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The Untimely Death of Compromise: Creators v. Editors

"I start where the last man left off" - Thomas Edison.

At our core, we are a society comprised of "creators" and "editors." As such, we are ultimately bound to an existence of conflict and misunderstanding. Let me explain.

"Creators" are those among us that are driven to build things. Sometimes they build tangible things in the form of manufactured products on an assembly line. Other examples have the "creator" writing poems or prose, proving postulates, perfecting paperclips, playing the piano, and even pitching perfect games. A "best" form of creation, or creative expression, doesn't exist when compared. The not so simple act of producing something that didn't exist at the beginning of the day brings joy and purpose to the "creator," in any form whatsoever, even with flawed execution before its perfect intent.

"Editors" are those among us that are driven to improve things. They take the seed and cultivate a plant, oftentimes in a barren landscape where nothing could ever grow. The "editor" is often seen modifying the manuscript, mollifying the masses, manipulating the mosaic, and even moving the masterpieces. Each of these "editors" is uniquely different and highly opinionated, ultimately demanding change by their hand. The status quo is not acceptable, and they manifest joy in the knowledge that they singularly improved that which they encountered on the day.

A beautiful and symbiotic dance exists between the "creators" and the "editors." It is as undeniable as the creation and the evolution of life itself. It is not enabled, one without the other, and one is no more important than the other. In my opinion, one of life's greatest mysteries is the abject dismissiveness between the two; each believes that only their own contributions are either worthy or productive.

Park that thought in your head about "creators" and "editors," and now consider our social challenges between the "left" and the "right," the "haves" and the "have-nots," the "powerful" and the "powerless," and the endless racial and social barriers that we have built up before us. Every single one of these ideas has been planted and reinforced by our education and the media. We are told to regress to a common average. We are forced to define ourselves all too simply, to find a bucket where we feel like we fit, or should be put, even though we do not. The brilliant mathematician and philosopher René Descartes put forth his thoughts on this as three concise Latin words: "Cogito, ergo, sum."

"I think, therefore, I am." In my opinion, those are the most important words ever constructed by any human being. Descartes was a French man who put forth this idea in a Latin phrase because it was purely succinct and unavoidable in interpretation. It simply, and most powerfully, means that we exist as people because we have thoughts, and not just any thoughts, but those thoughts that are so unique and singular that they define us, every one of us, on this Earth, at this location, and at this time. It suggests that our lives, different from every other living being in this universe, are special because we possess a singularity of thought.

While our singular thoughts may be our greatest virtues, we need to realize that they are also our greatest liabilities; they are the seeds of diversity and the creation of all conflict. Our thoughts put forth our true selves, both in the form of who we want others to see and what we willingly choose to hide. We want to defend and honor our thoughts and protect them as we would our own offspring. We will swing mercilessly at those that try to critique our thoughts; alter as to modify, and modify as to improve them. It feels like nothing more than subjugation to us, and as they lean in, we recoil.

Why is it that our most intangible, yet important, manifestations elicit the most physical of reflexes? We cannot ebb and flow collaboratively without first knowingly accepting that process and willfully telling ourselves to proceed. We have forgotten the virtues of compromise.

We must recognize that we have been programmed this way, repeatedly and insidiously. We hear and say "defend your ground" in all sorts of matters but never suggest "improve our community." It is because, in my opinion, we believe in binary outcomes. Light needs darkness, up needs down, and winners need losers to be defined.

There is an incredible diversity of thought that need not be defined in binary terms. Not only as diverse peoples of color, creed, and culture but also because of the inherent differences between "creators" and "editors." True diversity is not created. Rather, it is a continual process of refining and shaping big ideas to fit our ever-changing societal needs, not necessarily the ever-present societal norms.

We have manifested a binary world where the "creators" are generally the offenders, and the "editors" are generally the cancellers. This is the continual recipe for conflict in our society until we realize that each of us is both "creator" and "editor"; that each of us has the capacity to stand back from what we think we know and pursue that which will make us a better society. We need to participate as individuals who both "create" and "edit" but at the same time, never cancel.

The totalitarian insists that no one criticize their view of the world, and they will work to silence others, not as a form of intolerance, but in the belief, and at all costs, that they are doing the "righteous" work.

Seek to communicate with each other as both "creators" and "editors," be tolerant of others' differing views, never cancel, and work towards an endless compromise.

Again, in my opinion, disrespect and intolerance for others is truly the root of every evil, whether through intent or ignorance. But that is another topic for another day.

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