« Home | I've told this story so many times now, that the m... » | Sorry! I blame any nonsense within my latest post ... » | Thought: A wrong philosophy can be like a friend ... » | The Bus Hippos: a story for children. Little... » | Well, I finally have time to write. I wonder if I... » | Something is wrong with me. I intend to write abo... » | I polished up my trumpet this week. Shined it a b... » | I've invited Aaron Strout to contribute to this bl... » | Well, my resolution to write every (week)day laste... » | We moved to a place eight hours, or 450+ miles fro... » 


Mad Science I see something in everyone I meet, a sliver of personality, a trait, a gift that I would like to make my own. As if I could re-create myself in the image of everyone whom I have met, and become the uber-person. The voice of Bono or Bobby McFerrin, the writing ability of James Cordrey or Bill Mallonee, the self-confidence of...I don't know, someone else. That may or may not have anything to do with what comes next. When I was in the fifth grade I found a little tiny screwdriver that belonged to my father. I wondered to myself what sort of things I could take apart, what manner of construction has such tiny screws. I eventually realized that this pocketable orange handled screwdriver was just the right size to access the little unreachable screw in deep in the back of my G.I. Joe action figures. This was a turning point in my career as a nine-year-old, as I realized that without this one little screw the whole Snake Eyes figure would literally fall to pieces. Immediately realizing the importance and potential of my discovery, I systematically disassembled a half-dozen of the foreign-made Real American Heroes, and began re-building them as the perfect soldiers. This guy with the Hawaiian shirt needs a metal robot arm, and a black ninja leg. The metallic-looking guy will then will have to make do with one bare arm with a Hawaiian shirt shoulder. This was fun for months, as my friends and I went from trading toys at recess to trading parts of toys. Each piece had it's own intrinsic value, and the overall worth of the full figure was increased because of the potential for limb, head, or torso harvesting. Looking back, we probably brought into being some truly ridiculous creations, but in our imagination we had created new life. We transcended the bounds of what our parents and HASBRO told us, and became like unto the toy-gods ourselves. As adults we occasionally grapple with the old habits of our childhood, or at least I do (one ought not to assume one speaks for everyone, especially when one has been told repeatedly that one is a Strange Person). In that light, I remind myself that each person is more than a collection of appendages and abilities. In leadership or management (not all leaders are managers, not all managers are leaders), this concept can get lost in the race for productivity, or the achievement of goals. I need you because you have the robot arm, but if I could find a way to get the robot arm without the rest of you, my plans would go forward all the same. What a horrible thought, that we would reduce one another to tools, pawns, or a raw material like lumber. It amuses me that we use the word "chemistry" to describe the intangible relationship and spark that comes from putting two or more different people together. Chemistry is something that can be written down, predicted, and managed in a controlled environment. If you successfully reach one result on a given day, then you might well expect the same result on the next day, provided your environment remains the same. This is not at all how people work. A more appropriate word would be something like alchemy, or magic, or mad-science (the realm of mad scientists, of course). The debate surrounding cloning is heated because of this very idea. Some people want to manufacture man-parts, even if to do so means to deconstruct the man. They see the action figure without the screw in the back, without the lynch-pin that holds all the parts together, without the soul of man. It is this failure to see the whole as greater than the collection of parts that brought us slavery. A strong back was needed, a boatload of strong backs were imported and sold. This has become much more political than I intended when I starting writing way back at the beginning of the last paragraph. If I had your gift, I would not be you. I would not be free of my need for you. If I see only what you can do, then I do not see you at all.

E-mail this post

Remember me (?)

All personal information that you provide here will be governed by the Privacy Policy of Blogger.com. More...