This is part 2 of a blog series where I share some thoughts on “art and creation”. I have prepared various blogs inspired by a range of sources from Kabbalah to Artificial Intelligence. Do not expect to find definitive answers. The aim here is to raise questions and hopefully offer entertaining thoughts.
If the world is finite, then creating is impossible and only a discovery, a reordering, or a mixing up of existing qualities and quantities is possible. Think of our genetic material. If genetics is a simple re-arrangement of DNA, then we are simply a random mix of the DNA of our parents.
On the other hand, an infinite world means infinite possibilities, it means unpredictable results. It does not simply mean a radical reorganisation of existing material. In the DNA example it means a complete transformation. Two parents producing a new unique form of existence. Each new result is a mutation, a small break with existing reality. So what is true: the finitude or infinitude?
The same applies to art. When an artist creates an artwork, is the creation something that has never existed before, an expansion of the self into a new territory or is it a process of introspection where the artist discovers a part of the inner self that was always there but remained hidden?
In other words, is the creative process a progress towards self-discovery or a trip of self-expansion into unchartered territory?
Going back to Kabbalah, the paradox with Ein Sof (see part 1 for more on this) is that he is all that is. Ein Sof is time and space and outside of him lies nothing. There is nothing he does not know about himself, and nothing outside of him. In that sense, the creation of the world is at the same time both a movement outwards and inwards. The world is part of Ein Sof but also something that did not exist before he made it. Even if the idea of the creation existed, the materialisation occurred as something new.
I think that the answer could lie in a unity of the inside and outside movements. Creation is both part of the creator and something autonomous. It is both discovery of old existing parts of the self and expansion into new worlds, both introspection and exploration of the unknown. New combinations produced by old ingredients that evolve to follow new laws.