A “dry run” at not-solving a phony problem, so we can get our pretend-to-solve-it skills at peak performance [for] when we start not-solving the real ones.
Words of wisdom from me, over at the Hello Kitty of Blogging.
Veering off on a tangent, in a piece of correspondence, I elaborate “off line”:
People are frustrated, bored, want to go through the motions of building something great and grand. But…They are destroyers, not creators. You ask them what they’re building, they can’t answer. You ask them what they’re destroying — they can. You ask their political opponents “What are those people over there trying to build, and what are they trying to destroy?” and the answers you get back, are identical to the answers you got from the participants in the movement themselves; only the terms are less glittery, less flattering. Example: The democrats want an “estate tax” and the Republicans call it a “death tax.” They disagree on the terms, but they agree on the implications of it and how it is supposed to work. What does it build? What does it destroy? Nobody can say what it builds. Well, it turns out a lot of human energy is going into things like that. Building things is scary. If someone comes along to quiz you about it, you have to say how it’s all supposed to work. And then when you actually do it, you have to get everything right. That means developing skills. Otherwise you do something stupid like put the wrong kind of fuel in the President’s limousine.
So in anticipation of the scrutiny and the assault of other destroyers, people find it easier to be destroyers; they’d rather do the quizzing, than be the ones who are getting quizzed.
I remember a very smart guy, the Chief Financial Officer for a company I once fooled into hiring me, and promoting me…came up with a real gem, which I must paraphrase and probably paraphrase poorly. Here goes. In government, even the people at the very top of the structure lack the authority to make anything go. But everybody, all the way down to the mail room, can bring the authority needed to put a stop to something. Everyone can stop something. Nobody can make it go.
Well, it isn’t true of just government. Authority and wherewithal to make things go, to build something new, are rare things. Because these things are rare, they are therefore precious. That the discipline involved is difficult to master, makes them even more rare and more precious. The authority and wherewithal to destroy such efforts, to bring them to a stop, are in abundance. The ritual of the destroyer quizzing the creator, obliging the creator to stop his creating if he can’t answer each question honestly, accurately, completely and to the satisfaction of the person asking. Doing that kind of quizzing is easy and fun. Being on the receiving end of it is frustrating, and not fun.
This is where I become truly embarrassed when I hear about the wrong fuel being put in the President’s limousine. The problem isn’t quite so much lack of skill. Heck, who am I to criticize, I never did find out if it was gas in a diesel engine, or diesel in a gas engine, and I’m at the point where I don’t give a hang. The problem is that it just wasn’t taken seriously, and I know why. The leadership is in the business of destruction because destruction is easier. They like to pretend they’re building something cool. They can’t say what it is they’re building. And, they lack the greater discipline required to build things.
As a matter of cosmic history, it has always been easier to destroy than to create.