Monday, 4 April 2011

Incompetence – is it underrated?

There is something deeply interesting about incompetence. Human beings are fundamentally different from all other life-forms and I don't think it has anything to do with intelligence. We seem to be the only creatures with a facility for creative incompetence. No other non-domesticated species can afford to be incompetent, but we can and we’re good at it. Competently incompetent you might say. We make extensive use of it, socially and culturally.

Think about politicians for a moment – recall the best route to a successful political career. Promise what you can’t deliver, isn’t that the surest way up the greasy pole? Make incompetent promises. Embrace your incompetence while the little people fall by the wayside, vainly trying to make competence work its non-existent magic.

It isn’t only politicians either. By tireless breeding we’ve produced other incompetent creatures beside ourselves. Dogs are an obvious example. Pekingese, dachshunds and Yorkshire terriers are all hopeless at being what dogs evolved to be. Could they survive outside a domestic environment? I don’t think so. We actually show them off too – flaunting our incompetent canine designs.

It’s partly what makes us tick – this human facility for creative incompetence.

No comments: