Nature thrives on imagination, instinct and intuition. These words share many similarities, but nature reveals how they are different aspects of the creative process.
Imagination allows us to explore possibilities that have no basis in reality. We can think of it as a bridge between knowledge and innovation.
Nature appears predisposed to innovation. While oxygen is the earth’s most abundant element, water is its most powerful. Water molecules jostle about and break apart chemical bonds. Leave anything in water, and it will dissolve. As an element of transformation, its abundance on the earth and in our body aids renewal.
From binary fission, where life simply replicated an identical version of itself, sexual reproduction allowed for additional innovations. While you and your siblings share your parent’s DNA, the diverse arrangement of their genes means you will all be a unique variation of your line.
Evolution and its pursuit of something better reveals nature’s imagination. Nature brings opposites together to create something new.
We can explore this inventive process by considering two unlike objects. The branch of a tree might be compared to a water jug. In what ways are they alike? In what ways are they different? How can you juxtapose their disparate properties to come up with a new invention?
Intuition gives us access to insight without knowledge or actual experience. We can think of it as bridge between instinct and knowledge, where we arrive at an idea without any proof to support it.
For example, dreaming connects instinct and knowledge by way of intuition. Dreams present symbols for conflict resolution as a type of intuition that reveals how dreams know the dreamer better than they know themselves. Our instinct, genetic predisposition or authenticity is given expression when we dream.
While oxygen was one of nature’s most interesting innovations, its introduction caused a mass extinction. For billions of years, life forms like bacteria inhabited a world without oxygen. Similar to our creative exercise above, life paired the existing bacteria with the sun to come up with photosynthesis.
Surviving anaerobes found shelter by becoming the chloroplasts of plants and mitochondria in humans, evolving into energy machines. What appeared as a mistake was actually a type of gamble on the unknown, which generated life’s diverse species.
If nature were purely imaginative, protecting the past might have stopped it from creating an extinction event. Displaying something not unlike intuition, one thing led to another and everything worked out.
Instinct is a non-conscious response that excites action without the use of knowledge. We can think of it as a bridge between genetic predisposition and our response.
The rawest view of life would suggest that nature thrives on instinctual processes. Most of what keeps us healthy and alive requires no conscious effort on our part.
Survival of the fittest is a model that validates the idea that nature is instinctual. In other words, nature impels action regardless of the consequences.
When we look at nature, we observe how over time, the unimaginable becomes reality. From the one, its strange duplicity became the many.
We observe the world using knowledge, but life would teach us how growth is activated by taking a leap into the unknown.
With nature as our teacher, we might learn about our own creativity: Throw it out there, trust the flow to find the right connections and the outcome will always work out.
An excerpt from a longer essay found here.
Kari Hohne is a dream analyst, author and expert on the eastern and western archetypes that inspire our dreams and oracles. Through her website Cafe au Soul, she shares her passion for nature’s wisdom and our ancient traditions. She creates music as Get Tribal, mixing shamanic drumming with world beats to enhance yoga and meditation practice.
Rhonda Buelow8 months ago