Monday, June 6, 2011

In the Beginning V

I refrained from skateboarding for a few days in order to allow my knee - and other muscles - to recover. In the meantime I discovered the overwhelming number of skateboarding clips on You tube, astonished at how the level of technical flatland tricks has progressed. Not only have old tricks been stretched in their height, length, and speed, but many basic tricks have been combined into more complex ones. There even appear to be completely original tricks. This three-fold progress parallels three distinct modes of creativity:

a) the stretching of a pre-existent form; 
b) the fusion of pre-existing elements to form something new;
c) the creation of something entirely original.

The first type of novel trick can easily be traced back to its original trick as it merely involves an increase in that trick's original properties. An example of such a trick is the Ollie which has become increasingly higher and longer. The second type of novel trick can be divided into its simpler tricks and thus traced back to them. The Kickflip, for instance, has been combined with a Shuvit to form the Varial flip (Kickflip Shuvit). The last category, however, to a large extent, cannot be distinctly traced to earlier tricks (though it's impossible to create something absolutely new, as Solomon exclaimed, 'There is nothing new [completely new] under the sun'. An example of this category might be the Forward Flip (also called the Dolphin Flip) - at least as far as I'm incapable of tracing it back to any trick(s) of the late eighties/early nineties.

This is an amazing idea. Skateboarding seems to have no ceiling to its potential and allows for boundless creativity. To appreciate this, contrast skateboarding with another sport such as tennis. Yes, tennis has developed since its incipience: players are faster, place more spin on the ball, have more powerful serves,etc, but the overall changes haven't been so dramatic. Furthermore, when looking to the future of the game it's hard to imagine how much more it can change, it seems to lack the elbow room. Of course the basis for such an enormous difference between tennis and skateboarding is clear. Tennis is governed by very specific rules which significantly limit innovation, whereas skateboarding doesn't really have any rules - that is, other than the rules of nature.     
Creativity and G-d are strongly related. G-d is infinite and creativity expresses infinity. For the very definition of creativity is to transcend the limits of a current state. This thought provided me with a totally new perspective on a skateboarding catchphrase which I used to think was simply cool: 'Skate to create!'  

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