Immolation 05-10-2010 The Importance of Being Reliable
by, 05-11-2010 at 12:37 AM (3412 Views)
When I was a teenager, I could have listed any number of desirable qualities in a person. In fact, I'm sure I did. Exhaustively. To anyone who would listen. One of those qualities was probably not "reliable" however. There were plenty of adjectives like "imaginative", "original" and "you've got to haggle", but "reliable" would have been reliably missing.
Now that I have surprisingly survived to the ancient age of seven-and-forty, I see things a bit differently. Part of wisdom is learning that some of the things you believed when you were young were pretty much completely, depressingly, even reliably... wrong. Like the idea that this relationship you had with this other person that consumed your life and you were convinced that there had never been another love such as this one and that the passion and intensity would last forever... wrong. Oh the relationship might last your entire life, and every day might seem a little better than the day before, but passion an intensity doth not survive the thirtieth poopy diaper. Or that idea that the "right" person for you would be too "sophisticated" to be bothered by you frequenting strip clubs... wrong. Or how about the concept of being a much better parent than your parents were with one hand tied behind your back... wrong. You might pull it off, but unless your dad's last name is "Manson", it will probably be hard.
Now, in my dotage, "reliable" has become the new hotness, having switched places with "unpredictable", which occupies the old and busted spot. But the truth is, reliable has always been important to me. I just failed to realize it. It was important to me that my mother could be relied upon to set high standards for me and reliably hound me to meet them. I could rely on my DI giving me "twenty" if my bed wasn't made perfectly. I could rely on the money in my account every payday. I could rely on my kids to groan and act embarrassed every time I try to be funny in public.
I think we human like to build institutions that we can rely on. When we find these reliable things in our lives, we want to support them and encourage them through our support. Church, family, country and friends... we go out of our way to strengthen the institutions that we love. Because they do what we expect them to do, to the extent that they do so, we use them as foundations in our lives to build upon.
Now all of that is probably a too-long-winded and overly-dramatic build up to my point, but my point is this... and yes it relates to cartography. There are institutions within this community. Some are mere processes, some are traditions and some are even individuals. But these institutions are important to us. Many of us probably focus on one or two of them, though we are cognizant of the others, but those one or two are quite important, and a big part of what attracts us. Fellowship is one that I'm pretty sure most of us place great value in, and happily it is the most reliable of institutions here. You can also count on someone to offer advice or encouragement when you need it, because that's the kind of people we are.
Civility is another important institution at the Cartographer's Guild. In my many years online, I have never found a single place with so many people that remain so unrelentingly kind to each other.
One of my personal favorite institutions here are the challenges and the featured map forum. Now these have been imperfect in their reliability, alas, but they are important institutions to more people than just me, and through our encouragement and appreciation, we can ensure they not only survive, but prosper.
What institutions "do it" for you here at the guild?