Originally published on Deamwidth, SEP. 26TH, 2005 07:50 PM.

It’s because we must grow.

The first and most powerful impulse in living communities is the conservative impulse: the will to keep things the way that they are. And this is a good and a necessary thing: the Way Things Are is sufficiently complicated to learn, let alone master, without people coming along and changing it on you. Hence the fact that teenagers tend to be more conservative than others: they can just about see their mastery, and they don’t want the rules changing right now.

The second most powerful impulse is the rebellious impulse: anger, generally that one is thwarted in a specific goal, and then sees that there are more things that one is prevented from doing. Since the original goal was desirable, these other goals can become contemplated as desirable as well.

Then comes creativity: as inborn as handedness, those who are afflicted with it cannot be prevented from creating without twisting them into a frightening caricature of a socialized being.

Criticism comes next, and it derives from rebelliousness, above: the rebellion against the vision of another. Embedded within it is a profound conservative view, one that sees the shadows of perfection and matches them against the creativity that another has exhibited.

Justice comes next. Please do not think that I consider this not very powerful: all of these impulses are profoundly powerful, and fit very close to each other. The desire for justice, fairness, equitability, is hardwired into our systems and can be observed in our near and distant cousins: the fierce need to see that we are treated by the same rules as everyone else.

Together with justice comes love: the desire for the good of another, even at the cost of one’s own good.

Conservatism keeps things from spinning out of control: changes are temporary unless they meet several of the other impulses.

Rebelliousness keeps things from stagnating: as sheerly destructive as it sometimes seems, it exposes assumptions to light and air, and allows them to be challenged: if they are sound, they will survive. If not, the rebellious will toss them loudly about and cause all kinds of ruckus which will eventually wear them into small, easily smooshed pieces. Rebelliousness challenges without initial judgment: the calm of conservation examines nothing, and makes it hard to see what should, and what need not, be turned upside down.

Creative people invent, make, grow, and they come up with both genuinely new things and new ways of using old and ancient things. Creative people – the creative impulse in general – is the strongest force against entropy. On the other hand, if they are not kept under some sort of control – some manner of pruning – their works become cancerous, and crowd out other good things.

This is where the critical come in. They keep the creative in check, and force them to justify their works, and enrage them into further, but further refined, efforts. They cause focus.

Justice acts directly upon conservatism, in that it agrees that there must be stability, but defines that stability in terms of the entire organism. It subverts conservatism in that it demands a higher level, a more refined version, of the same society.

Love does not care about fairness. It commands creativity to serve its purposes. It employs criticism as a halberd. Conservatism is used as a blanket by love, and is tossed aside if it becomes smothering.

And who any individual loves is chaotic: it falls generally into patterns, but is entirely unpredictable for any specific person. Because of that chaos, society must continue to churn. Such churning always hurts because it grinds against what we most like about our lives.

And that’s why we can’t all just get along.

Tuppence in the change bowl.

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