Creation vs Discovery

Over there on The Memoir of a Writer, Zarah and I got into a discussion on the concept of creating anything “new.”

She had her points and I had mine and in the end I believe the conversation boiled down to: are we just discovering “new” or are we creating “new?”

During our exchange I gave her a a few examples of new, one being Calculus. I originally held that Newton and Leibniz “created” Calculus but now realize that they really only discovered it. So the concept of discovering any scientific fact, math, physics, chemistry, etc, is just that… discovery. There’s been a boatload of discovery that historically might have been called creation, but it is really just the revealing of what exists in the world.

So what is creation? I would posit that only an elevated intellect can create. From nothing, something.

Ideas often come from example. A log floats down a river. With sharp tools, that log hollowed out becomes a boat. Was that boat discovered or created? What of the tools? What of the mast and sail and paddle and rudder? No doubt there is creation in there somewhere. And the “new” part is that at some point in the past the very first woven sail had to have been attached to a stick that became the mast of a sailboat. Someone made something new. Even if the entire Universe is taken into account, some being somewhere was the first to create that new something.

Nothing new under the sun was the theme of Zarah’s original post. Can we really create some new story line, plot, or theme? Don’t all stories, today, leverage what already exists? Can we really create or write something new?

My position is that: all that we take for granted, at some time in the past, each thing or idea was created anew. And that today, even though we have billions of minds constantly trying to dream up some novel invention or concept, someone, somewhere will no doubt create some as-yet-unknown newness.


Your ancestors survived

Yeah, when you think about it, your ancestors had to survive. But consider their lives, lives directly connected to you.

The probabilities are extremely high that at least one of your:

  • grandmothers died in child birth,
  • grandfathers was killed by a wild beast,
  • ancestors killed another human,
  • ate mammoth, giant sloth, or wild auroch,
  • slept in a cave for most of their lives,
  • migrated over vast stretches of land,
  • suffered wicked injury and inhuman depravity,
  • survived famine, flood, fire and feud,
  • and in the end, produced you.



I went seeking historical causes of death throughout human history and ended up deducing the following. This applies to the approximately 100 Billion souls calculated to have lived and died thus far.

• Approximately 1/3 of all humans who have ever lived probably died from Malaria.

• Another 1/3 died from infectious disease (Tuberculosis, Pneumonia (Influenza), Cholera, Typhoid, Plague, etc.).

• The last third died of the remainder of dominate causes of death divided into a number of categories:

1/10th of 1/3rd (~3 billion people) died each from:

  • Religion/War
  • Heart Disease
  • Cancer
  • Infection (septicemia)
  • Homicide/suicide
  • Fire, flood & famine (natural disasters)
  • Personal accidents
  • Neonatal (before age 1)
  • Old age
  • Misc. (snake/insect bites, predation)

The numbers are fuzzy of course. No one can possibly ever know the truth. But this rough guide might be handy at a cocktail (or Halloween) party.

Old and poor? Crime pays

Years ago I thought that if you were elderly and poor, homeless even, then committing a crime in order to go to prison (three squares, a bed, TV and mates to talk to) would be an ideal habitat.

Turns out the Japanese are doing just this. See the comment below (link included).

What else should the elderly be doing? Sharing their homes with oppressed college kids who need to save $ for room & board?

Dangerous work that doesn’t require high physical strength or acuity?

The military. Don’t send youngsters in to a war zone – send old folks?

Rare Earth: more evidence

I keep a running list of the reasons why we should consider Earth as rare in the Universe.

Two additions I’ve recently added are this:

• Theia’s impact delivered more than just iron and nickel to Earth’s core (producing an extra large magnetosphere) but also (probably) delivered additional carbon, nitrogen and sulfur — chemicals which, like oxygen and hydrogen, are volatile and tend to get boiled off during a planet’s accretion phase (forming from the solar system’s proto-disc).

• Tidally locked planets and moons would lose their magnetosphere (the dynamo engine within a iron molten cored planet). Without this magnetic shield solar and cosmic radiation would ravage any life that had arisen on the planet.

The reason I keep this list is that it supports the 2^Nth theory I maintain about how to calculate a Rare Earth.


The “Two to the N’th” theory is an approximate probability that describes the uniqueness in the Universe of a electromagnetic-energy manipulating species — that is, us. Essentially, all factors that contributed to the existence of humanity can be distilled down to coin flips. Every coin flip = 50% probability. Add up a bunch of coin flips (landing on heads) and you get a probability that represents how unique we are.

For instance: If we assume that one out of every two stars in the Universe/Galaxy is singular not binary (binary star systems are too unstable to support planetary life) that’s coin flip number one (2^1). Of those, if half are the right size (a very conservative estimate) — another coin flip (2^2). If you examine all the factors, turn them into 50% (one flip) or 25% (two flips) or 12.5% (three flips) etc. you end up with a whole load of coin flips or powers of two (2^Nth).

I’ve done the compilation (that is, keeping this growing list) and determined that over 60 is the current number of coin flips that all landed up “heads” which represents how lucky/unique we are in the universe. The probability of flipping 60 coins and ALL OF THEM landing heads — represents the probability of Humanity.

How often would 60 coin flips all land on heads? Well, we know it happened at least once (that US!). But what is 2^60th power?


The probability of Humanity is 1 out of 1.1 quintillion. Is that rare? Probably.

I continue to collect these “features” which helped contribute to our existence. I suspect that we’ll get to seventy here some time soon: 2^70 = 1 sextillion.

Here’s a handy approximator:

  • 2^10 = ~one thousand
  • 2^20 = ~one million
  • 2^30 = ~one billion
  • 2^40 = ~one trillion
  • 2^50 = ~one quadrillion
  • 2^60 = ~one quintillion
  • 2^70 = ~one sextillion (or one billion trillion)


Grave of a child

I’ve stopped reading and writing.


My kindle is chock full of “To Read”s yet, there they sit. I’ve got a dozen story ideas listed on a whiteboard each one glaring down at me. My blog inbox is bulging. My outbox is crickets. My fingers creak as I write these words. In fact, penning this post feels like digging the grave of a child. But it has festered and begun to stink and so must be put to rest.

I spend my time now, wasting it. Youtube, Netflix, and of course the job — I have to teach myself Accounting 101 in the next few months. It’s killing me inside.

And yet, there’s this tectonic ache building within me. The stress between artistic plates strains as I attempt to ignore it. But when the slip finally comes on what will I expend my efforts? What topic, concept, or endeavor deserves my time? And herein is the thrust of this post…

Why do we read what we read? Why did you choose to read these words? What drove you to select that novel? That Aeon or Medium or WordPress article? And, more importantly, should I consider your underlying needs for written entertainment as I choose my next writer’s work?

There’s no end to online explorations as to “why we write and/or create” — what the muse whispers in our ear — what inner force compels us to imagine, sculpt and produce.

But what about the flip side? What drives you to consume? What notions worm their insidious threads of quest, of exploration into your mind? Notions that will not be suppressed — that insist that you read that novel, research that technology or phenomenon, study and probe those people, places, events and ideas until you are satiated?

And shouldn’t such factors influence what creative topic or concept I choose next? For I prefer (as do all writers) to write words that will get read and enjoyed, celebrated even. Sure, we write foremost for ourselves. But if we didn’t care to have our work consumed by others, we would write it — and then delete it. So of course writers crave readers.

But what do readers crave? And why? Why do you read what you read, watch what you watch?


If Amazon /must/ exist (and no one can convince me that it should), then why can’t I buy weed on Amazon?

Weed has saturated the Best Coast. Why hasn’t Bozos, er, Bezos figure out a way to sell Cannabis legally on his beloved garbage garage website?

Really, Jeffrey — what the hell?

Where is the buzz of the drone delivering my buzz while I drone on and on?

Space? Bah! You’re an amateur. Quit while you’re (way) behind (Musk). Get me my drugs – STAT!


We all wear masks

In the United States, Thanksgiving is over and most of us can store away the masks we wear for family occasions. We unlock the chest, rummage to the bottom, and tuck them beneath the yearbooks and faded photo albums. We’ll unearth them again at the Winter Solstice holiday (Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and the New Year).

Meanwhile, we’ll only have to tote around the two or three we use daily to get through our work-a-day lives. Flip-slip-snap! On goes the work-mask. Zip-clip-pip! Here we swap one out to talk to our children (or elders). Peal-squeal-kneel, we don the one we wear for our spouse.

These masks we wear, do we even consider them? Do we ever resent them? Or, embrace them — gathering them in droves as flavors of personalities we expose?

And then, at night, we sleep and our masks melt away while we dream; our true selves bubble up through the falsity of cultural-behavioral control. In our dreams we are who we are, our masks flitting over our faces like tissue — there and gone, torn away by our unconscious desires to be both ourselves and our un-selves.

How many masks do you wear? Are there those you find uncomfortable? Alluring? Disturbing?