In the United States, we hold societal allegiance to the concept of independence with a reverence for the entrepreneur.  We carry a unifying belief that each hero walks a separate path.  We express confidence that the individual reigns supreme.

We all fervently believe each person should act upon his or her own unique beliefs.

Different authors and theorists have written on how they think this unique paradigm emerged.  Robert Pirsig suggests that American colonists unconsciously embraced indigenous aboriginal character traits, what looked like self-confident, autonomous competence.  I’ve suggested in other pieces on this blog that the youngest sons and daughters were impacted by the influence of old world primogenitor laws.  These landless immigrants were encouraged to congregate in the New World.  (See my hypothesis to review why the youngest would be the most creative.)

There is a paradox that lies at the foundation of what it is to be American that connects to a paradox regarding the youngest son and daughter and the bridge between the youngest children and aboriginal societies.

It can all be summed up in rock ‘n’ roll.

In the early 1960s, with the emergence of undisguised African aboriginal rhythms in modern music, after several decades of their exploration in jazz, we as a society experienced an adulterated neotenization of older societal archetypes into contemporary society, not unlike the biological principle of neoteny where the infant features of our chimpanzee-like forebears prolonged themselves to appear in the adult of their descendants, modern humans.  Just as our species biologically has delayed in maturation over millions of years, society at this time is revealing the same dynamic.  That which is ancient is manifesting in the present day.  Rock ‘n’ roll is but one feature of our ancestors’ society emerging in contemporary times.

This comes with two seemingly contrasting features:  a deep reverence for creativity and a reflexive connection to community.

Emerging modern society, as split as it often seems and feels, is twisting its way around to acquire many of the features of our aboriginal roots.  The United States has led the way in many ways by being a place where the creatives come together, youngest sons and daughters of Old World immigrants mixed with those of aboriginal African descent.

What emerges is a society not bound by ethnicity but by its reverence for celebrating difference.  Innovation becomes the currency of respect.

I’m wrestling with the concept as I write these words, flummoxed by the paradoxical nature of the insight.  As highly stratified, hierarchical and patrifocal as American society seems to be, there also seems to be an argument that the United States is at the vanguard of a surge in innovation and creativity that will result in a horizontal community of creative innovators that embrace interdependence and a reverence for the commons.

We already hold egalitarian truths to be sacred.  All that’s left is to wrest control of assets from the elites.  By reassigning our reverence for the entrepreneur to the creative innovator, the artist, we retain our universal respect for he or she that stands out while making sure that he or she stands out for contributions to the whole.

We often fear the future because it holds so much that is unknown.  Consider that with the neotenization of society, the future may feature many characteristics of the past.  Aboriginal music may become Youtube hits.  Ongoing ritualized creativity may become the norm.  Craft may re-emerge in life.

That which is unique about America may metamorphosize and become that which becomes unique about our species:  a reverence for the individual that makes a creative contribution to the whole.


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