Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What are they feeding these people?!

Have you ever met a "corporate type"? If you work at a big company, you've met lots of them. Even if you don't, you may serve them food, sell them tires, sit next to them on a plane...

They speak a strange language - almost always dancing around some point or other without ever actually making one. Kind of like that sneeze that gets lost in your system and just leaves an annoying little tickle that you can't get rid of. They're always afraid of how what they say and do will be perceived by such and such. They're constantly preoccupied with what the weather or the presidential election or the latest flavor of Mountain Dew means to their place in the pecking order. You almost never hear them clearly take a stand on a controversial matter.

I'm just wondering where these people come from.

You rarely meet children like this. Kids don't hesitate to say what they mean. They are rowdy, messy, provocative. They'll pick their nose in public and they don't give a damn.

So how do people turn into corporate drones? Well, it's that wonderful process we call acculturation. We slowly strip away from kids anything controversial or offensive. But here's the rub. There's nothing that isn't offensive to someone. So if you do a really great job civilizing kids, they turn into adults with nothing to say.

Now I'm not advocating some sort of Lord of the Flies or nature red in tooth and claw return to savagery. Civilization does have its benefits. But are we better off as a bunch of corporate drones? Are we over-civilized? At what cost do we assiduously avoid controversy and run away from provocative thinking?

This isn't what greatness looks like. Greatness is often controversial. It doesn't always make everyone feel good. At least not at first.

We can aim higher, folks.

Now who's with me? [I'm running down the hall now like John Belushi in Animal House...]

No comments: