Alex Steffen, leading Worldchanger, had the following post (28 March 2013):
Dark Gray Paint
If you want to try to change the world, you will inevitably encounter the guy with the bucket of dark gray paint.
This is the guy who in the middle of any discussion of any new proposal, innovation, plan or solution demands that everyone in the room revisit how fucking horrible the reality of the problem is. Working on an idea for clean energy as climate action? He’s there to tell you about starving polar bears you won’t save. Working on imagining a new public health program in a poor country? He’s there to remind you of the sick babies who’ll die anyway. Working on a hunch about a more sustainable product design? He’s there to remind you of the dark mountains of toxic trash that will pile up in China despite your efforts. You’re working on envisioning your contribution to the world as vividly as possible, and splash! Dark gray paint. more…
This reminds me of Caroline Casey‘s story of the magic mirror. The Critic holds
up a mirror to reality, showing us the problems of today’s world: “This sucks. In detail.” But the Trickster Redeemer transforms that mirror into a window, showing us how beautiful things could be. Then the window becomes a door that we are invited to walk through, and make the vision a reality.
Critics have their place (which is good, because otherwise… I’d be place-less much of the time). But there is great need for visionaries to show us those windows, and leaders to hold open those doors.
And, as Andy Partridge (XTC) sang,
Awaken you dreamers, asleep at your desks.
Parrots and lemurs populate your
Don’t let the loveless ones sell
you a world wrapped in grey.