Notice, I did not say creationism. Let me start this round about scientific treatise this way: A neutron and proton are at home. Their dog, electron, is circling the yard. A quark walks up and knocks on the door. Proton: “Who is it?” Neutron looks out: “There’s nothing there.” But there is something, it’s just not visible.
In 2013 a group of scientists, quite smarter than I am gathered at the Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate held every year at the American Museum of Natural History (See video below) to discuss nothing. Nothing? That’s right. For two hours they argue, quite compellingly on both sides, about whether or not nothing actually exists.
This quickly leads to the origin of the universe, and the possibility of time travel. For scientifically minded authors interested in writing science fiction, it’s a treasure trove of ideas. There may even be a Troy Lambert suspense thriller sci-fi novel in the works at some point.
But it made me think about the making of something from nothing. Not in relation to the origin of the universe, and whether God initiated the process, some other intelligent design, or the interaction of the laws of physics on nothing that scientists describe as anything but nothing.
Rather, I thought of it in terms of language. How does an author create his stories? Where do his ideas come from? Nothing? It’s difficult scientifically to describe the origin of stories, or even language. Some say that creativity is only human, and that it comes from the heart, or the soul, something many claim the lower animals do not possess. However, when looking at man’s best friend, not even considered one of the more intelligent animals, the theory does not hold up.
My dog can be mischievous. You could say he is motivated by food, the need for praise, seeking approval, training but if you have owned a dog, you know these instincts don’t explain all of their behavior. You also know dogs use language. When you have owned a dog, you begin to understand what his barks, looks, and whines mean. He and you have established communication, and there are times when your dog is creative when you fail to understand what he is trying to communicate, or when he is home alone and bored.
But where does his language and his need to communicate come from? Nothing? What about the things he gets up because of boredom? Where do his “ideas” for those things come from?
Creativity is not an instinct. At times in human history, it has been the stuff that enabled the survival of the species, but since the beginning man has always expressed himself and communicated through art and language.
In Stray Ally, Sparky communicates, and uses his creativity to help Clarke solve problems (other dogs too). The principle is not far-fetched. It is one based on observations. Your dog is a creative genius, and he too can create communication and language from nothing. Is his tearing of the couch cushions actually art?
He may not be writing novels, or songs, or painting, at least not yet. But to say that we are the only creative beings is not only arrogant and crude, but it is wrong.
Your dog too, can create something seemingly from nothing. Scientist will tell you nothing is not nothing at all. We won’t explore the nothing the way they do. But creativity is not unique to us, the only uniqueness comes in the creation itself.
So go on. Transform your nothing into something. You too are a creator.