The enemy of a good idea is complacency. No idea at all. The enemy of good is not evil, but inaction - the art of going nowhere for years without ever taking a stand. Without ever knowing where you want to go. Our schools breed this in us.
~ H.L. Mencken
And I have not yet met a communist who has had a good idea. They have all been bred to believe the same old ones. Mao Tze Tung had good ideas when he was young, but his party institutionalized them and he was not allowed to adapt them to the present, although he tried. He died an unhappy old man, ostracized by the government he created.
~Edgar Watson Howe, Country Town Sayings, 1911
Last year I met a woman who talked me out of getting a regular job, she even helped kill one for me, for the proposed valor of starting something new with her - and then she left that idea and me, when it proved difficult - because she needed a regular job and a regular guy, like 99.9% of the world. She had a creative idea, and then killed it herself, or let her society kill it for her. Trouble was, I believed in her at the start. Who was wrong?
~ Ani Difranco
An internet entrepreneur, recently, backed me off the idea that we should try to solicit advertisers for a site but what he didn't have was the money to support his idea through years of no income. People forget that Google and Twitter were started with piles of venture capital. Piles of money.
Being an individualist isn't worth a pile of shit if you can't afford it - rather society will take some other conformity and package it as maverick vision. And women who once fell in love with your individualism will abandon you for it in favor of what society tells them is correct.
~ Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960
The trick seems to be balance. How can we be creative and original without being victimized? How can we be responsible, without being complacent? And how can we find a partner who values and supports both?
I end today's rant with a clip of Todd Rundgren's 60th birthday bash two years ago. Todd and I share this day but also a number of ideals. He's raised two pro-ball players, another son in college and Liv Tyler as a step-dad, yet remained a rock star and a creative spirit at heart. And he maintains a successful career.
Who the hell is thinking that at this age I should give up my ideas of being interesting, intellectual, creative and yes, profitable? I've had a life of all of that and can't imagine that it would ever be a good idea to turn a card and become a soldier - so much as others might want me to do. A lyric in a Todd song says, "Choose your heroes and choose them well, they could be leading you straight into hell".
The task is to break the hypnotic spell, so that we become undeaf, unblind and multilingual, thereby letting the world speak to us in new voices and write all its possible meanings in the new book of our existence. Be careful in your choice of hypnotists."
May I be "18 at 80" and loved for it, instead of discarded for it before I even get there, at 54.