This question scrapes itself through my brain at times, threatening mutiny against meaning.
Why do I do it? Why do I create? Why does anyone? We build towers and paint paintings and turn food into cuisine and plant flowers along paths and design clothing and write books and teach new humans to do more of what we have done. We don't just live and eat and have sex and die. We keep making things.
This bothers me more than just about anything else. It bothers me more these days than the fact of my mortality, which has kept me up at night since I was five years old with its promise of putting a stop to everything in the world that I knew and loved being the way that I knew and loved it. It bothers me even more than that, because being animals that live and die among all other living things that live and die is a pattern. It's an inescapable repetition so inescapable that it becomes it's own reason. This making thing, though, brings on waves of panic.
To what end do we create? Most of us, aside from the horror of the entire human race dying in some armegeddony fire or flood, aren't making things in the world with the idea that we are bettering humankind for hundreds and thousands of years down the road. That's not why you built that chair out of willow, and that's not why I write poetry filled with domestic ennui.
I do not believe in theism or polytheism, an explanation of my world based on a singular consciousness or several consciousnesses that direct matters in some way. At the same time, I am put off by the word agnosticism with all its implications of doubt, because I do not doubt that there is more beyond these small, mobile pockets of life force that envelope us for universal nanoseconds.
There is more, there is more, there is more. It is a knowledge that thrums through me that religion cannot describe. You would think that this would calm my overarching fear of death in some way, but it doesn't. It can't, not while we keep creating and making and doing, filling the world with the things that our minds and hands brought into being.
I make something, and I like that I made it. I like that you like that I made it. Perhaps someone behaves better or enjoys something more because of the thing that I made. Is that it? Is this all that pushes a pathologically creative species forward? Small gains that end for each of us when the lights go out?
Part of me likes to imagine that all this doing is a groundwork of training for the something else that happens when we die. It's like we are aliens dropped to Earth, wiped of the memory of our beginning and left to learn for what is to come.
When I was a kid, for part of one summer, Venus hung as a visible pinpoint of glowing red in the night sky, and I would crawl up onto my parents' roof, sneak a cigarette, and watch that planet bob in the inkiness of the dark beyond the orange halo of suburban street lights. It kept me alive at the time to think of my alien brethren travelling out there, fellow beings who could recognize the beingness in me beyond the flesh.
I suppose that I need to feel as though all this making from cradle to grave is not just entertaining busy-work, that the pathology behind our incessant creation is leant from a larger calling.
But then, if it turns out after I die that all this writing I am moved to create was just preparation so that I could write training manuals for alien spaceships or something like that, I'm going to be really pissed. Of course, by that time, my consciousness, if my consciousness is indeed transmutable, will be trapped inside my new alien body, and I will probably be wondering what the meaning of it all is again while I try to work out if bullet points or a numbered list would be more effective to explain how to put Tab B into Slot A.
Have a real fear, like that your species could make your home planet uninhabitable.