I’m cursed to be a philosopher, so I’m going to post this essay here to see what y’all think. Otherwise it would just go in my diary with the other countless philosophical essays I write and shelve because I don’t want to totally alienate myself . The following might not be original, but really it’s just me working out my own estrangement from the white cultural values of my youth. The further away from white puritanical Christian ways of being, the more creative I’ve become, so I’m trying to understand it better. Here’s what I wrote today:
My new pet theory is that white European/American culture outsources creativity and attacks creativity within itself as a result of Puritanism run amok over millennia. Although I see this impulse based on Christianity, there is a secular puritanism that has replaced Christianity that I believe is still uncreative at its core. I can’t unsee modern white society as this never changing parasite that depends on other cultures to adapt to the now. You’re probably white, so I write this not to judge but to hopefully inform with the intention of helping. I see how white culture hypothetically wants to be this detached mental process, pure logic, without grounding, because it wants to never be challenged by surprises. Control hates surprises by definition.
Creativity is messy, challenging, and always surprising, so it is looked down upon in the control seeking culture of my birth. Creativity is also quite feminine, another negative from the perspective of white patriarchal power. Then if a white person actually connects with their inherent creativity they seemingly are feared and rejected as dangerous. I can see a future step in this process as having brown people be surrogates for white babies because white women are so estranged from their creativity. I use the term white loosely because there are lots of racially white people that are truly creative but I think they almost have to be kicked out of white society to be truly creative. In effect I’m defining whiteness as unoriginal and antithetical to a primal creativity.
By creativity I mean the ability to come up with something that has never been done before. I believe that creativity is born out of extreme circumstances where if one is not creative, one will die. Therefore according to my model, other cultures that are adjacent to white culture would have to be more creative than if there were no white culture. It’s like the creativity necessary to keep white America going is handled externally by black culture, where black people have twice the stress and twice the creativity as white people (historically).
This idea that white people use black people to offload the necessary creative function explains why white society has policed black areas so religiously over the last 100 years. It’s because black people have been creating something that white people need but lost the ability to create for themselves. For further evidence, consider Marcus Garvey, the early black American civil rights fighter, who proposed that African Americans needed to move back to Africa to find peace. But Marcus Garvey’s ideas were attacked by white society, and those who promoted his ideas were attacked (Malcolm X’s father promoted “back to Africa” ideals and was murdered as a result). If racists were so opposed to the mixing of black and white societies, why would they not cheer when black people suggested moving out of the United States?
My theory posits that black society was and is like a farm for white people. But then because white culture does not create white culture monopolizes the administrative functions and becomes like permanent management over the other creative cultures around white culture. This might seem like a positive from the perspective of white folks, but I grew up in white culture, and it’s really horrible to think that you’re always supposed to be master to some other group. You never get to be free. You’re always responsible, but it’s a false responsibility that is really just like being a corrections officer who thinks he’s a spiritual guru. White people gave away their creative power centuries ago and are now fully dependent on other peoples to handle that absolutely necessary function.
I do believe that people who grow up in this kind of anti-creative environment can get out and ressurect their creative ability. I don’t believe that white people are inhuman aliens that cannot be creative, but I believe that growing up a white person is defined by a continual repressing of creativity. There are racially black people who grow up “white” and in effect kill off their inherent human creativity in order to be accepted in white culture. It is as if individuals have to be pasteurized (boiled to kill off anything that is living) before they can be accepted as “white.” To further complicate the situation, I would assert that other cultures like black American culture are being “whitened” over time as they are integrated into white culture. I suppose if my model is correct that as a culture becomes more “white” it would become less creative by definition.
For real world evidence to back up the idea that white culture is inherently uncreative, we have the popularity of the whole idea that white people engage in cultural appropriation. For most of the 20th century, white culture was constantly importing black American musical style innovations and then selling them as white. Novel musical forms like jazz and rock and roll were and still are relentlessly copied by white artists. Yet, typically the harsher and more wild elements were removed as if through a form of pasteurization or filtration. Do white artists steal from black artists because they are fully unable to be original due to their creative function being disabled in order to not be rejected from white society? Creativity is destructive and destabilizing. Was this destructive and destabilizing element purposefully restricted to black neighborhoods so as to make white neighborhoods easier to control?
I think there are certain assumptions I make about the creative function that inform this theory. Creativity is defined by Oxford as “the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.” Creativity is a dark and mysterious human function that is tied into the sexual reproductive ability in my model. Honestly I think that creativity is highly spiritual and this whole theory is so troubling to me because it would mean that white culture is anti-God or anti-spiritual. The ability of a human to synthesize a unique and original style or approach to a problem is necessary I would think. But we often see originality as something that is not universal in our world.
To be clear, I live primarily in the white western world. I have primarily white friends and family, although my friends are mostly queer white people, I have to be honest and say that I was raised white and associate with white Americans, although I’m also quite often a loner and sometimes spend weeks absorbing the writing, art, and speeches of non-white peoples, and I have many non-white friends. However, in the last 3 years my level of original creativity has increased enormously, most likely due to philosophical/spiritual changes and psychedelic influences. I have pursued what most people in my culture would consider a dangerous path of shamanic/spiritual initiation. There is really too much to detail here about my path, but my increased level of creativity in the past year especially has been shocking to me. Although it doesn’t feel odd because my entire consciousness has radically diverged. I’ve become way more relaxed and have given up on trying to succeed on some level.
Anyway, that’s just part of why I feel this way. There is something really very creepy about white culture, and the healthier I get the more I notice it. Anyways, this is just me theorizing. These are also broad brushstrokes and I am massively generalizing. I also write this and pursue this reasoning because of how sickened I am by my own culture. I try to stay dispassionate when I’m writing philosophy, but this thinking comes from despair and seeing how utterly fake white people can be. Maybe we just don’t know how to do be original but we have so much “original” pumped in from other cultures that most don’t see how bad it is that we aren’t creative.