Insecurity As Innovation

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When an old culture is dying, the new culture is created by those people who are not afraid to be insecure. – Rudolph Bahro

It’s not uncommon to regard insecurity as a form of negativity/weakness that must be banished from our lives. Unchecked, feelings of insecurity can paralyze our potential to do amazing things. But looked at through the lens of Bahro, insecurity takes on a liberating, powerful quality. I see it as part innovation, part call-to-action. It seems to be saying: Let's rein in this freaky energy and re-purpose it for the greater good.

Those who push the boundaries on what is considered fair and worthwhile are essentially courageous practitioners of insecurity—they take authentic risks. Here are a few of the innovators that light my lamp when doubt and fear arise:

  • Frederick Douglass, former slave and fierce abolitionist. After escaping slavery in the US, he became a noted speaker. Plus, he founded and ran the top-selling abolitionist paper in the country. His book My Bondage and My Freedom is a moving lesson on perseverance.

  • Climate defenders everywhere, from frontline activists to the various sectors of society working to protect all of life on our earth. Some have lost their lives for challenging corporate polluters and government corruption.

  • Frans de Waal, scientist and author of Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?. His Ted talk on the moral behavior of animals challenges the notion that humans hold a monopoly on justice and compassion. In doing so, he takes scientific orthodoxy to task too.

  • James Baldwin, author and social critic who was a prominent voice in the 1960s civil rights movement. You can get a sense of his flair in the highly acclaimed documentary I am Not Your Negro.

  • Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, whistleblowers. It takes real guts to blow the lid off the opaque machinery of US surveillance.

  • Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen master. His book The Art of Power turns conventional understandings of power upside down, where they can be examined with a new perspective.

  • #MeToo/women everywhere taking a stand: Our stories and our voices can no longer be silenced, and that's thanks to all the women over the centuries have been refusing to sit still and be quiet.

Who inspires you to step into the zone of insecurity/courageousness?

Kimberlyn DavidComment