“Politics is the Art of the Impossible” (correcting Aristotle)

Friday, January 25, 2013

For many years I have maintained that at any given time the solution to problems requires an analysis that would enable us to determine whether the solutions presently applied are still useful or should be changed. I remember a Nobel Prize Laureate in physics who commenced his conference by projecting a slide that contained a single word: “Inertia”. “This is our greatest enemy”, he observed, “because it often prevents us from making changes that are essential if we are to face the challenges of our time”.

I have also repeated that, based on experience gained over many years, we should not heed the “wise” recommendations that “you’ve got to be realistic” or “pragmatism is essential”. “Realists” have never been able to change reality, because they simply accept it.

It’s clear that we must invent the future, that we must constantly seek new directions to transform today’s “impossibles” into the “possibles” of tomorrow.

The truly great political leaders are those who with imagination and audacity have been able to implement radical changes that were considered impossible.

For me, President Kennedy’s speech in Washington in June, 1963 was very relevant when he proclaimed that “No challenge is beyond the creative capacity of the human species”. And now, more recently, there is Amin Maalouf’s statement that “Unprecedented situations require unprecedented solutions”, and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s assertion that “To make our dreams reality we must cross the lines of the possible”.

And lastly but foremost is Albert Einstein’s contention that “In times of crisis only imagination is more important than knowledge”.

All of the experts need to realize this, especially the economists who insist on applying old solutions to new problems. We must dare to correct Aristotle and proclaim that “Good politics is the art of the impossible”.