Noble Professions

I have long considered that there are two global roles to professions: some give humanity meaning, others which enable them.

If our species has any defining trait, it is our urge to define ourselves. People who create try to express the human condition through writing, stories, poetry, song, music, dance, acting, cinema, painting, drawing, sculpture, clothing, cooking… a whole host of variations to express what being human means.

I call these professions the meaningful professions. They give us meaning. They define us as people. They define humanity as a species.

Other people support these waves of expression and enable creation by creating and sustaining society around them. Farmers, cooks, nurses, doctors, transporters, lawyers, soldiers, scientists, politicians, managers, accountants… a whole host of needs we cater for.

The key is to realise that we each play parts in both types of role. Sometimes on variations of the same activity: cooks create food to sustain or to entertain, couturiers design clothing for the body or for fashion. Sometimes in different activities: nurses who paint and garden.

Why then do we in these supporting roles never identify ourselves as creators, among those who express and define humanity? Why is an artist who does not sell considered a failure? Are we definitively confined to an identity based on our livelihood?