The last centuries of the history of our civilization are a triumph of professional activity. It is the activity of the wage-worker, who is paid for his performance and who separates the professional and the personal, that has become a specific model and the highest form of activity. The consequence of this is a condescending, and sometimes even contemptuous attitude towards other activities that are not dictated by market demand. If you don't get a good pay for your work and don't work only to earn money, then this is treated as a hobby, a trinket, entertainment. This attitude permeated, among other things, art, the success of which is often measured by the financial and social success of the artist, by external clear criteria, and not by such vague, but infinitely important things as compliance with the spirit of the age, sincerity and inner truthfulness.
In this system of values, the artists become "real" when they are professionals — that is, an employees who receive money for their work, and are associated with a professional community of similar prospectors. As a matter of course, entering such a community is difficult — these groups protect their borders and internal hierarchy, so as not to lose the finances and other resources that society allocates for art. To become a professional, an artist usually has to finish studying, complete several stages of education, make connections and acquaintances, participate in competitions, exhibitions, have contacts with galleries and receive paid orders — only then they begin to be respected as an established specialists and a respected members of society.
This attitude to human labor is related to the way society was organized in the industrial era, the one that defined the main features of our civilization, the era of struggle with nature, with human character. For the industrial mindset, everything in the world is a resource for something else; it is assumed that there are some human needs that, with the growth of the number of people and their appetites, grow themselves. In a world that is unruly, dangerous, and resistant, everything is a resource that needs to be recycled in order to be acquired and used. The world is a kind of material, and society is a grand factory for processing the world into happiness and prosperity, a factory that aims to defeat evil, disease, misfortune, and death itself. Naturally, in such a world picture, a person is as good as he performs a function, as well as he is integrated into the mechanisms of processing and fighting with the world. A person is reduced to a function; a professional, a person adapted for activity through education and his social contacts, is thus the ideal of this function. Of course, even in the industrial economy there was still an understanding that a man is something more than the utility. So this is how the concept of "personal life", "leisure" was created, to define what a person does outside of work. It is believed that in "personal life" a person has the right to opinions, views, whereas in professional activity he should be neutral and obey only the order, capital, necessity.
This view proved to be very steady. Despite the fact that we are already living in a different digital post-industrial era, where the productive economy is no longer as important as scientific work or the service sector, we continue to think in the old "professional-personal", "work-hobby" categories. We no longer believe that the development of science and industry alone can solve all the problems of humanity, we know that on this path there are no less fatal dangers than gains. Environmental problems, the growing financial gap between the richest and poorest countries, the invention of deadly weapons of mass destruction — all this freezes the progressive enthusiasm. Moreover, we live in a time when any historical meta-narrative, a large narrative about the goals of history, is rather skeptical. However, the old views are inert and persistent, so people are still reduced to a function, considered as partial mechanisms, a gear in an industrial machine.
The modern and salutary alternative to this view is precisely the figure of the outsider. This homeless vagabond, not assigned to any professional workshop, resists all attempts to describe him as a function, as a functionary. For an outsider, there is no distinction between professional and personal - he works, he is engaged in creativity out of love for his work, out of a deep inner need, and not because he will be paid for it. An outsider did not go through the faceting of his personality in the crucible of formal education or did not find himself under its burden, having received academic knowledge - he is a self-made man, a person who created his own competencies, the result not of external pressure, but of his own initiative.
The outsider is part of the social vanguard, the vanguard, he lives and works the way a person should work in accordance with his free nature. Thus, in the figure of an outsider, humanity itself is realized - labor for the sake of labor, joy for the sake of joy, and not for the sake of survival or necessity, expressed in the form of social handouts. If the future is capable of bringing us something bright, if our hopes are to be fulfilled in it, then the best and most wonderful of these hopes is the absence of the need for a person to be unfree in his work. Man is a hardworking, active creature; he is interested in creating, transforming; unlike a professional person, a person-function, an outsider creates as he lives, i.e. without an external goal, for the sake of the process itself, for the sake of love.
Outsider art is art outside coordinates, outside of constraints, perhaps now - thanks to the opportunities for self-education and solidarity that the World Wide Web provides people with. Now we do not need to fit ourselves into the format of education and industry in order to engage in creative work, we do not need to adjust ourselves to other professionals - we are able to express ourselves, relying on ourselves, we are able to study what is closer to us.
Life itself is devoid of a goal, because any goal is something private, detached, concrete, and life is all-embracing, has no boundaries and outlines, it is omnipresent and immense. Any goal can be only a part of life, and not something external to it. Art, in this regard, is closest to life, since art is an activity for the sake of activity, for the sake of Beauty, and Beauty is itself an internal property of a thing, and not some of its market value. Outsider art, therefore, is closest to the embodiment of the essence of art and, in general, all human labor as free activity for its own sake; an outsider does not distinguish between personal and professional, does not alienate a work of art from himself as a commodity. And therefore, an artist, musician, poet-outsider, not included in the institutions of education, galleries and competitions, is a figure of the future - all art and all human labor should become outsider, unprofessional, if we hope that happiness in general to one degree or another is achievable.
The outsider is a figure of the future, all art and all human activity strive to become free from the shackles of professional conventions, financial pressure and so on. In this figure, the future manifests itself, the possibilities that are provided to us by the progress of science and technology manifest themselves; we are already a part of the future and our task is to practice our work so that a joyful future of free labor, where all work would be an art, will come for a greater number of people.