Creativity and Entropy

It seems to me that everybody that sets their mind to creating things faces an incessant battle against entropy, which they can never win, ultimately.  Yet, we create anyway, because without creation, entropy is indistinguishable from decay.

Think about it.  In order to realise your creative ambition, you must first find the time, materials, learn the skills and study the craft and history of your creative field.  Yes, you can just dive in, with whatever you have available at the time and there is great merit in acts of spontaneous creativity.  However, if you want to do something of a particular quality, the spontaneous acts of creativity can help you learn and refine your ideas and technique, but in the end, you’re struggling to assemble the necessary means.

In a society that demands you pay for the privilege of living, without identifying whom you should pay and for what services rendered that enable you to continue living, part of your struggle against entropy is finding the means to pay for studio space, materials, sustenance while you devote yourself to your creation and so on.  Once the creative artefact is complete, then you have to find the wherewithal to make it available. This can involve publicity and promotion, exhibition, replication, distribution, you name it.  Again, you are struggling against the need to assemble all of these adjuncts before your art can reach its audience effectively.

There are so many things to solve, in the world that can interfere with creating a comfortable, thriving, prosperous life; you cannot possibly solve them all.  Indeed, history is littered with accounts of great, creative men and women who, having defeated the forces of entropy to a degree necessary to allow their ideas to flourish, were nevertheless consumed by the problems they failed to solve, either through lack of attention, lack of insight, lack of focus or the sheer difficulty of finding another waking minute to fight that battle too.

In the end, our lives are finite.  There are only so many fights we can take on and win.  Problems that are of importance will, of necessity, remain unsolved as we struggle to balance creating a life worth living with actually living it.  Even as we make creative progress forward, our bodies are in a state of aging and decay.  Just as we acquire the wisdom and deft dexterity to accomplish our finest creations, our faculties dull and fail, while our very bodies are beset by all manner of physical impairments.  The works we make, too, simply decay and despoil.  Our works are organic objects.  Leave them unmaintained and they fall apart, quite literally.  Nothing we make lasts forever, against the vicissitudes of time.

The laws of the universe dictate that all things tend toward entropy and disorder inexorably.  Chaos is the inevitable end point.  How miraculous, then that we, an unlikely life form living in a non-descript position in the galaxy, have found the means to arrest entropy, at least temporarily, in order for our creativity to be expressed.

Physicists would argue that we only ever displace entropy, trading the order we create for some other disorder elsewhere, as a consequence of our activities.  This is undoubtedly correct, according to the mathematics that describe the physics, yet none the less remarkable for that.  In shaping entropy to our wills, so that we create ephemeral beauty and order, holding particular forms of chaos at bay, this phenomenon is almost inexplicable.  I don’t know of a physical law or equation that adequately describes the process.  How, exactly, does creativity have the power to stop the relentless trend towards disintegration?

As an artist, you should take great pride and satisfaction in your creations, however imperfect.  After all, according to the laws of physics, interpreted at a macro level, they shouldn’t be possible at all.  Ideas are, after all, a reordering of matter within the universe (inside our heads) such that a pattern is discernible and so that beings such as us can make sense of them.  Understanding is an elusive occurrence, in a universe designed to destroy itself.  Being able to share that ordered construction with other life forms, which in turn create ordered models of that art in their own minds, in a shared understanding, is something that goes against all the known laws of thermodynamics.  Revel in its momentary brilliance.  It shouldn’t be possible at all.

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About tropicaltheartist

You can find out more about me here: https://michaeltopic.wordpress.com/. There aren’t many people that exist in that conjunction of art, design, science and engineering, but this is where I live. I am an artist, a musician, a designer, a creator, a scientist, a technologist, an innovator and an engineer and I have a genuine, deep passion for each field. Most importantly, I am able to see the connections and similarities between each field of intellectual endeavour and apply the lessons I learn in one discipline to my other disciplines. To me, they are all part of the same continuum of creativity. I write about what I know, through my blogs, in the hope that something I write will resonate with a reader and help them enjoy their own creative life more fully. I am, in summary, a highly creative individual, but with the ability to get things done efficiently. Not all of these skills are valued by the world at large, but I am who I am and this is me. The opinions stated here are my own and not necessarily the opinion or position of my employer.
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8 Responses to Creativity and Entropy

  1. rosiewrites2 says:

    Oh dear ….I tend to just ‘dive in’ with my writing …..yes I know you can tell by the rather haphazard result ! But I am a spontaneous person.
    Though I DO research unfamiliar subjects ….so I suppose that is preparation.

  2. Yes it is so hard to juggle all the balls! I still don’t have the money to buy Word for my Mac so I’m constantly going to the library to refine my short stories and check for glitzes that my basic Mac program Bean leaves in to trip me up. If I do write I get behind with everything else like reading blogs and answering emails and doing reviews. Know that you are not alone, creatives need to support each other and your blog definitely does that!

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