Friday, July 23, 2004


In the music world, it's "higher, faster louder".

In the business world, it's "doing more with less".

In the Viagra world, it's "the bigger the better."

Superlatives run our world. From the cutest baby to the smartest child to the strongest athlete we are programmed from birth to go for the gold. Uncle Sam wants us to be all that we can be. We're number one, baby, and we have a giant foam finger to prove it.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not here to knock the idea of bettering oneself for the common (or individual) good. Afterall, isn't that one of the very trademarks of American life? We are known for being a country of innovators. We are a people of creative thinkers and doers that (pardon the very tired saying) think outside the box to come up with new and improved ways to live our lives and do our jobs. For this we are both proud and grateful. Glory, Halleluia!

But I'm not convinced that we are always thinking outside the box. If we are, then it seems we are armed with blinders and a stopwatch. We may be thinking outside the box, but we are deciding inside the box, staring at our own reflections and basing our decisions on what we see in the glass.

And even that, in and of itself, isn't necessarily bad, except when it is marketed to be something that it is not. It's the spin, stupid. The logic behind a decision may start from the point of reason but it often goes out of control, eventually landing in quagmire from which there is no escape. Still we repeat our mantra -- "We're Number One" -- even as we sink deeper and deeper into the muck, until all that's left is a smudged slogan on a giant foam fingertip, soon to be forgotten.

I'm not just talking about the business world, where quantity has permanently destroyed the concept of quality. I'm not just talking about the athletic world, where the quest to be best thumbs its nose at the principles of sportsmanship. I'm not just talking about politics, where policies and procedures are spun as if it were flax into gold. Where philosophies are changed into something they are not -- for the betterment of mankind -- and oh, don't mind all those bodies and human rights trampled over there in the corner...We'll send in the maid to sweep them up later. I'm not just talking about people we interact with every day who let innuendo do the talking, or who say one thing...and do another.

I'm not just talking about any one of these things. I'm talking about all these things, because it's everywhere. We make decisions in vacuums. We excel in imposing rules, but we fail to employ any common sense. We trample over people and feelings like the bulls of Pamploma. It's not really our fault if they were in our way. We're just running with the crowd.

But if we could slow down....

If we could recognize and appreciate quality....

If we could take the time to look at decisions and policies from both sides of the equation....

If we could reflect on how our words and deeds affect others....

We would be healthier

We would be happier

and we would live in a world that might just be ... superlative.

1 comment:

babyfishfel said...

Nicely put. I live for the exceptions that prove the rule, though. Like Lance Armstrong. Go, Lance!