3 votes

Getting Back to 'The Good'

Look around at our general culture, with its art, its manners and political values. We are all free to choose, and that is a great thing. But do we choose well? Why is it that so many choose things that seem veritably bad?

Take popular music. Is pop music evidence that the market can be led by the nose to value terribly poor products, just by clever marketing?

What about politicians? Are they evidence that the market and the majority decision are easily led astray by dedicated minorities of superior ability?

Is fast food and its cousins evidence that the market and consumer majorities can be led to bad, ill informed choices in a setting of general free decision?

Are popular superstitions, fallacies and unfounded beliefs good grounds for concluding that humanity is a dangerous beast that is best corralled by the alert and able few?

If politics and institutions are a game of managing this beast so that it doesn't hurt itself or others, is it wrong to engage in this game of belief and culture management?

If the beast is by its nature managed, is it wrong to engage in the fight for management rights against other elites who will lead it and direct it poorly and astray from the good?

Is bad culture, bad health, bad politics, bad attitudes, bad education, bad food, rampant waste, short sightedness, and the like, not good evidence that leadership and good stewards are needed for the health of the social beast?

Should good people really refrain from and shy away from being leaders, role models, and 'elites' for their own communities and for people in general?

What is the 'good' in a world where humanity, by its nature, avails itself to manipulation?

Freedom can hardly be the answer, since freedom is merely the starting point and open door to bad elites and bad leadership manipulating culture and politics via the market.

What would good elites and good leaders do in their communities?

What in fact is 'The Good,' if mere 'freedom' is an insufficient answer? Is there such a thing, or is it all relative, subject to the dictatorship of the free consumer?

What is the good in health, morals, art, politics, family relationships, and so on?

Have we "modern people" not overlooked a key area of life, by removing all concerns with what's really good from public or civic discourse, from education and from religion? Or is somehow this an advance?

Education is now just facts and training with a large smattering of spin, myth and political correctness.

Churches are just dispensaries of doctrine and too often unconcerned with promoting a general civic and secular good. They occupy a small cubby hole labeled religion, and are not interested in imparting a holistic set of values to the mind and life of a community.

There is no civic culture defining the good in all these areas, besides maybe rabid political correctness and cultural Marxism. For the rest, it is all left to the for profit "culture market," to manufacture and sell the commodity of culture.

All other players have cleared the field.

Can that be good?

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The idea of voluntarism does not seem to be a timely solution...

I can't know how long it took for the precursor idea, controlled fire, to be adopted by the humanity of the times.

But it seems that if civilization can benefit from such a huge, game-changing idea now, it must be one that spreads like wild-fire. If not, it is likely to join the too-little-too-late dustbin of history.

Voluntarism has a long history dating back to at least the 17th century. Its modern era can arguably be tracked back to 1982.

Today, over 30 years later, what percentage of the billions of humans on the planet have even a rudimentary understanding of this ideology?

By comparison, a recent new idea, the cell phone, was first demonstrated in 1973. From 1990 to 2011, worldwide mobile phone subscriptions grew from 12.4 million to over 6 billion, penetrating about 87% of the global population.

Based on your knowledge of voluntarism, what is your best-case prediction when this ideology of voluntarism will be understood and adopted by a majority of the world's population?

Why hasn't it happened sooner?

And, can this happen soon enough, anyway, to change the course and trends of civilization as we know it today in time to make a difference?

Because anarchist and minarchists have different goals

Anarchists are focused on themselves, rooting out what they percieve to be flaws/inconsistencies within their own philosophy and recieving psyhic income from adopting a fringe idea and an accompanying superiority complex. Enhancing human life today is secondary. Anarchists admit that anarchy is a long way off and that it is not politically palatable today. Scoring cheap points in internet debates seems worthwhile, its their raison d'etre. In the end, it is a long term goal so the sense of urgency is not there and cant be there. Anarchists want to tell us that voting is a waste of time at best and aggression at worse, even if we vote for peace candidates. Some exceptions to this but his is the rule.

Minarchist are worried about saving lives, today. They are for the most part thinking about a transition that they feel is within reach. This is why we can support a flawed document like the Constitution because we know that supporting it has political palatability and gives us value in achieving our goals right now! Ego investment and secret knowledge syndrome are secondary. We know that our philosophy can be reconcilee internally but we are less likely to bother thinking about it at the expense of activism today. We watch docs like Dirty Wars and see the dead kids and want to go all in stopping it now.

Ventura 2012

May peace be with you, BB.

In my view, a culture of peace has never evolved in our civilization because our civilization is based on a culture of war.

Imagining peace has been accepted and supported by even the warmongers because simply imagining peace does not get in the way of the war paradigm.

By now, humanity has conquered almost everything. But due to an impending man-made compounded environmental global collapse as a result, the war culture is beginning to fail across the board, even for the conquerors.

We may now live in a times, finally, where a culture of peace is about to become wanted and needed by all.

Stay strong.

good point...

I don't know if "timely" is the correct word. Perhaps it is not a "likely" solution. I am convinced, however, that is is probably the only possible solution.

The future is difficult to predict, however. Let me first suggest that your "dustbin of history" scenario is not so likely or as final as it sounds. There is the possibility that either

1. Due to technology or other factors people are subjected to a form of tyranny which is so comprehensive that it can never be thrown off and that is probably pretty much the permanent end of the story. (This is unlikely due to the first practical triumph of anarchy---see below.)

2. It is possible that all human life is destroyed quickly through some catastrophe like the detonation of too many nuclear bombs. I don't have much of a feeling for the likelihood of this; I don't have my finger on the button. All I can do is assume that is not going to happen. From my point of view, that scenario is like an earth sized meteor heading straight for the planet or being overtaken by a gravity wave.

I don't view voluntarism as having a long history, or much of a history at all, but you're right that almost nobody understands it. In my view, it had a practical flicker in the period 1740-1775 in colonial America. At that point, a significant segment of the society attempted an impromptu rebellion, but they were still too few, and the principle was not well enough understood. There were two consequences: The first is that most of the personel, with a practical understanding of the anarchist principle, were killed in the open rebellion. The second thing that happened was that parts of the principle were made into empty rhetoric about liberty and perverted/rhetorically neutralized in the next tyranny which was imposed.

As you say, it was too little too late to truly create a voluntarist society, but things that are true---fundamental principles of nature---don't just go away. The fact is that the tyranny of government is unstable. So, as some might put it, the next one started its arduous path careening toward collapse. The consequences of that collapse are a large part of what we're all trying to predict.

Here's one thing, however. It used to be thought/pushed that you needed a ruler to determine occupations individually. You needed a king to decide who was going to bake the cookies and take out the trash in the kingdom. That is really expressive of our history and the origin of government. It wasn't "the people banding together for self-defense." It wasn't that at all. That is a myth of the worst kind. What it was is a small group of human farmers scheming about other human beings who they considered to be productive livestock. And what those rulers figured out---duh, is that the livestock would be more productive if they could choose, at least to a large degree, on their own their occupations.

This was, perhaps, the first widespread recognition of the value of liberty. But liberty is not freedom. It had been discovered that allowing the livestock some liberty could produce much more wealth. This might be viewed as the first great triumph of the anarchist principle: You don't need a ruler to determine what jobs people have individually. In fact, no ruler can have adequate knowledge to decide what other people should do. In fact, rulers do a demonstrably bad job in making such decisions. That is to say, from the point of view of the human farmers, the livestock are incomparably more productive if they make that particular decision on their own. (This might be attributed to Adam Smith or F.A. Hayek, but they just recognized it. It's a principle of nature, and it's clearly an anarchist principle, albeit a limited one: No rulers picking occupations of indiviudals. And it has been very successful in producing wealth.)

The great discovery of anarchy is that you don't need rulers at all. People can actually govern themselves, and the presence of the livestock managers (i.e., rulers) is counterproductive all the way around.

I think the idea of having no rulers at all if you want to escape the larger time-cycle periods of relative stability in society followed by collapse is quite new. This is part of our problem in communication.

The point is twofold. First the relatively long time-cycle coupled with the rhetoric makes the relation difficult to see, and many if not most individuals have, so far, been content to try to take the path of greatest short term comfort---the next generation be damned. As I recall a Republican telling Michael Nystrom: We have picked the pockets of the next generation, and they will have to find somone else's pocket to pick.

The second major factor is that the technology that has been adopted has allowed people to push certain realities of nature temporarily out of consideration through the permanent destruction of resources, largely fossil fuels. Thus, even the livestock haven't had to work as hard as nature requires. This is really bad, since it makes us individually weak. We're almost certain to see the consequences of this weakness before too long in the form of starvation for many individuals.

Thus, properly seen, sustainability is also part of voluntarism. I would think that would appeal to you given your post below about the "conditions that lead to life" unless you have the belief that the health dangers and destruction of current technology in feed production are minimal and sustainable. I am not of that opinion. I prefer food to feed.

So you're right, that the anarchist principle is not the cell-phone. But, I would argue, that first of all the cell phone is not fundamental. (More properly it's actually destructive of human society.) And second, the use of cell phones is resource intensive, and probably temporary.

The principle that people will be more productive without a ruler to tell them what to do for a job is, hopefully, permanent. Though, in a broad sense, the rulers still attempt---and counterproductively, of course---to guide the occupations of individuals at some level. Witness things like federal funding to train people in science and math.

Everything rulers do is counterproductive because they simply don't have the knowledge to make good specific decisions about anything.

Best case scenario for adoption? With the caveat that I'm probably a poor person to make such a time-sensitive prediction, I would say there is significant potential for small anarchistic communities to emerge in the next 20 to 40 years. That's sort of optimistic. We have two things working strongly against us. The first is that these will have to be built in a very hostile environment. Many may end in Waco-like events. Fortunately, I don't think the rulers can morally or practically sustain too many more such events. The second is the weakness I mentioned above. It will be necessary to reconcile with the principle of stewardship in resource ownership. It takes hard work to feed, clothe, and house people, and it's not acceptable to avoid that hard work by permanently destroying resources, i.e., stealing them from future generations. But there are ways to build (bodily) strength. There is appropriate technology that can lighten our burden compared to past generations.

And perhaps the greatest challenge that faces us is that getting such a society started will require certain small groups of people to get along and cooperate with each other. Again, I'm convinced that it is a myth that rulers are required, or in any way helpful, when it comes to people getting along in society. The rulers are only there to manage the livestock, and it is a natural consequence of the moral fact that people are not livestock, that such efforts to manage them are immoral and counterproductive, though it may take some time to see the fruits of such a societal framework.

Knowing what doesn't work, doesn't make the problem (perhaps our biggest problem) go away. This is why we need wise people to give advice and people wise enough to take it. Perhaps we will need some other unifying point for particular small groups. I'm hoping that is not the case. However, many of the nacent groups I know do have some kind of religious or other sort of unifying ideological framework---for lack of a better word. And some groups (not necessarily anarchistic, but some with recognition of many anarchistic priniples) with such a structure have seen some relative success. The Amish are one example. My view and hope is that such artificial structures are unnecessary and actually, at some level, counterproductive as well. But what do I know, I don't use a cell phone either.

If those small groups are successful in, say, 50 to 70 years (and humans are still alive on earth etc.) then there might start to be more widespread recognition. Who knows? There might be a situation that qualifies as "adoption by the majority of the world's population" in 100 or 150 years---best case scenario.

I hope I've explained why it hasn't happened sooner. The reason is because it's new and it's very different from the foundation upon which our current society is built---the foundation of ruler/subject, i.e., owner/slave. There's significant resistance, and everything is geared toward what we have.

But the good news is that, barring catastrophic scenarios like 1 and 2 above, it's probably unavoidable. People will eventually figure it out just like they figured out, at least to a certain extent, the relation between productivity and increased liberty.

As for your last question, I think it's unlikely that we will not see at least a few more global cycles of rising and falling nations, and probably might even see in our lifetimes an even longer cycle of a significant population decline. More likely the large population drop won't happen in our lifetimes, but I'll guess it will happen. So those things will likely change things as we know them in a major way.

I would voice a bit of disagreement with the way your last question is phrased however. I would define *civilization* as a human society in which people interact, at a fundamental level, based on some form of cooperation rather than violence. I think violence will always play a role in human society, but as long as that is the foundation, and it is now, we will not have seen civilization.

Only if it's new and outside-the-box will a unifying worldview..

In my opinion, an over-arching, global solution to our cultural and environmental decline will occur only if it is surprisingly new and completely outside-the-box. This solution (or series of solutions) must be influential and adoptable enough to engage a comprehensive, game-changing, fast-breaking, "Human Nature 2.0" upgrade in the way humanity views its world and its future.

That is why I have deep reservations regarding ideas that have been lying around for some time and still remain as non-starters or have accomplished little or no traction towards a tipping point of global acceptance.

I agree with you that most governments of the world are too large and tyrannical. I have contributed support including some activism in trying to change this disadvantage. That is why I became a member of this forum almost six years ago and how I can be sharing ideas with you now.

It helps me to think of government as only one of the five systems that shape civilizations. The others are religion, science, industry and media. Today, in this Information Age, all are intertwined in many ways as never before to humanity's decline that includes the decline of our biosphere.

To believe that the people of 200 or so nations must become sure-headed and motivated enough to first throw-off their governments and, after all that, disentangle the rest of the cultural messes across media, science, industry and religion and then discover, agree upon and activate a global solution, all in time to avoid a global catastrophe that worsens daily and lurks in the not so distant future seems next to impossible to me.

This is why I am predisposed to stay clear of the voluntarism debate.

By the way, I am a farmer, too. I am one the founders of a small experimental plot on a Mediterranean island. We steward and care for gardens, groves, a vineyard, and livestock including donkeys and horses.

The most important thing...

If you are living sustainably as a steward of land, livestock, and community, then you know your answer. And you know it is the only answer. You should know how "surprisingly new and outside-the-box" it has become.

Please recognize that almost every human longs for that answer: A community in which he can live and do meaningful work sustainably living and deriving his life; providing something for the community which the individuals in it voluntarily want and need and using the land and people of that community kindly as they voluntarily wish to be used.

Rethink your use of the word "civilization."

Influential, adoptable, game-changing, I don't know about. Fast-breaking probably not. Certainly it has been lying around for some time. But it is full of promise, and it is the only possible answer.

Nations can't become "sure-headed. Nations don't have heads. Stop thinking in terms of nonsense. If you are a steward of land, livestock, and community, then you are clear of the voluntarism debate. But you are not clear of voluntarism, and you must see clearly the work to be done. If you have mislabeled yourself as a steward, but you are really a miner, depleting the resources of land, livestock, and community around you, then you know which direction is necessary.

I am having difficulty with your line of thought here...

You opine that I must already know the "answer".

I am not sure what is the question to which you refer.

Is it the topic of this OP? (What is the good?)

Is it my reference in asking how can we discover new global solutions to our cultural and environmental decline?

You then paraphrase what is that answer as "...A community in which he can live and do meaningful work sustainably living and deriving his life; providing something for the community which the individuals in it voluntarily want and need and using the land and people of that community kindly as they voluntarily wish to be used..."

Your description here seems not so much an answer, but more of an hypothetical end result of finding this answer.

Also, your suggestion that I may be "...living sustainably as a steward of land, livestock, and community..." is a little vague to me. I get up every morning and go to work on the farm. I don't see that as anything extraordinary. The only thing that I know that is sustainable about this is my stubbornness (so far).

I apologize for my confusion. But, can you try to explain all of this again?

I enjoy this dialogue with you and others here and will be pleased to have the opportunity to deepen it.

response above

coming soon

What is the good? Ask Nature.

Nature's survival strategy is to create conditions conducive to life.

Creating conditions conducive to life is good.

How we (humanity) rejoin this process and what will be our new roles in the survival strategy for life on Earth are the next big questions, in my view.

Basic misdirection

This is the simple principle used by any thief who reaches for deception instead of being an honest thief.

An honest thief may look you in the eye and take from you whatever the honest thief wants; while the thief reaching for deception will point somewhere else and yell "thief," and then while focus of defensive power is misdirected the thief takes from you whatever the lying thief wants.

Even better for the lying thief is the pointing and yelling "thief" at whatever would be an effective defense against the lying thief and that can be easily seen here right now.

There is an aggregate power of individual choices that can be known as market forces and when those market forces are manipulated with Mass Media tuned to near Scientific perfection the lying thieves can "make" people believe that the counterfeited market forces (mass mind control) IS the genuine market forces that would otherwise exist in a free market (free from mass mind control produce and maintained by lying thieves), which happens to be the best defense against lying thieves.

The best defense against lying thieves who invent, maintain, and profit from (profit's in the criminal sense) the counterfeiting of "choices" with mass mind control, false marketing, and the take over over government (defensive) power, is accurate accounting of the actual facts concerning every single choice made by anyone, and therefore the sum total of all those individual choices that are based upon facts, knowledge, and wisdom, instead of false advertizing, mass mind control, and lies well told by liars who are also thieves, is a COLLECTIVE sum total of wise, fact based, educated, accurate choices which CONSTITUTE free market forces.

So the bait is the actual, real, true, accurate, free market forces that add up as individual intelligent decisions based upon facts, adding up to a sum total of many individual intelligent decisions based upon facts, which works for our common defense against liars and thieves, and the misdirection here and now is to blame those free market forces for our demise, all the while the actual lying criminals doing this misdirection are handily profiting (criminal profits) at the expense of those who are misdirected by such lies by such thieves.

Where there may have been 13 choices to pay into a common defense fund that is competitively priced with competitive returns on investment, within a working Federation, for example, there is no such thing now, since the lying criminal frauds, extortionists, and their army of brain washed sycophants have effectively destroyed the free part of the market.

1. Bait
Working Free Market Government (exemplified in between 1776 and 1787 in America)

2. Switch
Monopoly of fraud and extortion believed to be legal by those who are duped into such falsehood.

The actual working defense is demonized by the liars so as to fool the victims into rejecting their own defense and instead of choosing their own defense the victims are offered the lie that an extortion payment made to the lying thieves is the only way to defend against lying thieves.

Of course the lying thieves know all this, at the bottom of their "elite" scum bucket, and they know that they kill the goose that lays the golden eggs, and they know that their lies cause an end to free markets, productivity, and simple human morality, and eventually all the victims are either consumed or incorporated into the Monopoly of "legal" crime, where all the rats are feeding on each other as the ship of Liberty is sunk.

Those at the bottom of the scum bucket they make with their lies may get out free to start anew in another place, such as history records, but those few "elite" (so called) are free in a criminal sense, not a genuine free market sense, unless once free they, those who escape their self made hell on earth, start making an honest living among other free people instead of this type of bait and switch campaign of lies.

Joe

This...

makes way too much sense. I'm really scared now. (I'm the one who was +3.)

I can ask.

Did you choose your "farmer" label because you think like the people using the name "Farmer" who wrote some of the so called Anti-Federalist Papers?

Example:

http://www.nationallibertyalliance.org/files/docs/foundingdo...

"Aristocracy, or government in the hands of a very few nobles, or RICH MEN, is therein concealed in the most artful wrote plan that ever was formed to entrap a free people. The contrivers of it have so completely entrapped you, and laid their plans so sure and secretly, that they have only left you to do one of two things-that is either to receive or refuse it. And in order to bring you into their snare, you may daily read new pieces published in the newspapers, in favor of this new government; and should a writer dare to publish any piece against it, he is immediately abused and vilified.
Look round you and observe well the RICH MEN, who are to be your only rulers, lords and masters in future! Are they not all for it? Yes! Ought not this to put you on your guard? Does not riches beget power, and power, oppression and tyranny?"

I ask because I have assumed as much, yet I do not trust my powers of assumption, so I ask.

Joe

my apologies

You asked before, and I didn't answer. Your assumption is correct. The "farmer" comes from the "Federal farmer" who was one of the anonymous authors of some of the federalist papers, and is now interpreted as anti-federalist. I was reading those at the time I chose the screen name, and indeed I was positively disposed to the Constitution, at the time. But then I read the Constitution, the federalist papers, and other sources, and started to realize what it was really about.

I must confess, that with many of the federalist papers it was difficult for me to discern if the authors were pro-federalists or anti-federalists. But I did understand that the points they were debating were important and were at the core of what we would have to get correctly figured out in America to make any way out of the current political and social mess.

Oh, and I liked the name because I'm a fan of Jefferson's writings on agrarianism, the writings of Wendell Berry, and I like to garden and have an aspiration to be a farmer.

Thanks

So few I know in so many efforts to find out are able to see the Con in the original Con Con.

That is not good news.

We (wife and I) are now growing our own tomatoes and having fun.

Joe

Having fun...

I'm sort of pleased with the way my corn looks at this time this season---it's a big job with no tractor. I thought of posting a picture on the gardening thread, but haven't gotten around to it. May you be spared worms and blossom end rot.

Pictures compete with words.

Some words work better than pictures.

I suppose the goal is shared.

A tractor would not fit in our yard. There are now 4 tomato plants, 3 garlic plants, and we just picked up one jalapeno, one habanero, and one aloe plant. The birds have eaten some of the tomatoes, my wife found a screen roll to rap around the plants for defense against hungry birds. We eat a few tomatoes now, these days, and they are curiously tasty, as if something is in these tomatoes that is not in the much less expensive (priced according fraud notes from banks run by criminals) tomatoes at the chain store (chained so tightly to the organized crime group hiding behind a false front of legalese).

I'm not sure yet what this new taste is, as it is something like a salty taste, but not quite a salty taste with yard grown tomatoes (expensive in time, water, and bags of substances to make up soil replacing sand) compared to store bought, mass produced, tomatoes.

Joe

There may be clear field for art to assume a leadership role...

Where are the artists?

Who among us are making the models of a "good" sustainable world view?

Who are creating the models that point to a "Human Nature 2.0" upgrade?

Isn't this the ultimate (or "elite") role for our culture's best artists?

Currently, in our popular art industries, it seems that the leaders, its "elites", are not the artists themselves. Most seem to be marketers, corporate executives, auctioneers, investors, impresarios and the like.

What if our artists create less entertainment, less criticism, less obfuscation, less hedonism and less diversion?

What if, instead, a swarm of artists around the world flooded their markets with conceptual models and working models of sustainability, harmony, and peace?

Great point

.

Precursor event

Our across-the-board systemic failings (government, industry, science, religion and media) seem to me to require an over-arching and timely game-changing event (or series of events) powerful enough to prevent the collapse of civilization.

I think it is unlikely that this "Hail Mary" idea will emerge from any of the troubled institutions listed above.

This precursor idea has to be very much as promising, paradigmatic and adoptable as the idea of controlled fire was to our prehistoric ancestors, in my view.

Few of us look towards the arts for major global survival solutions.

Perhaps that is our artists' greatest advantage if they can rally their creative skills around the modeling of such prospects. There would likely be less societal resistance to such new, extreme ideas from these unlikely sources.

Perhaps there are already a few "outsider" artists who are making remarkable progress in these pursuits. They are likely to be working in obscurity since few of us think to look towards the arts for this kind of data.

Like minded art power?

http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/...

"And the simple step of a simple courageous man is not to partake in falsehood, not to support false actions! Let THAT enter the world, let it even reign in the world - but not with my help. But writers and artists can achieve more: they can CONQUER FALSEHOOD! In the struggle with falsehood art always did win and it always does win! Openly, irrefutably for everyone! Falsehood can hold out against much in this world, but not against art."

Joe

What a powerful lecture by Alexandr Solzhenitsyn

Your excerpt, Joe, is very apropos to the sentiments that I alluded to in the above comment.

I thank you to sending me back to Solzhenitsyn's eloquent speech from what I am surprised to realize occurred almost 45 years ago.

I like his questions from this excerpt in his opening chapter...

"...Archaeologists have not discovered stages of human existence so early that they were without art. Right back in the early morning twilights of mankind we received it from Hands which we were too slow to discern. And we were too slow to ask: FOR WHAT PURPOSE have we been given this gift? What are we to do with it?..."

I am always moved when I ponder the significance of those hand-prints from the caves, too. I like to think of them as a message from an ancient colleague of mine, "I am the artist and I approve the truth of this message."

The answers to Solzhenitsyn's questions can be great motivation for all of us.

Art is interesting

So are your offers of words.

Like signs on the road leading to places these signs are interesting enough to call attention to those places where these signs are placed.

What novel could have been written by Solzhenitsyn had his experience not been so intimate with the criminals with their false badges?

I have yet to read Joseph Conrad and Heart of Darkness.

Have you read that book yet?

"The Nellie, a cruising yawl, swung to her anchor without a flutter of the sails, and was at rest. The flood had made, the wind was nearly calm, and being bound down the river, the only thing for it was to come to and wait for the turn of the tide."

It looks and sounds like art so far to me.

Joe

It is, but can artists be leaders and role models for the good?

Will artists step forth as cultural leaders and role models for the good of civilization in the 21st century in the ways suggested in the OP?

Even the late, great Solzhenitsyn is not considered to have been a world leader or role model of his times. Nor, do I think that he aspired to such an accomplishment. His legacy is mainly that he was an exceptional writer who overcame hardships, imprisonment and exile to live a long, creative and influential life in pursuit of his art.

Can you name any contemporary artists whom you consider to be accomplished leaders or role models of cultural change for the good of our world?

Specifics?

Are you narrowing down the entire effect of art into very specific fields of artistic products when you offer the term "contemporary artists"?

Does literature, for example, mean only fiction in terms of a contemporary artist writing a contemporary form of art with a contemporary novel?

How about a work like Common Sense by Thomas Paine whereby the effect of that best seller included inspiration for The Declaration of Independence.

Common Sense is not a Novel.

Today there are some very good writers who do not write Novels, such as Howard Bloom who wrote The Lucifer Principle and The Global Brain.

Can a car or a rocket motor be considered an expression of art?

If so then Elon Musk falls into that category.

Elon Musk, as a role model, is showing everyone how to compete and win against the World Wide Oil Company and Car Company Monopoly Power, cartel, whatever anyone cares to call the ONE set of the most powerful of criminals currently getting away with destroying all life on this planet.

So there are 2 offered as an answer, perhaps not within the boundaries of a contemporary artist.

I can add one:

1. Howard Bloom
2. Elon Musk
3. John Ross

John Ross wrote a Novel titled Untended Consequences.

Should I list a few song writers, movie makers, and here we are with this Daily Paul Forum where there is a very artistic doctor known as Ron Paul as a role model.

Joe

Specific functions of a contemporary artist

Of the several functions of a contemporary artist, I can suggest two that seem to fit best in the context of this OP. I think these distinguish their activities from most other pursuits and professions.

Artists can give tangible form to the unknown and, ideally, artists work directly and precisely towards revitalizing our collective worldviews.

There are not many among us who self-describe their life's role as that of an artist, succeed clearly in these functions above and present their new visions as a leading worldview as well as their life and work as a role model for others to pursue.

One of the specific topics of this OP is to explore the reasons why or why not have those of us who self-describe our profession as that of an artist succeeded as widely accepted leaders and role models for the good of our culture.

2 for 2

1.
Ron Paul

a. An honest politician was, is, and may well be unknown to many people who cannot appreciate the artistry involved in Statesmanship.

b. Ron Paul is now a world wide name associated with a new world view of something new (to many people around the world) as Ron Paul is an honest politician.

2.
Elon Musk

a. A generous capitalist was, is, and may well be unknown to many people who cannot appreciate the artistry involved in Capitalism

b. Elon Musk is now a world wide name associated with a new world view of something new (to many people around the worlds) as Elon Musk is a generous capitalist.

Joe

Extraordinary men!

These are two extraordinary men. There can be little doubt that when it comes to self-directed accomplishment they are among the elite of our times.

But, for me, to say that there is artistry in what they do does not make them artists any more than science in the work of a metal fabricator makes him or her a scientist.

These two men have huge successes that have undoubtedly changed many lives for the good. Yet, I don't think that they have revitalized the collective worldview of relatively many of eight billion earthlings.

Regarding another function of artists, giving tangible form to the unknown, I do not know that either have accomplished much of this, either.

Liberty was not unknown before Dr. Paul championed it. The king of Lagash, established the first known legal code to protect citizens almost 5000 years ago.

And Musk's fields of accomplishment, electric transportation, space travel, capitalism and philanthropy all have been around long before he was born.

Narrowing down into fine categories

Narrowing down into fine categories is fine by me so long as it is known by me that that is the boundaries you set.

I do not set those boundaries myself.

I think art is in the eye of the beholder and the work done by Ron Paul during the televised debates stands as fine art, as those cars made by Elon Musk (and company) are also works of art, as I behold them.

My viewpoint tends to view the world from a power perspective as can be explained in my own Political Economy in one sentence effort:

Power produced into oversupply reduces the price of power while purchasing power increases because power reduces the cost of production.

To me that is art too. To me your sentence is also art.

"Creating conditions conducive to life is good."

Now this:

"These two men have huge successes that have undoubtedly changed many lives for the good. Yet, I don't think that they have revitalized the collective worldview of relatively many of eight billion earthlings."

Art, if true, speaks well. What is artistic in one however is not necessarily artistic in all? Artful things gain currency?

How can anyone, anywhere, ever, know the difference between the bare facts gaining currency and very effective lies gaining currency?

1.
The Golden Rule is a Natural Law built into living beings for their own good.

2.
The Might makes Right criminal lie was introduced by a criminal mind into the minds of individual living beings at the cost of so much life over so much time.

Can the second example be considered art by some people?

"Regarding another function of artists, giving tangible form to the unknown, I do not know that either have accomplished much of this, either."

A group of people barely existing in the wild are offered an idea about a possible bounty of nourishment, a water well, or a field of edible food, that does not yet exist, and the artist is faced with a challenge to help other people see the beauty that can be found by giving the idea tangible form?

1.
Offer the idea in such a way as to convey the accurate message intact, so that other people see the idea as their own.

2.
Force other people to do the required work in order to make what the artist has in mind real for everyone; to obey without question.

"Liberty was not unknown before Dr. Paul championed it. The king of Lagash, established the first known legal code to protect citizens almost 5000 years ago."

Links on the information reporting what is recorded as history 5000 years ago helps me understand more precisely what your viewpoint is concerning these facts?

"And Musk's fields of accomplishment, electric transportation, space travel, capitalism and philanthropy all have been around long before he was born."

Josiah Warren in his work titled Equitable Commerce offers some useful information concerning the principle of individuality.

Ideas, for example, are individual things manifested like snow flakes into individual living beings that command the power to perceive ideas their own way in time and place.

Some ideas preserve life the best, and getting better.

Some ideas destroy life the best, and getting better.

1. Be honest.

2. Lie if it someone will believe the lie.

Joe

Thanks for putting lots of effort and thought in your reply, Joe

I choose not to discuss "what is art?" as it is off-topic and few would be satisfied with a simple answer like "it is the work that artists do".

But who is an artist is generally easy to know. Ask him or her. For example, "What is your profession?" or "What do you do for a living?" or, to be more straightforward, "Are you an artist?"

If you ask any of these questions to Dr. Paul or to Mr. Musk do you think either would reply with a snappy "I am an artist" or "Yes (I am an artist)"?

The themes of my comments to this OP (Getting Back to the 'Good') are, I believe, on-topic and nuanced. The first is that "the good" can be identified and measured.

Furthermore, I think that artists have a unique historical advantage in the 21st century to become culture's new leaders for the good. The best of our artists may be in key positions to usher in a new, grand idea, one that is a precursor for the introduction of a culture-wide change to a widely-accepted and upgraded worldview that can influence a significantly large number of people around the globe for the good.

Can you paraphrase your position on some of the questions proposed in this OP?

I feel you and I have gone off the tracks with our dialogue. I admire your insights and am pleased to continue to share ideas with you in a "good" way.

the "good" according to whom?

Your good is not my good. Let us each be free to follow our own good, as long as we don't hurt others. No one is forcing you to listen to pop music. No one owes you any kind of music. The same goes for food, culture, and all the other things in your jeremiad.

“Although it was the middle of winter, I finally realized that, within me, summer was inextinguishable.” — Albert Camus