Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Adventures in Blogging: Let There Be a Post!

Continuing with yesterday's theme, note that in Genesis it specifically states -- over and over -- that the Creator creates by simply allowing things to be, as in let there be light. That's a curious way to express it, and yet, there is an analogue to our own creativity, which also cannot be forced, cajoled, or willed.

Like right now: I would like for a post to happen, but it's more a matter of Let there be a post. I suppose that's why I enjoy the process: it's nothing like, say, school, where you are forced to write something on demand. None of my teachers ever said, let there be an essay on the Civil War; rather, write what is expected or suffer the consequences.

Again, "the command is not authoritarian. It is, rather, 'let it be.' God gives permission for creation to be. The appearance of creation is a glad act of embrace of this permit" (Brueggemann).

Yes, God wants the creation to be; but back off, man, he's an artist, not a mechanic.

Note also that this cosmic artwork isn't just situated in space, but in time. It is a ceaseless outflow of creativity, such that time itself a mode of creativity in the Whiteheadean sense: "Cut away the future, and the present collapses, emptied of its proper content. Immediate existence requires the insertion of the future in the crannies of the present" (Adventures of Ideas).

He's not talking about weeks or years or decades, but seconds or even fractions of seconds; the present is immediately entangled with its own future, and vice versa, otherwise it could never arrive. There are no gaps, and God is in them.

It is in this transitional space from present-to-future where all the novelty gets in. Novelty is what hasn't happened before, and thus, creativity: "The intermediate stage in this transition is constituted by the acquisition of novel content..." You could say that the future is implicate in each moment, and that time renders it explicate via the creative attractor, the cosmic telovator. It's an overall movement, like waves endlessly crashing on the shore of the now.

Each moment is a janus-faced occasion looking toward its own past and future. "In between there lies the teleology of the universe." In this sense we are hurtling toward our own destiny, but again, not in a deterministic way. Some aspects of the present are indeed dominated by the past, and each moment has more or less slack, or Cosmic Wiggle Room.

One reason, I think, why we so value art (both the creating and consuming), is that it is the residue, as it were, of this cosmic ingression of novelty, to a maximum degree. Creativity is always present -- it cannot not be -- but there are degrees.

But so too is necessity always present; we could say that in each moment it is as if there is a dial that goes from extreme necessity at one end to complete freedom at the other. Obviously, existence is woven of freedom and necessity, as is creativity.

However, orthoparadoxically, real freedom can never be free of a degree of necessity; as Whitehead says, "It is the reconciliation of freedom with the compulsion of the truth," the latter being identified with "the indwelling persuasion towards the harmony which is the height of existence." (This is how and why the truth sets us free.)

I'm just flipping through the book in search of some additional nuggets, and I see this: "The creation of the world... is the victory of persuasion over force" -- which places Pope Francis in a rather bad light, being that leftism represents the victory of force over persuasion.

And "the worth of men consists in their liability to persuasion," which is why with leftism we are not permitted to be good or to love truth for its own sake. Rather, we are forced by third parties to imitate their version of the good. This they call "social justice," a system so perfect that no one is free to do bad -- or good.

Whitehead well describes the opposite of social justice: "reverence for that power in virtue of which nature harbours ideal ends, and produces individual beings capable of conscious discrimination of such ends. This reverence is the foundation of the respect for man as man. It thereby secures that liberty of thought and action required for the upward adventure of life on this Earth."

Captain Beefheart said something to the effect that art is the organization of accidents. And I say: if accidents are good enough for man, they ought to be good enough for God! People seem to recoil from the idea that there are "accidents in God," but we have to think of accident in a non-pejorative way, because if there were no accidents there would be no fun. And no creativity. Again: God lets, he doesn't force. He is not a control freak. He is not a leftist.

Hartshorne quotes Schelling, who wrote that "It is necessary that accidents happen [in God], though not necessary just which accidents." Again: creativity.

Later Hartshorne observes that "Divine power is an ability to deal with free beings, not an ability to suppress or avoid their existence or to manipulate them so thoroughly that they would not be free." If God is in total control, then we can't properly exist -- be -- at all. But the reverse is equally true: if we are in total control, then God cannot be. Thus, as God lets us be, we must let God be. God suffers our freedom; it is only fair that we suffer his.

The last word in God's creativity is the Nothing, or nihil-O, from which creation emerges:

"We start, then, with nothing, pure zero. But this is not the nothing of negation.... this pure nothing is the nothing of not having been born.... It is the germinal nothing, in which the whole universe is involved or foreshadowed. As such, it is absolutely undefined and unlimited possibility -- boundless possibility. There is no compulsion and no law. It is boundless freedom" (ibid.).

And we are spirals within that vast creative arc.

5 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

...we have to think of accident in a non-pejorative way, because if there were no accidents there would be no fun. And no creativity. Again: God lets, he doesn't force. He is not a control freak. He is not a leftist.

I believe it was Bob Ross who popularized the phrase "happy accidents" in the creation of art. Notably, most of my art teachers had a passionate hatred of Bob Ross, but he was certainly correct; for in the midst of creating, if one can roll with the unexpected flows and quirks of one's chosen media, the ordinary can become (sometimes unexpectedly) masterful.

9/23/2015 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

Plus, the future is always casting shadows on the present.

So, there's that, too.

9/23/2015 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

However, orthoparadoxically, real freedom can never be free of a degree of necessity

There's no way up a mountain that isn't there.

9/23/2015 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

But this is not the nothing of negation.

The emptiness of the womb awaits.

9/23/2015 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Thus, as God lets us be, we must let God be. God suffers our freedom; it is only fair that we suffer his.

On Earth, as it is in Heaven.

9/24/2015 04:31:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home