Artists throughout civilization's history have experienced the unique stressors entailed by individual crafting, and social crafting. Individual crafting allows full immersion into their medium, capable of producing the greatest, most innovative returns, however, at the cost of social reward due to their social--and productive--dissociation and general aloofness. Social crafting sacrifices the time and energy they can spend in their inner artistic universe, though allows them to participate in society and not starve. There have been, and always will be, exceptions to the rule in the form of those artists whose work accidentally aligns with what society is ready to see or actively looking for, but that production is truly an afterthought for the artistically immersed artist. Have individual crafters and social crafters always been at odds, this way?
Only when civilization was arose, because it created the dilemma.
Artistry spanned back all the way to our cave-dwelling ancestors in Lascaux and Altamira, with the drawings of animals, humans, and even symbols, on cave walls. At this time, the art was expression of their stark priorities, considering their lives weren't built around the comforts of civilization. These were prehistoric humans creating art, which, to many historians, redefined human intellectual capacity. The prehistoric humans either killed or were killed, died of exposure, and if were lucky had enough sex to have some enjoyment and raise offspring. Painting on the walls expressed this lifestyle and was most likely done in balance with this lifestyle, since an imbalance at that time was deadly.
It goes without saying, but in prehistoric times there was no civilization, therefore there was no production. But the seeds to the latter were planted when the Fertile Crescent was populated in ~10,000 BCE, when many of the hunter-gatherer tribes settled in the lush area now known as Iraq. There, they created agriculture, domesticated animals, developed science, trade, and all sorts of things that were and are beneficial, however as I said previously, it planted the seeds for the narcotic known as production. (More on this narcotic shortly). Our cave-dwelling ancestors thus had no deviation between producers and non-producers; they each had tasks to fulfill to increase the probability of survival.
Civilization was chosen because it allowed more possible leisure time. And leisure time is required for artistry, right? Is this a chicken-and-egg argument? The tribes that migrated into the Fertile Crescent were no doubt exhausted and weary, and seeing how the environment allowed them to grow, hunt and harvest without moving around so much, it held a certain allure. So they could set up larger, stronger shelters, hoard and preserve food, and create and maintain a larger array of tools, which inevitably allowed them to endeavor further into the bounds of their imaginations and activities, which included art.
With civilization came a boost in power because man for the first time felt he conquered his environment. Before that, man lived in balance with his environment, responding to natural cues which told him when to migrate, and how much to hunt and gather based on weather, environment, even the health of the tribe. It was a very fluid lifestyle that allowed leisure in down time, though no-nonsense in up-time. I should point out that many tribes chose not to civilize, just to keep migrating outward beyond the Fertile Crescent to maintain their nomadic ways.
The sedentary lifestyle promised more leisure because "we won't have to roam around and search for food and set up poor shelter all the time." The problem with an agricultural lifestyle is that it's inherently unsustainable. The environment becomes "biotically cleansed," according to environmental activist and writer Lierre Keith, in that humans remove everything natural from a piece of land and cultivate it for their own purpose. This is unsustainable because humans upset the natural biotic cycle--down to the bacteria--for their own finite gain. In order to continue this, they need to constantly artificially feed the system, which is part of the reason why the production machine was created in the first place. Civilization created agriculture, which created the need for people to produce because nature's cycle was disrupted. From there, creating a culture addicted to producing was not only necessary, but easy, because sedentary people didn't have the same survival instincts and tools as nomadic hunter gatherers. Production is thus a process without an end, it imbues social status, it encourages a dependance of limited concrete resources (instilling inner and outer competition), and it prioritizes human-centric products over non-human-centric organisms and things.
This whole process insulates humans from artistry because socially productive activities--due to that intrinsic unsustainability--deprioritizes art. Art still exists, however, the more civilized man gets the more difficult it is to be fully invested in art and survive, unless one finds themselves in alignment with productive values, as mentioned earlier. Art existed in prehistoric times in a basic form, but it still existed. Civilization allows more complex art to exist due to technological advances and intellectual developments, however those things have come with a price; they are highly entailed. While prehistoric art wasn't very entailed, civilization's art is highly entailed because the non-productive weight placed upon individual crafters shoulders affects their ability to be artistic.
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