"The Unimaginative, The Imaginative"
Nothing she created was novel.
She was, she admitted -- irony quenched in the placid lacunae of her eyes -- an unimaginative artisan.
The young woman found a patron who gave her direction in her artisanship, which fit nicely into the store's inventory of baubles and collectibles.
But sometimes, late at night, she lay awake in her bed in the back of the store, and wondered if her success was deserved.
Another young woman also came to the store in search of a patron and a place to sell her art. As the patron rummaged through the supplicant's satchel of artworks, she scratched her head in wonder and confusion.
Everything she created was novel.
Hearing her murmuring, the unimaginative artisan peeked over her patron's shoulder into the satchel, to see these strange works of art.
They were swirls of colors and shapes, so evocative and hauntingly beautiful, yet they looked like nothing she'd ever seen before.
Abruptly the patron rose, closed the satchel, and handed it back to the supplicant. Turning her into the street, the patron chirped brightly, "Come back when you learn how to make art like we make it -- art that people understand, like nice pictures of flowers!"
The unimaginative artisan watched as the supplicant trudged away, her shoulders bent from the burden of an art never before seen on earth.
Later that night, as the artisan lay in bed in the back of the store, again all too wide-awake, she thought, "I have succeeded not in spite of my lack of imagination, but because of my lack of imagination! And that young woman is failing not in spite of her creativity, but by the very dint of that creativity!"
The next morning, the sleepless artisan approached her patron and asked her, "Why is the world made so, that they are punished who innovate?"
The patron glanced up from her account books.
"Most of us are, after all, creatures of habit, my dear girl. New things are to us quite unsettling, if sometimes necessary."
"Besides," she added, "we're jealous of others who do what we cannot, so we tell these 'innovators' that what they do is bad."
"It keeps society's progress a bit more manageable, don't you think?"
These calculated, chilling words lay heavily on the artisan's soul, and her sleep remained fleeting for many a day.
Thus, innovation is logical and necessary, but others' responses to it may be neither.
December 25, 2010, excerpt from The Parables of Reason (Chapter 1, "Reality's Acceptance"), Copyright © 2010 by Frank H. Burton, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director, The Circle of Reason, Inc. All rights reserved.
Dedicated in admonishment of the refusal of the pastor of Minneapolis' American-Indian parish Church of Gitchitwaa Kateri, and of the broader Catholic Church's leadership, to remediate the alcohol and wheat content of its communion wine and wafers to respectively accommodate for mass those catholic parishioners who suffer from alcoholism or wheat-gluten intolerance.