Something from Nothing

There is a certain art to creating ex nihilis, that peculiar blend of insanity and reason that makes possible everyday miracles of creation. A friend and I were swapping stories last night, and she does it much better than I as she's a professional. And I had described my method and life along the lines of "you start with an idea of where you'd like to go, and then you feel it out from there, tacking whenever the wind changes." I used a sailing metaphor, but the actual context was more waves and tide. I kayak after all. But the principle is the same, waves need facing head on so that they don't broadside and swamp you.

Learning to change course often can be a hard lesson. Most of us set our sights on a goal, and then stick to it until we succeed or abandon the project. This consistency is commonly cited as a primary indicator of successful people. We hear the refrain over and over again, work hard, stay the course, you will be rewarded in the end. We start indoctrinating children to think this way from a very young age, grind them through schools designed to train them for tedium, and then wonder why we have so many tedius people. No doubt in large part of having the imagination beat out of us by having to memorize so many incorrect facts.

But some of us get lucky. We particularly excelled at faking being tedius, all the while practicing a black art of imaginative play. Odds are if you design anything today, you were designing things as a kid. It isn't the school trained you to do it, you already were it and just didn't have the good grace to bend a knee and swear allegiance to the lords of toil. But it is not just a rejection of normalcy that drives creative types. We can not always have railed against some status quo, could we?

I think in large part it is the case. One part rebel mixed with a constant inconsistency, what Athena called Odysseus, polutropos, many turns, continuously turning. We are the gears inthe clock, the thing which fights stagnation and decay. We give the world new order, by constantly turning, shifting in new directions as the world changes. We are also the only people well adapted to the world of our devising. The reason that our constant rebellion against what is brings fear to those who are ill disposed to change.

Looking back at my career and life so far, I have not gone anywhere that I planned, did the things I thought I would do, or have the goals I thought I wanted. Somewhere I learned to change, woke up realizing that there is no magical future in which we will find a reward. Just day to day adventures, and new things to build. I learned to do what I love, and not the other way round. Because I won't do tomorrow what I did today.