“I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” – Thomas Edison.
Sometimes, perspective is more important than “results”. Maybe some of us need to be kinder to ourselves – to stop measuring our lives by “achievements” and “tangible results”. Maybe we need to start recognising that “the ways that won’t work” might be a necessary part of the journey, leading us to the way that does work.
In light of Edison’s quote – could we say today that the blanket statement “capitalism has failed” might be too much for some people to hear (especially those with much invested in its success)? Nevertheless, it seems obvious that our economic/social macro-structures and macro-systems aren’t working – unless you are one of the few to directly profit from the capitalist model. We seem to be stuck with mantras and mindsets that haven’t worked and won’t work.
The protests at St Paul’s are forcing a debate about these overarching structures in our society. This can only be a good thing. Sometimes a new perspective, a new debate and conversation, is far more important than “results”. The protestors might not be able to overthrow the system, but they are forcing us – from individuals to the establishment – to talk about inequality, injustice and the status quo in new ways. The protests – however they end – haven’t failed; they are highlighting some of the ways that don’t – and won’t – work.