Saturday, March 13, 2010

About Great Ideas

Berthold Brecht wrote "Alle großen Ideen scheitern an den Menschen" which freely translates to "All big ideas fail because of the people." It is a quote worth pondering. At first it seems to be contradictory: inherently, big ideas are supposed to be for the benefit of the people, yet he says they fail due to the people. Why does society suffocate brilliant ideas? What can a big idea do by itself? What about a "right" idea? It can be big, it can be good, it can be beneficial to a vast multitude, but that by itself will not be convincing enough, that by itself will not guarantee that the idea will be implemented or will be a success. Often, even an idea necessary for survival will not be accepted. For our context we can let the word "idea" be a place holder for terms like "permaculture", "sustainable life style" or similar. It becomes clear that the idea is just a small piece. By itself it will be heard only by a few and even less will adapt it. The idea will need to be communicated, shared, discussed and publicized. Books, blogs, videos play a key role here. Further on and in parallel, a lot of work will need to go into hands-on convincing people. In this phase, workshops, coops and demo sites come to mind. Any idea, no matter how good, rational, well-intentioned and self evident, is just a starting point. It is the spark. It will need a lot of fuel (work and effort) to start a big fire. Let us not be the people that make big ideas fail in today's society.

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