I’ve been reading about the theorist and critic, Walter Benjamin the last few days and one idea that I’d like to borrow from him is Inconsistency.
Benjamin states: ‘My stance is to behave always radically, never consistently when it comes to the most important things.’
All through our lives we hear that we should finish what we start, stick with things, hold true to what you believe, etc, etc. But what if the things you’ve started aren’t worth finishing? What if your beliefs are wrong or dangerous?
I think that many of life’s problems lie in people adopting a position and sticking to it regardless of the effect it has on others. Every political, religious or ideological standpoint eventually falls into this problem and the end result is suffering for ordinary people. This is because our leaders think that if they change their mind on something they will appear weak. But why is it a weakness to see where you’ve gone wrong and change your opinion? Surely that is the whole point of conversation and debate? That someone might change your mind on something?
Adopting Inconsistency as a standpoint avoids this problem because you are always open to new ideas, to seeing things in a new way. It is also a better way to interact with our fragmented, post-modern world. So let’s reclaim the value of Inconsistency. Give it a try, it’s not that hard.
It could be good for you.