I have learned that it is impossible to compete with mediocrity.
I posted that as my status on Facebook yesterday.
It’s amazing the wisdom that comes to you when you let go of all hope that an intractable system can change. The intractable system being one that is based on the assumption that there isn’t enough to go around. Enough love. Enough talent. Enough life.
And when the prevailing belief is that there isn’t enough, mediocrity prevails. It becomes ruthless in its pursuit of survival. You can’t compete with it because it equates winning with survival. Its goal is not to compete, but to win, regardless of its merit.
Mediocrity is the enemy of change, both on a personal level and a cultural one.
Mediocrity is not, in my mind, a natural state of being. To be mediocre, I think, one needs to choose to petrify one’s inherent abilities, talent, and worth in the interest of acceptance by the status quo. A land where nothing changes.
Karen Armstrong writes in A Short History of Myth:
If it is written and read with serious attention, a novel, like a myth or any great work of art, can become an initiation that helps us to make a painful rite of passage from one stage of life, one state of mind, to another.”
To that I say a resounding , Yes!
In this rewrite of my personal story, I think that my biggest epiphany has been about my relationship with mediocrity. I’ve sought it out to try to convince it that it didn’t need to be so afraid.
And when that didn’t work, I told it that it was, in fact, mediocrity disguised as quality. That pissed it off. It had to destroy in order to maintain its status as the status quo.
I think the job of the artist, the writer, the poet is to challenge the status quo. To be willing to go, as a shaman does, into the darkness to gain insights about the darkness. And then to craft those insights into a compelling work of art that portrays the possibility of transformation through change.
The antithesis of mediocrity.
Bless you for your metamorphosis.