Friday, May 23, 2008

Do not destroy what you cannot create.

Broads May 08 01As we continue the difficult and sometimes contentious work of dismantle the company here in Arnhem, I'm reminded again of my hierarchy of things I enjoy doing, in work or outside of it. I'm someone who loves exploration and epiphany, so it's not surprising that I find my greatest joys in creating new things. If pressed, I will maintain or repair them if I value the result. I really have not got much heart for tearing things down after I've built or committed to them: it saddens and frustrates me.

I am attending a resuscitation conference in Ghent this week, and it's exciting to see all the new ideas that people have for ways to save lives when people have a heart attack. It's also restorative to have so many old friends to catch up with and to share ideas with. I had to break at noon for a conference call to update status and policies around the transfer of the product and the closure of the facility, and the contrast couldn't have been greater.

I always liked physicist Leo Szilard's ten commandments in this light, and it's worth repeating them:

1. Recognize the relationships between things and the laws which govern men's actions, so that you know what you are doing.

2. Direct your deeds to a worthy goal, but do not ask if they will achieve the goal; let them be models and examples rather than means to an end.

3. Speak to all others as you do to yourself, without regard to the effect you make, so that you do not expel them from your world and in your isolation lose sight of the meaning of life and the perfection of the creation.

4. Do not destroy what you cannot create.

5. Touch no dish unless you are hungry.

6. Do not desire what you cannot have.

7. Do not lie without need.

8. Honor children. Listen to their words with reverence and speak to them with endless love.

9. Do your work for six years; but in the seventh, go into solitude or among strangers, so that the memory of your friends does not prevent you from being what you have become.

10. Lead your life with a gentle hand and be ready to depart whenever you are called.

Fortunately, since the human race seems to advance over time, there must be more creation than destruction going on in the world.


Anonymous said...

I was searching for the provenance of an old Spanish quote..."What you cannot have, destroy' when google brought up your blog. These are strong, worthwhile rules of life and I commend you. I can only wish that more and more analytical and introspective people browse deep within themselves and move toward the implementation of a true "brotherhood of man". And you are correct in that it all starts with how we treat our children. Thanks for the insight

Dave Hampton said...

Thanks, and welcome!

It's nice to get your comments: I'm curious about the other proverb? Surely that wasn't policy or guidance in any age?

We all have lots in common, not just our love of our families and our pride in place and profession, but also in an aesthetic sense of beauty and curiosity about new and different things.

Everywhere I go, there are shared ideals to start a conversation from, then distinct perspectives to share and to learn from. The truth among people is, at that level, greater than the divisions so often highlighted by ppoliticians and the media.