Diversity is an important thing.
Stop looking a me like I’m completely out of my mind. I’m not. Diversity of thought, of opinions, of experiences is drastically important for any endeavor that requires checking.
We were talking here, in the comments on the post on art and craft about how important honest feedback is to develop your craft. This is true. What they don’t say is that it’s also incredibly hard to get.
The problem isn’t even “honest” it’s “informed”. If everyone in your writers’ group is about at the same level and working on the same things, the “informed” will be the hardest thing. I mean a group like that is great for telling you that you’re progressing on x or y (if they see it. They might not even register it.) But they purely suck at telling you the things you don’t know.
I know, I had a group like that. I used to get the “Fix typos, send it out” type critique, which was kind of useful, but not really, because then I had to work out for myself what was actually wrong. (This usually happens in the middle of the night, when I’ve just read a book and wake up going “My story needs to be more like THAT scene” And then I’m up and typing. Sometimes I’m up and typing before waking up. This, btw, is why having your office be half of your bedroom is a bad idea. Eventually, Dan and I hung a thick, blackout curtain between the two halves of the room.)
The group was useful, mind you, for getting me to produce on time, and for all sorts of other stuff, but the glaring errors escaped them, because they weren’t a “diverse” group. In the sense of writing they were all at about my level of apprenticeship. (We had people of very diverse backgrounds, etc, but not in writing.
And this brings us to diversity that matters: Diversity in the head. By which I mean neither that you need crazy people (neurodiversity has its place. Every project should have a perfectionist aspie. Every project, particularly the ones that can kill people. But people who think they’re a little teapot, or that they are an ornate building and a wingless dragon probably aren’t contributing much. I mean people used to pay good money to go see the crazy in Bedlam, so maybe they’re contributing something. But not much. An aquarium will probably serve the same function) nor people from such profoundly dysfunctional backgrounds their input is useless (not just from the left. I had an early writers group in which a very “Christian” gentleman tore a story to pieces because it had an hermaphrodite humans subspecies [that story is in the collection just out, see end of post, and it’s actually part of a universe Les Johnson and I will be developing, one in which lots of “alien” planets are humans who bio-modded or diverged for various reasons. In the story I added instant “transport” between worlds, which probably won’t be in that world. Maybe. We’ll see.] The point is he couldn’t see beyond the genmod to the story because it offeded his sensibilities.) nor people who are going to be offended/triggered by random stuff that makes no sense.
And this is not only in writing. It’s arguably worse in companies devoted to actually accomplishing a goal.
This is why the left’s type of diversity — which consists of a range of tans, most of whom have been convinced that they’re owed something because people they never met were treated poorly; people so neurotic they identify as random things and live to be offended; and women who think that men are somehow boggarting all the cool stuff — turns companies, industries and all fields into a vast waste land.
Because not only is it required that those people all think alike (think should be in quotes, because actually you’re required to feel and follow the same directives from abroad every day. And the directives change, and no thought is involved) but because any disagreement or even accidental trampling of someone’s chosen form of insanity is considered an attack, and will get you attacked in turn, sometimes physically.
They keep singing the song of diversity, but the only ways they can find it is “more and more protected minorities.” …. and more and more conformity of thought, because anything non-Marxist is supposed to sear the unprotected/downtrodden little darlings like a cross on a vampire.
Which means that the only way to be MORE SPECIAL on their side is to take offense at smaller and smaller slips in dealing with you. I wait eagerly the day when each of these people invents their own language and hands a sheet of it to a stranger, demanding they study it before trying to communicate. At which point, my grandmother’s saying when someone tried to force insanity on her comes into play “I wouldn’t even go to heaven with crazy people. They’d be sure to push me down.”
This “diversity of crazy” is very far from true diversity and at best accomplishes a unified singing choir.
Once more, I’ll kind of quote this Reiner Kunze poem which I haven’t run across yet, in my book-clearing, and which at any rate, I only read in German and so will quote from memory, possibly with omissions/additions.
The trees grow top on top
None is taller than the others
The branches filter the rain so the
Torture of thirst is avoided
The trees grow top on top
None sees more than the others
To the wind, they all whisper the same.
And that’s the best possible result: that we’ll create things from such a place of conformity and lockstep there will be no one to point out the king goes naked.
This is awful for fiction, sure, but it’s truly horrific for science and industry and the things on which lives depend.
This is the way civilization dies. Not with a bang, but with “chosen pronouns.”
Which means those of us who retain a modicum of sanity and who understand that The Gods of the Copybook Headings haven’t been abolished but are only sleeping, have to be ready.
Sure, some of these profoundly crazy and non diverse (where it counts) people will survive the apocalypse. Most of them will turn pirate, but that’s something else. But they are, fundamentally, incapable of creating or building anything useful, having suffered a castration of the thought.
Build under, build over, build around. Get ready to take the weight when she blows.
It’s a collection of my short stories, ranging from about ten years ago till now. I seem to have culled them for science fiction ranging from the absurd to the plausible. It’s been ready to go for three years, (hence my “seem”) and it finally went up.]