Society, Justice, and Creative Work
June 15, 2020
Exercising our creative powers can be framed as an assertion of individuality, of personal agency, of freedom to give shape to the experience we are having as human beings.
John Adams, the second President of the United States, wrote in a letter to his wife this memorable passage:
“The science of government it is my duty to study, more than all other sciences; the arts of legislation and administration and negotiation ought to take the place of, indeed exclude, in a manner, all other arts. I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.”
From this point of view, creative capacity flows from a larger context of a functioning society. We are only truly free to do our work when our basic needs are being met and in the presence of justice.