Chapter 17. The guardians of the maze

The game of artist-manager is a very tricky game ... the manager doesn't have a union. He is a manager only because he and his talent say he is. He doesn't have any other qualification. It's a bastard art.

Jon Hartmann, sometime gofer for Colonel Tom Parker

There is no more reason to admire creative people for being creative than there is to admire left-handed people for being left-handed, or to admire blondes for being blonde. Nature deals out the cards. Fate determines the rules of the game. Left-handers have an advantage in certain games. Blondes have an advantage in others. But it is clear from all the evidence we have, from both historical and contemporary practice, that when societies or organizations care about creativity it is much more liable to happen. And the more deeply they care about it, the better it gets.

At certain times and places in history creativity has been especially valued. And when it has been valued, it has flourished. Peter Hall quotes the examples of the Athens of Pericles, Quattrocento Florence, Elizabethan London, Vienna in the late 18th century and at the end of the 19th, Paris at about the same time, and Berlin between the wars. Common to all of them, as Hall points out, are several necessary, but not sufficient, features that promote creative excellence.

All of them were big, though not all of them were the biggest in their region or at their time. So let's say all of them were big enough. If they weren't all great ...

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