Creativity is king

The ultimate purpose of life on earth is to create.

Creativity is king.

Creativity is king.

I watched a wildlife documentary about penguins yesterday on BBC iPlayer called “Penguins – Spy in the Huddle”, a clever infiltration of robotic penguins living up close amongst three species of real penguins around the world with cameras fitted.  My initial thought that this would be a dull documentary turned to curiosity and delight as I watched the journey the penguins took through danger and obstacle; their mating rituals; how the male-female and community cooperated to the moment their young came into the world.  There was the drama of a penguin lost behind; the slap fight between two females over a male; the amorous affections of a lonely male for a robotic penguin before his mate appeared and attacked the robot; the male forcing the female to let go of the egg for him to look after so the female could return to the sea to feed; the cooperation of the penguin community in fighting against the cold or seeing off predators.

Often I compare the natural world to humanity.  The only quality that separates humankind from other animals is imagination: ego is the ability to imagine self separate from the world and other objects; empathy is the ability to imagine the aliveness, feelings and uniqueness in external objects; tool making the ability to imagine connections between a problem and a solution; pro-activity the ability to imagine alternative possibilities to the instinctive reactive ones.  Eliminate imagination and humanity is no different from the rest of the animal and plant kingdom.

These penguins like all of life follow the three purposes of living: to live, to grow, to reproduce.  The first two purposes, live and grow, seems to focus upon the ultimate goal of reproduction; giving an impression that the only purpose of life in plants and animals is to reproduce. I exist only to create reproductions of me.  It was extraordinary the amount of effort, struggle, self-sacrifice and burning need to fight to get to their nesting grounds, find a mate, procreate, nest, defend and nurture their young has been thrown in by these penguins.  It reaches to the extent that salmon self destruct after spawning, and male spiders feed themselves to females just so the young will have energy to sustain them to live, grow then repeat the process again.

Reproduction is creativity, the process leading to procreation is the creative process.  Amongst plants and animals creativity is king.  There is nothing like a happy contented plant or animal that is successfully throwing out copies of itself into the world.  Humanity is no different to plants and animals where they ultimately are fixated on a similar outcome of producing children; however imagination adds additional creative needs for humanity.  Imagination is an extension of creativity, a sort of super-creative process.

Plants and animals focus on babies, but humanity goes beyond babies to poetry, music, architecture, invention and space ships.  There is a hidden agenda here I suspect, for a large aspect of organic life is by design rather than chance.  Why is it so important to life that humanity must have imagination when in fact its downside is turning into a nightmarish path of self-destruction and damage to the planet? As above so below is a principle of the universe, what happens in one part of the universe is likely happening elsewhere.  If a virus takes over cells to send out more of itself into the world, or dandelion seeds head out upon the winds to colonise other places, humanity is perhaps a seed being made ready to be sent out from planet Earth to take its DNA into the cosmos.

If one considers as some scientists do that the Earth is a living organism, then the DNA of Earth is locked into the organic life existing on the planet, operating exactly like a dandelion being made ready to colonise other planets, to send the DNA outwards.  It makes sense for entropy will kill every living thing, so to procreate is to cheat entropy of its prize, to allow life to go on.  One day Earth will die, so to send out DNA to other planets as plants and animals do on its surface allows the Earth a chance to continue to exist beyond its death.  The destructive aspect of imagination is offset by Earth for the possibilities of continued life beyond its ending.

The Earth won’t lose sleep if humanity fails to live up to expectations going extinct.  Left with only bacteria the Earth can over millions of years rebuild a new worthy species.  It seems to me pointless for organic life to exist only for the purposes of creating copies, the idea of another purpose appeals to me, one of a grander scale but a similar process to what exists, to go forth and multiply across the cosmos.  To Earth the code in the DNA is important, the form it takes is not; it won’t matter if Mars is colonised by human-looking forms, or by spiders, or by trees, the fact the DNA gets to Mars to colonise it then follow the live, grow and reproduce process is what matters.

Creativity is king.  As I read through the blogs on WordPress I encounter happy and unhappy people.  The happy people are living a creative process throwing out creative forms into the world, the unhappy people are those whose creativity has been restricted or silenced.  All the processes of life is focused on creativity, either to make babies, or poems or colonise Mars.  Creativity leads to health, happiness and abundance, the reward for following what the Earth and our DNA wants us to do.


17 responses to “Creativity is king

  1. I love this creative post Alex. I too have been glued to the penguins such wonderful creatures.
    You are so right with much you touch upon here and I endorse your words I would go on but connecting at the moment via phone!

    • Thanks Sue, all these conclusions are the result of my empirical and inductive approach to life. The documentary about the penguins boosted my respect for these animals.

  2. [ Smiles ] Lovely article, Alex.

    We are all creative beings by nature. However, some of us do not put our creativity to good use and this is where the problem lies.

    • I agree, the consequences of restricting or stopping creativity is there for all to see in the many social, economic, political and environmental problems; but also in the mental, emotional, spiritual and physical sickness in the human individual. In old age regret is often the reward for a creative life thrown away.

  3. When speaking about the universe, you state as if true, There is a hidden agenda here I suspect, for a large aspect of organic life is by design rather than chance and this leads you down a path of presuming that what you believe is true is actually true. This way of approaching our understanding of the universe is the fundamental way to fool ourselves, allowing our a priori beliefs to adjudicate reality rather than allow reality to arbitrate our claims made about it.

    For example, you write empathy is the ability to imagine the aliveness, feelings and uniqueness in external objects. Wrong. Factually wrong. We don’t imagine empathy; we experience it. We do this because our brains come equipped with mirror neurons that are activated by external stimuli. This allows us to directly experience vicarious environmental encounters in a safe way. What you presume is ‘imagination’ is actually a biological process, understandable as a biological mechanism that connects cause with effect. This is important to understand in order to explain why and how empathy works, and but a single example of the difference between what we believe is the case with what is the case. Knowledge only comes from understanding reality and never, ever, from our beliefs about it.

    You presume design – with purpose, no less! – or chance to ‘explain’ large aspects of organic life. This is belief, pure and simple, and it misleads you from understanding how life develops, what causal effects are in play and by what mechanism they are linked. No purpose is necessary for life in all its marvelous expressions to give the appearance of design… in the same way that local units following local rules can produce astoundingly complex and sophisticated results. Think of water, gravity, and the Grand Canyon. No design, no purpose, is necessary for erosion – once we understand by what mechanism erosion occurs – to produce what appears to be spectacular design. But is the mechanism best described as ‘chance’? You fool yourself, which leads you away from understanding, by assuming the false dichotomy is true, that life is either designed or chance. Your biological development that produces what you call your ‘imagination’ did not happen by chance but developed over time, buildig non what came before, what worked, and what didn’t, and this understanding does not require purpose to make life deeply meaningful an experience – for humans or other critters – and there are much better reasons based in knowledge about how and why our creativity is an important aspect of being human.

    But we don’t need to privilege ourselves to better understand and appreciate how different critters use experience to create – and pass on this creative aspect – to offspring. If you wish to promote sustainable human development in a world rich in biodiversity, then your first step must be to respect what’s true about it, respect what knowledge we have – and need to have – to balance our effects with Nature. We are as much a part of Nature as any other critter and our abilities and effects place a much greater burden on us to be responsible cohabitants. This is not furthered by assuming our beliefs about us and our ‘purposeful’ place in Nature are true, but holding with greater respect the insights and knowledge that work by those who have produced – and are willing and able to do the hard work necessary – to inform our knowledge by telling us about reality’s arbitration of it.

    • Tildeb, thanks for your comment. I shall deal with it paragraph by paragraph.

      Diversity is a beautiful thing, the ability to arrive at conclusions by different means. It is obvious to me you arrive to your own meanings of what is truth which is different from mine. Truth is relative, and the means to arrive at truth is many. The inductive method is what I use, backed by observation, demonstration and experience. It is observable that organic life has purpose in both its design and behaviour: an eye to see, wings to fly, the huddle of penguins together to keep warm. The universe is blind but above the quantum level it is bound by patterns of behaviour from gravity to energy, it is observable that matter as it changes its state becomes more ordered and intelligent, for instance human beings are a highly creative, intelligent and conscious clump of matter.

      I can know how I feel and think directly because of my nervous system, but the extent of my direct experience extends only to the boundaries of my skin. I am not inside your skin, I know not what you think or feel, I can only imagine how you think and feel and sense a separate living being separate from myself, this is empathy, this is a product of imagination.

      Everything starts as a belief, what grounds a belief into the realms of truth is through the testing against observation, demonstration and experience. My conclusions are so grounded. The Theory of Evolution incorporates chance and design. The chance may be mutation by radiation of a section of DNA, or it may be by design of how the DNA sorts and then builds a human being based upon the DNA code. In any energy system variables are influenced by entropy, feedback and complexity. Chance and design runs together which is why every system can never be controlled, determined or be seen as linear. Actually nobody, neither you, nor me know how imagination came about, chance is possible, design is possible, a bit of both is possible. Nobody can claim knowledge how imagination came about, but it now exists, which is all that matters.

      It is observable that penguins are unable to create space ships and write blogs, however humanity can. It is useful to identify the difference between penguin and human that allows for space ship building, this is imagination. One has to also understand that imagination is a tool that can be healthy or destructive in the same way nuclear energy can be used for good or harm. One central goal of my blog is harmony, but ignorance won’t bring harmony. Understanding how everything fits together through observation, demonstration and experience, using the inductive method is one way of building the knowledge, and thus the wisdom to achieve harmony between humanity and this universe.

  4. Like your idea of creativity being king! The biological way is to pass on DNA. The creative way is to pass on thoughts or ideas that someone formed into something we can share and understand. Nice post.

  5. Obviously, Alex, we do not share a similar understanding of what’s true in the sense of knowledge… a term I use to describe an understanding that is able to produce technologies, applications, and therapies that work for everyone everywhere all the time. If you wish to define this knowledge as relative, then either you don’t understand the term ‘relative’ or you don;t understand the term ‘knowledge’. If such knowledge were relative as you seem willing not just to entertain but wine and dine, then the products would be equivalently relative and this we do not find. Regardless of who is doing the boiling of water at sea level, we find the same temperature achieves the same working result. This is knowledge, and it is not relative because what it represents – the chemical change of state by heat – is not relative. Those who like to say that ‘truth is relative’ do so not to suit understanding how reality operates but to avoid it and give the appearance of deep insight and self-appointed meaning where none exists beyond the belief it is so.

    For example, you restate that empathy… is a product of imagination. This is simply not accurate. Empathy is product of a neurological process independent of your insistence that it is the person’s ‘imagination’. This physical and chemical process is not a product of your imagination. It is a product of your brain processes. It is real, it is true, it is knowable, and it is shared not just with most human beings but crosses the species line. Most mammals have mirror neurons. Presuming that humans are special because of empathy, for example, is nothing but anthropocentrism in action. This is a prejudice and bias. Be careful because the belief has effect.

    The same misunderstanding based on your belief shows up again when you state as if true that everything starts as a belief. Bunk. Our understanding starts with an interaction with our environment and our trying to make sense of it. Our environment is not a belief. In case you haven’t noticed, the environment has sharp, pointy corners that can hurt you. It’s important that we understand it, how it operates, and most importantly for our shins how we can navigate it successfully. Belief that promotes prejudice and bias does not improve our chances; experience with what works for everyone everywhere all the time does.

    You say as if true that it is observable that organic life has purpose in both its design and behaviour: an eye to see…,. Again, you assume so much! Eyes don’t see, silly! Your brain sees! That’s how people can be trained to see with their tongue or their skin, to regain the ability to balance through tactile learning after the inner ear has been destroyed, and so on. Because it’s important to first understand how reality operates independent of our beliefs about it, we can implement this non-relative knowledge to create applications, technologies, and therapies that work for everyone everywhere all the time. This matters. The design and purpose you believe you see is not necessarily so, and differentiating between what is and is not true is important in the details, in the mechanisms, in the processes of what links cause with effect. Over-arching and over-reaching speculation does not work equivalently well, whether relatively speaking or not. Again, let me emphasize that it is reality, not one’s beliefs about it, that adjudicates whether or not what you think is true, and it is that reality, not your beliefs, that it is the only testing ground worth having for your observations, demonstrations, and experiences to find what works. If you find that this provisional knowledge is relative, then you know it’s not knowledge because it doesn’t work for everyone everywhere all the time. It’s not a ‘truth’ worth believing in.

    Finally, let me clarify that diversity is not a conclusion but a process, a work in progress… not by different means but by one: evolution. That’s why it’s such an important theory to understand: and this understanding includes a central tenet often ignored for convenience to faith-based beliefs: an unguided mechanism. If you believe otherwise – that there is some external agency intervening or affecting this natural process – you don’t understand evolution. If that understanding threatens any meaning you wish to apply to the reality we share, then look your meaning to have to align with reality’s clear and consistent arbitration of it.

    • Tildeb. Knowledge is a pattern imprinted on a brain that has sensed, processed and created a meaning from an event in motion. Truth is relative. An example is I see colour red as red, the bee sees colour red as black; the difference is down to how bee and I sense or process the red light spectrum. The bee associates black as a threat to its nest and attacks, the American might see black as meaning death, the South-Asian may see black as meaning life; the difference is down to meaning. Truth is relative, and is grounded based upon observation, demonstration and experience as relative to how the observer senses, processes and draws meanings from what is observed. Nobody has a monopoly on truth. Truth is at best a belief existing in a paradigm. A paradigm in the social sense as I use it is an organised set of beliefs and behaviours of an individual or group of people.

      I am repeating myself here. You need to study empathy. You are unable to sense the thoughts, aliveness or feelings of another person as you have no nervous system extending into their bodies or brain, you are left only with imagination of what you believe is their thoughts, aliveness or feelings. People who lose their ability to imagine, also lose the ability to be empathic, an observed problem noted in the autistic.

      You come to this debate with me with a brain crammed with beliefs and paradigms. From the moment someone spanked your bum when you came screaming into this world other people’s beliefs have been burnt into your brain neurons. As you build up your sense of self and reality you have built up a unique complexity of beliefs and patterns that impacts how you will think and behave to whatever is being said or done in front of you. You are no mindless machine, the inputs coming in are being integrated into you pre-existing paradigms and beliefs. The inputs are often full of error or missing chunks of data, so your brain defaults to filling in the blanks with what is equivalent to imagination to make sense of it.

      I think you are being pedantic Tildeb. The eye has the purpose to sense light of certain frequencies and converts this into electrical impulses, the brain then processes the electrical impulses into a sense of an image. I think you are under the delusion that truth starts out there and ends in you. No, the truth starts in you. Is the colour of red black or red? Which is true out there Tildeb? Red is red or red is black? The truth of the colour red is relative, because the truth starts and ends in the mind of the one constructing that truth, red is black to the bee, red to me. Truth does not exist out there, it exists in you. The truth is a belief built up in mind that is not objective but subjective, ripping apart inputs through the sensing, processing and then rebuilding it again as a meaning in harmony with pre-existing beliefs and paradigms.

      Diversity is an outcome of a creative process, it is a product of a process, not a process. Evolution is a process, it results in the diversity of flowers and bees you observe in all their shapes, colours and behaviours. Everything in this universe is interconnected, there are feedback mechanisms, which is how bee and flower are in harmony with each other. Every object in this universe is moving from its own will to action, which is its design: the energy to move towards entropy, the bee to serve its hive, the sun to emanate light.

      The design rests within not without, that which Heraclitus calls “logos” and Aristotle calls the “entelechy” However, external influences are at work because of feedback. Heraclitus also noted that “Strife is Justice” in that strife causes a becoming in all of creation in addition to the logos.

      Finally I adhere to the principle “Follow the Common”, which is the principle of Heraclitus to follow how the universe works not how we think it works. Heraclitus expands upon this by a number of other principles which is to test belief with observation, demonstration and experience. If one has tested the belief and it stands then it is as closest to the Common as it will be relative to the individual, and that is all that can be expected from humanity. Untested belief remains opinion. A truth relative to you may not be so to me Tildeb, and that is the wonderful thing, for this leads to a diversity of outlooks. If you are unwilling to accept the idea that truth is many, relative and a healthy outcome then you enter into the dark path of hubris, control and the tyrant.

  6. Your post reminded me of Freud’s concept of sublimation of libido for artistic and other socially approved creative purposes.

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