In the Army, and the Infantry in particular, there’s a saying:
If you’re not infantry, you’re support.
The idea was simple enough: If you’re not taking and holding ground, then no matter how cool your job is in the military, you’re just supporting those who are doing that.
I feel the same way about art and creativity.
I have a great job and a great career. I break into technology (hopefully before the bad guys), so that we can tell customers how to defend themselves more effectively.
That’s somewhat respectable, but it’s support. It’s enabling the work that really matters, i.e. making things.
The goal of an advanced society should be to grow and explore as creative individuals and groups. Painting, literature, music, theater—these are the inner rings of human output.
It’s quite respectable to do a job that keeps the lights on. Or keeps us living longer. Or keeps us fed and safe.
But those things only enable human output—they aren’t human output themselves.
More people should focus on what they’re making, not what they’re helping other people make.
Sure, read a book. Watch a TV show. Fix that server. And be proud of what you’ve done at work. It truly does keep the world going.
But when you’re done with all that, ask yourself what you’ve made yourself.
Write. Sing. Dance. Paint. Perform.
It’s the purest form of humanity.