It’s been a while since I’ve passed along thoughts from Roy H. Williams, Wizard of Ads. In last week’s Monday Morning Memo he curated three quotes from big thinkers on topics we most often avoid.
We avoid such thoughts because we can’t define their parameters or fully contain their implications in our minds. Their overwhelming nature feels defeating, like a fruitless effort, so we throw in the towel and busy ourselves with the easier stuff.
Roy’s point is that this habitual avoidance of those thoughts which are decidedly too big for us, is the root of many avoidable disasters in our lives, businesses and society. It’s a failure of imagination.
You’ll want to read Roy’s entire post, but just to get your gears turning, here are those three quotes:
“We often talk about Hurricane Katrina and 9/11 in terms of failures: failures of intelligence, failures of planning, failures of communication. But these catastrophes were first and foremost failures of imagination. Did we know that a major hurricane could destroy New Orleans? Yes: it was even part of the tour guides’ spiel. Did we know terrorists wanted to bring down the World Trade Center? Yes: they made a credible attempt in 1993. And what did we do with what we knew? Nothing. Some disasters, I think, are so big and so awful they are literally beyond our power to conceive. So, we dismiss them out of hand, retreat to the ‘knowledge’ that a thing can’t happen because, well, it just can’t.”
–Leonard Pitts, July 6, 2006
“Sometimes I think we’re alone (in the universe.) Sometimes I think we’re not. In either case, the thought is staggering.”
“All the problems of heaven and earth, though they were to confront us together and at once, would be nothing compared with the overwhelming problem of God: That He is; what He is like; and what we as moral beings must do about Him.”
–A. W. Tozer
Have you spent enough time pondering the unanswerable?