The Internet has its own Oscar-quality showcase of informative, inspiring and entertaining films this week as the online equivalent of the Weinstein Brothers opens this week – TED 2013. Another nominee for ‘Best Embracing Failure TED Talk’ is Dan Phillips’ ‘Creative houses from reclaimed stuff’…

  • “Friedrich Nietzsche along about 1885 wrote a book titled ‘The Birth of Tragedy.’ And in there he said that cultures tend to swing between one of two perspectives. On the one hand, we have an Apollonian perspective, which is very crisp and premeditated and intellectualized and perfect. On the other end of the spectrum, we have a Dionysian perspective, which is more given to the passions and intuition, tolerant of organic texture and human gesture. So the way the Apollonian personality takes a picture, or hangs a picture, is they’ll get out a transit and a laser level and a micrometer. ‘Okay, honey. A thousandth of an inch to the left. That’s where we want the picture. Right. Perfect.’ Predicated on plumb level, square and centered. The Dionysian personality takes the picture and goes … (Laughter) That’s the difference. I feature blemish. I feature organic process. Dead-center John Dewey. Apollonian mindset creates mountains of waste. If something isn’t perfect, if it doesn’t line up with that premeditated model, dumpster. ‘Oops, scratch, dumpster.’ ‘Oops’ this, ‘oops" that. ‘Landfill. Landfill. Landfill.

Phillips argues against perfectionism and for weirdness. Most of all he embraces the detritus of his business to become the very stuff of his creations.

  • “And it takes a little bit of nerve to dive into those primal, terrifying parts of ourselves and make our own decisions and not make our housing a commodity, but make it something that bubbles up from seminal sources. That takes a little bit of nerve, and, darn it, once in a while you fail. But that’s okay. If failure destroys you, then you can’t do this. I fail all the time, every day, and I’ve had some whopping failures, I promise, big, public, humiliating, embarrassing failures.”

For a list of the top ‘Embracing Failure’ TED talks, check out the ‘TED’ tag here.

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