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.

 


8 thoughts on “Creation vs Discovery

  1. Most creations are inspired by something that already exists. For example, the sail may have been invented after someone observed that wind pressure on their body moved them along. I can’t think of an invention that has no precedent somewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Following that Aristotelian logic nothing is created, everything is discovered from harmony and dissonance to Teflon and velveeta. Which might be right. It’s already there, waiting to be combined into something new. Discovered, not created. Weird.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. Exactly. Newly discovered under the sun.
      But I rather doubt it. Like life itself, which shakes its box of genes and dumps out never before seen (created) beings. CRISPR-cas9 anyone?

      Like

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