Enlightenment and Romanticism: Productive and Creative
Many people do not understand why the Age of Reason of 18th century was followed by Romanticism of early 19th century, or why 1950s were followed by 1960s; and the bulk of explanations offered are wrong. The most wrong explanation is that the people who took part in these movements were "spoiled children" (in reality, in both cases the participants had been raised in violent authoritarian households). There is however a much better explanation for the phenomenon, and that explanation is insight.
The Enlightenment philosophy spoke a lot about freedom; but there were many very important freedoms that it disallowed. It does not take a spoiled child to see this; it takes someone with insight to see this. If the freedom to feel, the freedom to love, the freedom to enjoy nature and the freedom to have spirituality are disallowed, then the freedom that one claims to propagate becomes worthless to many people, and one becomes a hypocrite. These things will always be noticed, by someone or another, in one or another way; and any attempt to bring back something like the Age of Reason will always lead to someone bringing back one or another form of Romanticism.
Both Enlightenment and Romanticism stress freedom; they just have very different freedoms in mind. One wants the freedom of the Freemason, and the other wants the freedom of the artist. In the first case we see stressed the humanity's productive potential; in the second case, its creative potential. These should be able to work together and create a legacy of embodied beauty: Beauty designed by the creative and put into place by the productive.
There are all sorts of wars that get fought between the exponents of the productive and the creative values; but what they both have in common is that they seek to add to the world what has not previously existed. Whether it is a painting or a car, it is something new in the world. As innovators, and as exponents of ingenuity, both the creative and the productive are ultimately part of the same pursuit: To create, to produce, to innovate. As such both should be able to work together to create embodied beauty that consummates both the creative and the productive in humanity.
The creative and the productive aspects, when at war with each other, result in diminishment of the benefit of both worlds. When business hates artists and, failing to avail of their efforts, creates ugly living environments and machinery, the civilization is ill served. It is also ill served when the artists are seen as useless, and their work fails to find the requisite audience. But when the creative and the productive work together, as they did say in 1920s, the result is a legacy of embodied beauty.
It is toward that outcome that people with both the productive and the creative values ought to strive.