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The Other Side of Everything

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Dean Whitbread 2013

Dean Whitbread 2020

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Written on November 7, 2009, and categorized as Living.
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Tiles – blue, shiny and even, in rows from the rim of the bathtub, halfway up to the ceiling. I stepped back to admire the finished results.

“Share the errors,” Jon H. Wright had explained, as I had earlier wondered how to get long straight lines in a room whose walls were a long way from having right angles.

Jon H. WrightHis builder’s phrase stuck with me, and has become a personal philosophy.

Sharing allows the strong to assist the weak.

Not worrying too much about the small differences, sharing errors compensates by allowing the eye to determine the placement of one tile with another. Sure, follow guidelines, but don’t get hung up on them.

‘Errors’ are a state of mind, the result of our continued tendency to maintain arbitrary Platonic ideals. Trying to make every tile perfect in an imperfect room will trip you up, and if only you use a ruler, you’ll end up with wild and unsightly distortions and an impossibly complex task. Sharing errors, because it facilitates negotiation, achieves a satisfying effect overall.

This ‘Share the errors’ philosophy helps you navigate the territory which as we know resembles the map only in theory.

It helps socially, too. On stage, performance ensembles frequently attain greater values than individuals ever do. Musicians and actors work as a unit, playing to one another’s strengths and thereby compensating for slips.

Sharing the errors counters extremism – it is a pragmatic route to social cohesion. Sharing the error of poverty would see wealth distributed more widely.

Successful love relationships also share errors, and by this I do not mean compound them. Mistakes gently corrected over time are not driven by a devil of unattainable perfection, and with assistance rather than criticism we can actually get closer to perfection in the uneven constructions of our personal lives.

118 and a half, Shoreditch High Street

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