Thursday, March 3, 2011

Creation - Destruction

Thought we'd go with a cheerier topic today. Sort of.
    We'll begin with creation. What does it mean to create? We can procreate. We can germinate plants from seeds. We can write, paint, sculpt, and perform many other artistic endeavors. We cook. We design our outfits and our homes. Even a paper airplane is creation. It's taking something ordinary, like a seed, a lump of clay, or a particularly nasty math assignment, and turning it into something beautiful, useful or enjoyable, like a flower, sculpture or paper airplane. Maybe they don't seem that great to everyone, but we can feel that little bubble of joy that surfaces when we do something new and creative. Creation is a necessary component for many of us to continue to function in a non-hostile way towards everyone else. Creation makes us feel special and important, and sometimes, when we have the compulsion to create, creation is one of the only things that can make us feel normal in the face of chaos, frustration, and things beyond our control.
    As human beings, having a sense of control is a priority. It's evolutionary, in a sense. You lose control, you fall off the cliff and die, or get lost in the woods and eaten by the tiger. Having control over ourselves and our surroundings has gotten to the point where we have black-out shades so we can sleep when it's daylight out, and web browsing on our cell phones so we can always know what the temperature is in Phoenix even though we live in Chicago.
    Having control isn't a bad thing. It gives us a sense of stability in a constantly changing world. Control is useful. But creativity is a greater result of being ego-maniacal control freaks. While being a control freak creates order and stability for you--one person--creativity can affect and give enjoyment to many people. Creativity links us to others outside ourselves in a unique way. And creating positive things, for the benefit of others as well as yourself, can only be a good thing.
     And looking at the other side of things, it is perhaps paradoxical that destruction often gives us the same kind of satisfaction that creation does. Stomping through a pile of dead leaves in Fall is immensely gratuitous and self-serving, destroying the crunchy leaves with our shoes, but we do it anyway. Burning a fire, adding more and more wood, destroying the logs, fiber by fiber, is enjoyable not only for warmth or light, but perhaps also for how amazed we all are once we burned through the whole woodpile, and yet all that remains is a small mound of ashes and mostly destroyed, blackened logs.
    While, semantically, it sounds much better to create than destroy, some things maybe should be destroyed. Atomic weapons, for one. In any case, you should always create, unless your creation causes more harm than good. Like Molotov cocktails. Create positively, and create with the same joy and passion that a child builds a fort out of sofa cushions.
Rome wasn't built in a day.

2 comments:

Outnumbered said...

i think you would have loved TOK

Constant Writer said...

Lol, you're not the first person to tell me that. I think I would have too. The scary IB coordinator woman (whose name escapes me) asked if I was dropping b/c I was afraid of TOK, but I would have actually liked to have taken it, and stayed in Mehlbach's class, but she wouldn't let me. In any case, this is probably why I ended up a philosophy major.

+Constant Writer

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