Skip to main content

The real purpose of creation

Creation, be it the act of an artist, a child, a marketer, a builder, a scientist, a founder, an employee, a customer, a friend, a blogger, a donor - any producer - is a glorious act. At the point of creation, all the infinite options of the past collapse into one manifestation that is shareable.

The act itself is unique, even if it is later replicated, even perfectly, in another place or another time.

Creation is the ability to freeze all available options at any moment in time or extent of space and to select one as the reality, a reality that simply leaves an imprint. This imprint is the memory. Call it name, form or experience, it is a remembrance of an identity that has been created. It is not easy to see in every instance.

Great products and ideas are easily seen as ones that create memories. The iPhone, Mozart #41, The Bhagavad Gita, Euclid's Elements - are ways to create an experience that can be shared. Without someone to share them, they are individual instances. Without some vehicle to carry them, copy them and replicate them, they would have remained a single work, fossilized in time never to be resurrected.

The smile of a child is an act of creation - of happiness, one of the purest kind, that remains as a memory in the parent or the receiver.

The product builder who starts out with a new idea and makes it available to someone else - wants the memory of the experience (of interacting with it) to stick. To the point where it leads him or her to build more of those. So they can trade those memories for memories they would like to have - of a rich life, a meaningful life, etc.

And to stretch your mind a bit, even the destructive act is an act that creates a memory - a memory of the creation that has been taken away from us. With absolutely no attempt to condone any of those acts, OR hurting anyone's sentiments - we can say that even the destructive acts hold the roots of future creation in them. It is very difficult to see it in the moment, and rightfully so. Yet, the best path forward would be to see such an act as opening up the infinity of future options, and to continue creating under the new circumstances. Fossil record is a record of creation too. It is a different kind of creation that can probably never ever be replicated, like a mountain formation.

At this point, you are likely going, "everything is creation, because everything creates memories". But some memories are worth having and some aren't.

Clearly, there are two sides to any memory. On the one hand, memory creates bonds, linkages and connections. On the other hand, their absence (or the perceived absence)  creates addiction, bondage, loss and pain.

Buddha saw this, and made it the fundamental anti-particle to be dealt with in order to take us away from pain and into the infinite bliss of Nirvana. But even Buddha realized that it pulls you back into a different creation - hence the recognition that even the deep stillness of that kind of meditation is but a different level of reality, an emergent layer on top of the classic consciousness. We call it turiya in the upanishads, but the concept is the same - that you can reach a different state where all creation is memory-less. In that state, and that state alone, is every action of yours not a creation - because it preserves the infinity of choices without the constraint of the past creation. But this is a difficult life, impossible for most of us - which is why we can only get tantalizing glimpses of this state, if at all.

We are not that perfect, not most of the time. We have to deal with our memories :)

When you design something, create something - what others see is not your payback for your efforts, but your ability to make memories for them. That is how your creations spread and generate value. That is how your creations sustain, multiply and take their own "emergent" life - the life of a product independent of the creator.

All creation's true purpose is to make memories.

Make yours memorable.


Popular posts from this blog

Why PI is not 4, math is great, and other mysteries.

The other day, I found myself with an interesting problem of approximating a circle with the enclosing square which seems to prove pi = 4.

The paradox was forwarded by a most interesting puzzle collector, Surajit Basu, a friend and life long inspiration. See Sonata for Unaccompanied Tortoise for why!

Here is the offending paradox:

This is an example of how counterintuitive questions can be answered with a little calculus.

The key is to realize that no matter how closely we approximate the circle, the orthogonal lines of the approximation formed by inverting the square corners will never actually be tangential to the circle.

Note carefully that as you get closer to 90 degrees, the horizontal line is much longer than the vertical. Same goes with the approximation at 0 and 180 - the vertical line is much larger than the horizontal component.

If we take a quadrant of the circle - let's say the top left quadrant, moving counter clockwise from top to left -  we can imagine that each inf…

Ambition vs. Fear.

Most important things in life don't come to us. Nor do we get them by seeking/wanting them. It comes from letting go of the unimportant stuff.

The hardest part is letting go of the tendency to take the world as is. This is a habit of our past successes.

But success is not a destination, it is a STOP sign. You stop, wait, and move on. Too often, we are paralyzed by success into the fear of the new. We stall on the road to a new life. We need to break our inertia and move.

Our thoughts and thought habits are hard to break. But that is where we have to spend the most energy. Thoughts are always competing strands  - of worries of the past and anxieties for the future. For some of us, they are cleanly separated into rivers that nurture every place they travel. For most, they are like the torrents and trickles -- competing, rushing somewhere, stopping completely elsewhere, always mixing, morphing, competing, winning, losing.

Our thoughts are the potential difference between the two pole…

Architecture, Engineering, Operations - iteration 1

The world has infinitely more stuff to be "done" nowadays. At least in the sense of building/running an institution that uses technology, there are many roles that are involved in making things work. The world of IT and technology in general makes the speed and variety possible. We now have a platform of IT that is globally scale-able if we can put some new thinking to the old problems of "getting things done".

There are great organizations that do this well, and they use "modern" IT principles to achieve this.

Fundamental to engineering a modern IT (or infrastructure organization) are the three roles of Architecture, Engineering and Operations. Some would say Architecture is encoded Engineering-history, but for now, we will keep them separate.

The popular definitions for these roles are about "output" delivered or the "domain" of discourse. The personality drives that determine the actual performance are not discussed, as far as I ca…