Artist Archetype

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Artist generations are born during a great war or other historical crisis, a time when great worldly perils boil off the complexity of life and public consensus, aggressive institutions, and personal sacrifice prevail. Artists grow up overprotected by adults preoccupied with the crisis, come of age as the sensitive young adults of a post-crisis world, break free as indecisive midlife leaders during a spiritual awakening, and age into empathic post-awakening elders. By virtue of this location in history, such generations tend to be remembered for their quiet years of rising adulthood and their midlife years of flexible, consensus-building leadership. Their principle endowments are often in the domain of pluralism, expertise and due process. Their best-known historical leaders include William Shirley, Cadwallader Colden, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. These have been sensitive and complex social technicians, advocates of fair play and the politics of inclusion. (Examples among today‚Äôs living generations: Silent and Homelanders.)