Cats and Theories
a blog by coticheque
a blog by coticheque

A Judeo-Christian argument in favour of creativeness

Disclaimer: I don’t share a Judeo-Christian worldview myself. Yet, this stuff is rooted so deep in Western culture, that a reference to the Christian narrative would still sound compelling to most of us.

The Judeo-Christian point of view states that God created humans according to his own image. However, what do we actually know about the Judeo-Christian God himself? In fact, not much. We don’t know too many details about his hobbies and preferred ways of spending time, as this is clearly not the main focus of the anthropocentric Old Testament. What we know for sure is that God created the world. We know that God was definitely… creative.

If the idea of creation according to own image holds true, there’s no wonder why humans have a strong intrinsic need to create. That’s what God did himself. So the Old Testament encourages people to do the same. However, scriptures from the Old Testament obviously address its target audience: the ancient Jewish tribes. Talmud says: build a house, plant a tree, raise a son. These three things were the main outlet of an ancient man’s creativity. What did the world of ancient Jews primarily consist of? It was a tough quest for maintaining life in a desert, with the lack of vegetation, and a population constantly under the threat of shrinking. Urbanization, reproduction of the population, mild revegetation – these had to be the main focus of human thought and activity.

The modern world no longer consists of tribes and sands. The world is now primarily man-made, as we have added an additional layer to it – the sphere of culture and civilization. So now you have to create stuff in this sphere, in order for your creations to be relevant or meaningful in the modern world. Yet, somehow many modern people still take the advice targeted at ancient tribes quite literally. In the 21st century, people still assume that their self-expression is limited by buying and decorating a house in suburbs, starting a family, helping children with extracurricular activities, and spending free time in the garden or perhaps advocating for an eco-friendly life-style on social media. Reproduction, urbanization, revegetation – seems like this picture of the human life hasn’t changed much since the year 100 BCE.

When the question of life maintenance is no longer the primary question of life, people have to naturally shift attention to the upper levels of their creative abilities. The unique feature of humans is the ability to read, write and create things according to their own law and order. Only books, art, perhaps political action and creation of own projects can be considered up-to-date, relevant things to express creativity through. I’m sure this is what would have been featured in sacred scriptures, if they were written in the 21st century.

What gives me even more optimism is the current economic organisation of the society. I think that capitalism is intrinsically good because it correlates with people’s need for creation. Besides the obvious drawbacks such as accumulation of capital and concentration of wealth, capitalism in its essence allows people to express themselves creatively, and hence satisfy some of their higher human needs.

That’s how we arrive from Talmud to the free-market economy. In a sense, the development of humankind seems to follow a consistent path. And the prospects for the future would seem even brighter, if more people viewed the ancient banalities not as their ultimate life goals, but solely as necessities that lead to a higher good.

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