i exist

‘Goodness isn’t sameness.  Goodness, to be goodness, needs contrast and tension, not perfect uniformity.’*

In his book Heroic Leadership Chris Lowney writes about how the early Jesuits each thought they were doing the most important thing in the world: mathematicians, astronomers, scientists, teachers … .  This encourages me: the possibility of seeing what we do in this way in a world welcoming diversity over uniformity.

In The Craftsman Richard Sennett tells of the anonymous nature of the craftsman-builder’s work in the Roman world, how to ‘get the houses, roads, and sewers to function […] improvisation occurred on the ground’.**

It was an opportunity to make their mark, to say “I exist”:

‘A maker’s mark is a peculiar sign. […] Many of the adaptive irregularities in Roman brickwork modulated into expressive decoration, tiny flourishes like a figured tile mortared over an imperfect joint behind the surface.  These also can be considered a maker’s mark.’**

Even in such an oppressive system as this, a person’s individuality and need to make a mark in the world manages to express itself.

At some point in their lives, I hope we all feel what Alex McManus describes as the ‘burden of responsibility, mystery, and paradox that it is to be human?^

These words from Seth Godin urge us to practise our peculiar way of seeing things and working:

‘Do the emotional work of working on things that others fear.’^^

I hope there’s a knock-on effect to this.  When we turn our passion, through imagination and innovation, into the best thing in the world then it becomes the foundation for someone else to pursue theirs.

(*From Richard Rohr and Mike Morrell’s The Divine Dance.)
(**From Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman.)
(^From Alex McManus’s Makers of Fire.)
(^^From Seth Godin’s Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?)

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