I was inspired this morning to write a short piece about inspiration itself. That idea came to me as I read Fred Wilson’s post about Kickstarter’s annual report. Why is that so inspiring? Because Kickstarter is a PBC, a public benefit corporation. As such, it reports each year not just on the profits it has amassed for its shareholders. It also reports on the good it does for society.
Sir Kenneth Clarke admitted that he knew little about economics. But he was not totally ignorant of the subject. “>He knew that a certain degree of freedom from the drudgery of work made it possible to focus on creating beauty
. He also knew that this could go too far. The great and powerful tended to demand symbols of status that deadened the spirit. What great ideas that benefited mankind were ever formulated in an enormous, gilded room? Indeed.
Thus we come to Clark’s famous remark at the end of this 13 part Civilisation series, that modern western man is in crisis. The marxist experiment at reviving a moral balance had failed. We are left with nothing more than “heroic materialism”. And it is not enough.
The question arises how we can get beyond this. How can we find a renewed sense of inspiration that takes us beyond our acquisitive natures. It is one of the great challenges of the 21st century, And perhaps we can adjust ourselves to face this challenge by looking at how Clark the man, faced the challenges that he saw in the great century that came before.
The above two links are to videos that are very much worth watching. Worth watching, not because they answer the questions that we must confront, but because they open the mind to new possibilities.