Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Foundational Principle: Daniel Quinn

From Daniel Quinn's deceptively simple and inspiring Beyond Civilization: Humanity's Next Great Adventure:

The river I mentioned earlier is the river of vision. Our culture's river of vision is carrying us toward catastrophe. Sticks planted in the mud may impede the flow of the river, but we don't need to impede its flow, we need to divert it into an entirely new channel. If our culture's river of vision ever begins to carry us away from catastrophe and into a sustainable future, then programs will be superfluous. When the river's flowing where you want it to flow, you don't plant sticks to impede it.

Old minds think: How do we stop these bad things from happening?
New minds think: How do we make things the way we want them to be?

No Programs at all?

Programs make it possible to look busy and purposeful while failing. If programs actually did the things people expect them to do, then human society would be heaven: law enforcement would work, our justice systems would work, our penal systems would work, and so on.

When programs fail (as they invariably do), this is blamed on things like poor design, lack of funds and staff, bad management, and inadequate training. When programs fail, look for them to be replaced by new ones with improved design, increased funding and staff, superior management, and better training. When these new programs fail (as they invariably do), this is blamed on poor design, lack of funds and staff, bad management, and inadequate training.

This is why we spend more and more on our failures every year. Most people accept this willingly enough, because they know they're getting more every year: bigger budgets, more laws, more police, more prisons -- more of everything that didn't work last year or the year before that or the year before that.

Old minds think: If it didn't work last year, let's do MORE of it this year.
New minds think: If it didn't work last year, let's do something ELSE this year. (p 8-9)

This blogger is trying, as best as I can, to think of something else. To not come up with a new program -- more government funding, more foundation support, better marketing, higher wages -- but a new vision of things the way we want them to be. Or at least, the way I and a few others who are following this blog want them to be. But let's be clear: if you're happy where you are, and you're happy doing what you do the way you do it, then by all means keep doing it. Don't mind me. This blog does not exist to make you feel guilty, or foolish, or craven, or misguided because you are following a more traditional path.
God help us if every Nylachi theatre artist suddenly hopped the train for South Dakota.

But if the way things were done last year didn't work for you, then let's try to do something else this year. I'm piecing together my intellectual Legos one way; there are many, many other ways they snap together. I can't guarantee I have found The Way. Hell, I'm still trying to determine through the mist of my imagination and knowledge what my way is. Every time one of you communicates with me, pointing out a pothole over here and a great stopping place over there, I get a clearer idea of the terrain. And it helps to know that there are some people traveling along a similar path, even if they're not walking arm-in-arm with me.

For those who are following a different path, I truly wish you well. This blog's going over here.

Next up: where to locate your tribe.

No comments:

Think Again: Funding and Budgets in the Arts

Every once in a while, I think I'll post a link or two to posts written earlier in the life of Theatre Ideas that seem worth revisiting ...