Friday, October 08, 2010

Static or Dynamic?


The hardest thing for people to accept is that we don’t live in a static world. We want things to stay as they are—but that’s not the nature of life! One advantage I have from having lived many years in Detroit is having the truth of change pounded into me as I watched the destruction of my world. What were we told as the city declined, jobs vanished, our world collapsed? “Change or die!”

In every aspect of life we see death and renewal. We see continual change. Those who’ve sought to maintain a static economy, for instance, have been destroyed with that economy. As historian Eric Hobsbawm wrote, by 1980 the Soviet Union had constructed the best late-19th century economy on the planet.

One has to understand that the world consists of constant upheaval.

Today people are thrown by “climate change.” There always is climate change. There’s always been.


Art in particular—the leading edge of culture—has through history progressed by creative destruction. Destroy the old to create the new. Those who fail to recognize this are themselves destroyed. Witness classical music. Symphonies are in trouble across the country. In every way, from financing to styles to instrumentation, they’re unable to compete. Their model no longer works. Protecting that model from competition has made things worse. True innovation—revolutionary upheaval—hasn’t occurred. It hasn’t been allowed to occur. Or, it occurred—outside the system’s walls.

The same situation applies to literature.

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