Creation, destruction, and maintenance

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The tip of my fountain pen kisses the paper and thus creates words. Your eyes meet these words and create thoughts. In the mean time, somewhere else in India, an economy is creating and creating. Everything around us is full of creation (Sanskrit: kriti).

Indeed, creation is the very means for our existence as well as the act that defines us more than anything else as human beings. Although nature in general is creation, I believe creating, especially beyond the mere necessity, makes humans humane.

There are some instances where bare nature is creating not merely for the sake of living but to enhance the beauty of life as such. (The world and life itself is such a creation). However, the extent to what humans create for pleasure, aesthetics, and comfort is unsurpassed.

Whether it may be the special flavoring of the soup, which could also be eaten unflavored, the enthralling mausoleum called Taj Mahal, where a simple tombstone would have sufficed, or Amrita Shergill’s paintings, which are no requisite at all – they all make men men.

Rabindranath Tagore is right when he writes, “man is true, where he feels his infinity, where he is divine, and the divine is the creator in him,” for there is an undeniable link between God and creation, not only as abstract descriptions in every divine scripture, but also in us.

When we create, we not only make ourselves more human, but we realize our divine potential in us. This could make hardcore capitalists happy as well, since they see in capitalism the permanent growth through creation. The only problem is: the way capitalism is practiced today is not about real creation but about possession, which is dominating the life of most of us.

Unsurprisingly, creation and the intrinsic divine potential turn some people into megalomaniacs, who want to become God, whereby they forget that through creation they can access their divines, without becoming the absolute concept of God themselves.

But what about destruction? And what about stillness, which we experience in meditation? Are they not divine too? I believe Hinduism gives us the answer. The Trimurti, the trinity of Hinduism, teaches us that creation, maintenance, and destruction personified as Brahmā, Vishnu, and Śhiva are all interdependent aspects of the divine.

First of all, there can be no creation without destruction. Every time atoms are arranged in a new pattern an old pattern is destroyed, the same way a brick loses his individual existence and becomes a part of the house, as soon as it is cemented on other brick stones. Brahmā and Śhiva are inseparable. There is no life without death.

Capitalist also rejoice with this interpretation, as the market regularly suffers destructions in form of recessions, which already the economist Joseph Schumpeter declared as imperative interims to boost innovation and weed out ineffective businesses. Whether this is true or not, there is one thing the market does not know: stillness.

In between creation and destruction lies maintenance, which comes often close to the concept of stillness. It is important to enjoy this part of the trinity too, simply because it unites the other two parts in one. (Maybe this makes it sometimes even the most divine aspect of all.)

A strongly supported hypothesis in modern physics states that the overall amount of energy in the universe is zero, which would support my claim that every creation means simultaneous destruction and that nothingness is somehow the underlying concept of all motion and being.

Aristotle argued that he creator of the universe must be an unmoved mover. Therefore, his God is in his essence still as well, even though he created everything. In my opinion, being one with God means being still, but fulfilling one’s divine and human potential implies to create and destroy.

In the end of the day, it is left to us to strike a healthy balance between each of the divine aspects. For some it will rather be the way of Brahmā for others the way of Vishnu, which does not matter, as long as we do not forget that there is more than just one statue making up the Trimurti.

Nevertheless, for the sake of nature (which is our sake) I hope that the economy finds a methodology of pursuing increasingly the path of maintenance – as already the philosopher John Stuart Mill advocated with his theory of a “steady-state economy” – for I suppose, it has long lost its equilibrium with its fetish to create and consume.

Maybe this is the crux of human existence: creation makes us humane, yet we have to learn to restrict and understand creation in order to survive and make life better.

 * Photo by Pierre Metivier
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3 thoughts on “Creation, destruction, and maintenance

  1. Pingback: The “art” of meditation « Indo-German Philosophy by Krisha Kops

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