Creativity, Creation and the State of the Earth and Our Cities

Creativity is a word, which is used in attempts to express innovative, artful and thoughtfuldevelopment and change. The one thing that it does not express is creation. This is creation:
P2120891Note that in contemporary speech, the term “creation” applied to the above image of a brittle prickly pear cactus, sedums, lichens and cheatgrass battling it out under a saskatoon bush in a grassland landscape stripped of its life-giving fire, is meaningless. On the other hand, terms such as “invasion”, “adaptation” and “choking” are meaningful: pure cultural markers. The culture they mark is this one:
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Downtown Vernon, Canada
Note the cable company wire suffering from ice load.
The term “creation” is reserved for the result of “creativity”, meaning “stuff made by people,” like this…
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… or for what is considered an antiquated, spiritual artifact, like this:
Creación_de_Adán_(Miguel_Ángel)
Truth is, if Christian spiritual notions of creation, such as in Michael Angelo’s “Creation of David” on the Sistine Chapel ceiling above, are valid, then this is creation, too:
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Montana Buffalo Country
And despite arguments about the uniqueness and exceptionality of human creation within the Christian conception, human activity takes place within the rhythms of creation in places like that grassland prairie above. Even this does:
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Downtown Vernon Again
Right behind Tim Horton’s Coffee Shop: a Nationalist Institution
Whatever “creativity” is, it’s either not human, not spiritual and not of this earth, or it is very much of it and exists within it.
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Vineyard in Vernon
Snow is unavoidable, but why would you want to avoid it? Because you’re tired of the world? Can you avoid it by using your “creativity” to fly to Mexico?
Any concept of creation that differs from this truth is a cultural statement only and cannot claim universal applicability. That’s simple: it just can’t; it’s not a thing of the earth, but a thing that exists only within a culture: take the culture away and it vanishes and will be replaced by creation …
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Creation is often called “weeds”.
… or by something else, often a reflection of creation viewed from within culture. This is called “creativity”.
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Over the next few days, I am going to be arguing that this is exactly what has happened. In introducing this argument, for a couple weeks I have been exploring the historical roots of the identity systems of contemporary technological society, and their inescapably Christian roots. Yesterday, I introduced notions of creativity from France, in which creativity was not exclusively claimed as a human attribute but maintained some of this …
477px-Cranach_Madonna_under_the_fir_tree
Lucas Cranach the Elder
Note how the little Christ, who is all the world and all of the spiritual world at once, is about to feed his mother a grape, like a drop of communion wine in days to come. Clever!

This conception, in which creation is a part of the world is not a part of dominant conceptions of the earth today, but is deemed to be medieval, superseded first by the notion of artistic genius in the the Renaissance (above), Baroque and Romantic periods, and then by universal structural creativity, like this — applied expressions of human bodies and wills:

river_princess_20110124

Well, that’s cultural, because we are the earth, not the other way around. The Anthropocene, the Age of Man, is a term intended to show that the earth is now dependent upon us, which it is, but only because we’ve screwed up. Fixing the earth means fixing the huge, dysfunctional gap within creation, and setting aside the now-dated, 20th century word, creativity, before it’s too late. For me, working on this is an ethical imperative. Thanks for joining in.

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Next: German and Icelandic creativity, for alternate perspectives of where we are and what is possible.

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