Sand castles

by Lucas Black

I must have been about 4 or 5 years old when I first started having major epiphanies and revelations about the world around me. I remember being in the kitchen of my grandmother’s house and having her explain to me that mud is created simply by getting dirt wet. I found this so fascinating that I immediately ran outside to test this new theory. I was thrilled I could take the hose and spray it on dirt to magically create something completely new. I spent the rest of the day molding makeshift castles with my newfound understanding about the properties of dirt and water. I had an expansive imagination as a child, which I’m sure most children do, but there was something strangely satisfying about the quest for knowledge.

Even at an early age, I was quick to realize there were certain things that were utterly ridiculous. I didn’t believe in Santa Claus for very long, and I knew that the Easter Bunny was a joke. Yet, there were still times when I wondered what was causing the road to look like it had water on it off in the horizon. Of course, I was too young to understand the concept of light refraction, but it was that sense of mystery that kept my imagination churning. I’m sure that very same phenomenon, along with countless others, are what humans used for inspiration thousands of years ago to create the myths and folklores of their cultures. It is part of the human experience to try and make sense of something that is unexplainable.

I was never baptized and my family was never incredibly religious. My mother always told me to keep an open mind, and I have definitely kept that true to heart. As I got older I began to realize that religion, particularly Christianity, just didn’t make sense to me. It seemed to me that the main message it was trying to convey got lost over centuries of dogma and politics. I grew increasingly frustrated with the fact that religion seemed to be a major driving force for a good portion of violence in this world, and that was something I didn’t want to believe in.

Taking my mother’s advice, I began to surround myself with like-minded individuals and explored concepts of different religions of the world. In doing so, I then had epiphanies much like the one I had about mud. I slowly shifted from practically believing in nothing to believing in the power of human creativity

and imagination.

In Hebrew, there are two different words for “create.” The first word is “asah,” which means to shape something out of something that was already there. The second word is “bara,” which means to bring something into being out of nothing. In doing so, humans have crafted for themselves a world to their liking, or even to their disliking.

It’s through our creativity that we’ve been able to realize everything that is beautiful in this world. It’s allowed us to create songs that convey our feelings, create paintings that allow us to see truths from a different perspective and create myths and stories to help us comprehend what we cannot grasp. That is ultimately my faith—the faith in the power of art because it allows us to face things that are difficult and create something that helps us get through the day. Without creativity, we may not have survived as a species, and it’s as fundamental to the human experience as breathing or eating. It transcends the lines of culture and unifies us—because anybody is capable of creating art.