The Undecidable, the Sweet Spot & Radical Change

We’re big believers in the power of the sweet spot, and the advantage of seeking balance over stability.

Derrida has a cool way of thinking about the relationship between the sweet spot and radical change.

The first part of the concept is the idea of the undecidable. Perhaps Derrida’s best example of an undecidable is the zombie (after the classic Romero style). Derrida claims that besides eating brains, the reason that zombies are freaky is because they are undecidable. He points out that no matter how much we try we can’t place a zombie into a nice neat binary category – a zombie is not master or servant, male or female, alive or dead, it’s undecidable.

“They show where classificatory order breaks down: they mark the limits of order.”

He then goes on to speculate that the reason an undecidable is so unsettling is that most of the structures of our society are based on understanding the world in terms of binary oppositions – right & wrong, black & white, male & female, winner & loser. Because these categories are so fundamental – something that is neither/nor and undecidable and that can’t be easily categorised, no matter how small, serves to shake the foundations of established order.

Undecidables occupy a sweet spot – if of a particularly unsettling kind. When you find the sweet spot between reason & irrationality, love and fear, creativity and structure, ideas & delivery  – when you find the spot in the middle of the Venn diagram of life – this is not about compromise or conservative thinking, it’s about finding a point of leverage from which you can affect radical change.

Give me a place to stand, and I shall move the Earth with it

(Attributed to Archimedes)

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