Creative individuals are troublesome, as a rule. They tend to be impulsive (lacking in conscientiousness), and resistant to group-pressures...
Consequently creatives tend to be unsuited to functioning in modern bureaucracies - such as academia, sciences, law, the media, the institutional churches... all of which have become soul-destroying deserts of conformist dullness under a brittle veneer of fake fun and pseudo-significance.
My sense is that such individuals were integrated better, and functioned better, in the past.
In modern life a person with moderately high psychoticism is, on the one hand, excluded by the rigid and rule-filled operations of impersonal bureaucracies (i.e. pretty much all large organizations); while on the other hand outwith organizations their lives may lack sufficient structure so they are likely to go-off-the-rails (e.g engage in alcoholism, or promiscuity - in general, seeking short term pleasure and distraction).
What is needed is not to be found somewhere on a line drawn between conformity-to-bureaucracy and loose-cannon-license; but in an entirely different and older principle of social organization .
What is needed is on the lines of more characteristically medieval organizations: the monastery and the college.
This provided a compulsory, fairly frequent structure for life - by things like communal living, communal meals, and daily religious observances.
Some rules are inevitable and desirable; but rules constrain relations, and in essence authority should be personal, patriarchal and loving - like an ideal abbot or master.
Lacking natural submissiveness and docility, the main factor binding the high-psychoticism individual to society is loyalty - which is a kind of love.
One cannot love a bureaucracy, but one may love a monastery, a college, a guild - and one may be loyal to the patriarchal figures which head them.
Loyalty and love were the ties that used to bind traditional society; and modernity is hostile to, destructive of, loyalty and love.
And, as an interesting and profound aside; loyalty and love explain why the best Christians may not be (usually are not) the most conscientious, stable, submissive and altruistic of people.
Christian faith is defined in terms of love and loyalty, not obedience to law.
The best Christians are (surely?) those who love and are loyal to Christ and their fellow men; not those who are best at sticking to rules, nor those who sin least often.
I've enjoyed your last few posts about creativity and psychoticism - I picked up Eysenck's Genius after reading something here and found it quite interesting, although I didn't always agree with what he was saying.
The lack of (the support of) creativity within larger institutions really is a problem, and it is something which I've been struggling with recently. When I was first entering into college, I had planned that I would eventually pursue a Ph.D. and go into teaching and academia, but everything that I've experienced thus far has made me change my mind, and I'm no longer planning on going this route.
I believe that this is a problem for some people (it has been for me, at least) even when they have encountered a number of genuinely brilliant and virtuous people (not to be read as brilliant people and virtuous people), as it seems that there can still be (and, perhaps, very often is) a tremendously different outlook on things (this is hard to explain).
I've often wondered about the worth of creativity. What do you think about it? If we compare the traits associated with creativity (high psychoticism, impulsiveness, emotional detachment, selfishness, etc.) with the virtues of Christianity, we see that they are really almost directly opposed. It's for this reason that I find it hard to maintain and foster it in myself - I can't decide whether or not it should even be there. It's a puzzling thing...
@Nathan "I've often wondered about the worth of creativity. What do you think about it? "
My main point about individual creativity is that modern society is utterly dependent upon it - in the form of genius.
Creativity as such is common but is as often as not found among people of average or low intelligence, or of too chaotic a personality - so it does not lead to great achievement.
IN an ultimate sense, creativity can be a gift or a curse, but is neither a good not a bad thing - it is simply one of the ways that people are.
"If we compare the traits associated with creativity (high psychoticism, impulsiveness, emotional detachment, selfishness, etc.) with the virtues of Christianity, we see that they are really almost directly opposed."
Well, no they are not, That was what my note was meant to express. Christ came to save sinners - but they must love Christ. Good behaviour without the love of Christ is, as St Paul said, merely trash, manure...
Some of the Saints were fools for Christ, some were exceptional sinners but martyrs for the faith (e.g. King Charles the Second).
"My main point about individual creativity is that modern society is utterly dependent upon it - in the form of genius."
I think that this is true, although it is incredibly difficult to justify! How does one go about, fully aware of the difficulties he places on others, maintaining that something good will come of it? Perhaps a tremendous amount of faith is required? I don't know...
"Well, no they are not, That was what my note was meant to express. Christ came to save sinners - but they must love Christ. Good behaviour without the love of Christ is, as St Paul said, merely trash, manure..."
I don't understand this line of reasoning. What do you mean here by "loving Christ"? Am I able to say, "I love Christ...but I live, and will continue to live in sin, without a thought to changing it"? It seems like the essence of creativity is the mindset that "I will do it my way," whereas the goal of Christianity is something completely different. I'm not advocating here that Christianity is a nodding of one's head in agreement with the majority, but rather an emulation of Christ, who is really the antithesis of high-psychoticism.
Please don't think I'm raising these questions because I'm such a huge proponent of obedience and rule-following - God knows that I'm basically incapable of doing this...but does this mean that I shouldn't be otherwise?
"Am I able to say, "I love Christ...but I live, and will continue to live in sin, without a thought to changing it"? "
No! But some people *cannot* change the way they behave, and many others find it very difficult and hardly make any positive difference. Yet, if they repent then they are washed clean of their sins.
After all, nobody at all (with the possible exception of Mary Mother of Jesus) actually *deserves* salvation.
We only attain salvation by repentance. The amount that we have to repent seems not to matter much to salvation as such (this is leaving aside the matter of theosis) as clearly demonstrated by the story of The Good Thief at the end of Luke's gospel.
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