Nathan Oldridge | Blog

Nothing Ever Had to be Perfect to the Shared

Does everything on the internet need to be perfect and polished?

You might say yes, but reality says no.

  • Wikipedia articles constantly evolve; that's why they have an Edit button.
  • Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media are riddled with misinformation (and disinformation)
  • Scientific articles can be retracted, and the results from good articles are either built upon or clarified; the knowledge is never "perfect" as it is.

Digital Gardens are a concept I discovered this week. They are like a blog, but they are not organized chronologically. They are, instead, collections of ideas that get refined over time. The first iteration of an article or idea is called a seedling. Further refinements can be saplings. When you feel it may be fully polished, you can call it Evergreen. The language itself doesn't matter. The purpose of Digital Gardens is that you can publish seeds of ideas, and the idea itself is enough. The idea itself can provide value to people. Further value can come from iterative refinements.

This idea is beneficial for perfectionists. The type of people who lose the War of Art to Resistance every day. The people who, involuntarily, allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good.

On this site, about 10 years ago, I had a series of essays. I don't think they exist anymore. I deleted the site and *poof* they were gone. I had decided, in my head, that I no longer agreed with them and therefore should take them down.

Dr. Dre never released Detox, even though he had 20-40 tracks created for the album.

A Digital Garden, by its very nature, admits that its content may not be perfect. It admits that the creation of art is a process, and I am slowly learning that everything in life is a process.

Minimalism - what I consider the rejection of consumerism - is not something that is ever "perfected" unless you become a monk with no possessions. You get to decide what physical objects bring value to your life, and what you value changes over time. Thus, minimalism is a process.

Teaching - is not something that can ever become "perfect". A defining moment in my recent life was a meeting with the Vice-Principal of the school I teach at. I explicitly asked how I could bring more value to the school. She stated that what I needed to add was rest. That lesson plans can always be refined, but that kids will benefit much more from a rested, optimistic teacher with a good lesson than from a wiped, cynical teacher with a flawless one. The lesson plan can evolve and change over time.

This article and the idea is incomplete; I admit that, and I am slowly trying to make peace with the idea that nothing ever had to be perfect before it was shared.