The Individual Who Can Think and Create

In the words of AJN: Our society has made no place for the individual who is able to think, who is, in the strict sense of the word, intelligent; it merely tosses him into the rubbish heap… Intelligence is the power and willingness always and disinterestedly to see things as they are, an easy accessibility to ideas, and a free play of consciousness upon them, quite regardless of the conclusions to which this play may lead.

Now, the experienced mind is aware that all the progress in actual civilisation that society has ever made has been brought about, not by machinery, not by political programmes, platforms, parties, not even by revolutions, but by right thinking.

[M]ankind’s five fundamental social instincts — the instinct of workmanship, of intellect and knowledge, of religion and morals, of beauty and poetry, of social life and manners. A civilized society is one which organizes a full collective expression of all these instincts, and which so regulates this expression as to permit no predominance of one or more of them at the expense of the rest; in short, one which keeps this expression on continual harmony and balance.

…organizes it by social assent, not by edict or influence of the State. -DAW

I should say, too, that there would be relatively little difficulty in finding subsidies to almost any extent for promising individuals, although it is true, I think, that our rich men do not as yet go in as much for this form of patronage, which is the oldest, and still seems to get the best results, as they do for the institutional form. For my part, I wish they would do more for it. I know that if I were a rich man I would do precious little endowing institutions, and content myself with nosing out individuals of the right sort, and endowing them.

These four short passages are lifted from Cogitations, which was compiled by Robert M. Thornton in 1970 for the Nockian Society. They are taken from three separate works of Nock. As for the last paragraph, it occurs to me that a rich man does not patronize an individual because he is more interested in the tax write-off for his charity and therefore contributes to State-approved institutions (those which are eligible for IRS 501(c)(3) status). Were the wealthy to patronize individuals of talent, we might find another Tchaikovsky or Dickens in our midst who, for lack of discovery and patronage, is punching the clock at the back of a Ford dealership instead. -DAW

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