Monday, November 16, 2015

Surrender and the Three Peoples Theory

I maintain that there are three kinds of people: I call it Three Peoples theory. There are the People of the Subordinate Self, your average workers and peasants. There are the People of the Responsible Self, your average monotheistic city dweller. Then there are the People of the Creative Self, your average artist and political activist.

The basic fact of social animals is that they thrive by surrender to the greater good. But, of course we humans are made of clay, particularly in our feet, and so we don't always surrender to the greater good in the way that we profess.

The People of the Subordinate Self are people that surrender to their lord, be he a marcher lord, a lord of the manor, a union boss, a corporate boss, or a community organizer. But these people sometimes rebel against their lord, as peasants with pitchforks. And that never ends well.

The People of the Responsible Self must surrender to the love of God or to the market. Because they understand that to thrive they must serve others, whether God, or the consumer or the market. But if they have a weakness it is to insist that everyone else accept the mandate of responsibility as they have done. This is wrong, because the People of the Subordinate Self want to avoid responsibility by surrendering their responsibility to a temporal lord.

The People of the Creative Self must surrender to the fact of creative process: many are called but few are chosen. A creative artist must surrender to the verdict of the world. And that verdict probably is that the artist should be content with merely being a competent craftsman rather than a creative star in the firmament. The weakness of the creative artist is to insist that society owes him a living, because he is so wise. Because being an artist is special. In politics, of course, the creative artists insist that the world tax and regulate itself to prove the wonder of the political artist's undeniable genius.

All kinds of People have their role to play upon the stage. But the first thing they need to accept is the implications of their identity choice. If you are a Subordinate Self then subordination to a lord is what you do. And subordinates tend to get left on the roadside by their lord when the going gets tough. If you are a Responsible Self then you must accept the rough with the smooth, and understand that your surrender to God or to the market means that you have to start over when things go south. If you are a Creative Self you must accept that you are probably not as creative as your mother thought. Maybe the best you can achieve is a decent and competent responsibility.

Just saying: there is a right way and a wrong way for each of the honorable choices to live life as a human. It comes down to the way that you choose to surrender yourself to the fact of your existence as a social human. And don't anyone ever forget it.

1 comment:

  1. I find this idea interesting. I wonder if the the creative self could be combined with the other two as a hybrid self. I am an artist who is a responsible self. I do graphic and web design and accepted long ago that there is "making a living" art and art you do just because you love it. I believe that most successful artists are of the former type because it takes a lot of work and gumption to make it as an artist. True "creative selves" are so in love with themselves and their "art" that they think they are above the rest of us because we've sold out. Actually, although the odds are not in my favor that I will become a recognized artist, I still get to do art for a living. It can be a drag dealing with clients but at least I admit that I give people what they want. A Creative Self artist will starve for their self indulgence, or become a hybrid Subordinate / Creative Self, which describes the majority of art school graduates.

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