The non-zero-sum universe of creativity and beauty

We may not realize it but capitalism has corralled us in a zero-sum economy where everybody is constantly fighting for limited and dwindling resources.  There is always a fierce and ruthless competition going on between rich and poor, present and future, winners and losers, wants and needs, haves and have-nots, old and young, fortunate and unfortunate, short term and long term, powerful and powerless, selfish gain and collective cost, entitled and disenfranchised, private and public, etc., etc.  When one side gains, the other side loses.  It is a reality that we accept and condone.  Then we become complicit in its perpetuation most of the times because we are prodded on by our own self-interests.  We have come upon the junction where we have to choose whether we should continue down this path of extensive collateral damage and possible total annihilation of the human race in the near future.  We must pick another path.

The prevailing science does not change on Earth.  If there is no oxygen, all humans will die. If there is too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, it will cause global warming and climate change.  These are the scientific facts that we have to accept and adapt as they affect us.  However, nature has many secrets.  Humans use science to understand the secrets of nature.  There are certain secrets that humans cannot figure out because we have not been creative enough or we do not have the imagination to see through the unimaginable. Science has certain rigid rules and laws which bind us to work within those boundaries, as in a box.  But creative arts allow us to let our minds slow down, wander, daydream and imagine.  It is like travelling outside the box and seeing things that we cannot see inside.  When we are creative, we are not reined in by boundaries.  We are free to go anywhere we fancy and it is our free-flowing mind that will lead us to find the unexpected answers to nature’s secrets.  That is why NATORZ intends to expand our creativity by promoting both arts and science as they share mutually beneficial connections and relationships for the advancement of human civilization.

Furthermore, creativity can help us to transition away from our current mainstay of a capitalist zero-sum economy.  In order for NATORZ to build a sustainable, self-sufficient and resilient society and to avert the climate change disasters, there is as much need to shift from a carbon-intensive economy to a carbon-neutral economy as from a finite, material-dependent, zero-sum cycle of production and consumption to a non-zero-sum entity, where 1+1=3 or more, the multiplier effect is in full force, the virtuous cycle is never ending, and sustainability will never pose a problem.

Even though NATORZ will most likely continue to rely on and utilize some finite natural resources for our need-based economic compartment until we can unlock the secrets to a complete circular economy, it can eliminate most of the misallocation and waste of resources from the want-driven demand in a capitalist economy by firstly ‘natorizing’ the want-based economic compartment (rendering it G.R.E.E.N., sustainable and climate-friendly) and secondly making it more creativity-dependent than material-dependent. Anyone can create. Anyone can be creative. Anyone can afford to be creative.  Nobody can have a monopoly on creativity.  We do not need to create more consumer products that do not last. We can instead create beauty that lasts and gives us joy.

Creativity can be the panacea for our sick capitalist society.  It will allow us to become the better versions of ourselves, by creating better outcomes for our every endeavor. Once our creativity is unshackled, free and unencumbered, the human mind has the potential to not only solve any problem, but also continuously entertain us and satiate our cravings for fun, novelty, excitement and stimulation.

NATORZ can find a perfect example in the digital music industry model. Anyone can be the producer.  Anyone can be the consumer.  It is a free market with open competition and minimum barrier for entry.  There are minimal natural resources needed or required and almost carbon neutral.  It can be mass produced at little cost.  It is experiential and creates no waste from cradle to grave.  It is artistic, creativity-dependent and non-zero-sum.  It brings enjoyment, inspiration and beauty.  It generates positive externality.  It is a unique yet universally accessible commodity.  It represents the ideal consumable in the post-capitalist NATORZ economy.

In summary, when we work and live in a capitalist society, our immediate reward is money and our potential reward is what that money can buy. When we work and live in NATORZ, our immediate reward is a secured livelihood and our potential reward is freedom from the ‘capitalist money leash’ so that we can pursue our own hobbies, interests, passions and avocations while contributing to a humane society with a sense of belonging, worth and purpose.  In those pursuits, we will be able to develop and realize our full potential with our creativity.  While we are creating, connecting and caring, NATORZ will be able to foster a non-zero sum world, run by a sustainable beauty-churning machine to replace the capitalist money-churning machine.

In his poem “The Chivalry of Labour Exhorted to the Worship of Beauty,” Gerald Massey reminds us that:

Our world oft turns in gloom, and Life both many a perilous way,

Yet there’s no path so desolate and thorny, cold and gray,

But Beauty like a beacon burns above the dark of strife,

And like an Alchemist aye turns all things to golden life.

Let us imagine what if…