People create things. That is what we are always doing in one form or another.

In that creating, we often tend to focus on the most obvious types of creation – what we might well call “Direct Object Verb” type creation. That would be like “Hit the Nail with the Hammer”, or “I buy the book with the credit card”. This type of action is really easy to observe, isolate, and put a name to. And it is this type of creation that gets all of the glory and attention when we consider our own creative powers. 

I would suggest that there is another type of creating that is dominant and operates at much larger scale than the Direct Object type of verbs that we are responsible for: Emergence. Emergence is the dominant creative force around us. Apple computer for example – was created by Jobs and Wozniak. It has a lot of direct object verbs going on inside it like marketing campaigns and product design. But it is the emergence of Apple that makes the greatest impact. The cumulative effects of change happening at a distance from Apple HQ in Cupertino are operating at billions of times more scale than the specific decisions and outcomes that can be tracked.

An example of this is that in your city right now, there is less solar radiation hitting the ground because of dust kicked up into the atmosphere by the mining operations in China that supply the rare earth metals for the semiconductors in your iPhone or Macbook. Likewise, the crosscurrents around us are playing out in such variety and surprising forms that we live in a world of emergence, like waves in the ocean arising due to the cumulative effects of an unlimited number of overlapping inputs.


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Kevin Ready

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