Musings on the Creative Impulse
|August 26, 2007||Posted by Barry Arrington under Intelligent Design|
Yesterday a friend and I rode our bikes up to the top of Vail Pass, and when we got back down we stopped in Breckenridge for lunch.Ã‚Â After lunch we decided to walk around Breckenridge for a while, and we soon found ourselves in a wonderful little art gallery on Main Street.Ã‚Â One large bronze in particular caught my attention.Ã‚Â It was a comic piece of aÃ‚Â bear standing beside a tree looking atÃ‚Â a squirrelÃ‚Â on a branchÃ‚Â even with the bear’s face.Ã‚Â The squirrel was holding out an acorn as ifÃ‚Â he were offering it to the bear in exchange for not eating him.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â I loved it.Ã‚Â As I looked at the piece the word “whimsy” came to mind.Ã‚Â IÃ‚Â inquired about the price and learned it could be mine for only $32,000.Ã‚Â That’s aÃ‚Â wee bitÃ‚Â [read, “a lot”] out of my price range, so I decided to let them keep their bear and squirrel.
What has this got to do with the topics discussed on this blog?Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Just this.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â As we leftÃ‚Â the art gallery my friend and I wereÃ‚Â discussing the impulse to create art.Ã‚Â Think about it.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â One can’t eat art or wear it or put it over one’s head to keep the rain out.Ã‚Â It has no practical use.Ã‚Â As far as I can see it gives no survival advantage.Ã‚Â So why is the impulse to create art universal?Ã‚Â To theÃ‚Â theist (especially those operating in the Judeo-Christian tradition), the answer to this question is easy.Ã‚Â We areÃ‚Â created imagoÃ‚Â dei, in the image of God, and our creative impulse isÃ‚Â a faint echo ofÃ‚Â God’s.
Ã‚Â But on what possible grounds can the materialist explain the artistic (or more broadly, the “creative”) impulse?Ã‚Â I puzzled and puzzled about this and drew a blank.Ã‚Â Since art has no practical value and does not confer a selection advantage, how does the Darwinist explain the fact that every normal person has at least some urge to create?Ã‚Â Does the Darwinist have an explanation for this that does not sound like a post hoc “just so story?”Ã‚Â I would be interested to knowÃ‚Â what our materialist friends who visit this blog have to say.