In praise of destruction

We are a culture increasingly obsessed with creation.

With compulsive sharing.  Updating. Curating. Memetics.

But there’s a dark heart to creation. Destruction.  The urge to tear down the walls, to rebuild, repurpose.  Recreate.

It’s an urge we need to cultivate.

Destruction is the ying in creation’s yang.  Necessarily brushwood burning to enable new growth.

It’s required, in many cases, to break out of a rut, to move to a higher mode.

But it takes courage.

Creation is easy.

Destruction takes balls.

The balls to know when to hit the big red stop button, to grind momentum to a halt and redirect it.

Doing what you’ve always done is comforting. You know what you’re going to get out of it at the other end.

In-built predictability makes decision making straight-forward.  It might not be totally right, but it’s not going to be totally wrong either.  After all, it’s got you to this point.

Destruction, on the other hand, is a mystery that can only be solved by experiencing it.

You’ll never truly know what something looks like when you pull it apart.

Dismember the existing structures and atomise products, strategies and tactics.

In the component parts, there’s chaos, disorder.   Torpor.  Doubt.

The sense that there are too many pieces for what should be a simple jigsaw, but because they were all there, they must fit somewhere.

To create, we must destroy.

To build something new, we must first hit that big red stop button, pull everything into a state of non-being.

We must ignore the old ways of doing, refuse to get sidetracked by the things that seem to be rumbling along just fine on their own.

We must be brave.  We must become brave. 

We must learn what it means to feel brave.

We must practice small acts of destruction to understand when the time is right to bring all the walls tumbling down, to begin that one big act of destruction that will fundamentally change everything.

And we must be prepared to set out on that journey of change.

Because if we’re not, all we’ll have is the dust of creation and the pieces will never, ever, fit back together again.

Neil Hopkins is a Marketing and Branding Theorist at heart, and a Marketing Communications Manager by day. His blog – interacter – is the primary location he shares insight and information relating to marketing, branding and advertising strategy.
You can follow Neil on Twitter, circle him (like an escaped bull) on Google+ or track him down in any number of other ways.

The featured image comes from Leo Reynolds on Flickr under Creative Commons.


4 thoughts on “In praise of destruction

  1. I’m no deity-botherer but the Hindus have long recognised your point. Shiva is both the creator and destroyer of the universe – and this is because the mortals who dreamed him up recognised that creation and destruction are two sides of the same coin.

  2. Great post. I’m a believer,.. in the power of destruction, the balls it requires, and the vision it creates. By the way, it’s Yin, not Ying… just sayin’

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