There was an article in the January 30 "New Yorker" that I just read -- "Groupthink" -- that basically shot down the whole feel-goodness of group brainstorming, giving precise data on how lack of any criticism leads to poorer results: "Criticism allows people to dig below the surface of the imagination and come up with collective ideas that aren't predictable." And "exposure to unfamiliar perspectives can foster creativity."
While reading the whole thing, I kept thinking of S.... Completely uber-passive and blank when it came to me, which was deadening, since there was no feedback whatsoever. But HER thought processes! While she was personally passive, her mind was certainly an "unfamiliar perspective" that fostered my own creativity. For instance, she once posted one line only on her blog: "I feel like it's written all over me." That triggered my:
I feel like it's written all over me
In hieroglyphs, bar-code, graffiti
Scrawled across stars, set in stone
Under which I, and all words, lie.
She's not good to me in real-life, but her "unfamiliar perspectives" are decidedly GREAT in the ether!