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We should bemoan

2014-01-31 02:30:06.403648+00 by Dan Lyke 1 comments

We should bemoan, not celebrate, that imagination is stronger than knowledge, and that myth is more potent than history and reality.

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#Comment Re: made: 2014-01-31 20:23:19.714535+00 by: Dan Lyke

A couple of comments copied from the Facebook thread:

Paul, I don't think they need to be exclusive, but I do think we have far more dreamers than doers, and we do an awful lot of recasting facts to fit into existing social myths than we do allowing them to tell their own story. When we tell people "imagination is more important than knowledge", what they're hearing is "it doesn't matter what you know, it matters what you make up".


My dad tells the story of, back in the '80s, going to a talent show at the local elementary school. The white kids were lip syncing to pop music, the Asian kids were actually playing their instruments. Sometime in the '90s or early naughties, a friend of mine had the same observation about a school in Marin. And recently, in a Facebook discussion that I can't find right now, Mike Kite observed that there are some really great musicians and songwriters in popular music. It's just that none of them are the faces we see.

Instead, we celebrate the few people with some sort of charisma that get their voices from the hard work of engineers scrambling with knobs and sliders in the background. Similarly, we elect (and promote) people who propose these grand visions, visions which are unimplementable, or even visions which could be implemented if they were engineered towards an eye toward reality, but they're not.

And so I see a number of teenagers and early 20s kids off "following their dreams" without without hunkering down and grinding through the hard work. And, yes, for some number of these people the lottery ticket pays off, but for the rest they're losing time when they could be actually getting good at something. And an awful lot of of older adults who are looking around and asking "why am I broke?"

And yes, like Bonnie, I've long seen that we rework (or selectively pick) facts to fit into the strong cultural myths, rather than realizing that if we're willing to throw out the story and look at the facts without prejudice, we can accomplish things that are impossible when we constrain ourselves to the narrative.

And, Laurie, to your "main skill is getting elected": The more I involve myself in politics, the more I realize that the bureaucrats are the ones making the actual decisions, the ones that count. And if we could move the trade-offs and struggles that they're dealing with into the political sphere, rather than grandstanding, then, yes, we'd far better understand why Atlanta took this storm hard. But none of them dare try to educate us, because they'd get destroyed by the politics.