This has been the mystery of painters and poets as well as string theorists and other inspirationalists all along. James was on the right track, as was Whitehead, as was Vico, and Leibniz should be read so. Claustral permission appears to be the locus. That is what we call revelation, satori, inspiration. Everything we attribute to creativity is from sensation, which is all from Nature. Of course we create nothing, not even our society (all attempts are doomed), that is the baliwick of the Divine.
I am aware that none of this makes any sense at present.
I disagree with this presupposition, RightWhale. As William James wrote, "Great thinkers have vast premonitory glimpses of schemes of relation between terms, which hardly even as verbal images enter the mind, so rapid is the whole process." We are not speaking at all of "sensation" here. He adds to this statement a footnote:
Mozart describes thus his manner of composing: First bits and crumbs of the piece come and gradually join together in his mind; then the soul getting warmed to the work, the thing grows more and more, "and I spread it out broader and clearer, and at last it gets almost finished in my head, even when it is a long piece, so that I can see the whole of it at a single glance in my mind, as if it were a beautiful painting or a handsome human being; in which way I do not hear it in my imagination at all as a succession -- the way it must come later -- but all at once, as it were. It is a rare feast! All the inventing and making goes on in me as in a beautiful strong dream. But the best of all is the hearing of it all at once. [I added the bolds]Notice that Mozart uses analogies to vision and hearing in his description of the creative process; but there's not a scintilla of "sense impression" going on here. This creative process is entirely internal to the mind.
You wrote: "Of course we create nothing, not even our society (all attempts are doomed), that is the baliwick of the Divine."
Tell that to Mozart!