Thursday, May 5, 2016

Surrender and the "Three Peoples" Theory

I think that the concept of "surrender" is one of the most important human attributes. It applies, I think, to the basic fact of humans as social animals, for I take "social animals" to mean animals that don't settle everything by fight or flight.

On that view, surrender means some sort of genuflection by the individual towards society, some recognition that, without society, we humans are dead ducks.

Of course, ducks are variable in their sociability. Some ducks seem to live only around their mates, like the Bufflehead. While others mass in flocks, like the American Widgeon.

Now, I think that surrender has particular application in my reductive Three Peoples theory.

It is obvious that People of the Subordinate Self surrender to their liege lord, their political boss, their union leader. Presumably this has gone on since the dawn of time when men were subordinate to the tribal Big Man. And all women were subordinate to all men.

What about the People of the Responsible Self, the great global middle class? We surrender not to a physical lord but to an abstract lord. It might be God; it might be the market, it might be an idea. Of course, the People of the Responsible Self also live under governments, in city states and nation states, and so they owe loyalty to physical lords and to national governments, but this loyalty is given provisionally, and the modern myth of society is that the people are sovereign and their magistrates are their servants, not their masters. People of the Responsible Self are citizens, we believe in civility, we measure ourselves not against our standing with some political or corporate boss, but against our own standards that we keep privily in our hearts.

OK, now we get to the real point of this exercise, the People of the Creative Self, and I think it is fair to say that the jury is out on this one. Nobody can tell you what the creative people owe to society. Except me. So try this one on for size.

Strictly speaking, the People of the Creative Self have made a cosmic bet. They have said that life means nothing unless it is creative, bringing forth something new and original into the world, something that comments truly about life, the universe, and everything, or that changes the human condition in some beneficial way. But suppose that you discover that you are not particularly creative, or that your idea is warmed-over nothingness? What then?

It is this conundrum that I believe is at the center of our world crisis. For the truth about life, the universe, and everything is that many are called to be creative, but few are chosen. That is great for the chosen ones, but what about the rest, the not-chosen ones? What are they to do?

The answer is obvious. They must admit their failure and resolve to be merely People of the Responsible Self, living a useful and social life if they discover that their dream of creative genius turns out to be a bridge too far. But many creative failures are unwilling to accept defeat. They turn around and demand that the world acknowledge their unappreciated genius.

The disappointed People of the Creative Self, that thought to be creative and weren't, are the scourge of the planet.

I believe that this Failed Creative syndrome is the truth behind the liberal "activism" culture. The "activism" culture says that we activists know the truth and we will demonstrate and peacefully protest and name and shame until you racist, sexist bigots submit. In other words, the disappointed creative proposes to resort to force.

Here is the great divide between the "for-profit" world of business and start-ups and corporations and the "not-for-profit" world including activist groups, NGOs, foundations and government. The for-profit world offers its ideas upon the market and if the market declines the offer, that's all she wrote. The not-for-profit world operates upon a different principle. Government, of course, operates simply on the force principle. It takes money from people for the right to buy and sell or to just to work, and then gives the money to its regime supporters. Activist groups take money from billionaires and hector and threaten society with shows of force, demanding that society should accept their "non-negotiable demands" or else. Foundations advance ideas irrespective of the acceptance in society at large. Their ideas might be good, such as Bill Gates helping eradicate malaria. Or their ideas might be bad, such as Bill Gates pushing the top down Common Core curriculum.

See, I think that surrender and its consequence are pretty simple. You surrender to your liege lord as People of the Subordinate Self and your life is in his hands, until he uses it up in his power project and you get left by the side of the road. You surrender to God or to the verdict of the market as People of the Responsible Self and rededicate your life every day to divine judgement and the judgement of the market and live a useful and responsible life. You surrender to the original act of creation as People of the Creative Self and if you are called but not chosen as a stand-out genius you accept that you are just an ordinary bourgeois who can at least aspire to a life of responsibility.

This Three Peoples theory is great. It explains everything!

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