"The impossible has a kind of integrity to it which the merely improbable lacks."
Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
I consider Nelson Mandela to be a miracle for our time and age. He was a true gift, gifting us in ways impossible to foresee. His deeds and words will live on throughout all time and space.
I have been researching and writing about the adjacent possible for sometime now. The life story of Mandela has been unfolding via the news over the last few days. I am amazed with how many adjacent possible opportunities he took and used to further not only his options but widened the options of behavior and philosophy for all humans. It seems to me that Mandela had a small number of non-negotiable values which he held true to during his entire life. They were about fairness and opportunity for all.
By holding true to these values, he seemed to have had an innate knowledge of when and how to take his next step in his long journey. He walked the fine edge between chaos and death and peace and justice as a way of life. He knew which doors to crack open and when. He invited others into these adjacent possible spaces and together they opened more possibles. Over the years, he widened his opportunities for freedom as he did for all of humanity.
Today, even with his passing, his beliefs and how he lived his beliefs will continue to open new doors to discover new adjacent possibilities to all of us who pay attention to his words and actions. Mandela seemed never to take the simple way of compromise but always to find the practical way to inch freedom forward. In his actions, he realized what was impossible to most people. Encouraged by many to compromise, telling him that his undying hope was improbable and useless, he stood his ground and moved forward one adjacent possible at a time creating a higher order solution... a more fit world.
Each link shows a different aspect of the adjacent possible. For those of us with hope in our eyes and hearths, may we come to know as Mandela did the adjacent doors to open as we move forward on this great journey.
Life can only be understood backward but it must be lived forward. S. Kierkegaard