Fortunate Competence

try again list - January 26, 2015m

Perhaps a humorous, cynical book from 1969 belongs in our new mythology…

I’m referring to The Peter Principle by Dr. Laurence Peter, which presented this premise:

“In a Hierarchy Every Employee Tends to Rise to His Level of Incompetence”

At a time when many of our best and brightest seemed like the worst and the dimmest, this concept made a lot of sense to a lot of people.  So that’s why our world was in such a mess!

I don’t discount Dr. Peter’s insight.  However, as I now see it, what he describes is an ideal state of affairs…

What would be the point of only doing what you already knew how to do?  Where would be the growth?

Yes, our mistakes often create ripples of hardship and pain–sometimes, even waves.

And yet, as we learn through our incompetence, the whole world benefits.

I’ve often wondered if we humans are a flawed evolution.  But perhaps it’s better—healthier—to look at our dilemma this way: as a species, we’ve risen to our level of incompetence…

We already know how to be animals.  So now we’re trying to learn how to be conscious human beings.  Yes, we’re flawed, but we keep putting ourselves into situations that make us work to correct our flaws.

So then, have I reached my own level of incompetence?

Yes—many times.  To my good fortune.  I’ve made much progress, due to my incompetence…

But I still have a long way to go.  I’m still incompetent at the job of being a human being.  I’m still working to resolve the conflicts that are a part of this human life…

I’ll be working ’til the day I die.

I’ll always be incompetent, to some degree.  But by continually struggling to become more competent, I’ll keep rising.

© 2016, Michael R. Patton

glorious tedious transformation: the book


About Michael Patton

I am a poet, novelist, and fabulist...A new mythologist, a peace miller, a dream worker...I don't qualify as an illustrator or photographer--I just "make pictures"...I have thirteen books available at amazon... I currently reside in northwest Arkansas, but have lived and worked all over the United States... I'm self-taught, for the most part--which is like searching for the right door in the dark. It's an on-going process.... I don't want to write MY story, I want OUR story, so that's what I'm studying: the human story: past, present, future, in its many aspects--including the spiritual. I'm proceeding at a slow crawl.... I don't see the inner world and outer world as separate. By learning about myself, I learn about others, I learn about my world.... Conversely, as I struggle to understand what I see OUT THERE, I learn about myself.... But to be clear: I don't claim any special understanding. I'm still purblind, still only half-awake.... After frustrating experience with the publisher of my first novel, I've published on my own, beginning with e-books, with plans to move into print and audio. Even video.... Along with a second novel, I've now published eight books of poetry. Each poetry book focuses on a theme. For instance, the collection GLORIOUS TEDIOUS TRANSFORMATION is about the slow difficult wonderful process of change.... In that book, as with all my work, I try to be accessible to a general audience, while also striving to achieve a certain literary quality.
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