Thursday, September 5, 2013

You don’t need to be an expert to do something interesting

We live in a world that is over-specialised. Just take a look at the field of health care. There are specialists for every part of the body - eyes, ears, nose, face, bones, blood and so on. In the field of emotions, there are experts on phobias, manias, syndromes, relationships. The list is endless. Law has become so complex that even for simple things we need to consult a lawyer. I remember talking to the president of the Sao Paulo city council when I went to give a talk there a few years ago. He told me that his aim was to reduce the 11,000 municipal laws to 8,000 within a period of two years. Everything in our lives seems to be regulated, but in the chaos of Sao Paulo, things certainly don't seem to work in a regulated manner.
As we become experts on the different fragments of reality, we have probably lost sight of how it all fits together. Furthermore, we have come to rely more and more on those who are just specialists of fragments. In the poem The Rock (1934), T.S. Eliot expresses this very clearly:

The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness; Knowledge of speech, but not of silence; Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word. All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance, All our ignorance brings us nearer to death, But nearness to death no nearer to GOD. Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

In the search for deeper meaning of the pieces of life's jigsaw puzzle, we are mostly intimidated by the way experts are valued in our society. Many believe that they need a diploma and years of experience before they do something important. This may be true in some cases. We certainly need to have studied surgery to perform it. Who would want someone representing them in a tricky legal matter who didn't have the necessary qualifications and experience? However, in terms of living and interacting with the world, the only qualifications we need are to be sensible, curious and determined.
Several years ago, I had an idea to create a DVD with visual meditation commentaries and only music in the background. There would be no words, thus making the project incredibly accessible. No words means no translations. As human beings, the greater part of our communication is connected with feelings and vibrations and the fact that we have common aspirations related to love, peace and happiness. Words are sometimes even superfluous. So I figured that by preparing some simple videos and making them available, people would become interested.
I am not an expert on graphic design or video production. In fact, I would consider myself to be just a dabbler in these areas. Unfazed by my lack of expertise, I prepared a demo and gave it to a friend in India who subsequently posted it on Youtube. Now, a few years later, that simple inspiration has been viewed 3,246,644 times (on the day of posting this blog). If you are interested click on this link.

Really, you don't need to be an expert to do something interesting and for the benefit of others. Also, don´t get lost in the fragments.