Living leaves traces. These traces retain some information about what happened, but this record is always incomplete. As historians or biographers of our own lives and the lives of the others, we are left with fragments and fading images of previous life.
Creativity and history belong together. Creativity generates new information and novel things. These new things are historical, they are unique and not reproducible. The reproducible laws of physics, on the other hand, will lead to the same result again and again. There is no history in these laws; they are the never-changing invariants of the universe.
Creativity is at the core of being human, so we all live unique lives. There are no fixed laws of human existence so what is happening is not reproducible. But the emanations of creativity are imperiled. Unlike the reproducible conditions arising out of physical laws, they can be destroyed. Inevitably some information is lost and most of our biography and history is forgotten.
The traces of our actions – be it a work of art, an old letter or a foot print on the beach – are just traces of our thoughts, which in turn carry in them our whole biographies and the history before us. Most of these moments are forgotten and lost, and we are left with only those traces that are not washed away by the waves of life.
One way to approach art is to view a work or art as the trace of a unique stretch of time of the artist’s life. Most of what was present during the experienced moments of the creation of the work is lost but there is this perceivable object, a picture, a sculpture, a piece of music, a poem. If the work of art speaks to the perceiver, there will be something like a resonance.
The richness of the original moments, the bliss and doubt, the color, sound and scent of the time when the work of art was created, cannot be regained from what is left. Our memories are only incomplete traces themselves. And if it is the trace of somebody else’s thoughts, like in art created by others, we might just be able to make out a dim outline of what once was there. But this makes those traces precious. And in viewing the work of art, the trace of a rich and colorful moment of life of somebody else, we experience a rich moment of life again, a moment of our own life.
(The picture is from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Informel_4.jpg.)