Creative Destruction   4 comments

Are humans better at creating or destroying?

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What an amazing topic!

As with so many things, I don’t see this in black and white terms. Without a doubt, human beings have a history of destructive behavior. Wars, environmental damage, genocides, infanticide – God must weep to see His creation being so absolutely stupid. He created us to be nurturing and we spit in His face and put ourselves on His throne and started smashing the china.

It would be easy to look around our planet and judge, as some people do, human beings as destructive beyond redemption.

And yet we are the most creative species. No other species creates art like we do. Amazing paintings, music that takes our souls to the heights of heaven and the depths of hell, books that speak words that break our hearts and put them back together again … there’s just so much that shows how incredibly creative we are. We were created by the ultimate Creator, and a part of being made in His image is that we hold an incredible capacity for creation.

Image result for image of creative destruction economics

And then there’s this little-recognized and largely not understood concept of Creative Destruction. It’s an economic term. It means that as new technologies and economic sectors are created, old ones are often destroyed, but in the process of the destruction, the people displaced by that transformation end up with improved lives.

This has application in so many areas, including as a writer. I am currently happily wrestling with my perennial work in progress, “What If Wasn’t.” I think I am on Complete Rewrite #3 and it’s starting to look like a series (no real surprise there, I guess). I’ve killed a lot of darlings in the process – but in the debris of each editing, I find gems worth keeping and making better. Destruction and creativity are symbiotic processes.

I think humans are naturally better at destruction than we are at creativity because, since the Fall, we’re bent and we struggle to access the nature God created us to have. At best, creativity is a vestigial talent left over from when we were whole and complete, in full contact with the Creator. Destruction became our legacy when we divorced from His guidance. But because we are both, we live through this endless cycle of destruction and creativity, using the debris of our destruction as building blocks for our creativity, even as our creativity powers us forward into a future that leaves behind the technologies of the past.

It’s fascinating to view the cycle. In economics, it’s wonderful to see how the process of creative destruction has lifted so many people out of poverty. In history, it is stunning to see civilizations that have risen from the debris of prior civilizations. And, yet, there remains that destructive bent that believes that we must strangle others in order to get ahead. Whether we do the strangling in the board room or the capitol, we so often refuse to see that there is a better way based on individual striving in a society that allows both competition (which makes us strong) and cooperation (which allows for support where we’re weak). I see a lot of my daughter’s generation who are beginning to understand this and adopt a live-and-let-life strategy to live, but there are so many voices today that couch destructive messages in touchy-feely rhetoric. It is hard sometimes to know whether we are improving or devolving, but that too may be a cycle of creative destruction.

And now we should head off to see what my fellow authors think on this subject.

Posted January 28, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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4 responses to “Creative Destruction

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  1. Yes, we have a great capacity for creation, but also for destruction too. All part of being human I suppose!

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  2. And that’s the paradox. What some people consider destruction, others feel is a necessary step to creation. Finding equilibrium between the two is not something we, as a species, has figured out yet.

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    • Yes and so often when we choose to conserve that which we consider precious, we are actually sowing the seeds of destruction. Hence why the forest fires became such a big deal – a century of fire suppression built up a lot of fuel because people didn’t want the forest to burn. Turns out the forests need to burn. Life’s a balance and human beings are kind of imbalanced. CS Lewis called them bent.

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