CREATE - Human Activity and Our Desire to Create

Colouring pencils stacked on top of one another

Recently I was listening to the Speaker Rob Bell. He mentioned the concept that God, in some sense left the creation of the world unfinished, and that through our acts of creation we are continuing the creation of the world.

Regardless of the truth of this idea, I think that each of us has an innate need to be involved in the creative process.

That each of us has a desire to create things that have a level of permanence. Whether this be art, or music, dance, or courses, clothing, or crafts, marketing campaigns, or food.

Hannah Arendt the political theorist in her book 'the human condition' divides human activity into 3 categories: labor, work, and action.

Labor being our biological processes, our respiratory system, things that are used and consumed, things that have no permanence.

Work being those things that we do that extend beyond our selves. They have a beginning and end, and have a permanence in our world, i.e. things that we create.

Action is our social interactions with society and the world around us, these things that take place within the public sphere.

The division of labor, put forward by the economist Adam Smith in the 18th century essentially switched much of work into labor.

Rather than a creative process taking place where an individual creates something beginning to end, each person contributed in small ways to the creative process, never seeing both beginning and end.

Combine this with the rise of a consumer culture, one where the creation of disposable goods, that are made to be consumed contribute to a greater economy, and we see that the idea of work for many people is truly moved into Hannah's definition of labor. A process that we are constantly doing to survive, that leaves no permanence, that is quickly consumed.*

I think that this is why so many people are turning to creative hobbies. A rise of knitting clubs and art classes.

People desire to create but they no longer see this in their day to day work.

So i encourage you, that if you've been thinking about joining that knitting club, or starting to learn that instrument, or finally beginning to write that book that has been rattling around in your brain, do it.

May we move beyond a consumer culture, may we find those things that bring us joy, and may we be those that create.

*This idea is taken from Lesslie Newbigin's book 'Foolishness to the Greeks'


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