There is a well-known saying: “Man proposes, God disposes”. That is, we plan things and then they get thrown out of gear for reasons that are not clear to us – so we call it an act of God. We can extend this quote to say “Man builds, God demolishes,” meaning:  when we construct something, the forces of nature come along and destroy it.

This destruction can be seen in a negative light in that our efforts get wasted. When we spend time, effort, money in building something it is very disheartening, not to say tragic, when it gets ravaged and demolished. On the other hand, we can see the destruction as an opportunity to build again, to build anew.

“…nature declines and this is its act of birth…”

Michel Serres, a French philosopher, had said “…nature declines and this is its act of birth…” While he used this to explain the concept of atoms being the foundation of all entities and their birth and death, we can also interpret this as saying that when nature lays waste the earth and causes devastation, it also brings forth the prospect of a new beginning.

Human beings build – they construct buildings, monuments, roads, bridges, factories, houses, parks, gardens, places of worship, towns and cities. They put in effort, time and money to build all this. But when nature strikes, it creates havoc all around. Floods, fires, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcano eruptions, cyclones, landslides, avalanches – all bring devastation and ruin in their wake. Houses and other buildings collapse, river banks get eroded, people get trapped under debris or get washed away, molten lava from volcanoes kill , maim and destroy, forest fires destroy all life around – nothing remains, people die or  are rendered homeless, jobless. All that they had built and created disappear in a wink.

People rise from the ashes to build again

But human nature is very resilient. People rise from the ashes to build again. They get back onto their feet and put their lives together again. They build houses, buildings, monuments, roads, bridges, factories, houses, parks, gardens, places of worship, towns and cities all over again. Till another round of natural disaster brings them to their knees again. The cycle goes on endlessly, time and again. Creation – destruction – creation – destruction –so on and so forth.

Creation and destruction are two sides of the same circumstance. One leads to the other. Every output becomes an input – in other words every outcome leads to a new start. The results of the destruction bring forth the creation of something new. Creation presupposes destruction and destruction augurs creation. That is the law of nature.

We are not static creatures, we thrive on life and energy

Every beginning has an end, and every end leads to a new beginning. When calamity strikes and the world we build disintegrates and falls to pieces, the human spirit rises to the surface and starts rebuilding. We are not static creatures, we thrive on life and energy. We build on what is knocked down and erect new structures knowing fully well that these may get destroyed too. But we still build – it is a tribute to the human spirit, to human endeavor that we do not give up even in the face of complete devastation.

Without destruction, there is no space for creation. Without creation there is no growth. Without creation there is no movement and the world was not created to be static. Whatever is born has to die, whatever is built has to fall down. Only then will something new be born. Human efforts get destroyed by nature only to be given a push to build again, and again, and again in order to carry on the interminable cycle of creation and destruction….the cycle of life.