Thursday, July 30, 2020
Learning and purging
This post is entitled "Learning and purging".
I won't be learning anything. I'm just here for the purging.
I told a version of this story before, but more delicately. I did not get the expiation I sought, and the story has remained, churning up the earth inside me. So I'm trying to plant in it again.
My source for this story was at the job interview for the final three candidates for the position of Library Director for my library system.
The first candidate was forceful and autocratic. He had ideas on how things should run, and he was quite clear he would insist upon them.
He would be a terrible hire because all power is nuclear power: At its absolute best it is possible to harness it for some good, but only if it is treated as an unmitigated, relentlessly dangerous poison whose by-products will be a treacherous and toxic waste.
The second candidate was well-spoken, polite, and very interested. She came from the field of marketing, but was keen to learn from the library community.
She would be a terrible hire because as lies are incompatible with truth, all marketing is incompatible with libraries. Any worthwhile library must seek to be the fact of itself without glamour. It must flatly be what it is, for its only virtues are inherent.
She would also be a terrible hire because a person without ideas of their own is not equipped to manage or evaluate the ideas of others.
The third candidate was louche. He was relaxed and unconcerned. He did not care. He seemed to say: Hire me if you will. What's it to me. It's a library, not rocket science.
My source, my Buddhist friend should have known this last candidate was the best choice. Would he have been good? Probably not. But let us circle back briefly to the discussion over candidate one:
When assigning a position of power always choose the one who wants it least.
Blaise Pascal said:
Most of man's trouble comes from his inability to be still.
One of the great and melancholic surprises of this world is how often nothing can be better than something.
Well, maybe I learned a little.