Perhaps in this new century more than ever, a person can be truly practicing art by simply placing his focus on living creatively. I read The Rise of The Creative Class and began looking for exactly who Florida was talking about. Who is the Creative Class? Is it the artists, the college professors, the web designers, the programmers, the builders? Who the fuck is it that lives the lifestyle that he is talking about, that makes the demands on a city that he is describing? Because, it seems like he is talking more about a lifestyle than a particular mode of earning money, a particular earning level. It seems like what he is describing is a lifestyle that approaches a kind of consciousness. A refusal to buy in to earlier suppositions about what is offered up on the American lifestyle buffet.
Who is Florida describing when he presents his list of Creative Class attributes? Well certainly he is describing a vague group who possess some but not necessarily all of the attributes he lists. In fact very few if any individuals probably possess all of those characteristics except maybe Florida himself.
But, if we look at the list in general, what we find is that we are talking about living creatively.
Maybe the term “Creative Class” is flawed. We might better speak about the “Creative Wave or Surge or Tendency or Lifestyle simply label them The Creatives.” The book Rise of the Creative Class talks about “artists” in the usual sense? Someone who makes a painting or a computer program? Are we talking about someone who creates anything “for a living?” What about a guy who makes houses? Creative class? What about a guy who makes computer programs but who doesn’t live the lifestyle– you know, the computer programer who has no boldness? Because boldness, it seems, is a necessary ingredient in living the lifestyle. It’s a lifestyle of transcending limits. What about the artist who makes shit that if it sold everyone would think was a genius– but who sells nothing? Is he creative class, the guy who has the boldness– never mind “creativity”– but who is trapped within the cage of commerce?
Thus, it seems that the term “Class” doesn’t really serve our practical needs. We’re not talking about an economically unified group. In fact, they’re not very unified at all in whatever terms you try to use. They don’t all drink gourmet coffee. They don’t all live in a city loft. And, if they do live in the city they might have to do things in a blue or white collar way in order to create their poetry or paint their paintings. They don’t all practice expensive solo sports like climbing and cycling– some of them bowl. Some of them drink expensive Scotch some of them shoot heroine some of them meditate while smoking cigarettes.
But, Florida’s goal that exists right over the horizon seems to be a method of attracting people like himself to urban areas. He sees a positive way a city can do business in order to attract cool people that he sees as a growing population with common interests. He is interested in a particular slice of the pizza. I am interested in a slightly different piece of the same big pizza.
What are the resources around us that are called by us into their ready positions to sing together and in harmony, rather than cacaphony, in chorus? Nature is the true zen conductor of elements and in pursuing a natural, zen-like approach to harmonizing ourselves to just the right resonance with all that surrounds us, we can come to find and abide in harmony.
For example, Finance is one of the aspects of Life, creative or otherwise, that I naturally tend to vere away from. Lennon said “All you need is love,” but there doesn’t seem to be any clear way around money when it comes to supplying your daily needs. In “Office Space” the main character, when asked about how after “not going” to his job he plans on paying bills, answers: “You know I never really liked doing that either. I don’t think I’m going to do it anymore.”
We laugh thinking, “if only it were that easy.”
Several times before buying it I very nearly put down the book, “Affluenza,” and I felt downright dirty when I picked up and paid for “Your money or your life.” I imagined the readers of such financed-based interpretations of American life to be shallow dull-witted business-class fliers with their Humvees juiced up and waiting at the airport.
Not knowing much about pop finance books I assumed that all were the same, and maybe they are in that they, like romances, pretty much all involve the hero (you) and heroine (your money) getting together in the end to live happily ever after. But Affluenza and Money took a very anti-materialist tack on dealing with money in your life.
Affluenza treats America’s addiction to consumption as a disease while “Your Money or Your Life” treats money as a kind of over-the-counter drug that if misued can lead to a whole heap of unhappy dependency. In both books money is simply the vehicle to getting the stuff we need, but both books deal with our tendency to overuse the presciption until it becomes entangled and intermingled with our life.
“Your money” focuses on lessening your need to spend and thus lessening your need to convert life energy into money; ie. work. One of the perceived problems of committing ourselves to a life on is the fear that the process won’t combine the right elements to properly convert our life energy into money. We know that we can make money, if only a little, flipping burgers or cleaning tables, but somehow we don’t see how writing poetry or creating the intricate Zuni headdresses that are our passion can bring about the consistent flow of dollars that we require.