Mistakes are costly. Frustrating. And often downright embarrassing. But according to Steven Johnson, some of the most world-changing, life-saving inventions were the result of big boo-boos.
Fleming violated the procedures to keep a petri dish free from contamination and -- voila! Penicillin. Greatbatch grabbed the wrong resistor and came up with a cardiac pacemaker. The invention of the vacuum tube, says Johnson, was a "steady, persistent accumulation of error" that began when de Forest misinterpreted the reason for a power surge.
Our lives often feel like an accumulation of errors. But if we are willing to pay attention, we may see in the midst of it all the steady, persistent evolution of a human soul.
The Slow, but Delightful Process of Becoming
I've spent some time speculating about why God would (create the world through evolution). Part of it, I think, is that ... God is a person who delights in simply the process of things becoming....
I sometimes imagine God doing things in the way that creationists would say -- an instantaneous seven-day creation.... But there'd be absolutely no way that we as human beings could have any understanding of how God did that, or any way for us to be able to participate with Him in that process of creation.
Rather, I think what God has done is taken a much slower process.
- Dr. Jim Bradley, Professor emeritus of Mathematics at Calvin College. From the transcript of the June 26, 2014 On Being program: The Evolution of the Science-Religion Debate.
What are the biggest mistakes you have made recently?
What do you notice about the impact of those mistakes?
What in your life is evolving through the slow process of becoming?