« Although the various realms or regions of world 3 arise as human inventions, there also arise, as the unintended consequences of these inventions, autonomous problems and possible solutions to them. These exist independently of anybody’s awareness of them: they can be discovered by us, in the same sense in which other things – say, new elementary particles or unknown mountains and rivers – can be discovered by us.
Now this means that we can get more out of world 3 than we ourselves put into it. There is a give and take between ourselves and world 3 in which we can take more than we ever give.
This holds for the arts as well as for the sciences. For it is fundamentally the same kind of give and take when a painter puts a speck of paint on his canvas and then steps back to look at the effect and to evaluate it. The effect may be intended or unintended. If unintended, the painter may correct or remove the speck of colour. But the unintended effect may also suggest to him a new idea: it may suggest to him, for example, a new balance of colours, more striking than the one originally aimed at. It may make him see his picture afresh, see different problems in his picture, see it in a different light as it were, and it may thus induce him to change his originally intended aim.
In a very similar way Einstein once said, ‘My pencil is cleverer than I am.’ What he meant, of course, was that by putting things down in writing and by calculating them on paper, he could often get results beyond what he had anticipated. We may say that by using pencil and paper he plugged himself into the third world of objective knowledge. He thus made his subjective ideas objective. And once these ideas were made objective, he could link them with other objective ideas, and thus reach remote and unintended consequences far transcending his starting point.
There is a moving story of the composer Josef Haydn. In his old age he wrote The Creation. It was first performed in Vienna, in the Aula of the old University of Vienna, a building that was destroyed during the Second World War. When he had listened to the marvellous introductory choir, he burst into tears and said, It was not I who wrote this. I could not have done it.’ I think that every great work of art transcends the artist. In creating it, he interacts with his work: he constantly receives suggestions from his work, suggestions that point beyond what he originally intended. If he p »ossesses the humility and the self-criticism to listen to these suggestions and to learn from them, then he will create a work that transcends his own personal powers.
You will see from this that my theory of world 3 leads to a view of human creation, and especially also of artistic creation, that is, at any rate, different from some very widely held views: from the view, for example, that art is self-expression or that the artist is inspired – though no longer by the Muses, the Greek goddesses of inspiration, but by his own physiological states, also called his ‘unconscious’, which has replaced the Muses. »
Karl Popper, Knowledge and the body-mind problem
Routledge (2000), p. 31 – 32