One of Doctorow’s themes is that the rebels of one era tend to become the bureaucrats of the next era. For example, companies that fought constraints of copyright laws in their early days as scrappy disruptors are now arguing for more restrictive policies that favor their big grown-up businesses.
This is an important business theme, to be sure, and it also raises some essential questions about purpose and change. This week I also celebrated my birthday, and have been reflecting on these very topics. Which youthful rebellions and passions have run their course, and which have become the core of my grown-up life? Which have I set aside, and is that due to intention or to distraction? Which have developed over the years, maybe so gradually that I haven’t even noticed yet?
Am I being the pirate I want to be, and also the admiral I want to be?
Years ago I had a fantasy baseball team called the Nice Marauders – because I wanted to pillage the other teams, but, you know, not in a mean way. Luckily outside of fantasy baseball there is limited call for pillaging, but the idea that competition and kindness can go hand in hand has stuck with me. I could have known way back then that I was always going to look for the “both” instead of either/or.
Dear Honeybees, the world needs noble pirates and the world needs honorable admirals. Whichever you are today, and whichever you are becoming, I’m cheering you on.