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.

 

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