My continued research into the problem of ascertaining whether or not true creativity can exist has revealed that the problem is even more complex than I imagined. Many detailed explorations of all the subtle nuances and inflexions of the matter have been carried out by philosophers since before the time of Aristotle.
It seems to me that we can bypass all these avenues by simply considering the answer to the most pressing problem in all of science, mathematics and philosophy:
do infinities exist?
If an unspecified number of people can, for an unspecified period of time, no matter where they are situated, continue to produce juxtapositions of matter and the forces acting upon it to produce combinations that have never before been witnessed, which is an idea implicit in the concept of creativity, then the idea of the infinite is invoked. Nature abhors infinities, where they are never found. (‘Eternity’ is the infinite projected through time.)
Even Albert Einstein, whose field equations, in many solutions, produce infinities, expressed his disquiet at the idea.
My own work as a composer has frequently involved ideas ‘springing from nowhere’, conforming to the popular notion of how music is produced. These ideas are then developed and subjected to practical constraints (musical instruments are limited in what they can do and the range of frequencies available) but I have also, literally, constructed music, often with surprising results. These results have not proved anything but they have shaken my cherished notions to their foundation.
I often hear people use words such as ‘gifted’, ‘inspired’ and ‘creative’ but I can’t use them if I don’t know what they mean. No one does.
As I said in a previous blog, what we perceive to be an infinity of fresh ideas may be the result of combinatorial vastness. Fashion cycles will also present old ideas to subsequent generations who may regard them as being fresh ideas. Unfortunately, there is a tendency for these so-called ‘retro’ fashions to be ephemeral.