The Future – Beautifully Flawed?

Everything we really value is beautifully flawed.

From flowers, to works of art, and from people to the buildings we inhabit. Flaws are a consequence of human care and skill, as well of course as the eye of the beholder. The work of artisans involves uncertainty, frailty, love, determination and procrastination. The work they produce exudes all of those qualities, which is why we pay so much to own them.

The Mac I am writing on, resplendent with its M1 chip, is an impressive piece of work of design, engineering and technology, but it’s not beautiful. It is a manufactured clone, one on many thousand manufactured since launch, and all essentially identical. Designed in America, manufactured in China, with parts and labour from all over the world and subject to rigorous process to ensure that uniformity of excellence. It’s real genius though lies in what it enables, not what it is. Millions of others sat at beautifully designed keyboards will today pour their hopes into it’s silicon, and push them out into the world through equally impressive technology infrastructure. All of us doing it are deeply and differently flawed.

“When we plant a rose seed in the earth, we notice that it is small, but we do not criticize it as “rootless and stemless.” We treat it as a seed, giving it the water and nourishment required of a seed. When it first shoots up out of the earth, we don’t condemn it as immature and underdeveloped; nor do we criticize the buds for not being open when they appear. We stand in wonder at the process taking place and give the plant the care it needs at each stage of its development. The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential. It seems to be constantly in the process of change; yet at each state, at each moment, it is perfectly all right as it is.”

W. Timothy Gallwey

It’s the flaws that create the value. If some portion of what we write, film, paint, code resonates somewhere, with someone, and results in something unique, valued by a few people, who then go on to produce their own work produced that otherwise they would not have then the technology has done it’s job.

Perfection, if it exists, is essentially sterile. There is nowhere for it to go. There is nothing to grow. It’s our flaws that create the energy to produce the new, that personal expression, the work of our own art in search of movement.

Technology can produce the perfect laptop, or the perfect car, or the perfect loom, but none of them create anything of value until we introduce our own unique human flaws into the system.

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