Sunday, September 26, 2010

What had been on my mind lately.

It is a serious business, I think, to Create. We do it constantly without thought or forethought or introspection. We begin, entitled to Create, and continue from that vantage point. We see Creation as an innately righteous endeavor in which outcomes with negative consequences are the result of other influences and not a result of a tacitly naive indulgence at the beginning.

But creating is dangerous. In the midst of a culture which seduces us to believe that we can control our futures, not just influence them, we embark upon our Frankensteinian missions with what seems the guilelessness of a child. But in fact, perspective is hard-bought. And when we say hindsight is 20/20, and allow ourselves license to continue irresponsible rampant creating, we have still failed to purchase it. Our noble intrepidness leads as often to happy outcomes as it does to folly and tragedy.

I am only asserting that I think we are too quick to move and too slow to think. That good ideas do not necessarily make good realities and the difference between can often be apprehended at least in part from caution and hesitancy at the outset. Instead, we spend much of our time analyzing our creations and rationalizing, demonizing, deifying, or regretting them. Which amounts to our still not learning to reverence the gravity of the creative moment and look as far inside of it as we are able before the first step is taken.

This seems to necessitate an ethics of some kind in order to clarify to ourselves what our true motives are in beginning a Creation. Are we not so led by our egos? This can be either an emotional or a logical process of rationalization. And I don't know if people are truly able to not rationalize in any decision, to be honest. But perhaps we can curb the ego somewhat by considering the effects our creating can or will have on others. Beauvoir thought one's freedom could only be truly ethical when it required that one also esteem and work toward the freedom of the Other. The Tao Te Ching teaches that to understand one's life, one must look to the effects her actions have produced.

Seems a good beginning to mindful creating. And Frankenstein wasn't bad, just misunderstood and isolated. But that eventuality would have been obvious before forcing him into life.


Scott Abbott said...

thinking about Goethe's work always makes me think again of his Faust which has at its core the story of an ambitious and talented man who puts creation above all other considerations and in the process ruins and ends several people's lives. it's a complicated story about a difficult questions and worth (as is Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein") a thousand books of ethics. i liked the way you wrote about ethics as emotional and rational -- setting aside the ethics that get churned out by machine thinkers.