Ridiculous beginnings...


All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning. Great works are often born on a street corner or a restaurant’s revolving door.Albert Camus

If you are like me and don’t know who Albert Camus is I will save you the Wikipedia search: Albert Camus (Nov 7, 1913 - Jan 4, 1960) was a French philosopher, author, and journalist. His views contributed to the rise of the philosophy known as absurdism. He also won the Nobel Prize in Literature at the age of 44 in 1957, and then died three years later.

This is one of the reasons I love just “wandering around” once in a while — one minute you don’t know, and the next you do. Not only had I never heard of Albert Camus, I’d also never heard of absurdism. Let me save you another search…

absurdism [əb-ˈsər-ˌdi-zəm] noun: a philosophy based on the belief that the universe is irrational and meaningless and that the search for order brings the individual into conflict with the universe.

I suppose at the heart of this I simply like discovery and learning something new — it makes me more interesting at cocktail parties (although admittedly it’s utter conjecture). Aside from the joy that comes with discovering new things I did find the quote insightful, particularly if you are searching for something new.

This experience had me thinking of all those forced “brainstorming sessions” of the past and whether we ever really got anything new out of them — there was lots of discussion, lots of sticky notes, countless flip charts stuck to walls, and in the end, we always ended up with a list of activities that looked very similar to what we were already doing. I wonder if it would’ve been more productive to give everyone the objective, put $100 dollars in their pocket, and have them to wander the city for the day. Everyone would meet later in a park to discuss people’s experiences and what they came up with. No flip charts, no sticky notes, no group stretching exercises to “get the blood flowing”; just lots of conversation and discussion after a day of “discovery” (with someone taking notes). Or to Albert Camus’s point, something even more ridiculous.

Albert reminded me of a universal truism — if you keep doing things the same old way you will get the same old results. And this is fine, until of course, you start getting results you don’t want.

I wonder if this aligns with his thoughts on absurdism?