There is only the dance
until the swan dies.
§ § §
THE BLACK SWAN
The human opportunity is to turn flashes of insight into abiding light. ~ Huston Smith
Every now and then an unexpected and inexplicable event or product comes along that changes life as we have known it. Labeled by some as a Black Swan such a random incident, occurring in history, science, finance, technology and the arts, transforms society.
Totally surprised by the arrival of a black swan, society is substantially altered. Afterward, when it cannot remember or conceive itself without the experience of that event or product, society finds a way of explaining and re-inventing itself around this necessary and inevitable arrival of a new defining pinion point.
The personal computer, the internet and the iPhone are black swan examples in technology. It is interesting that Steve Jobs, known for his seeming ability to come up at will with repeated black swan creations such as the Macintosh computer, the iPod, iPad and iPhone, was not an inventor. He was only an assembler and integrator of existing technology and talent to produce society altering products. Steve simply had a different and black swan design for the standard issue of “Lego” pieces we all get on arrival.
Beyond his personal story and challenges Steve Jobs was somehow able first to engage, then maintain, an inspired vision of the finished product as the active template which attracted, ordered and assembled diverse bits of talent and technology into the structure and profound impact of yet another black swan creation.
ARRIVAL OF THE BLACK SWAN
The oldest known reference to the black swan term comes from Juvenal, a Latin poet, writing 1900 years ago alluding to something that did not exist. Juvenal’s expression became a common pejorative in 16th century London where all known swans were white.
In 1697 Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh discovered black swans in Western Australia, upending a social certainty and a tidy expression of that “truth”. A little over a century later the clear thinking John Stuart Mill re-defined the black swan expression as an example of logical fallacy. What once was an equation of certainty has become a maxim for the folly and unreliability of prematurely declaring the absolute certainty of a matter that is still in play in an expanding universe not unlike a sportscaster who would presume to announce the winning team after only the first inning of a baseball game.
In much the same way that we find it easier to deify a Christ than to enjoin the invitation to live the miraculous, society today largely protests that one like Steve Jobs is gifted beyond the average person and we remain largely unaware that the black swan potential is simply human essence embracing opportunity, not individual talent. This opportunity exists for any and every one of us who hears in a moment the angels sing then sets about unwaveringly to reorder their life’s priorities around that distant sound. Such a resonant knowing if held and joined by like minds is inevitably manifested into a benefit for all, even if common understanding dismisses such a vision to be as remote as idea of a black swan was in 16th century London.
Of course, upon fulfillment of this vision all rejection is simply reworked to gospel as society reorganizes itself around the gift of this new way of life.
That is my inner knowing and expectation; that’s why I see the future as bright.