This paper summarises my current views on the nature of existence and the ways in which we respond to the things we are presented with in this existence. It also outlines a normative position.
Unless otherwise stated, the word “we” refers to all forms of existence, not just human.
We have certain givens in this existence.
A mysterious source that somehow accounts for everything, good and bad alike, that is everywhere and undying, transcending even space and time.
An ongoing process of creation driven by the harmony of truth and will (or truth and love), the conflict and yet interdependence of opposites, and – together with these forces of necessity or logic, a large dose of chance. (Creation is the central fact of all existence).
We respond in certain ways.
In the absence of certain knowledge of our source, we create our own gods. Most often, though not always, we align them with our ideas of what is good. (An integrated monotheism makes sense but so too does a choice of multiple gods).
Good is customarily seen in terms of the varieties of truth and love and their outcome which is ongoing creation. Thus I, for example, speak of Providence, which is the benign (for me) aspect of the Source. (The malign aspect I call the Pit).
We make our own purpose in life and thus our own meaning. This occurs in many different ways. We aim, for example, for happiness, or self-realisation, or life of virtue, or a life of going with the flow (doing what comes naturally).
Faced with uncertainties about how we should behave we develop values, using these values as a basis for codes of behaviour. While these values vary from one society to another and one person to another, there is substantial common ground.
Normative position (creativism)
How should we respond to the givens in life? Religion, philosophy and science (not to mention other disciplines) are full of prescriptions, founded more or less on experience.
At the outset there has to be a whole view of life which accepts it as fundamentally worth living, accepts however its dark side, and commits to making it better. In other words there has to be a wholeness, harmony and balance in our approach to life.
Secondly, we may choose to nail our colours to some particular mast – some religion or philosophy or other defined set of beliefs and principles - but whatever mast it is, most likely it will embody the following life-enhancing behaviours:
· Self-care, self-respect, internal consistency or integrity
· Moderation or avoidance of excessive attachment to the essentially ephemeral
· Giving in its many forms – to others as to oneself
· Truthfulness – acceptance and promotion of truth
· Courage and perseverance
· Gratitude which acknowledges the workings of Providence in our lives.
This normative position and its underpinning philosophy I call creativism.
This word or label has two key aspects. Firstly, it emphasises the fact that creative process is central to all existence and all life. Secondly, it affirms the value of that life and seeks to maximise value through the behaviours I have identified – humility, self-care etc. Whatever ultimate good we seek, from a simple comfortable life to ecstatic oneness with God, creativist living will help get us there.