A Tribute To Failure
by MARCELO GLEISER
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In a society where success is pursued and celebrated above everything else, where media stars, sport champions and the very rich are idolized, failure is seen as an embarrassment, something we must avoid at all costs and, when we can’t, must be hidden from everyone else.
Maybe it shouldn’t be this way. Last month, I read an essay in The New York Times about failure by Costica Bradatan, an associate professor of comparative religion and editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books. Duly inspired by Bradatan’s words, I decided to compose my own tribute to failure.
We fail when we attempt something. This is enough to show the value of failure, as it equates with effort. To not try to do something so as to avoid failure is much worse, as it represents inertia or, worse, the paralyzing fear of failure. In the sciences and the arts, if you don’t fail you are not creating. Every poet, every painter, every scientist collects a much larger number of failures than successes. Unconvincing lines, unsatisfactory brushwork, wrong hypotheses. Without failure we can’t move forward.
Success is failure’s progeny.