Friday, March 23, 2007

Destination or Process?

Some people view life as a destination to be reached. They speak in terms of settling down, reaching one's life-goals--an arrival. To them, the ends are more important than the means. Mistakes along the way are viewed as failures. Their view of research is the same: it is either right or it is wrong. They dismiss an entire work because of the presence of a few factual errors.

There is another group--into which I am more likely to fit--that views life more as a process, a series of stages, mile points, cyclical motions, falling down, getting up, being stupid, figuring things out. From this perspective, the mistakes and failings are all part of the journey, rather than just pitfalls to be avoided. Well, one can only hope that the product of previous mess-ups (if one has a mind to learn) would be increased wisdom, and the more wisdom, the fewer mess-ups. But that is different than saying one has arrived somewhere permanently.


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