There are a few, remarkable people who show us that there’s another way.
They take the tools from our hands, and do amazing things with them that we could never have contemplated. Where we see unbreakable rules, they see uninteresting choices. The results leave some people so affected that they never again look at their tools in the same way.
These people generally fall into three categories. First, there are those who were so far ahead of society’s ability to comprehend their efforts that their work is only “discovered” and lauded after their deaths. Kafka was one. Van Gogh another.
Second are those who break established rules again and again to increasing acclaim, yet always stay ahead of their imitators simply because they don’t know of any other way to behave. Picasso, let’s say. Radiohead, perhaps.
And then there are those people who have a single flash of genius at the very moment that society’s mirrors are perfectly aligned to catch its light. Though the rest of their work may be perfectly competent, everyone clamors for the lightening to strike again and again. It’s not these people’s fault that they can’t replicate that moment.
Given the title of this piece, you can probably see where I’m going with this one.