Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Tipping Point

On the drive home from IKEA, I started listening to Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point. I'm really enjoying it. The things that have struck me the most, so far:
  • In the SKS, we had put a lot of value on close, intense relationships: deep friendships with intimacy, strong committments to social groups, etc. But Gladwell points out that the power of epidemic change is rooted in people who have lots of weak relationships -- people with lots and lots of acquaintainces, who cross-link communities together. Not that one invalidates the other . . . but it's interesting to see that the relatively superficial relationships that we were so dismissive of before, now turns out to be the key to effecting the kind of social changes we're interested in making.
  • One of the best ways to become recognized as a Maven (one of the "thought leaders" who's opinion is respected and who often generates the content of epidemic change) is to help other people, freely and willingly. (As Gladwell says, "It's a powerful way to get someone's attention.") That kinda explains the power behind the open-source movement or the Wikipedia, which both demonstrate the power of people giving stuff away.
  • Augie always said that "the world is made of swiss cheese. Walls may look impossibly high and unyielding . . . but if you figure out where to push, they yeild easily." It's the same meassage of this entire book: dramatic change is possible, if you know where to push. And that's a big if. Most of my life has been spent working hard, and wondering why other people were making it look easy. (The other part of my life has been spent looking at other people sabotaging their lives, and wondering why they make things so hard for themselves. Two sides of the same phenomena . . .)


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