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May 25th, 2020
A perfect ideal can amputate our progress in two ways: it can permanently bridle our attempts to even get started as we try to plan a way to achieve the perfect, and it can also keep our efforts iterating in perpetuity as we seek that impossible instance when we finally produce that perfection.
Having a vision for the end product of a project is often what gets us motivated to start and keeps the wheels turning during the whole slog of a process. A vision, and even an ideal is a good thing, working the way North does in relation to a compass. Ideals and a vision create a larger, simpler structure which helps us navigate smaller decisions with greater ease. Should it be orange or purple? How does this serve the greater mission?
Is this question even relevant to the larger mission?
That question is key to finding a balance between perfection and progress. Spending gobs of time trying to decide between two close shades of blue is a waste of time. It’s a way of procrastinating and it sacrifices progress. The final product will almost never be what we initially imagine, and so the question becomes:
On what points do we hold our ground, and what do we let slide?
We can rephrase the question and sharpen it up in order to provoke answers:
How much can change without losing sight of the vision we have in mind?
As reality boils an idea with progress, the answer to this question turns out to be a lot. Sometimes these changes are call tradeoffs or compromises. And for such people who think of such developments only in these terms, it’s unfortunate.
Another way to approach this pesky and often disappointing notion of tradeoffs is to think of the vision, the final product as something that the future has in store for you. Progress is what reveals how it exists in reality. If, just for this situation, we think of life as a movie, with the ending predetermined, already scripted, acted and shot, then as the real project morphs and shapes itself in the direction of our vision, reality reveals this part of our story. We can begin to see the process more like a dance as opposed to some arduous birth. The point of life isn’t some final product. Just as the point of a dance is the entire process, and not some final outcome, for which, with dance, there isn’t any tangible outcome. The process is the outcome.
We can take the same view of any endeavor. As fate seems to slam down upon our efforts, and our determination rises, the necessity of perfection can shed from the progress. The question can become:
Ok, what shape does this vision have to take in order to exist at all?
This, in a single question, is evolution. All species are doing this, all the time. Changing as needed and as possible in order to continue existing.
The evolution of a project is best served by following similar strategies. Species change in response to their circumstance, and sometimes the circumstance changes because of how species change. The volley is a constant dance, and so to must be our efforts.
Notice that the questions throughout this episode are all effectively the same question. But each one evokes a slightly different perspective. Each question is a step in the dance of these words with your brain, with an attempt to paint an overall point in your mind. The degree of success such a process has had is certainly variable depending on an enumerable slew of factors. But at the very least, the episode found a way to exist. For better or worse, it’s been interesting to see how the ideas unfolded, even if the final product isn’t perfect.