The world’s greatest thinkers

The world’s greatest thinkers and philosophers, self-help book authors, teachers and parents all urge us not to take our mistakes too seriously. The idea is that we should learn from our mistakes and accept them as part of life’s mysterious way of turning us into more resilient, well-rounded human beings.

After all, even stonking great enormous mess ups sometimes have no discernible consequences other than acute embarrassment. I cannot even begin to tell you how grateful I am that I was not responsible for misspelling the word “responsibility” three times on a $50 Australian bank note that was printed 46 million times. According to the BBC, this 46-million-time mistake took six months for someone to notice, it can’t be all that important, can it? If someone gave me $50 I would love it, however they spelt responsibility.

Another, extremely amusing mistake was made last week, which is sure to have cost someone his job despite having caused no physical or economic damage to anyone. How we tittered as Donald Trump preened proudly at a conservative advocacy organisation shindig before a doctored presidential seal produced as a wheeze by anti-Trump site one-term-Donny. The reworked seal features a Russian-style double-headed eagle and tiny golf clubs. The Latin motto has been replaced with “45 is a puppet’ in Spanish! Hilarious, but not for the person responsible for the mix-up who must have got a real earful from someone! It was so convincing that Donny even tweeted a shot of himself posing in front of it.

Mistakes happen, and despite today’s world is forcing us to move and work faster and faster, and tolerance for imperfection and errors getting smaller and smaller, many of us are finding that rather than allowing us more time to fine tune and check our work, the availability of translation software and pre-translated texts is being used as a means of squeezing more productivity from us in the shortest possible time, and we are paid, naturally, by the hour.

After finally giving up and giving into the demand for ‘post-editing’, I regularly receive demands to ‘post-edit’ 6,000 dossiers for fashion shows – an area that requires writing skill – within a couple of hours. It’s simply impossible to do a good job at that speed. Ah… and you are expected to deliver a beautifully crafted text with no punctuation, spelling or terminology errors at a breakneck speed, to boot.

What can I say? Only that perfection at dizzying speeds is something that cannot be obtained, regardless of how much force or persuasion is used, however much of an ‘urgencia’ it may be.