The horrific destruction spreading across the Earth moves me to look at the profound mystery of creativity that inhabits it. We are the sons and daughters of creativity, and responsible for it.
I am a creature of the air I breathe, of the blood that courses through my body, of the substances that nourish me, of the atoms and molecules, cells and tissue of which I am made, of the organs that perform my vital functions, of the nearly 100 billion neurons and more than 100 trillion neural connections that make me what I am and make me feel “me”, making me aware of my being with a consciousness that is still incipient and which we Sapiens humans share with numerous animal species at least.
And what about plants? We know at least that, even without neurons or brains, many plants –or all of them, each one in its own way– are intelligent. They know how to create flowers that produce seeds from which new plants sprout, as no biologist or engineer or human creator knows how to do yet. And they all know how to be born and grow without greed, how to live without anxiety, how to exist in solidarity, how to allow themselves to be eaten, how to die without anguish and how to allow themselves to be reborn in countless other forms. Supreme wisdom.
I am a creature of the maternal ovum and paternal sperm that gave birth to me, of the genes that were passed on to me. I am a creature of family, social, cultural, economic or political relationships and conditions that have shaped me and continue to shape me as much as my genes. I am a creature of all that I can see, hear, taste, smell, touch, of all the senses that communicate me with all beings, near or far, with the other, with everything. I am a creature of the sunlight that keeps the flame of life burning in all living things. I am a creature of the self-creating universe or multiverse and its creative conditions. And since all beings are part of the creative conditions of the universe and are all interrelated, I am not only a creature, I am also a creator and co-creator of these conditions. Every creature is, in its own way and in its own measure, a creator of the universe.
I am also, of course, a creature of my own decisions. However, my decisions are only possible because of a myriad of circumstances and determining factors. All my decisions and choices, whether creative or destructive, are entirely determined by a whole host of external and internal conditions. But I am the one who adopts them, and my decision is unique and non-transferable. And each decision or choice I make in turn becomes a factor –who knows whether significant or decisive– in the decisions of all beings.
Do all beings make decisions? I think it can be said that, indeed, all beings decide, all organisms choose, each in its own way. Every organism obeys the holy law of life, the marvellous creative law that guides it. It cannot do otherwise. But that does not mean that it is blind obedience, but enlightened obedience. The sunflower is capable of orienting itself towards the sun, of choosing the mysterious vital impulse that gives life to it and moves it. Its freedom lies in this capacity to choose life, which basically consists of supporting the powerful creativity that moves everything, that moves us. And no choice is automatic, not even that of the sunflower. Its specific choice –its decision, one could say by way of analogy– is the outcome of so many and such complex conditions linked to the particles of its atoms and to the most distant galaxies, so that its choice can never be automatically predicted or foreseen or provide detail. In a vast field of sunflowers just sprouting in spring, who can predict with certainty whether and to what degree any of these seedlings will realise the freedom to live, bear fruit and devote themselves to others, whether they will ever grow and flower, whether they will be able to germinate and whether, come late summer or early autumn, their tasty, oil-filled seeds will ripen?
Ourselves, today’s humans, such complex, vulnerable beings, still halfway to our realisation, are, especially, creatures of our own inescapable choices. We decide thanks to and according to countless conditions, but we decide. An irresistible impulse, marvellous creativity, spurs us to choose, to be free, in other words, to realise our creative vocation, to create ourselves and to create instead of ruining ourselves and destroying. Each one of us is the unique, irreplaceable agent of his or her own choice. Each one of us, from the depths of our being, from the Earth that begets us, from the Universe in which we are, hears a voice as eternal as the universe: “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” (Bible book of Deuteronomy 30:19 NIV).
Every choice is, I stress, entirely conditional and, at the same time, made personally. And the external and internal conditions are so many and so infinitely complex that our choices, while remaining entirely conditional, are never entirely predictable. Freedom is not about choosing without conditions –”free will”– but about making myself responsible for the conditions that constitute me and for the decisions I make. Freedom is the wisdom to act in the knowledge that I depend on everything, that I owe everything to everyone, and it is wise to decide as if everything depended on me. Humbly, responsibly, in solidarity.
I am the agent of my choice, the irreplaceable agent of my decision, of my choice to open myself up or to close myself down, to give or to withhold myself, to care or to neglect, to create or to destroy. I am the agent of and responsible for my conditioned choices in relation to all that has created me and to that which I am called to create. At the same time I must pay attention to the conditions that make me, and the decisions of which I am the agent, I must answer for the former as well as for the latter, in order to create myself better. And this duty is grace and power.
I am not yet fully created. Neither is the human species Sapiens, which is not the first and will not be the last of the human species. No species, nothing, has been created in its entirety. Driven by the unstoppable force of creativity, in an absolutely dynamic, interrelated and evolving universe, I am an unfinished creature, a creature in the making, a creature in the process of creation. Everything that exists could say the same about itself: “I am created, creator and being created.” Created and creating, I am yet to be created and to be fully created. Indeed, the Latin word creatura not only means something created, but is also the feminine nominative of the future active participle of the verb creare and means “she who is going to create”; just as natura does not only designate “nature”, but is also the feminine nominative of the future active participle of the verb nascere, to be born, and means “she who is going to be born”. We are being born in an Earth groaning with labour pains.
The eternal Silence that resounds, the Voice of Creativity or of God that pronounces himself in the depths of all that is, is telling us: “You are creatures, you are creators, you are in creation. Create yourselves, create.”
O sacred creativity, open us to your inspiration and keep us faithful to your creative breath.
Aizarna, Basque Country. 19 October, 2022
(Translated by Sarah J. Turtle)