Thursday, September 08, 2011

Being Wrong

"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong." - Joseph Chilton Pierce

So often I am a creature of fear - especially, fear of being wrong.

You ask me where this fear comes from. I'm not sure that I can really answer it fully. But I think it started long after my childhood and teenage years, into my adult working life.

Why? Because the things that are encouraged in childhood - creativity, spontaneity, a thirst for knowledge - are often the very things which are despised in adults by those that employ them (although lip service is often given to the contrary).

The reality is that much of the modern world is actual built on dependable, reliable, reproducible methods. Think about it - do you want your medications to be manufactured a little differently every time, or your cars to have their brake systems installed differently on each unit, or your food to incorporate random amounts of undesirable products? Of course not - we want (yea, demand) reliable, reproducible results.

In this arena of reliable, reproducible results, being wrong becomes more than just an experimental trend, a spontaneous exercise of inquiry, a quenched thirst for trying something a little differently. It becomes a costly mistake, something that will wreak great havoc on the system. And so, manufacturing becomes systematized.

But with that systematization comes a loss of that creativity, that spontaneity, that thirst. Does it still exist? Of course - but it becomes the preserve of a privileged few, the researchers and developers. For the rest, being wrong becomes so costly - sometimes costing a career - that even the chance of being wrong is never taken.

And so we continue to exist, slowly watching that part of ourselves fade into the small folds of our lives where it can live, a short of endangered species which has been set onto reservations in our soul.

But if being creative means getting over the fear of being wrong, and being wrong costs a great deal, is it better to continue to subsist in the twilight of creativity - or simply acknowledge that what we seek is beyond the sight of where we are?

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