The Disparity Between the Creative and Civics

Last night I was able to have some wonderful conversations with local creatives, activists, leaders, friends of our regions Slow Food movement and Richard McCarthy the President of Slow Food USA.

In the past few years I’m not able to get out as much due to my own businesses responsibilities so I really treasure moments that allow me to find an arena to have intelligent discourse. This evening had many courses of discussion but I kept finding a pattern of my own.

Comfort & Cronyism

I learned a long time ago that humanity is often like water, finding a path of least resistance. Maybe it shouldn’t be surprising since we’re made mainly of the stuff that we’d have properties that it follows. However its still no less disconcerting how many problems grow out of our inability to rise up and face challenges head on. Or once we do how soon we ebb into a place of comfort that leads us cyclically back to a similar set of circumstances.

This can be applied to technology that hasn’t changed in years, businesses that eventually implode on themselves to government inaction & misappropriation. Once something becomes established there are those who find comfort in that establishment. Like waking up on a cold morning and not wanting to get out of bed. We get mad when someone tries to take our covers off.  Even when you really do need to get the hell out of bed!

The Generational Windows of Action

Change the world, change your local, change… Change happens cyclically and nearly formulaically (catalyzed or not.) What I’m starting to see is how there are specific windows where action can take place and they take place during each generations available cycles. The most common cycle seems to stem from our young-adult to adult workforce transition. Too much time on your hands. Groups gather, ideas are fostered, nurtured, grown, explosive or helpful. Add a few more years to this and you have people who are too busy at work, a few more years and you enter family years where risk levels are reduced as well as focus totally isolated on the nuclear units. I feel there should be a late generational gap that forms once a nest is empty. However, by then I hazard to guess that the pent up desires override a civic duty and that the true next actionable moment is once we are well aged and mature. Done with catching up time lost and able to once again ponder the world/communities state of affairs.

It’s precious little and unless you actually work in a paid NGO it means we never have much time generation to generation to affect change. There are of course exceptions to all of this but they will be edge cases, not a normal.

So what’s this got to do with the disparity between the creative and civics?

Civics Avoidance

It could have started when we decided that civics education was gutted from our education. If you’re not taught how things work and how to (re)work the system then there will be few who understand they can, or aspire to be one who does. A topic discussed during the evening was how there is a huge wave of creatives who are forming micro/small businesses to run and solve a myriad of problems. What I’m not hearing is why an army of the same brilliant types aren’t entering the political arena and the disparity that grows out of this is that old political families will continue to enter the quasi-aristocracy. This too has edge cases, threads of those trying to cross the chasm.

If you take a room fire as an analogy you have the layer below the smoke and that above. Below the fold you feel safer because you can breath, we are having a teeming microcosm form, but there is a gap,  a very difficult and caustic one to jump between that of the creative and the rule makers. Fire being what it is, the system has a potential for consuming itself. I’m not sure how it resolves in saving itself.

“Death is lighter than a feather, but Duty is heavier than a mountain.”
― Robert Jordan, To the Blight

As a small business person I have rammed my head countless times into these walls wondering where my support structures are, healthy frameworks for government to small business interaction and they are missing. Where the ladder begins is so far above only the monolithic businesses (sic. establishments) with deep pockets run.

I have a shiver of fear of what is continuing to happen if we continue to neglect entering the fray of lawmakers. We need to be iterating on our prior work. Learning from our past, improving our future, and making an environment that is helpful for growth.

Use Your Opportunities

I’ll keep an eye out for my next window of opportunity and try and press upon the next generation I’m raising to be watchful and timely with their moments. They only come a few times and you must be ready to seize them.