Art and Creation (Part 1): Ein -Sof and Kabbalah

This is a blog series where I will be discussing some thoughts on “art and creation”. I have prepared various blogs inspired by a range of sources from Kabbalah to Artificial Intelligence. Do not expect to find definitive answers. The aim here is to raise questions and hopefully offer entertaining thoughts.

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What is creation and what does it mean to create?

A spontaneous answer would be that to create means to make new things. Is that enough though? Does a creation exist only as a material phenomenon or is it also an ethereal conceptualisation? I think that the correct answer here is both.

To create means both to make new things and/or new ideas. The moment of creation is an explosion; a point were old practices and ideas are radically transformed, reshaped, destroyed.

In Kabbalah, Ein Sof is the name of the infinite that expands without end. Ein Sof is God, but not the God that can be understood by man. It is the totality of existence that is both inside and outside man’s conception. In Kabbalah there is the God of the scriptures and the mystic Ein Sof. The first represents the God that is revealed to man while the second, both the one that is and the (infinitely) larger part that isn’t and won’t be revealed.

One of the biggest disagreements amongst the followers of Kabbalah is the problem of the ‘first step’. The problem refers to the first step towards creation. Before Ein Sof created the world, there was only Him (him cause religion cause patriarchy). Some Kabbalists argue that, at this stage, Ein Sof didn’t have the will to create yet. When He found the will, he then created everything.

The problem with this story is the following: When Ein Sof created the world, did he do it towards the Inside, as a process of self-reflection, or the Outside, as a process of pure creation and revelation? Kabbalists are divided here. Some believe in the Inside movement, others in the Outside.

The problem of the first step is not only a theological issue amongst those subscribing to the beliefs of the mystical tradition of Kabbalah. I think that this is also an aesthetic problem. What is something new and how can new even be real? Is the world infinite or finite? Is creation a process of knowing ourselves or expanding our understanding?

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