The birth of a new vision is the most mysterious aspect of the entire cycle. It is rooted in higher knowledge and the ability of the imagination to conjure something out of nothing, and though its spoor can be followed a certain distance, it ultimately vanishes into the mists of individual inspiration.
When the creative imagination vision came into being in the late 1960s and early 1970s, it seemed to spring out of nowhere in many different places at once and in a variety of forms. That sudden flowering was something of an illusion, however. The seeds of creative imagination had been planted within the nurturing soil of the chaos vision a full generation earlier and had germinated there slowly until the mainstreaming of chaos sent out a signal that it was the season for them to sprout.
Many of those seeds can even be traced back to a single point of origin — a small group of science fiction writers who in the late 1930s and early 40s set themselves to reconciling the wild, improvisational nature of chaos with the scientific assumption of a cosmos ruled by unvarying natural law.
The underlying premises of chaos and scientific materialism had never been particularly compatible, but until that time nobody had tried to believe in both of them at once. The conflict arose only because faith in science had flagged for a time after World War I — leading many people to see the universe as alien and chaotic — and had then been strongly renewed in the 1930s. So the question arose of which was to be master.
The recurring pattern of the cycle of visions would have made the conflict inevitable under any circumstances, but the specific terms on which it was played out were set by two extraordinary masters of higher knowledge: H.P. Lovecraft and John W. Campbell.