“Messes are opportunities for creative expression, for delight and discovery, and for pleasure and celebration. Messes are real. They are how we live. And they can be beautiful.” – Amy George Rush
This distinction comes from the Principia Discordia, the “bible” for what is either a religion disguised as a joke, or a joke disguised as a religion. Depending on your point of view, of course.
The distinction is called the Curse of Greyface, and it goes a little something like this. There are two axis you can measure the rightness of your actions along. (There are many more than two, of course, but these two are what you need to get this distinction.)
One is the axis of order versus disorder.
The other is creativity versus destruction.
At some point in our past, particularly in the West, right around when the Greeks were going strong a cultural axiom was created that declared that the main measure of rightness should be along the order/disorder line. In other words, and action was more righteous if it was based in order, and less righteous, or even evil if it was couched in disorder. This meant that whether an action was creative, or destructive, it was okay as long as it was orderly.
Conquer a neighboring nation while pillaging and destroying their culture, sure as long as you had a legal (ie, ordered) claim to the territory.
Cut down forests with no regard to environmental impact, of course, the wheels of orderly progress must keep turning!
Attempt the total decimation of a people? Well, you can sleep well at night as long as you were “just following orders.”
Our cultural measuring stick for advancement became order over disorder with no attention paid to creation or destruction.
The cure is obvious: Shift your value assessment from the line of order/disorder, to that of creative/destructive. Head for the creative, and have little care about whether your effort creates order or disorder in it’s wake. (Well, maybe have a little care. The cure for a curse is seldom to just flip the seats on the ride.)
Working under a paradigm that measures the rightness of actions based solely on the criteria of whether they are more creative, and less destructive, would be quite a thing indeed, I should think. When I start thinking about it, the lyrics for John Lennon’s “Imagine” start going through my head. I do not think this shift would fix every problem we face instantly. I do think it would deeply effect the flavor of our culture and the moorings of our value systems.
We would stop grading out children based on whether they could memorize facts and figures by rote. Instead we would grade them on the cool shit they came up with.
Laws would no longer be based on, “That’s the way it’s always been done” but would instead be guidelines for fostering, insuring, and propagating creative action and outcomes.
People would not be evaluated on how well they toed the line, but on how much they contributed.
In my personal exploration of switching the lines of evaluation, I have found life to be more inherently beautiful and expressive. By deciding the the value I assign to a thing based on it’s creative value I find that I have a lot more opportunities for joy in my life. I also steer clear of miring myself in tasks, or duties, that drain my creative potential.
For my money that is a much better way to go!
What do you think?