Tuesday, November 06, 2012
My mission is to encourage creativity in all walks of life in order to build bridges and help solve what seemed, in the past, to be intractable problems in human relations, technology, economics, politics, and in one’s sense of self and destiny. Creativity, coupled with action and hard work, can, with luck and perseverance, open doors and expand access to education, economic life, and social groups, in order to strengthen one’s ability to have a purposeful, enfranchised, examined, and courageous life.
How do I actualize my mission and vision?
Tactic One: List and Describe Core Values
Creativity: I like the way that thinking creatively requires the willingness to put unexpected things together, and to look at a set of things, circumstances, or concepts from multiple perspectives. Sometimes it’s necessary to explore biases and blind spots in order to avoid confusing the status quo with the truly creative, or simply using new ways to reinforce old biases. Creativity, in the ultimate sense of the word, should be generative and life-supporting, as well as psychologically freeing.
Perseverance: I value staying with a project until it’s done. If the project is on the wrong path, I think it is perfectly acceptable to drop it. Nevertheless, the ability to envision the outcome, and to stick with it, is something I have always respected.
Teamwork: Working alone is efficient, at least for awhile. Teams are better. They bring energy, diverse perspectives, and multiple skillsets to a challenge, task, or problem. Being in a team is also vital for feeling enfranchised and that you have a sense of belonging.
Connecting the Previously Unconnected: I like the idea of taking two or three things that never worked together and seeing how they might connect. It’s a great way to approach problems, and can lead to breakthroughs of engineering. It’s also a great way to energize a team or group problem-solving group – there are usually moments of absurdity and humor that encourage the open exchange of ideas and create a supportive, non-punitive atmosphere.
Tactic Two: Describe the World as It Is Now, Describe Potential Vision for the Future (key example of this tactic: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech)
I see the world as a place where, despite the eternal self-fashioning and energizing transformations of technology, commerce, and human invention, the majority of the world’s peoples still behave as though they were approaching end times, “slouching toward Bethlehem” (as in the great Yeats poem, “The Second Coming”), and they interpret the events and activities around them as signs of decline, rather than opportunities for creative, energizing, empowering growth.
The fear-driven mind finds apocalypse in the random words, signs, and acts that surround it. For the fear-driven mind, the future is a predetermined horrorscape of chaos, equivocation, and snarling despair. The end is predicted to be ugly and inescapable, and there is no way to protect oneself from it.
The hope-driven mind may find apocalypse to be in our future, but instead of suffering and horror, the vision and hope-driven mind finds generative patterns, and pathways to growth. The end of the world signals Dionysian transformation, a necessary death phase that one goes through in order to be reborn, revitalized, regenerated. The vision-driven mind may have a mystical inclination, and the “dark night of the soul” is the test of faith that ushers in a state of union, of intuitive knowledge, of the achievement of great things.
I would like to work toward a future that allows individuals to find a balance between their fear-driven and hope-driven minds, and which provides a strategy for overcoming short-term, immediate anxieties by recognizing that working through the negative emotions is a necessary part of growth, and simply seeking to avoid pain will mean that one will remain in pain because no major changes have been made.
In the future, I would like to see a world where people understand that they may transform themselves, and that the barriers that once existed can be eliminated. It may take some time, cooperation, and willingness to learn another language, computer skills, philosophy, or higher-order math. It might also require one to examine one’s own internal resistances to change, and to read works of literature and creative non-fiction in order to understand the mindsets of others vis-à-vis one’s own.
The young child born into cold, hard streets of despair and abandonment has the same future as the young scion of a social media billionaire. It’s not enough to scoff and say that they share the same ultimate destiny, to die and be forgotten. It’s imperative to nurture the spark of life and imagination that drives one person to reach a hand out to another, without expectations or preconceptions, but simply to invite another to go on a journey together. The journey will strange, unpredictable, and yet infinitely worthwhile.
I’m reminded of “Woyaya” by the South African song written by Osibisa, performed by Art Garfunkel in the early 1970s:
We are going
Heaven knows where we are going
We ‘ll know we’re there…