Reminds me of someone I used to work for who liked to say “There are two kinds of people: Those who make things happen, and those who get things done”.
I propose that there are three kinds of people in the world:
People of the Subordinate Self Call them slaves, serfs, workers, clients, marginalized, these are people that do not experience “agency.” They are go-along-to-get-along people, villagers under the thumb of the big man, the serfs of the feudal lord, the factory workers of the corporate behemoth, the ward heelers of the precinct captain. They attach themselves to a powerful patron in return for scraps from the lordly table. Religion: wrathful gods for whom humans are mere playthings.
People of the Responsible Self Call them commoners, citizens, middling sorts, “deplorables,” these are people that believe they can understand the world and have a responsibility to do something about it. These are people that follow the rules, go to work, and obey the law. Religion: Axial Age God that made the Earth and a divine law and told humans to get on with it.
People of the Creative Self These are people that want to live a creative life, maybe as a writer, an artist, a videographer, an activist, a revolutionary. They don’t want to follow the rules, they want to discover new rules. They don’t just want to go to work, they want to reinvent work. They don’t just obey the laws; they want to make new ones. Religion: Humans, not gods, are now become the creators.
Of course, the world is much more complicated that that. But most of the time most people have difficulty imagining anyone different from themselves as anything but an enemy, in a crude “us” and “them” approach to life, religion, and politics.
The flaw I see in this (at least at first blush) is that Chantrill seems to be implicitly buying into what I think of as a “modern” version of what art is. I know John can speak to this with far more intelligence than I can, but the “the don’t want to follow the rules, they want to discover new rules” stuff strikes me as speaking to the “flinging paint onto a wall and calling it “art”” crowd.
The idea of art being liberated by a set of classical constraints is lost. IE, I could take a violin and smash it to pieces and thus create “art”. OR I could spend 40 years mastering the instrument (ie, subjecting myself to a long tradition of what is “right” and “wrong” when it comes to playing the violin) and create art that way.
In that sense, I don’t agree with Chantrill’s distinction between the “Creative Self” and the “Responsible Self”. In my view, his definition of “creative” is actually defining “destructive”. That’s why I consider the set of traditional constraints on classical art to be liberating rather than restricting. They give the artist some guardrails, those constraints are what allows the artist to create rather than merely destroy.
Being a Vandal is easy. Being creative is hard.
(Which brings to mind Roger Scruton, but that’s for another day.)