Vogue Italia editor Franca Sozzani was in Paris earlier this week, reflecting on a sonnet written by W. Wordsworth. “The poet emphasized the deceitful way of thinking, so fashionable at the time, based on the belief that fame and wealth are everything in life,” writes Sozzani. Wordsworth “enhanced simplicity and purity of feelings, disapproving of the fake greatness that does nothing for us and those close to us.”
Our favorite Vogue editor continues in her own typically frank fashion, saying that Wordsworth is writing about a way of living that’s the opposite of today’s lifestyle. Without knowing it, she is contrasting the Modern and Cultural Creative values I speak of so frequently. The Traditionals (think America’s social conservatives) aren’t part of this conversation.
Ostentation: it is precisely a life lived in greatness that often does not leave a trace. A life lived with an extensive use of means, but without honesty. People invest incredible sums of money to look something they are not. Just take a look at the newspapers from all over the world for the amazing stories of men who have lived with greatness of means and then have vanished into thin air, forgotten by history and often also by friends.
It’s not living in greatness that makes us great, but it’s “thinking big” that makes us unique and different. Resisting to the fatal attraction of “the more, the better”, and learning to live simply. That’s a much more regal attitude. Living simply doesn’t mean giving up all comforts, but facing life with a certain detachment as regards material assets. While our mind has to fly free and high, without restraints. Expressing greatness and unlimited means. That’s where the difference between a great writer, thinker, artist or creative mind and a mediocre one lies.
Greatness of spirit and simple ways. In La Bohème Rodolfo, a penniless poet, introduces himself to Mimì with his meager assets and abundance of feelings, and with great simplicity: “ Who am I? I’m a poet. My business? Writing. How do I live? I live. In my happy poverty I squander, like a Prince, my poems and songs of love. In hopes and dreams and castles-in-air, I’m a millionaire in spirit.”
These words perfectly sum up the combination of a great mind with a simple attitude.
To clarify about the incomes of Cultural Creatives, they are higher than average, primarily due to advanced education. CCs do reject the idea that their self identity represents the sum of their possessions, as Sozzani writes.
More information about the Cultural Creatives is written in the body and also a long followup comment of a popular AOC article on the Slow Living movement.