- What should I do for a better life?
- Create! Always, anything…
Albert Camus certainly agreed with this advice, as he wrote that «to create is to live twice.» That’s two times more chances of living a better life! Joke aside, being static and passive is absolutely unnatural to us, we need movement and we need to act. By creating, not only are we giving birth to another (metaphorical) life but we are as well giving meaning to ours.
As to the worthiness of a creation, maybe we should better take an evolutionist point of view and rather ask if it stands the test of time? When Samuel Butler said that «a hen is only an egg’s way of making another egg», he might have added that Humans are only a creation’s way of making another creation. We’re inspired by the works of our predecessors to be writers and painters, to project and and conceive. Building upon the achievements of the past, we continuously redefine the state of the art, incrementing humanity’s knowledge and leaving a trace in the collective unconscious.
Or maybe the reverse is true? Are creations only Humans’ way of making other Humans? It’s at least true in a very literal sense, for example by creating shelters and better life conditions for our kin or creating the tools and means to reduce infant mortality. It’s also true in an inspirational sense, as beautiful pieces of art can bring joy to our lives. And certainly true from an evolutionary psychology point of view as creations are a mean to increase status and gain access to more mating opportunities!
On a side note, from a darwinistic point of view, it’s certainly the case of bowerbirds. «To attract females, the males build, decorate, and maintain elaborate structures […] called bowers». The male also sings and dances, using his bower as a private theatre, all for the enjoyment of its potential mate. It’s a one time only representation for her however. Once the curtain is dropped and the marriage consummated, it’s time for the female to move on, as the male bowerbird cleans the stage, preparing it for its next VIP guest!
To us, humans, life and creation are as interconnected as the double helicoidal DNA. We create life and life is a continuous creation, or in the words of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: «a joyful life is an individual creation that cannot be copied from a recipe.»
The answer «Create! Always, anything…» takes another dimension. Each moment of our life is not only an opportunity to start something new then, it can (should?) be dedicated to consciously creating the next step on our life path. If we’re lucky (hardworking?) enough, we might reach an exhilarating state of flow where chartering our path is a challenging and yet achievable, deeply satisfying creation and where, time is not relevant anymore.
To me this continuous state of flow is another way of describing Buddhist’s enlightenment. It’s a place where we are and are at the same time aware of being. It’s where the two lives of Camus merge.
Some amazing pictures of bowerbirds