Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Making a Failure

According to Scott Sandage, an associate professor of history at Carnegie Mellon University and author of Born Losers: A History of Failure in America (Chronicle):
America's relationship with failure has evolved over time, noting that the word initially applied only to matters of business, not character. Up until the Civil War, he argues, people who suffered economic misfortune were described as making a failure, not being a failure. Sandage asks: "Why have we as a culture embraced modes of identity where we measure our souls using business models?"
From a longer article in The Chronicle of Higher Education on the importance of creativity. The pendulum certainly seems to be shifting back towards a conception of failure as a form of learning by doing. As a result, the stigma that's historically been attached to it seems to be fading.