Humans are quirky critters — each of us an individual ingot of doubt, wrapped in superstition, packed in misconception, and encased in myth. Although this could be the opening sentence to any number of articles on any number of human foibles, this particular one is about mankind’s inveterate fear of failure.
Humans fear failure because we fear being embarrassed, ridiculed or ostracized. And so, to avoid such perceived indignities, we compromise our potential by limiting our reach to those goals most easily grasped.
Curiously, because I’m either sub- or super-human (depending on who you ask), I’ve somehow skirted the whole “fear of failure” thing. In fact, I embrace failure. Failure, I’ve always surmised, is merely a necessary step on the path to success.
“An achievement that’s void of failure is no achievement at all.” Since you’re welcome to quote me on that, I’ve included the necessary punctuation for your convenience. If one has never failed in their pursuit of an intent, then perhaps that intent isn’t all it (or you) could have been.
There is, however, a downside to fearlessly facing failure: if you do it often enough and for long enough, then you begin to accept it. When everything you reach for results in failure and your goals are never achieved, then you haven’t grown at all — you’ve stagnated. Those who at least strive for easily attainable goals have some forward momentum. But those of us who shoot for greatness and fail relentlessly have none.
Lately, I’ve started to realize that ULTRAsomething might just reflect this very condition. It is, by all traditional measures, a colossal failure. On a personal level, it failed in its mission to secure me employment as a writer, photographer, or composer. In the altruistic realm, it failed to have any global impact on modern photography’s steady descent into the mire of verisimilitude — where the literal and idealistic routinely and regrettably trump the metaphorical and poetic.
For all intents and purposes, this site is dead. And yet, like a reanimated corpse, it lurches forward — another article; another set of photos — beamed into space to bounce around the satellites like so much space noise.
So why, in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, do I have this nagging belief that ULTRAsomething is actually succeeding at something? Perhaps it’s because I don’t feel the sort of complacency that stems from an acceptance of failure. Nor do I believe I’ve stagnated — though I am metamorphosing into something still too pupal to identify. So maybe ULTRAsomething has failed only at being what I intended, while its real triumph lies in being something other than that. Of course, if that’s the case, then my real failure is in recognizing what, exactly, that something is.
So I blunder on — like some sort of zombie — singularly focused on my quest for brains, brains and more brains. Because without more brains, the true purpose of ULTRAsomething might forever elude me.
©2017 grEGORy simpson
ABOUT THE PHOTOS:
The best thing about writing a “theme” post is it lets you purge yourself of photographic guilt. Consider, for example, the annual zombie walk. For the past couple of years, I’ve felt inexplicably compelled to grab a few snaps — even though I know the vapidity of such photos goes against everything I strive for in photography. But if I write an article that is, in some way, a metaphorical discussion of zombies, then the hackneyed suddenly becomes relevant and my guilt is assuaged.
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