Creativity: Loki

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The Independent Culture
SO WHAT is the world, and what is humanity? For the Spanish playwright Pedro Caldern, it was a theatre, with God as the director, telling the actors when to enter (be born) and exit (die). For N.E. Gough, on the other hand, it is an alien fruit, with humanity blooming on its peel. For T.M. O'Grady, the Earth is an apple, the planets are other apples, and the stars are the sunlight twinkling through the leaves. For Maria D. Treadwell, the planet is a body-pierced alien's tongue-stud.

So how did the world come into being? Was it perhaps the product of Jack's five beans? (Andrew Duncan). Or was it built on a giant spider's web? (Fiona and John Earle).

A gift from Zeus to woo Hera? (Mike Gifford). The winning entry in the original Creativity competition? (Eric Bridgstock). Bought at the Planet Reject Shop? (John Pickin). Rollover week bonus ball in the Universal Lottery? (Lindsay Atkinson). An errant marble from a match between gods? (Joan Vinnicombe).

Or is the Earth really just coalesced deity detritus? Matthew White insists that it all started with an Almighty sneeze. Jim Carter asserts that the expulsion of matter was out of the mouths of babes and sucklings.

But Helen Fearnley is convinced that the orifice was anal. As is Sue Johnson, according to whom we are mere dung beetles, feasting off the droppings of the Great Space Monster. Who has spoken to Martin Brown in thunderous tones, thus:

"Ingrate mortals! You owe your very existence to me, Igurtan the Incontinent, Supreme Being of the Cosmos, who, ever since partaking of the primordial soup, have travelled the Universe, pebble-dashing the galaxies with gargantuan bacteria-rich faecal globules that have hardened and crusted to form your miserable little planets!"

But for Mary Flavin, on the other hand, in the Culinary Beginning there was a bunfight at a rowdy angels' banquet, flinging food far into space, the cheese later becoming the Moon . . .

Who won a Chambers Dictionary of Quotations? Martin Brown, Mary Flavin and Maria D. Treadwell.

The World Creative Thinking Championships are to be held on Sunday morning, 22 August, at Olympia. Loki has now tunnelled out of the hospital, has effected his escape and expects to emerge from beneath a manhole-cover into the daylight some time tomorrow afternoon, in time to edit the column for next week.

What do you have to do to win a future prize? On 11 August there will be a total eclipse of the Earth, as seen from the Sun. What, do you suppose, would Sun-dwellers, if there were such creatures, think is happening? Tell us at: Creativity, Features, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL, before 5 August. Three more Chambers prizes and results to be published on 10 August.

Next week: Why did Homo sapiens become extinct in the 21st century?