Creativity and the Evolutionary Impulse
Since its emergence 13.7 billion years ago, the Universe has been a creative journey into ‘something more.’ From hydrogen and helium we get complex elements. From a supernova explosion we get our sun and solar system. From the alembic of Earth’s oceans we get one-celled organisms, worms, vertebrates, reptiles, mammals. From seaweed we get ferns and oaks. This is the evolutionary impulse, individuals sharing their characteristic energies in always-greater and more complex unions.
The characteristic energies of human beings include thought, self-reflection and imagination. When you put your thoughts and experiences into words, they unite with the thoughts and experiences of your readers to create a more complex reality than any of you, alone, could have known. It’s like two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen combining to create something – a water molecule – which is beyond the limits of either hydrogen or oxygen.
The Korean poet, Seo Jeong-ju, expresses this beautifully when he writes, “The poet, in return for having but little, discovers an expanding, deepening longing for things. The poet makes a lamp of that longing, of that singular love, and sets it alight in his heart. With that light, the poet explores numerous levels of inner feeling, gives them names, and in naming them, with the strength derived from that exercise, broadcasts his earnest longing for things to a world afflicted with disinterest.”
We can imagine for ourselves what happens next. The glimmer of light catching hold of one reader’s heart, then another, then another, until soon the formerly disinterested world is on fire with the “singular love” of one hitherto solitary individual.
It’s hard to be a writer in a world “afflicted with disinterest.” When I’m struggling to put my experience into words, I picture a marvelously huge conflagration created from many small fires. It keeps me going — to know I’m playing my part in an evolutionary impulse kindled from a spark 13.7 billion years old.