(Essay) The Artifex, Bourgeoisie, and Proletariat

Successfully, Karl Marx identified the bourgeoisie, the proletariat, and ‘the material dialectic’, but, despite his emphasis on creativity, he failed to identify the artifex, meaning ‘creator class’, which is made up of entrepreneurs, inventors, and artists. An artifexian, which is a term first introduced in this paper, is anyone who creates or recreates a means of production and/or a thing to be produced. Marx, it seems, conflated creators with the general proletariat. Consequently, his material dialectic only halfway addresses the nature of socioeconomic change. The full dialectic by which society ‘marches’ through history can be expressed as follows:

‘The Creative Concord’

Creativity ‘The Material Dialectic’

or

Creator(s) (Owner(s) | Worker(s))

or

Artifex (Bourgeoisie | Proletariat)

Defining the material dialectic, Marx argued that Capitalism was inherently contradictory, for it inevitably undergoes, of one kind or another, ‘creative destruction’: the businesses it produces destroy others, the resources it consumes leaves many lacking, and so on.1 In other words, at the center of Capitalism is self-destructive paradox. Though the material dialectic properly delineates how socioeconomic orders change within a given creative epoch, it does not describe how such orders change through them. To allude to Karl Popper, history changes not in line with any kind of dialectic, but in concordance with unpredictable inventions, ‘eurekas’, and ‘creative acts’.2 Marx, coming before Popper, missed this point, and so created a theory and system that works within a fixed epoch, but not through multiple epochs. If Marx, as brilliant as he was, had been afforded an awareness of Popper, he would have probably recognized ‘the creative concord’ and artifex himself. Failing to identify the creator class, Marx missed that Capitalism expands itself while carrying out creative destruction within itself. The proper dialectic isn’t just composed of creative destruction, but creative destruction along with creativity, which is the applied mental process behind innovation, invention, and creation.

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I

Marx claimed that alienation drives the working class (or proletariat) to revolt against those who own the means of production (the bourgeoisie). He was correct, making revolution eminent; the question remaining is how the revolution will occur. For the proletariat to seize the means of production and thus become like the bourgeoisie they rebelled against is just as alienating and ironic as being forced to work on something that one doesn’t own. Both kinds of alienation manifest in apathy, violence, and/or a desire to be ‘amused to death’.3 A forceful and violent revolution, as Marx ‘pointed to’ and Lenin advanced, rather than overcome alienation, causes alienation, which stimulated the revolution in the first place. Marxists and Leninists throughout history have revolted in the wrong way: they’ve continually chosen a ‘French Revolution’ over a ‘Glorious’ one, per se.

The concept of revolution for Marx was set in motion by his axiom of the material dialectic. Again, in this framework, since the revolution occurs within the dialectic that caused the tension, a successful revolution only makes the revolutionists the new bourgeoisie. This is no revolution, only a shifting of chess pieces. A true revolution moves beyond the framework it occurs within: a ‘moving around of pieces’ is only revolutionary if ‘chess’ is the only game around. If means of production were not created but simply ‘were’, then to seize them would be an act of revolution. However, all means of production are created, and it is this very act of creation that is truly revolutionary.

To create is to revolt: the man who starts a business claims that he has a competitive advantage over other businesses and seizes the means of production by creating a new means of production. Through creativity, he claims that he is part of the bourgeoisie without their permission. In creating what he owns and what he works, he furthermore chooses how he needs others by choosing which enterprise to create that requires demand, and so escapes both the enslavement of the bourgeoisie’s need for the proletariat and the proletariat’s need for the bourgeoisie. He becomes both — an artifexian — he becomes free. In this regard, the woman who pickets Big Oil doesn’t launch a revolution as effective as the woman who invents the alternative energy that obliterates its stock value.

Entrepreneurship is peaceful revolution.

Creativity is nonviolent resistance.

(Note that an artifexian isn’t someone who just thinks creatively, but who also realizes that creativity into being or enables others to formulate it. Unrealized creativity is nothingness. Also note that creativity is realized in structure. A society without structure is void, but a society whose structure includes organic activity and whose organic activity develops the society’s structure is a society that thrives. A purely artifexian society isn’t one without customs, laws, or rules, but one in which the limits enable limitless development.)

As there is a conflict between owners and workers, those who own and operate the means of production are always in a conflict with those who create the means of production. Those who invent can render a system of production arbitrary, which is a threat to both the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Keep in mind that those who own the means of production are not necessarily the ones who create the means of production or who make them possible. Owners are many; inventors, few. Though Marx recognized the bourgeoisie and the proletariat caught in a tension, he failed to identify the tension between both them and creators.

Yet as the owner is enslaved to needing his workers, so the creator is enslaved in requiring a functional and efficient society and system of production. The creative person who has no food does not have time to create, and even if he does, without a means of distribution, his creativity cannot be received. It is the system of production that sustains a means of distribution for creators, but without creators, those means of distribution wouldn’t come into existence. The better and more stable the socioeconomic order, the more creativity can flourish. This is why technological advancements have grown rapidly over the last hundred years: society has become increasingly stable.

A creator requires an environment, but a creator doesn’t require others in the same way the bourgeoisie and proletariat require one another. The material dialectic fashions the environment that creativity occurs within, like a botanist preparing an environment for plant life, but the artifex ultimately transcends the dialectic by becoming that which feeds it material to construct its environment and itself, all while also teaching the dialectic how to do so.4 Though the master requires the slave, the slave in being a slave the master, the creator is his own master and servant. If there was no material dialectic, the artifex could create one, but the material dialectic couldn’t create the artifex. The artifex creates itself, while the bourgeoisie and proletariat create one another. They are helpless without the artifex, but the artifex isn’t helpless without them. If it needs them, it creates them. While the material dialectic forces people into the bourgeoisie or the proletariat, entrepreneurship and creativity offer a means for people to transcend this dialectic by becoming artifexians, owners and workers of their own makings. This transcendence is only possible in a free and creative Capitalistic society, while a society that is merely free inevitably undergoes creative destruction.

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II

Unlike the material dialectic, the creative concord is not inherently conflicted or neurotic. The bourgeoisie and proletariat can choose to collaborate with the artifex and vice-versa. Thanks to the artifex, it is possible for the bourgeoisie and proletariat to likewise choose to collaborate with one another. The inherent tension of the material dialectic is thus eased. Through the artifex, the proletariat can transfer into the bourgeoisie and the bourgeoisie into the proletariat without conflict. The relationship between the three classes can be expressed as follows:

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A good society is equally B, A, and P. Without either B, A, or P, the system collapses. A growing society is one in which B and P lessens while A expands correlatively. It is never good for A to shrink, and always healthy for A to grow (considering people will naturally become different kinds of artifexians). An extraordinary society is completely A, and such a society, always self-motivated, is constantly growing and never alienated. Marx’s error was evolving Capitalism into Communism by melting B and P, rather than by growing A while B and P shrank into it.

As depicted, some members of the bourgeoisie are also members of the artifex, as are some members of the proletariat. It is possible for a member of the proletariat to become a member of the artifex, and in so doing, transfer into the bourgeoisie without alienation, as a member of the bourgeoisie can slip in the proletariat and escape upper-class alienation.5 The artifex is both an overlapping and independent structure, and it can function as a transfer stage or as a class-unto-itself. By creating an enterprise, a person comes to own and work a good of his or her making. Unlike the bourgeoisie, who is alienated by not producing what they own, or the proletariat, who is alienated by not owning what they produce, the artifex is free.6 The citizen who travels within the material dialectic from the proletariat to the bourgeoisie or vice-versa, finding alienation in both conditions, hopeless, is very likely to fall into depression, tragically rampant in the modern world.

The artifex is both autonomous and freely collaborative, while the proletariat and bourgeoisie cannot have autonomy and are forced to “work together” due to the material dialectic, making true, un-alienating collaboration impossible. Independence, freedom, and true community are only possible with the artifex, and the stronger it is, the stronger the individual and the society as a whole. The more the individual is able to help the other without alienating or being alienated, the more able the individual will be to find that working with others makes the most of oneself.

As mentioned, unlike between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, a person can be part of the artifex while also being part of the bourgeoisie and/or proletariat. This is a significant difference from the material dialectic; in that schema, the owner of the means of production could not also be one of the proletariat, nor was the other way around possible. But, in the creative concord, without conflict at all, a worker at a company can also be creating a new company on his laptop.

Not inherently self-destructive in relating to one another, the artifex, bourgeoisie, and proletariat can choose to transcend the material dialectic into the creative concord by working in concert. Rather than simply a dialectical relationship, creators and the material dialectic can harmonize. Until, that is, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat turn against the artifex, or vice-versa; then, the unity breaks down into a cacophony. Consequently, the creative concord devolves back into simply the material dialectic. It is only a matter of time then before the relationship between business owners and workers also collapses, just as Marx predicted. Clearly, the presence of the artifex is important for avoiding creative destruction by annulling the alienation caused by the means, management, and creation of production, while also offering a means for the proletariat and the bourgeoisie to shift or combine positions without psychological tension or violence.

The artifex both sees problems and envisions possibilities, and either addresses them or enables others with technology, knowledge, or motivation to do so. Others may not see what can be addressed, or may address one thing and fail to realize anything else to do. Because the artifex sees what is to be done and often does it, it is the artifex and the creative concord which drives history in the Hegelian sense. This is because, with perfection always just ahead, there is always something to be done which drives the artifex. If prevalent and influential, the artifex also shifts the focus from the distribution of limited resources to the creation of new ones, from the health of today’s enterprises to the birth of tomorrow’s. Rather than a model that is at the expense of some and advantage of others, the creative concord is inexorably to the benefit of all. It’s only a matter of time.

Again, without the artifex, the bourgeoisie and proletariat must clash; without creativity, the material dialectic is all there is, and, stuck in creative destruction, it will devour itself. Marx, like Einstein in Out of My Later Years, was correct to note that at the core of Capitalism is a paradox that is both the source of its productivity and self-destruction. Capitalism is an economic system driven by a desire for profit that subsequently raises the standard of living through mechanisms of problem solving and/or possibility realization, but once those problems are solved or possibilities made real, unemployment increases. Without new problems or possibilities, the system stagnates. Even if the material dialectic continues to have old problems to keep solving and maintains low unemployment, without new possibilities or problems, the standard of living flat-lines. With this lack of development comes a raising level of boredom, alienation, and tension between paralyzed high and low classes.

Creativity is both a source of employment and unemployment. It is a source of creative destruction, and as long as it is present, so shall creative destructive, and the material dialectic will not devour itself; at worst, to its benefit, it will lose itself in the creative concord. In a society where creativity is high, unemployment stimulates workers to be creative, and employment, for those feeling alienated by it, does the same. The jobs lost by creativity are made up by those created by it. If creativity was prevalent, when creativity caused an enterprise to close down and unemployment to go up, creativity would then set its eye on solving that problem. Unfortunately, in a society lacking creativity, unemployment and employment both cause alienation, alienation from which workers find no alleviation. These workers will want to revolt, but without creativity, they will revolt in a deconstructive manner and their personal lives suffer. In a creatively illiterate nation, the creativity there causes jobs to be lost out of balance with job creation, and those who lose their jobs will find themselves helpless, unable to transition into the artifex. Consequently, the less creativity there is, the more creation feels like a sin.

In a nation vibrant with creativity, the unemployment caused by the artifex would gradually force all members of the society to advance into the artifex, eventually causing the society to transcend alienation and the material dialectic. This makes society like Communism, but rather than obliterate class structure into a ‘universal class’, as Marx called it, it makes all people both classes. While the bourgeoisie and proletariat exist in conflict by definition, in the creative concord, the artifex eventually absorbs them into a harmonious family.7

The artifex also forces the owners of the means of exchange to invest more in variable capital than constant capital, addressing the concerns Marx raised in his theory on ‘the tendency of the rate of profit to fall’. While the bourgeoisie tends to invest in itself to maintain power — ironically stifling profit — the artifex forces it to invest in innovation and exploration by creating goods that put the value of the means of production that the bourgeoisie owns at risk. In other words, the artifex forces the bourgeoisie to grow the artifex. For this reason, if the artifex is large, it tends to become larger. However, if the artifex is small (as will be explained), it tends to become smaller. It is the proletariat, either for creativity or against it, which decides the directionality of the artifex’s development. Ironically, it is possible that the bourgeoisie will influence the proletariat against the artifex, but the proletariat can revolt against this manipulation by becoming creative and joining the artifex. A wise bourgeoisie will balance investing resources in the proletariat and the artifex, causing a gradual and sustainable rise in both the standard of living and rate of employment until the society is unified in the artifex.

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III

Creativity both creates and solves unemployment and drives up the standard of living through the technological achievements or entrepreneurships it invents to solve the problems which previous technological achievements or successful entrepreneurships may have caused. A society high in freedom and creativity, then, is inherently self-motivated. A self-motivated person is the opposite of an alienated individual and is only possible in a both free and creative society. Depression is practically guaranteed in a nation that is free and wealthy but not creative, while a nation that lacks freedom fails to foster creativity. Leisure without vision is as alienating as work without ownership.

The value of Capitalism is determined by the degree it enables creativity, which is tied to sustained productivity and prosperity. The system is self-destructive, as Marx admonished, without it. To the degree Capitalism is successful then is to the degree it enables and educates a strong creative class. The stronger the artifex, the stronger the economy and happier the people. Once creativity is gone, since the material dialectic must undergo creative destruction by definition, freedom must eventually also be lost. There is no liberty where there is no economy; the weaker the economy becomes, the more liberty decreases. This is because there cannot be liberty where individuals do not have the economic capabilities to rise above their circumstances. Though economic freedom is not the only freedom, it is a necessary part of a free society that is lost when the material dialectic implodes; the other freedoms tend to follow. Great nations fall once freedom is gone, and the reason they give up freedom, rarely if ever realizing it, is by devaluing creativity.8

Left to the material dialectic, without creativity, a society becomes reliant on growth through repairing damaged goods,9 distributing limited resources, credit creation,10 and/or living off the fruit of past generations, none of which are sustainable. While living on that past fruit, it is very tempting to stop emphasizing creativity, for there seems to be no pressing need for it until things turn fatal. If the present is good, it’s hard to think about the future or to care about the past. Ironically, creativity is what makes possible this entitlement mentality, the making of the ‘broken window fallacy’, and so on, via the increase in the standard of living which creativity causes. In this sense, creativity is risky.

The less creative a society, the more threatening creativity becomes, as shares of a company become more threatening (and yet more vital) to one’s livelihood the more money the individual has stored up in that one basket. Take how Google is both viewed as a great blessing and a monopolistic threat. Yet regardless of how threatening it may be, a society has to tap into that creativity, for economic growth is driven by it. Knowing they are enslaved to this source, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat can become increasing uneasy with the artifex, with alienation gradually setting in. This tension eventually leads to violent or unjust forms of rebellion against the artifex when business owners, for example, recognize they aren’t creative enough to adapt to creative innovations, such as the internet, and when the proletariat consequently recognizes their jobs are at risk. As an increasing reduction in the availability and abundance of the means of production accelerates the self-destruction of the material dialectic, so a reduction of creativity accelerates the shrinking of the artifex. This being the case, once creativity begins to fade in a society, it is probable that it will continue to do so. With that eventually goes freedom, and for this reason, though the present may be good, it is clear that America is in a dire situation.

Risk management is the practice of diversifying risk in order to reduce loses and increase profit. The more creativity there is across a society, as influenced by the school system and family structure, the more that society has invested wisely and diversified the risk of creativity. Yet the more creative a society becomes, the more it risks high unemployment if that creativity ever screeches to a halt or slows down (due to regulation, a drop in abstract thinking, etc.). Creativity always entails risk, and risk is always necessary for value creation. Creativity is a double-edged sword, but a nation will only be cut by it if it freely chooses to stop paying attention. In the self-destructive material dialectic, regardless of what one chooses, an individual inevitably ends up slain. If America is to recover, it must take a risk and reform its education system and society to incubate creativity. Otherwise, it will lose its freedom: it will end up slain.

IV

Capitalism is driven by innovations that increase the standard of living, yet those innovations make jobs obsolete, increasing unemployment. An innovation solves a problem, yet once that problem is solved, further creativity is needed to address the problem of unemployment caused by that innovation. An innovation both creates and destroys jobs: the question is does it do more of the former or the latter?

The material dialectic keeps problems involving material goods solved while failing to address mental and personal problems. On the other hand, the creative concord solves and/or finds problems in the first place, while simultaneously liberating participants from alienation. Yet all classes need one another: if cars stopped being produced after Ford died, no one would be able to invent a new car that runs on alternative energy; rather, people would keep reinventing Ford’s original model. Though this may keep employment high, it would not raise the standard of living beyond what Ford already raised it.11

Without creativity, the artifex disappears. Once that occurs, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat must clash and undergo creative destruction, for the material dialectic must work itself toward disappearing. This disappearance occurs fully, perhaps, during a draft, collapse, revolution, or in Socialism. In Socialism, there is a new dialectic between the owner, worker, and the government. Though the problem Marx identified has changed form, it has not been solved. Like the material dialectic, this ‘totalitarian dialectic’ must also undergo a kind of creative destruction in which those who are forced into being both the owner of his or her labor and the laborer, feeling alienated by the government which forces them into this role, rebel against the governing class. The people do this to seize back the power to make an artifex class by choosing to be artifexian, rather than be forced into a similar but alienating non- or universal class. Though this society may be creative, lacking freedom, compensation, motivation, or resources, this society cannot will to be creative or maintain creativity, lacking a material dialectic to work in concert with, causing the artifex to vanish. Socialism fruitlessly tries to make citizens free by eliminating the classes of ‘worker’ and ‘owner’, rather than enabling each to be a ‘worker/owner’. There is no true unemployment, so neither is there true employment: duty and altruism replace both. Consequently, neither employment nor unemployment can drive creativity and innovation, and though no jobs are lost by creativity, none are created by it either. Employment may be high, but the standard of living will be low.

In Socialism, bringing about a police state, the people rebel because there is no artifex that can create itself, but the same can occur in Capitalism. Once creativity dries up, so goes the artifex, and with that, the material dialectic self-destructs. Though Socialism inherently destroys the artifex by annulling freedom, the artifex’s existence is possible, but not necessarily present, in Capitalism. Capitalism does not inherently work, but it does have the potential to avoid total creative destruction by maintaining a healthy and strong artifex. Unfortunately, the present American school system stifles creativity, as attested to by Ken Robinson, and most creative people are pressured by society to ‘enter the real world’ of numerical chutes and corporate ladders. Self-destructively, this kind of peer pressure is a manifestation of the tension between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat against the artifex.12

As the proletariat is most likely to start the conflict between it and the bourgeoisie, the bourgeoisie is most likely to start the conflict between it and the artifex, though the bourgeoisie will only be successful if it can influence the proletariat to join it. Yet, unlike the proletariat, the bourgeoisie is not as likely to turn to violence and revolution to stop the artifex if creative individuals turn down their offers to be bought out or to sell their patents. The bourgeoisie is too comfortable, and though they may lose their businesses, they won’t lose their lives. In this regard, it is more likely that the material dialectic breaks down than the creative concord, though the creative concord is more difficult to achieve. Also, citizens can choose to keep the creative concord strong by choosing to join the artifex, while the material dialectic collapses inherently. All are alienated in the material dialectic, but in the creative concord, which comes into being by the choices of people, creative freedom can be exercised.

It is important to emphasize that the creative concord collapses when the artifex class vanishes, shrinks too much, or is greatly disabled, while the material dialectic breaks down because it is itself. The artifex class doesn’t have to collapse, but without it, the material dialectic must fall apart. It lacks a center. Therefore, the choice to give up the artifex is the choice to give up freedom and the society. With creativity goes everything.

To give Marx his due, if the artifex consists of a limited group of people — say mostly those who live in Silicon Valley — due to a lack of education that spreads creativity to the general public, structural and/or institutional barriers, or because it’s simply the case that not everyone can be creative (which I don’t believe, but admittedly perhaps out of idealism), then horrifically a place like Silicon Valley is likely to become another alienating stronghold of power and money, a mansion surrounded by walls and security guards. If it is only a matter of time before the destruction of creative destruction becomes the predominant consequence of creativity because the larger society lacks creative capacities to respond to it constructively, then though Capitalism will not collapse in the deterministic way Marx described it, it will still probably collapse. We cannot say yet that Marx was totally wrong yet, only that his theory missed something important. At least we have reason to hope.

V

To be in a socioeconomic order is to be in the material dialectic.

To be in a society is to be in a position for revolution.

To create is to revolt. To start a business is to create a thing to produce and a means by which to produce it. Revolution is always imminent: Marx was right. Schools decide if revolution is bloody or glorious. An analytical school system that stifles creativity in a Capitalist society is a strange, fatal paradox. Capitalism is failing today because the artifex is small and inhibited by regulation and guilt. Those who invent 3D printers put the lives of millions at risk who will be unemployed as a result of their genius. Realizing this potentially puts creators through an existential crisis when they should be receiving praise and gratitude.

In our current socioeconomic order, once unemployed and robbed of creativity, a person is helpless. Enabled by school to be creative, upon losing their jobs, people would simply create new means of employment. In a creative society, unemployment stimulates technological advancement, because those who are unemployed are forced to create a new way for themselves. Unemployment results in numerous entrepreneurial start-ups, and seeing that small business drives the market, creativity would make unemployment healthy for the economy, rather than terminal. By becoming an artifexian, each unemployed worker would stage a revolution and transcend alienation, social stigma, and the material dialectic. Sadly, by glossing over unpredictable, unmanageable, and organic creativity, schools have taught Americans how to revolt violently in trying to avoid the subject of revolution altogether.13

The ‘entrepreneur revolutionist’ saves the bourgeoisie, the proletariat, and the society as a whole. The artifex enables social mobility, actual wealth creation, and a higher standard of living in economic, psychological, and personal terms. Making it easier to focus on the next project, artifexians don’t ‘pull themselves up by their bootstraps’. Rather, they invent boots without straps.

Notes

1Allusion to Joseph Schumpeter.

2See The Meaning of the Creative Act by Nikolai Berdyaev.

3See Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman.

4Allusion to “The Pretence of Knowledge” by Friedrich Hayek.

5See The Privileged Ones by Robert Coles.

6Political, educational, social, and economic policy and enterprise that enables this tri-relationship between B, A, and P should be allowed, while policy that disables it should be removed. Both the Right and Left have operated off an axiom of a material dialectic, in one way or another, and hence both have fallen short of proper policy that enables the creative concord. Liberals tend to grasp that Capitalism is self-destructive due to the material dialectic but offer Socialism as a solution, while Conservatives defend freedom while not noticing the paradox of Capitalism. Neither grasp that creativity is the solution: they were not trained by the school system or family structure to be creative.

7If Louis Dumont is right in his Homo Hierarchicus and humanity is innately hierarchical, it is impossible for society to be classless; Communism runs against human nature itself.

7.1Note that an artifex society is not one without dentists, doctors, etc. or one in which no one works for anyone else: any occupation that exists in the material dialectic is one that can exist in the creative concord. As in the material dialectic, someone must simply choose to create it. In an artifex society, to make an example, a dentist is one who starts his own practice and employs others to be part of it. While they are employed, each employee is working to start or run his or her own practice or independent enterprise (perhaps a coffee shop, a novel, etc.). At the practices these employees shall start, each shall hire new employees, each which will work to start a practice or enterprise of their own, and so on. This spreads employment, decreases alienation, and raises the standard of living for all. As old dentists pass away, new dentists shall take their place, and with an artifexian mindset, they shall revamp the old practice for the present age, making it their own. When employees leave an enterprise, the owner, creative, will either come up with solutions that address this decline in labor or move on to something else. If the owner moves on, this will make space for an artifexian who wants to fill the space and/or result in new employment opportunities when the migrating artifexian creates a new enterprise.

7.11Also keep in mind that an artifex can work for someone else: an artifex society is not one in which people do not work for or with one another. The difference is that while working for another, an employee is working on or toward something of his or her making. In this way, this phase of being an employee is a stepping stone, and in such a circumstance, both the bourgeoisie and proletariat are within the artifex. Though the material dialectic vanishes, within the artifex, the two classes are still present but in a new way, free of alienation, dependency, and in a manner that doesn’t cause society to implode. In a sense, one could view an artifex society as a society that takes Viktor Frankl seriously.

7.112Freeing many of a common existential crisis, in an artifex society, moving from college to a job would not be a ‘final step’, upon which there is nothing to look forward to doing or becoming. Once a person becomes an employee, that person can of course advance up the ranks within the category of employment, but after years of working toward new categories to change into, there ceases to be any change to which to look forward. This can be psychologically devastating. The person has entered ‘the real world’ or ‘rat race’, as society calls it, and though the employee can get married, have children, and take up new hobbies, the person cannot, within their work, change categories. Perhaps a person in the category of proletariat can move into the bourgeoisie, but this kind of supposed advancement is only a shift within the category of the material dialectic. This being the case, the individual will not readily find alleviation from alienation. On the other hand, an artifex society is one in which any position of employment or ownership is a ‘step’ toward becoming an artifexian, rather than another shift in the ‘rat race’. Keep in mind also that an artifexian is a person for whom every accomplishment is a ‘step’ toward another one, every creation practice for a greater one. The work of an artifexian is never finished yet always fulfilling. This being the case, the artifexian drives productivity far and above the participant in the material dialectic. One could say, in a sense, that the artifexian creates and works enterprises that continue to generate revenue, twenty-fours a day, even after the artifexian has died.

7.12Though it is outside the scope of this paper to address fully, it should be noted that creativity is innately communal, diverse, and particular. All scientists stand on the shoulders of those who came before them, as all writers stand on the shoulders of prior artists. Creators stand on the shoulders of white, black, and Chinese creators so that white, black, and Chinese creators may stand on their shoulders. To create, while autonomous, is to be prepared for humility and open to diversity. It is also to be generous, for to create is to give to the world. For these reasons and more, an artifexian isn’t individualistic, nor one who loves humanity at the expense of individuals (to allude to Dostoyevsky). The artifexian loves both, recognizing how one enables the other.

7.2Whether a fully artifex society is possible or merely an ideal to strive toward is dependent on the function of the word ‘perfect’. The term is deceptive, for it implies a ‘state of being’ rather than an ‘act of being’, yet perfection is something you do, not something you are: it is about growing more so than it is about finishing up. ‘Perfect societies’, in a Platonic, idealistic sense, are impossible, for the word ‘perfect’ in that context is meaningless, seeing that there is no clear standard of what the society is perfect in relation to. If the word is meaningful, to loosely allude to Aquinas, a ‘perfect society’ is one that ‘does what it was made to do’. Perfection, in regard to humans, is hence tied to anthropology, and if humans are innately creative (which I think there is reason to believe), humans are perfect when creative. Since a society exists to increase the standard of living, a society is perfect when it raises the standard of living, which is always thanks to some form of creativity. Therefore, an artifexian society is a ‘perfect society’ in the only way the term can be meaningful.

7.21The ‘perfection always ahead’ that drives the artifex is ‘idealistic perfection’, while the act of growing toward this ideal is ‘practical perfection’ (in the sense that it is ‘a perfection that can be practiced’). In this regard, a society can ‘practice perfection’, as one can practice medicine, and whether it can be achieved isn’t a vital question. In this regard, the ‘ideal of War and Peace’ comes into existence with the writing of its first page. The ‘ideal of perfection’ emerges simultaneous with the ‘practice of perfection’: the existence of one necessitates the existence of the other, as the cessation of one is the end of both. The ‘practice of’ and ‘ideal of’ are two sides of the same coin. Therefore, the ‘ideal perfection’ is valuable not because it can be achieved, but because it can orientate the direction of a practice, thus giving that practice something ‘it is made to do’ and a framework in which to be ‘practically perfect’ relative to. In this sense, to strive toward a fully artifex society is to be perfect, even though the ideal isn’t achieved. The practice is achievement.

7.22In a way, the whole language of ‘achievable’ or ‘unachievable’ is as meaningless as asking whether being a poet is ‘achievable’. Of course one can be a poet, but whether a person can ‘achieve’ the status is simply to ask, in a strange way, whether a person can write poetry. As one writes, the person has ‘achieved’ the status of poet, but once he or she finishes, has the person ‘fallen from perfection’? It depends on how a person defines ‘perfection’, and even if the poet has ‘fallen’, it doesn’t matter. One can still be a poet even though the person doesn’t write poetry constantly, as long as the person is always working to write poetry. Likewise, a society can be perfect even with imperfections as long it is always working for perfection.

7.23Note that an artifex society is something that a society has to constantly be moving toward since new people are constantly being born. In a sense, the only way to ‘be perfect’ rather than ‘practice perfection’ is to stop pregnancies. It is doubtful though that anyone would call a sexless world ‘perfect’.

7.24It is better not to use the language of ‘a perfect society’; rather, it is better to say ‘a society practicing perfection’.

8This is why it was foolish for Plato to unjustly bar the poet from his Republic, for this made the decline of the artifex inevitable and the collapse of his Republic within the material dialectic unavoidable. By barring the poet, he removed the artists who inspire inventors, artisans, and entrepreneurs to create wealth. Consequently, he made it only a matter of time before the whole artifex dissolved. A society cannot have inventors without poets or poets without inventors: all creators need all creators. This is why the artifex cannot be composed of ‘just novelists’, ‘just entrepreneurs’, etc.: it is not possible to have one without the others. The science fiction writer gives the scientist the idea for the spaceship which results in the inventor enabling humanity to go to the moon. Without the inventor, society wouldn’t be stable enough for the writer to have time to record his vision. Some inventors write or do art for a hobby, and if not allowed to carry out this practice, they will not have exercised their mind creatively enough to think up a new invention that will benefit humanity. Though the poet makes ‘shadows of shadows’, Plato did not recognize that some shadows are better than others, nor did he grasp that the ‘shadows of shadows’ can enable ‘shadows’ to come to life

8.1People are told to ‘think for themselves’, but since they are unable to think for themselves, deprived of this capacity by the society, they are unable to understand what this means. The phrase is the answer to a question like ‘what are you supposed to learn in college?’, but isn’t meaningful in of itself. Because others tell them so, people, obedient, know they are supposed to ‘think for themselves’, and so claim that they can, but unable to think for themselves, they are unable to recognize that they can’t. People are always able to convince themselves that they can ‘think for themselves’, but it is the artifexians who force them to critically ask of themselves ‘can I really?’ beyond their own definitions and standards. The stronger the artifex, the more the society probably actually will be able to think for itself, and the more a society can do this, the more it can determine how to transcend the material dialectic.

8.11Since people (naturally) think they can think for themselves, by barring the artifex from his Republic, Plato made it impossible to determine who actually was a Philosopher King (for everyone naturally thinks they are a Philosopher King and that they are able to recognize one). No one thinks of their self as a mere mortal. Also, by kicking out the artifexian, Plato removed from his Republic the source of creative thinking that a Philosopher King must personify to rule the Republic justly. Without poets, there can be no Philosopher King. Lastly, to be free is to not be boxed in, and to be creative is to be able to think outside the box. Therefore, by removing creativity, Plato removed freedom from his Republic. For this reason, it is increasingly easy to find parallels between American and the Republic.

8.2A person who can be bored isn’t free, for that individual is enslaved to an external source he or she requires for motivation. In this sense, the person who has nothing to do the moment the internet stops working is someone who is enslaved to the internet. Only a creative person avoids being enslaved to surrounding goods, and this is a reason why there is no freedom without creativity. Without creativity, a person must be a consumer, rather than a ‘recycler’ who gives back through what he or she consumes.

8.21Dallas Willard captured the relationship between creativity and freedom beautifully when he wrote: ‘If we want to see freedom, we don’t look at a kid jumping around with nothing to do. We see freedom when we see an accomplished artist sit down at a piano and play something so beautiful that we can hardly stay in our seat. That’s freedom’.

9See Frédéric Bastiat.

10See Richard Duncan.

11It is a common and unfortunate mistake to conflate ‘high employment’ with a ‘high standard of living’. It is also common to fail to recognize that only those who create wealth create jobs, while those who distribute wealth distribute jobs.

11.1As it is possible to become an artifexian, it is also possible to stop being one. This being the case, a society that becomes an artifex society must work to keep itself that way, which is when it is most tempting to think there’s no work left to be done. This is because there seems to be no pressing need for it, since it appears that the perfect society has been achieved, but what is achieved in one moment can be lost in the next. Whenever an artifexian ceases to be one, the standard of living decreases; whenever someone becomes an artifexian or re-becomes one, the standard increases. It can increase either by current artifexians creating something new or by someone who isn’t an artifexian becoming one. The same can be said in regard to actual wealth.

11.2The artifex class includes anyone who actually enables or enhances production, say with an original idea or philosophical construct, even if they themselves don’t actually produce anything. This kind of person is an ‘indirect artifexian’ and is different from an intellectual, who’s only product is ideas that do not relate to production. Any intellectual becomes an indirect artifexian as soon as their ideas enhance or enable production, and stops being one as soon as this isn’t the case. An individual, in this regard, has to start as an intellectual to become an artifexian. For this reason, intellectuals are good for society as long as they work to generate ideas that benefit production or creation — which can be everything from a blueprint to a short story that reminds a reader that life is worth living — rather than just produce ideas. Of course, it is nearly impossible to tell which artists and intellectuals are indirect artifexians and which aren’t, and which will become indirect artifexians in time. This is why the best policy is a hands-off approach that increases freedom. If artifexians, like a police state, were to begin removing intellectuals and artists who weren’t indirect artifexians in their eyes, they would be sowing the seeds of their own destruction. Ideally, in time, the indirect artifexians work to be direct ones themselves, which would increase wealth. One could say that ‘indirect’ and ‘direct’ are two tiers within the artifex class, as ‘worker’ and ‘manager’ are two tiers in the proletariat. The best artifex society is one in which every citizen is both a direct and indirect artifexian: while creating their own works, each artifexian also enables or enhances the production of others.

11.3It would enhance clarity to replace Marx’s language of ‘the means of production’ with ‘the means of creation’, ‘products’ with ‘creations’.

12The most devious of all the bourgeoisie’s tricks is getting the proletariat to dishearten the artifex so that the bourgeoisie won’t have their enterprises undermined by artifexian creations. Successfully, the bourgeoisie has convinced most parents to encourage their children to take risk-averse lifestyles rather than become artists and entrepreneurs.

12.1If you study the arts or humanities, you won’t be able to get a job after college: you’ll be able to make one.

12.2Like the gardener described in “The Pretence of Knowledge” by Friedrich Hayek, a school system that incubates creativity grows prosperity, while one that tries to fix children, like a mechanic fixes cars, stifles it. Since creativity is innate in everyone (as will be expanded upon), creativity cannot be taught, only incubated. Governments and organizations can only ‘teach’ creativity insomuch as they give people the freedom to experiment without fear of failure or judgment. Institutions must take a passive role, which takes more discipline than does being active. In other words, organizations should resemble gardeners, not mechanics.

12.3The death of the artifex is the death of culture. It is not by chance that poverty followed China after the Cultural Revolution, that Russia fell into catastrophe after it banished European artists and intellectuals, and that America has declined during the replacement of culture with entertaining consumerism. Likewise, it is not by chance that Europe thrived after the Enlightenment and Renaissance or that countries prosper when a true system of liberal education is established. Collapses are often preceded by an exile, excommunication, censorship, or genocide of the artifex, while prosperity is preceded by their acceptance. The death of culture is, in fact, the death of culture.

13The question of whether all people are creative is an anthropological one that cannot be confirmed either way or even assessed until an artifex society comes into existence, for a few generations, which can be compared with previous societies like America today. Personally, I believe all people are creative; I also believe few manage to stay creative. With respect to Stuart Brown, Daniel Pink, and Ken Robinson, a reason I believe everyone is creative is because children naturally play; a reason I believe few remain creative is because most are pressured to act like adults, to not be ‘childish’. I believe if the education system were to enable creativity, the world would be filled with child-like people of every age and color.

Additions:

https://www.scribd.com/document/362511255/The-Additions-of-Being-Conscious-by-O-G-Rose

Written by

2020 UNO Prize Finalist. The Write Launch. Iowa Review. Allegory Ridge. Streetlight. Ponder. Pidgeonholes. W&M Review. Poydras. www.ogrose.com

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