Creativity, Conflict, and Resolution, Create Order.
Interaction of wills causes conflict and competition. It causes relationships to be formed and wars to be waged. What is amazing is how this dynamic is present at every layer of life. You can go back as far as the atom to see it. And perhaps that is where it is shown most clearly. We find this very topic under the heading “The laws of conservation.”
This law is the most amazing discovery of science as far as I am concerned. It, by itself, explains human and biological behaviour as well as any study of behaviour could. Our behaviour and that of all things, is found at their root, in the behaviour of that which we are made of.
The laws of conservation state that all atoms, by nature, try to reach their lowest possible level of energy output. This would never be zero, by the way; only their lowest possible. Now, because no atom is an island, and the fact that there is often more than one type of atom densely packed together, atoms must interact. The result of interactions is not neutral. All interactions affect all the atoms involved. This also applies to humans. All interactions affect all parties and change them, even if that change is not noticeable right away. There is a cumulative effect.
When one atom, for instance, captures a stray electron, it will naturally pass it on to the nearest atom. What happens then is an eternal game of hot potato where both atoms become bound to each other. When that happens, depending on the type of atoms involved, a new substance is created. That new substance is representative of a relationship or merger and a new lowest possible energy output level for each atom. Can you see the parallels with human behaviour yet? It seems even the atom has needs that must be fulfilled.
If one studies nothing else in science it is incumbent on all humans interested in truth about the way things work to study the laws of conservation, and hence the laws of thermodynamics. Humans too form groups and relationships in order to fulfil their needs; and that and many other patterns can be seen actualized from the atom through every level to the human. No more notably, perhaps, than in the couch potato.
It even goes beyond us. Humans create new entities though our relationships and through our co-operative mergers like cultures, societies, economies and institutions. Some would say these are imaginary entities but the symbiotic and co-dependent relationships that we form with our institutions are real in an objective sense, and like atoms, are studied statistically.
Atoms form different substances. Molecules merge due to interaction and create complex chemicals, Cells are made from complex proteins, cells depend on each other and form the whole being, human beings merge and create families and institutions. It’s a very basic pattern repeated up and down the scale. Each response is a response to conflict/stimulus/interaction.
We all love the idea of creativity, but what we do not always understand is that creativity is forced on us by conflict. Hunger is a form of internal conflict. This leads to new and creative ways to obtain food. We evolved from people who hunted and gathered. We have developed farming, trading goods and services and a monetary system, all in aid of living better. Problems that we came to forced us to be creative in order to solve them, and the process continues to evolve.
So without conflict there is no reason to get creative. We do so to solve problems. We are not just talking about the search for food and better shelter. We are talking about every aspect of existence including art and music and science. You will often hear an artist say they “have to” paint or sculpt or write or play music to resolve inner conflicts, fulfill their fantasies or get something out of themselves.
Even entertainment resolves a problem: boredom. We often wish that all our problems would go away. But with them would go the need for creativity. Without the need for creativity due to some form of conflict or stimulus, there would simple be none. Some, like the Wicca, object to that and would like nothing more than for the wheel to keep turning. They find perfection in the current state of affairs.
What we are after is our version of perfection. We ask things like: What is the perfect society, the perfect government, the best mouse trap, etc. How can we find an end to poverty and injustice; an end to hunger and disease? How can we find inner peace? That is possibly the biggest one as it encompasses the rest.
But perfection, as I have mentioned, is a bit illusive as all of us have slightly different criteria; and even if our goals are the same, (for example ending poverty) our preferred way of getting there differs, which again leads to conflict and resolutions. The resolutions, being imperfect, always end up causing more conflict. This is exactly the same as the way atoms behave. The subjects and problems are different on the surface, but the pattern is exactly the same.
The atom may not be able to think about it, but its natural goal is inner peace in the form of reaching its lowest possible output of energy. Conflict inevitably ends in some kind of resolution, and as I have said, in the atom it is usually a merger with others which forms new substances. In turn those substances interact with others and conflict/resolution is again inevitable.
Am I suggesting we should embrace conflict? Of course I’m not. All I am suggesting is that we understand it as part of the process of life. It is after all what evolution is based on. Change is based in the dynamic of conflict and resolution. That dynamic is the creative force.
Another aspect of the laws of conservation is entropy. It is the second law of thermodynamics. It isn’t very well understood by most people. Entropy is the slight and constant degrading of a system. It affects closed systems most drastically. As chaos increases the system breaks down. With an open system like a human being entropy is always being countered by added energy from food intake, the sun, etc.
The world itself is an open system fed by the sun. Were it not for entropy nothing would change. Chaos breeds order and it does so in different ways. Entropy is the engine of evolution, not its destruction as so many theists in particular seem to believe.
Entropy is actually the amount of energy in a system that is doing no work due to the fact that it has come to a point of equilibrium. Another way of saying it would be that entropy is the amount of atoms, in any system, that have found their lowest possible level of energy output. A mechanical example would be a pressurized air tank that is running a tool. As pressure is used air starts to become used up. It escapes. Eventually the tank reaches equilibrium with the atmosphere outside the tank and no more work can be done unless more pressure/energy is added to the tank.
This relates well to chaos theory. You know how loud a car engine is without a muffler. Of course sound is frequency. So if you create the exact opposite frequency you still get a lot of noise. But if you combine the two frequencies they cancel out and you have silence. Both engine and noise generators are still running full force. But the noise they both make is locked out.
Yet another good example of chaos theory is spin glass. Here, chemicals with wildly different energy levels and “spin” are thrown together. The opposites cancel out leaving us with a stable, ultra strong glass; a new order.
The same principal that makes opposites in math cancel out can be applied to any situation. Exact opposites always cancel out leaving the remainder to form a new order. But if energy is added, the process begins again. If no energy is added our spin glass will eventually degrade over time through entropy.
As a young man I once had a dream where I saw a battle between god and Satan. The narrator in the dream told me that they were both the same. One was no better than the other. The truth was in the center of the battle, not on either side of the extremes. It said that Satan was god’s greatest teacher.
That was quite a revelation. But it was, of course, a metaphor about conflict. Satan was chaos, and god represented oppressive order. The center of the battle was where change and creativity was happening. Without chaos there is no change, and so nothing can be resolved.
Suppose this was not the case. Suppose we could not physically protest a dictator’s will? We would be consigned for ever to live with it. But opposing a dictator’s will means creating conflict. If we can’t oppose him at least we know that eventually the dictator will die, so entropy or change solves our problem over time. Ironically, change is a constant.
All wars eventually must end due to lack of resources on one side or the other or both. It can end in a number of ways. An opponent can be completely wiped out, an opponent can surrender, a mutual deal can be made that brings peace, or a stale mate can occur where unless more resources or more energy are added to one side or the other neither side can continue to fight let alone win. But whatever the actual outcome, there is always an eventual outcome and a new order. It may be short lived, it may be tenuous, but it will always be back.
So order in this universe is inevitable, not special, and it is all explained in the laws of thermodynamics. It means all conflict must eventually be resolved. Our personal problems are no different. They will always be resolved eventually. Often not to our liking but that is irrelevant to the principal. From observing this since mankind first walked the earth, we have come up with sayings like: “it will all look different the morning,” and, “don’t worry, things are bound to change soon.” And they inevitably do.
Very often people do not like change. We have found our hard won bit of peace of mind and then someone or something or some new idea comes along and messes it up. But change is inevitable, like it or not. While I do not advocate embracing conflict, I do advocate embracing change. But that is why I said in other hubs that we should never marry our ideas, or “put all our eggs in one basket”. It makes change all that more palatable.