Imitatio Dei

As a student of design in several aspects of life, I find it intriguing that insights from planning and designing (as well as the enjoyment of these arts) help us to better understand the tasks and dilemmas that are faced in creation. An appreciation of design gives us a greater respect for the designs that we see around us in our universe, and a better understanding of the choices that designers make when they have particular ends in mind. It would appear that creativity is a major pull towards the design arts, even if not all of them are particularly lucrative professions. Creativity and the increased peace of mind that many people seek from self-expression are compensation enough for many creative individuals, even apart from lucrative salaries and benefits, which might account for at least some of the popularity of the design arts even in today’s economy.

One of the foremost ways those of us who are religious see God is as our Creator (which is at least one of the two reasons given why the Sabbath is commanded for all mankind, in Exodus 20), and the process of seeking to understand why and what we create also helps us to better understand the motivations and intentions of the creation that we see all around us in our lives and in our universe. Likewise, the sort of difficulties we face in achieving our plans because of the free will of others demonstrates the complexity of the plans that any thoughtful being must undertake in order to deal with the free will of others. It is one level of difficulty to make plans in our head, to write up imaginary characters and to move them about according to our whims and designs, but it is an entirely different order of magnitude level of difficulty to make the same level of complex plans with people who have their own desires, their own plans, and their own free will which must be respected by any honorable being.

Designers often work under multiple constraints. For example, those who wish to maximize crop yields for financial benefit would be wise to recognize that there are other concerns that need to be balanced, such as genetic variability to ensure for the long-term viability of one’s planting efforts as well as resistance to pests, and also an understanding that genes will travel and mix with other varieties, so that we must be careful not to plant any genetic material that we do not wish to spread far beyond its present confines. Designers of buildings must reflect the realities of material properties as well as the dangers a particular building will face in terms of snow, wind, or earthquakes. A building may look great on paper but be a nightmare to build or face a great deal of difficulty for its occupants. In other cases, people may design with great ideas but may completely lack understanding of how people actually think and behave. One classic example of this was the attempt in the 1970’s to create sunken areas in public spaces for people to congregate, but with the failure to understand that people did not want to sit below others but rather above them, so people would rather sit on stairs than sit in places specifically designed for them that happen to be below the ordinary floor level. A failure to understand the beings one is designing and planning for is often sure to make a failed plan.

Interestingly enough, this aspect of beings, including the difficulties we have in communicating our plans (or in the fact that too much communication or communication of the wrong kind may be counterproductive in achieving our goals), is one of the reasons why I am not a conspiracy theorist. As human beings (and presumably beings of any other kind as well with free will and rational and irrational thought) have a variety of motivations and responses to the circumstances around them, to conspire is an immensely difficult task fraught with all kinds of hazards and misinterpretations. While a fairly basic level of cooperation between people of broadly similar worldviews and approaches can be found if there are intensive efforts at communication, developing the level of conspiratorial cooperation that people associate with the New World Order or the Bilderburg group (either its European or American approaches) or the Jews is completely unreasonable with any level of understanding of how human beings think and operate. If even God tends to work through the indirect means of divine providence, how much chance do you think mere humans have of cooperating in secret across the world with minimal ability to communicate and collaborate over the course of centuries?

For this reason, as human beings, if we want to make elaborate and complicated plans, either we have to find people with whom we can communicate, whom we respect and have broad and deep areas of agreement with, or we have to stick to making our plans with imaginary figures who respond to our every whim. Being a creator or a creative or planning person does not mean that our plans will always work out exactly how we intend them. All too often our plans and wishes depend on the wishes and agreement of others, and we have to think with their well-being and wishes as well if we want our plans to succeed for the betterment of all. Let us hope we are all able to work for the betterment of all, regardless of our hopes and plans.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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2 Responses to Imitatio Dei

  1. It’s very interesting that I had to access this particular blog from Facebook instead of my email because it “tested this page and blocked contect that comes from potentially dangerous or suspicious sites.” However, I’m not a conspiracy theorist either. 🙂

    Like you, people can make or plot their own devices, but God does and will override them to conform to His will.

    • I’m not sure if the mere mention of conspiracy theorists is enough to make a post suspicious, but that has happened before. :B Indeed, that is so. The question is often, “What is God’s will?”

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