While I was waiting for a few minutes today, a man walked by and said to his friend, “Well, you’ve got to start something so you can find out where it will go, eh” I was struck by the profoundness of this thought – this is precisely the way some of my pottery friends think about their work. Some artists dive into a project with a clear idea of what they want the outcome to be – these tend to be very good technical artists. Other artists I know, though, play with the clay, pushing it around the table until they are inspired. They don’t have a plan, no idea what they are going to make. I’ve seen that these artists are the ones who develop a new technique or spark an idea in others. They truly are starting something, so they can find out where it will go.
Evolution works by the same general principle. Over the years, I’ve found that students really seem to grasp the idea that evolution isn’t an “author” but rather an “editor” which I’ve borrowed from Lynn Margulis. There are no predestined plans. Instead, new developments are happy accidents, with pressures shaping the success of the outcome.
In this blog, I hope to intersect ideas from evolutionary psychology, cultural studies, and the fine arts. I have no idea where it will go, but unless I start, we’ll never find out.