Monday, February 4, 2019

Three Peoples: There is No One True Faith

One of my maxims sneers at the People of the Subordinate Self. The meaning of life for workers and  peasants is to shelter as a "little darling" of a powerful patron, a lord of the land, a union, or a powerful politician.

But, I argue, the day will come when that powerful patron will abandon you, because you are no longer useful to his power project. There is no long-term safety in subordination.

But then, I realized yesterday, the same is true for the other two of my Three Peoples. In other words, it is not enough to have a fixed principle of life, because life, the universe, and everything changes.

If you are a Person of the Responsible Self you live as a responsible person by fixed rules, maybe handed down from God and the Bible, or maybe from good bourgeois cultural memes. But what happens if the world changes, and the good old rules no longer work? A responsible person goes to  work, follows the rules, and obeys the laws. The same work? The same rules? The same laws? Forever? Obviously that cannot work, not forever.

Ah, say the People of the Creative Self, you deplorable responsibles just don't get it. The world is changing, and we, the creatives, the educated, the activists, will show you the way.

Only, of course, what if it is the wrong way? I was reminded of this by a piece by Jonathan Cook taking our "liberal elite" to task and complaining  of "rampant creativity." Or this piece about the decline of classical music since Debussy and critiquing creativity for the sake of creativity. It is not for nothing that Jungians present the creation and destruction as two sides of the same coin. It is telling that critics of, say, Jordan Peterson are flummoxed by the definition of the feminine as the opposition of creation and destruction. They have been carefully taught to think of creation as good, destruction as bad.

But obviously it all makes sense. If you are a creative person then you should be thinking that your brilliant idea may be a brilliant mistake. That is what the environmentalists are going on about with their Precautionary Principle. Don't do anything without thinking about the possible unintended consequences.

That's why I think the Three Peoples should open their eyes and recognize that there are different ways of looking at the world, and different ways of living, and that the other guys may have a point.

Above all, what I may think as perfectly right and true may in fact be the royal road to disaster. Obviously, it is much easier to grasp that what another person thinks as perfectly right and true is in fact the royal road to disaster. One thing we humans really excel at is picking apart the ideas, the beliefs, and the actions of other people.

So what is the answer to the question of the meaning of life, the universe, and everything?

It's a good question. And isn't it comforting that everyone is working on it, and most of us are pretty confident that our answer is the right one?

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