“Slave Class” and “Creative Class”

For millennia thinkers have been trying to categorize humans into different “types” in order to explain their otherwise inexplicable differences in personality.

This is another such model, albeit without zany attempts to give it some tangible rational basis. It’s just what my eyes tell me — and what can most easily and usefully be applied to personal development. It is also very rough without much dressing.

Slave class is 80% of the population. They don’t much like being slaves, but the alternative, for them, is much worse: a life without structure and rules. They need authority. They need to be told what to do. They will choose bad authority over no authority at all. For slave class, life is about picking the lesser of two evils: doing something routine-based that they don’t like (slave work), or being a slave with no master (terrifying freedom — total uncertainty, total fear). The lives of the slave class are mainly predicated on conflict.

Creative class is 20% of the population — although I’m not sure it’s even that high. Maybe it’s more like 10% or 15%. But things tend to follow 80-20 so let’s stick with it. The creative class like to learn for no reason, and create with no tangible goal (e.g. money). The act of creation itself is fulfilling. However if they can make money via their creation, the best of both worlds is achieved. That is a sensible goal for creative class individuals.

Bipolar, ADHD and OCD occur when you make a creative class do slave work. Forget all the psychobabble you have heard about such conditions. If you get a creative class doing the creative work they are meant to be doing, all those conditions magically, instantly become what they are supposed to be. Bipolar: bursts of productivity followed by rest and reflection. ADHD: of course you’re bored with slave work (school, 9–5); this transforms to focused attention when you are doing what you love. OCD: obsession and compulsion are required to complete any significant act of creation. Not an illness. These conditions are only conditions when viewed through the lens that slave work is “normal”. Turn it around, view it from the other lens, and the apathy and conflict of the slave class appear to be more the real mental illnesses.

The lives of the creative class are mainly predicated on creative contribution.

What now?

If you are slave class, you won’t be reading this anyway. I’m sure Big Bang Theory is on or something.

If you are creative class, this is going to be a very short guide to help you be happy. Firstly, start creating. It doesn’t really matter what. If it’s just one hour a day after work (although I recommend before work, when you haven’t wasted your energy on slave work yet) then that will be enough to tune you in to your creative frequency and start feeling good for no reason. Then, through trying a few things, you’ll find the bits you really like. For me it’s composing music and writing (especially comedy), but I’m rather happy with most creative acts including design and even programming!

For the chronically depressed, motivation and confidence seem to be two major issues. For motivation, just start. Creativity is a snowball rolling down a hill. Give it an hour and see how you feel. For confidence, do things for yourself at first. When you inevitably start to think, “Hang on, others might get something out of this…” (creatives are driven by a need to contribute) then it’s time to start a blog, or a SoundCloud, or a deviantART.

Social is almost as important as creation. What you’ve got to firmly understand and accept is that creative class and slave class don’t really speak the same language. Slave class only go into subjects at an extremely shallow superficial level, whereas creative class tend to want to explore deeper (slave class don’t like this and will resist, possibly because it threatens to reveal to them that they have no soul). The bottom line is, you are going to need to find other creative types to hang around with if you want a fulfilling social life (often initiating the wonderful-yet-different world of co-creation). You can continue to fit in with slave class types where necessary by talking about football, booze and babes. And of course slave work. But networking with other creatives needs to be your primary social strategy. You need to find out where they go, and go there. Also, talk about your art to everyone you meet. If they ask what you do and you say your art instead of your job, you will either get enthusiastic creative exchange (creative class) or apathetic eye roll (slave class). They don’t understand you, and they never will, and that doesn’t matter, because the rewards for finding other creative types are infinitely higher.

Creative types also tend to be more withdrawn and introverted, whereas slave class tend to be loud and extroverted (saying a lot about nothing).

Finally, one more point about handling slave class. This was the most difficult one for me to understand and accept, but once I did, everything became clear. If you can just remember that their lives are predicated on conflict, you will be all right. Why? Because you can bring the conflict as required. Slave class are like a fish in water, except the water is conflict. It forms the basis of their lives, it’s all around them, and they don’t even know it’s there. Even a simple interaction without conflict would not feel right for them. It makes them uneasy. To maintain the implicit conflict in your interactions with them, and thus keep them happy (as happy as they can be), simply place necessary distance between yourself and them psychologically. Keep the guard up. Approach the interaction from the position of establishing and defending your status. They are all about status defence, and whether you slot in “lower” or “higher” than them, they are happy(ish). They are least comfortable with someone who does not make the attempt to establish status — even if it’s because you see the futility and pointlessness in it all. They will view you with distrust.

This is the main reason creative types get hurt by slave class — they bring their actual selves to the table. Slave class don’t. They bring their ego shells and fire mortars at each other from across the room.

The upside of this is that, when you’ve found a creative type (a skill you will trust more as you get better at it), do speak from the heart. Do bring yourself. Do go deeper, do talk about things that matter. That honest communication is like a switch in the creative type’s mind: “This person speaks my language! S/he’s like me!” This is how you start to build your tribe. Creative types often have similar tastes in music, art and film. If they have a difference in opinion, they also know why and can appreciate others’ points of view (slave class can’t; it becomes a conflict trigger — a dividing line for loyalties to fall each side of). Creative types also tend to have a similar sense of humour and can laugh at taboo things (this makes slave class very uncomfortable, especially when done in public). “Going against the grain” tends to be the sole reserve of the creative class.

Where do these “classes” come from?

I said I wouldn’t make any zany attempts to rationalize this model, but I didn’t say anything about not using other people’s ideas. 🙂

Koanic Soul and Tex Arcane have models which say that the 20% (creative class in our model) are humans expressing Neanderthal genes. The remaining 80% are closer to pure Homo Sapiens (also called “Saps” on Tex’s site, and Cro-Magnon and “Cro-Mags” on Koanic’s). Search Google using the following term to find Tex’s Neanderthal posts: site:vault-co.blogspot.com neanderthal

It’s a compelling idea, and I do follow developments in our understanding of the Neanderthal as a result. But I treat it as any other model and therefore do not subscribe to it 100%.

Interestingly, there is a gene associated with ADHD, bipolar, OCD, and other mental processing styles (“illnesses” depending upon which lens they are viewed through) called DRD4-7R, which is believed to have come from the Neanderthals.

Regardless of its origin, I have found the delineation of people into two general groups to be very helpful for me both socially and creatively, and for understanding myself and my purpose (creative contribution).

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7 Responses

  1. Jake says:

    Nice article. One way I cope with the dissatisfaction that I feel from dealing with the slave class is to satirize them in my writing. It allows me to release all that anger and disappointment I have with “ordinary fuckin people” — I write every morning, get it out of my system, and then I’m quite relaxed and happy while playing the status/ego game with them during the day.

    One point I disagree with though, is the belief that if you are a creative type then it is easy to connect with other creative types. This can be difficult because many creative-class people are a fuckin pain in the ass too, just in a different way. They have eccentricities which make it difficult to connect with them. Plus they are mostly selfish and unreliable. If you look into the bios of the great writers of the past, most of them were shitty people.

  2. Illuminatus says:

    Have you published any of your writing? Book/blog? I’d like to see. 🙂

  3. x2 says:

    I feel that this distinction between two classes of people can certainly be useful, although I find it to be a somewhat unappealing model of reality to keep in the back of mind on a day to day basis. So while it seems extremely accurate in that a lot of people that I have known seem incapable of behaviors that do not in some way relate to status preservation, the idea makes me sad.

    I was wondering to what extent this kind of belief (e.g. that I will never be able to communicate with some people effectively who are only interested in dominance/submission ploys) is brought into existence by one’s mindset, and that it may cease to exist regardless of whether I consciously attend to it. Before I had ever really read about this kind of stuff (e.g. high school) I definitely didn’t have the mindset, but I definitely wasn’t happy.

    How would you (Illuminatus or anyone) reconcile this desire to see the world differently with the observations that the slave/creative class paradigm can predict reality relatively well?

    • Illuminatus says:

      I hear what you’re saying.

      You can try and reconcile it. You can weigh up the pros and cons of the situation as it is and see what needs “fixing” (if anything — maybe the world works just fine how it is?). In the reconciliation model you use the knowledge to find other creative types and do your work, and put workarounds in place for everything else. And contribute to the fields of genetics, epigenetics and drugs to make everyone super-smart and creative, and contribute to fusion power and nanotechnology to solve the Earth’s resources issue so we no longer need a slave class and genes can be fixed for super-happiness and super-intelligence.

      Or you can just not reconcile it. It’s one reality tunnel out of infinity. This one happens to be useful for finding like-minded creative types and not taking it personally when people don’t share your interests. If aliens attacked, suddenly we’d all be best mates. It’s the “us vs. them”-ness of humans. After writing it, I noticed that I’d invoked conflict in this post even while criticizing conflict. Circuit II. It’s bred in the bone.

      Or you could Circuit V it (Jesus, Buddha) and find compassion for everyone no matter what.

      Personally I just use this model to find fellow creative types, and to not take status flaunting too seriously, and don’t really worry about it beyond that context.

      • x2 says:

        Thanks, that’s very actionable advice. The reality tunnel that I have been trying to hone in on is more akin to your circuit V recommendation and is realized by “forgiving without forgetting” and, serenely, “understanding without condoning or condemning.” I realize that I can find plenty of evidence to support the notion of constant competition between everyone around me, although at the same time I understand on an intuitive level that I bring this perspective into my conscious experience.

        It seems to me that an essential element of contentedness is to not take the behaviors of anyone else too seriously as a reflection of yourself; as in, their behavior can be thought of as more indicative of their own needs and desires than a reflection of yourself.

        In a way, this perspective seems to involve insuring oneself against experiencing negative emotions rather than seeking positive emotions. It reminds me of an article I read recently about introverts preferring a stable emotional state over “happiness” since the idealization of “happiness” as realized by western culture is excessively stimulating for some, which I certainly find to be the case. I like smooth sailing so to speak.

        Anyways, I’m glad to see you posting again man, I’ve always enjoyed reading your stuff.

  4. Rigz says:

    I’ve been thinking about this and something has occurred to me. Is the idea that “99% of people are capable of empathy and 1% (psycopaths and sociopaths) aren’t”, actually true, or are most or at least a plurality of people actually borderline sociopathic? I’ve been working myself on the ability to put myself in the shoes of others, and to literally assume their perspective. I am not merely talking about understanding the “why” or the “what” someone might feel e.g “Oh, your dog just died? Oh I’m so sorry for you”, but actually seeing the world through someone else’s eyes.

    This seems to me to be a rare ability. Not extremely rare, but definitely nowhere near a majority of people. I wondered whether perhaps my definition of empathy was too extreme, but I looked it up, and my definition of being able to feel what someone else is likely to be feeling in a situation is actually the definition given by the mental health profession. I’m not sure how it can possibly be claimed that most people have this ability when we consider human history and the state of the world.

    You are quite right that for many people their life is predicated upon conflict. One upmanship, insulting others for no reason, needless cruelty, targeting the insecure and ruthlessly mocking them etc. So how the hell is the mental health consensus that most people are actually empaths with the ability to see through someone else’s eyes? I mean what the fuck is going on here. Are people just making this shit up – “Yup 99% of people have the ability to feel what others feel and to place themselves in their shoes”. Really? Do they?

    I question whether I am overly cynical but then I look at the world and the statement that 99% of people are empaths or considerate people seems like one of the most brazen lies I have ever heard. How can anyone with any bearing on reality make a claim as ludicrous as this? This leads me to believe that a huge portion of, or perhaps even the entire mental health profession is just made up bullshit peddled by people that don’t know anything and are merely repeating what they have been told by others.

    Just look at the way aspergers/autistic kids are mocked at school and in larger society. Bullying like that is ubiquitous. Is this the behavior of a species of which 99% of people have the ability of empathy? Something is rotten in the state of Denmark here. I don’t think that most people are completely dead inside, I mean it is conceivable to me that someone who ruthlessly bullies and mocks an autistic kid with no consideration at all for his feelings, may conceivably be heart broken if his wife/child died. I don’t for a second believe that everyone is a heartless psychopath.. but there’s a difference between that and actually living a considerate life where you take into account the feelings of others and their perspectives. I honestly do not believe that anywhere near the majority of people actually do that.

    It begs the question, why are mental health professionals telling such absurd lies about the state of humanity?

    • Illuminatus says:

      This is going to be quite a keyboard-jockey answer but I’ll give it a go.

      There are a couple of important compartmentalizations which take place in the “normal” Sapiens mind. The first is that their waking life is extremely compartmentalized to the left hemisphere. The predominant modality of this hemisphere is the question, “What’s in this for me?” and then “What is the shortest path to get that?” The compartmentalization to this mode is so strong that most empathy signals are ignored / fall by the wayside. Identifying with the feelings of the right brain tends to draw feelings of internal weakness and the snap reflex is to suppress those feelings.

      The second compartmentalization is “us vs. them”. Empathy is allowed to some extent, but selected for those they feel are on the “us” side of the line. War is at the heart of Sapiens’ psyche and love and hate is drawn along us and them lines respectively.

      More Thal types have lots of what is considered “intrusion” between the hemispheres. Compared to Sapiens’ experience which is heavily compartmentalized in the left hemisphere, Thals have a “leaky wall” (corpus callosum) between the hemispheres. This is a bit of my new theory to explain schizophrenia etc. If the leak is at the parietal lobe, you might get a maths genius who can “feel” his way through numbers. If it’s in the visual cortex, you might get visual psychosis — or an artistic genius, depending on how the leak manifests and how usable it is. Essentially, through these “leaks”, Thals can see things before they make them, where Sapiens (who are locked in the left hemisphere) have to do things step by step and require instructions and commands.

      Thals have differences in both looks and demeanour, making them identifiable as falling on the “them” side of the line. Bring the two compartmentalizations of the left hemisphere “What’s in it for me?” script and the identification of Thallish types as “them”, and you can account for the apparent psychopathy of Saps towards such individuals.

      Notice that Saps’ right-brain emotions are so repressed that they require things like Princess Diana dying to begin to show emotions en masse. Through such groupthink displays, they periodically purge themselves of those annoying feelings called a conscience that the right brain taunts them with.

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