Extraordinary creative activity has been characterized as revolutionary, flying in the face of what is established and producing not what is acceptable but what will become accepted. According to this formulation, highly creative activity transcends the limits of an existing form and establishes a new principle of organization. However, the idea that extraordinary creativity transcends established limits in misleading when it is applied to the arts, even though it may be valid for the sciences. Difference between highly creative art and highly creative science arise in part from a difference in their goals. For the sciences, a new theory is the goal and end result of the creative act. Innovative science produces new propositions in terms of which diverse phenomena can be related to one another in more coherent ways. Such phenomena as a brilliant diamond or a nesting bird are relegated to the role of data, serving as the means for formulating or testing a new theory. The goal of highly creative art is very different: the phenomenon itself becomes the direct product of the creative act. Shakespeare’s Hamlet is not a tract about the behavior of indecisive princes or the uses of political power; nor is Picasso’s painting Guernica primarily a propositional statement about the Spanish Civil War or the evils of fascism. What highly creative artistic activity produces is not a new generalization that transcends established limits, but rather an aesthetic particular. Aesthetic particulars produced by the highly creative artist extend or exploit, in an innovative way, the limits of an existing form, rather than transcend that form.
This is not to deny that a highly creative artist sometimes establishes a new principle of organization in the history of an artistic field; the composer Monteverdi, who created music of the highest aesthetic value, comes to mind. More generally, however, whether or not a composition establishes a new principle in the history of music has little bearing on its aesthetic worth. Because they embody a new principle of organization, some musical works, such as the operas of the Florentine Camerata, are of signal historical importance, but few listeners or musicologists would include these among the great works of music. On the other hand, Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro is surely among the masterpieces of music even though its modest innovations are confined to extending existing means. It has been said of Beethoven that he toppled the rules and freed music from the stifling confines of convention. But a close study of his compositions reveals that Beethoven overturned no fundamental rules. Rather, he was an incomparable strategist who exploited limits一the rules, forms, and conventions that he inherited from predecessors such as Haydn and Mozart, Handel and Bach—in strikingly original ways.
|The passage supplies information for answering which of the following questions?|
|Great comic art is never otherwordly, it does not seek to mystify us, and it does not deny ambiguity b y branding as evil whatever differs from good. Great comic artists assume that truth may bear all lights, and thus they seek to accentuate contradictions in social action, not gloss over or transcend them by appeals to extrasocial symbols of divine ends, cosmic purpose, or laws of nature. The moment of transcendence in great comic art is a social moment, born out of the conviction that we are human, even though we try to be gods. The comic community to which artists address themselves is a community of reasoning, loving, joyful, compassionate beings, who are willing to assume the human risks of acting rationally. Without invoking gods or demons, great comic art arouses courage in reason, courage which grows out of trust in what human beings can do as humans.|
|Select the sentence in the passage that suggests that great comic art can be characterized as optimistic about the ability of humans to act rationally.|
|It can be inferred from the passage that the author admires great comic artists primarily for their|
|By 1950, the results of attempts to relate brain processes to mental experience appeared rather discouraging. Herring suggested that different modes of sensation, such as pain, taste, and color, might be correlated with the discharge of specific kinds of nervous energy. However, subsequently developed methods of recording and analyzing nerve potentials failed to reveal any such qualitative diversity. Although qualitative variance among nerve energies was never rigidly disproved, the doctrine was generally abandoned in favor of the opposing view, namely, that nerve impulses are essentially homogeneous in quality and are transmitted as “common currency” throughout the nervous system. According to this theory, it is not the quality of the sensory nerve impulses that determines the diverse conscious sensations they produce, but rather the different areas of the brain into which they discharge, and there is some evidence for this view. In one experiment, when an electric stimulus was applied to a given sensory field of the cerebral cortex of a conscious human subject, it produced a sensation of the appropriate modality for that particular locus, that is, a visual sensation from the visual cortex, an auditory sensation from the auditory cortex, and so on. However, cortical locus, in itself, turned out to have little explanatory value.|
|The author mentions “common currency” in line 13 primarily in order to emphasize the|
|A Marxist sociologist has argued that racism stems from the class struggle that is unique to the capitalist system—that racial prejudice is generated by capitalists as a means of controlling workers. His thesis works relatively well when applied to discrimination against Blacks in the United States, but his definition of racial prejudice as “racially-based negative prejudgments against a group generally accepted as a race in any given region of ethnic competition,” can be interpreted as also including hostility toward such ethnic groups as the Chinese in California and the Jews in medieval Europe. However, since prejudice against these latter peoples was not inspired by capitalists, he has to reason that such antagonisms were not really based on race. He disposes thusly (albeit unconvincingly) of both the intolerance faced by Jews before the rise of capitalism and the early twentieth-century discrimination against Oriental people in California, which, inconveniently, was instigated by workers.|
|The passage supplies information that would answer which of the following questions EXCEPT?|
The evolution of intelligence among early large mammals of the grasslands was due in great measure to the interaction between two ecologically synchronized groups of these animals, the hunting carnivores and the herbivores that they hunted. The interaction resulting from the differences between predator and prey led to a general improvement in brain functions; however, certain components of intelligence were improved far more than others.
The kind of intelligence favored by the interplay of increasingly smarter catchers and increasingly keener escapers is defined by attention—that aspect of mind carrying consciousness forward from one moment to the next. It ranges from a passive, free-floating awareness to a highly focused, active fixation. The range through these states is mediated by the arousal system, a network of tracts converging from sensory systems to integrating centers in the brain stem. From the more relaxed to the more vigorous levels, sensitivity to novelty is increased. The organism is more awake, more vigilant; this increased vigilance results in the apprehension of ever more subtle signals as the organism becomes more sensitive to its surroundings. The processes of arousal and concentration give attention its direction. Arousal is at irst general, with a flooding of impulses in the brain stem; then gradually the activation is channeled. Thus begins concentration, the holding of consistent images. One meaning of intelligence is the way in which these images and other alertly searched information are used in the context of previous experience. Consciousness links past attention to the present and permits the integration of details with perceived ends and purposes.
The elements of intelligence and consciousness come together marvelously to produce different styles in predator and prey. Herbivores and carnivores develop different kinds of attention related to escaping or chasing. Although in both kinds of animal, arousal stimulates the production of adrenaline and norepinephrine by the adrenal glands, the effect in herbivores is primarily fear, whereas in carnivores the effect is primarily aggression. For both, arousal attunes the animal to what is ahead. Perhaps it does not experience forethought as we know it, but the animal does experience something like it. The predator is searchingly aggressive, inner-directed, tuned by the nervous system and the adrenal hormones, but aware in a sense closer to human consciousness than, say, a hungry lizard’s instinctive snap at a passing beetle. Using past events as a framework, the large mammal predator is working out a relationship between movement and food, sensitive to possibilities in cold trails and distant sounds—and yesterday’s unforgotten lessons. The herbivore prey is of a different mind. Its mood of wariness rather than searching and its attitude of general expectancy instead of anticipating are silk-thin veils of tranquility over an explosive endocrine system.
|The author refers to a hungry lizard (line 47) primarily in order to|
|The dark regions in the starry night sky are not pockets in the universe that are devoid of stars as had long been thought. Rather, they are dark because of interstellar dust that hides the stars behind it. Although its visual effect is so pronounced, dust is only a minor constituent of the material, extremely low in density, that lies between the stars. The average density of interstellar material in the vicinity of our Sun is 1,000 to 10,000 times less than the best terrestrial laboratory vacuum. It is only because of the enormous interstellar distances that so little material per unit of volume becomes so significant. Optical astronomy is most directly affected, for although interstellar gas is perfectly transparent, the dust is not.|
|According to the passage, which of the following is a direct perceptual consequence of interstellar dust EXCEPT?|
|A mysterious phenomenon is the ability of over-water migrants to travel on course. Birds, bees, and other species can keep track of time without any sensory cues from the outside world, and such “biological clocks” clearly contribute to their “compass sense.” For example, they can use the position of the Sun or stars, along with the time of day, to find north. But compass sense alone cannot explain how birds navigate the ocean: after a flock traveling east is blown far south by a storm, it will assume the proper northeasterly course to compensate. Perhaps, some scientists thought, migrants determine their geographic position on Earth by celestial navigation, almost as human navigators use stars and planets, but this would demand of the animals a fantastic map sense. Researchers now know that some species have a magnetic sense, which might allow migrants to determine their geographic location by detecting variations in the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field.|
|The main idea of the passage is that|
|Visual recognition involves storing and retrieving memories. Neural activity, triggered by the eye, forms an image in the brain’s memory system that constitutes an internal representation of the viewed object. When an object is encountered again, it is matched with its internal representation and thereby recognized. Controversy surrounds the question of whether recognition is a parallel, one-step process or a serial, step-by-step one. Psychologists of the Gestalt school maintain that objects are recognized as wholes in a parallel procedure: the internal representation is matched with the retinal image in a single operation. Other psychologists have proposed that internal representation features are matched serially with an object’s features. Although some experiments show that, as an object becomes familiar, its internal representation becomes more holistic and the recognition process correspondingly more parallel, the weight of evidence seems to support the serial hypothesis, at least for objects that are not notably simple and familiar.|
|The author is primarily concerned with|
|It is a popular misconception that nuclear fusion power is free of radioactivity; in fact, the deuterium-tritium reaction that nuclear scientists are currently exploring with such zeal produces both alpha particles and neutrons. (The neutrons are used to produce tritium from a lithium blanket surrounding the reactor.) Another common misconception is that nuclear fusion power is a virtually unlimited source of energy because of the enormous quantity of deuterium in the sea. Actually, its limits are set by the amount of available lithium, which is about as plentiful as uranium in the Earth’s crust. Research should certainly continue on controlled nuclear fusion, but no energy program should be premised on its existence until it has proven practical.|
|It can be inferred from the passage that the author believes which of the following about the current state of public awareness concerning nuclear fusion power?|
Roger Rosenblatt’s book Black Fiction, in attempting to apply literary rather than sociopolitical criteria to its subject, successfully alters the approach taken by most previous studies. As Rosenblatt notes, criticism of Black writing has often served as a pretext for expounding on Black history. Addison Gayle’s recent work, for example, judges the value of Black fiction by overtly political standards, rating each work according to the notions of Black identity which it propounds.
Although fiction assuredly springs from political circumstances, its authors react to those circumstances in ways other than ideological, and talking about novels and stories primarily as instruments of ideology circumvents much of the fictional enterprise. Rosenblatt’s literary analysis discloses affinities and connections among works of Black fiction which solely political studies have overlooked or ignored.
Writing acceptable criticism of Black fiction, however, presupposes giving satisfactory answers to a number of questions. First of all, is there a sufficient reason, other than the racial identity of the authors, to group together works by Black authors? Second, how does Black fiction make itself distinct from other modern fiction with which it is largely contemporaneous? Rosenblatt shows that Black fiction constitutes a distinct body of writing that has an identifiable, coherent literary tradition. Looking at novels written by Blacks over the last eighty years, he discovers recurring concerns and designs independent of chronology. These structures are thematic, and they spring, not surprisingly, from the central fact that the Black characters in these novels exist in a predominantly White culture, whether they try to conform to that culture or rebel against it.
Black Fiction does leave some aesthetic questions open. Rosenblatt’s thematic analysis permits considerable objectivity; he even explicitly states that it is not his intention to judge the merit of the various works一yet his reluctance seems misplaced, especially since an attempt to appraise might have led to interesting results. For instance, some of the novels appear to be structurally diffuse. Is this a defect, or are the authors working out of, or trying to forge, a different kind of aesthetic? In addition, the style of some Black novels, like Jean Toomer’s Cane, verges on expressionism or surrealism; does this technique provide a counterpoint to the prevalent theme that portrays the fate against which Black heroes are pitted, a theme usually conveyed by more naturalistic modes of expression?
In spite of such omissions, what Rosenblatt does include in his discussion makes for an astute and worthwhile study. Black Fiction surveys a wide variety of novels, bringing to our attention in the process some fascinating and little-known works like James Weldon Johnson’s Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man. Its argument is tightly constructed, and its forthright, lucid style exemplifies levelheaded and penetrating criticism.