


It would be quite good to consider media along the lines of something seeking to manifest through us.

Source: Anthony Blake, who knew and collaborated with Edward Matchett.
More about media in a few moments.


The manifest, spacetime, material reality.


This refers to Creative Action:

“We can learn to link with a stream of Creative Action so fully that it seems that all we think and do originates from within ourselves, rather than from the eternal realm. This degree of rapport and unification with Creative Action is exhilarating and deeply satisfying. […] In writing the First Edition of this book, I decided to make no direct reference to ‘media’ (using that name). I chose to employ the terms ‘Creative Action’ and ‘Creative Energy’ as the labels for the eternal media that constructed and sustains the Universe, which continuously streams into all phenomena – wherever no blockage of ours prevents or seriously inhibits this. The reason for not using the term ‘media’ in the First Edition, was the controversy that its usage had provoked between 1968 and 1975, which I was trying to avoid.”

Source: Edward Matchett, in his Introductory Comment, Creative Action, Second Edition (2010).


Matchett defined meaning as “that which makes life and work truly worthwhile.” In Talking with Angels, we hear repeatedly that joy is our task (view an example below). I use the term experienced value. These are just different labels for the same indescribable experience.

“It is my wish and hope that what is written here will help a great many people to find more real success, more satisfaction and more deep and abiding joy in all that they do.”

Source: Edward Matchett, Preface to Creative Action, first edition, 1974.

“Meaning implies that there is always far more than we know, feel or understand. For some, this is a spiritual reality and this spiritual reality is seeking to come into us. Matchett called this ‘media’ to suggest that this was a source of information that could enhance, increase and deepen our sense of meaning. In a more neutral sense, it corresponds to David Bohm’s speculations on active information. Bohm took the notion of ‘informing’ as to ‘put the form in’ and active information meant an informing from the depths of creation. The more active the information, the less it is associated with physical energy. This means that it has hardly any entropy associated with its transmission. Hence, it can be likened to a pattern.

What we do know, feel or understand is something that Matchett generally called ‘matter’. It is what is relatively fixed. Our thoughts are like that. To have something of ‘media’ brought into ‘matter’, so that the latter is transformed, is to increase meaning. In a simplistic way, media is the ‘unknown future’ and matter is the ‘known past’. At any moment, the boundary between the known and the unknown can shift.

Following the way of meaning entails that we are constantly engaged in a shifting interface between media and matter. It means to be ‘thinking’ rather than just having thoughts.”

Source: Immediate Learning Method, by Anthony Blake.


Matchett also refers to this as time dt. This means delta time, a term employed by physicists and designers of video games.

For some physicists, delta time is an infinitesimal time interval (see here for example). But this is not what Matchett means. Time is not continuous; it’s granular. He’s talking about the timelessness that ‘exists’ between the grains.

My researches between 1965 and 1970 into the creative process and genius, revealed that it is a non-material component rather than a material one that powers and informs all the genuine creative work of man, including all the great intellectual breakthroughs such as Einstein’s E=mc2. Further, and more importantly, I then realised that this non-material component – which I named primal media, or simply media – streams into our material realm from the eternal dimension beyond space and time, that it always (only) does this in an instant, when time stands still, as it were, and there is then zero relative motion between the eternal and the temporal elements. AlI this obeys a cosmic law that can be expressed as:-

Appropriate form requires and demands that Media-plus-Matter be Made Meaningful in time dt {the immediate Moment we label ‘now’).

Source: Edward Matchett, in his Introductory Comment, Creative Action, Second Edition (2010).

“Nothing is continuous in nature, not even numbers.”

Source: Ed Gerck, Planalto Research (view).

“Space time and causality are mental constructs based on the measurement of perceptual change around the still point of the present moment.”

Source: Deepak Chopra, on Twitter.

“Even God’s clock goes tick tock.”

Source: Physics, Maths and Chaos, by Alfred Karius.
When video game designers and programmers talk about delta time, they mean the time difference between the previous frame that was drawn and the current frame (see here for a fuller description).

“The world is a discontinuity, and every experience arises because of the discontinuity. So, what does discontinuity mean? Let me give you an example. If I go to see a movie I see on the screen a continuous picture, but when I go to the projection room I find out that there is a series of still frames with little spaces in between. If I move the reel fast enough, I cannot see the ‘off’: I can only see the ‘on’; so I experience in consciousness a continuity. But the reality is that the movie is a discontinuity. When I see a television programme, I see an image moving from one part of the screen to another part of the screen, but nothing actually moves. Only electrons and photons flash in and out in a certain sequence, and because I cannot see the off, but I can only see the on, then I experience it as a continuity. Scientists believe that perception is possible because of this discontinuity. All the form and phenomena of the universe expresses this ‘on-ing’ and ‘off-ing’, and our senses are such that they can perceive the on and not the off. Yet without the off we would not experience the on.”

Source: Flaws of Perception, by Deepak Chopra, in Resurgence magazine, July/August 2005.
The crack in reality
If we imagine that each frame of a filmstrip is a quantum of time, then the strip of black celluloid between one frame and the next is delta time, the unmanifest, the source of breakthrough ideas.

Media-plus-Matter be Made Meaningful – not in the immediate Moment but between Moments.

This is how I interpret the 5m equation:

A person seeking to satisfy (what makes life worthwhile: ‘meaning’, joy) one of humanity’s unmet needs invites a potent idea to move through ‘media’ from the unmanifest into material reality (‘matter’, the next moment) by darting through the gap between two quanta of time (‘moment’ or rather between two moments), with this entire creative act being the ‘made’ part of the equation.

Another interpretation – equally valid, perhaps more so – comes from Anthony Blake, who suggests that the 5M equation, Matchett’s ‘cosmic law’, is describing how time is created:

“Though Ted uses the words in time 𝛿t, I understand it as is time 𝛿t. The action does not occur ‘in’ time but ‘creates’ time!”

Note: In the Greek alphabet, 𝛿 is the lowercase form of delta, with Δ being the uppercase form.

From Ted to TED

Elizabeth Gilbert (Wikipedia) is an American journalist and author, best known for her phenomenally successful 2006 memoir, Eat Pray Love (Wikipedia). Her acclaimed 2009 TED talk is titled Your Elusive Creative Genius. It’s insightful and delightful. Runtime 19:15.

An Angel explains it all with great clarity, also with the help of the Greek alphabet.

Talking with Angels

31 December 1943

Alpha – Omega … Omega – Alpha.


Between beginning and end is time.
Between end and beginning is timelessness.
The end of the old year is the beginning of the new.
The end of the old world is the beginning of the new.
Humans have always celebrated
what cannot be celebrated.

The gateway to the narrow path is: Omega – Alpha.
The one who passes through it bodily – in time – steps into death.
The one who passes through it spiritually – beyond time – steps into eternity.
Can you measure time between Omega and Alpha?
A fleeting instant ends – a new instant begins.
Between the two, there is no time.
There is a gateway to eternity:
It opens not at the beginning, but at the end.
The Creator sets in motion
and the new instant is;
the old is no more.


This is visible to all and yet not seen.
The gate is open, but the opening is so narrow
that mortal flesh cannot pass through.
This is the greatest secret:
Every instant – even the instant on the instant –
is an open gate.


Thus you live in the eternal and in the temporal.
You are the ball as well as the player.
Do not pay attention to the beginning:
the beginning is already end.
What begins, ends, and cannot be altered;
for force and matter are already in motion.
Take heed:
The origin of everything, the birthplace of motion,
is between beginning and end².

The created world is a ball.
The Creator plays with it … gives the ball a push,
that it may return in joy.


Learn this:
There is only one certainty, and that is joy.
Everything can be explained: joy has no explanation.
We cannot explain why we are joyful.
Joy is our task.
What you receive is a source of joy for the joyless.”

Source: Talking with Angels | Oral text by Hanna Dallos; transcription and commentary by Gitta Mallasz
² This looks like a typesetting error. in order to be consistent with the earlier passages, it needs to read “between end and beginning”, i.e. between Omega and Alpha. On 10 March 1944, Gitta’s Angel says “The creative act can only spring from the point of eternity.”

In conclusion

We create the new in each moment.

We create the new in each moment
The now-to-new practitioner forms a now-to-new partnership with the manifest and the unmanifest, focusing on the ‘to’ element and making proper use of the human rig as pictured here:
The human is a rig for creating the new
View the article: The human is a rig for creating the new

Related articles

The Creative Lifecycle

Edward Matchett, design genius

From conceiving the initial idea to introducing the new creation

The human is a rig for creating the new

Now-to-new: what’s it all about?

Readiness work

Synthetic and creative forms of imagination

Talking with Angels

Further reading

Immediate Learning Method, by Anthony Blake, who developed the method in collaboration with Edward Matchett

Readers reply: what are thoughts? Where do they come from – and where do they go? (short answer: no one knows) on The Guardian website