The concept of The One has many unforeseen consequences. For one, criticism is something to dread and see as a negative, not as a positive sign that things aren’t hopeless and people aren’t giving themselves enough credit and are settling for too little. It challenges your place on the pecking order and you see yourself as always being vulnerable to a downfall. We cannot grow and change, and the concept of transmutation is nonexistent. To change is seen as a de facto admission of being deficient in the past, meaning alternate scenarios are ignored as the Confirmation Bias sets into our collective thinking as does selfishness, entitlement, and a suspicion of any notion of cooperation.
To progress and evolve suggests that there are problems and defects. Warnings are ignored as advice is rejected. The universal narrative is there can only be the One and everyone else is either an inferior supporting minion, a victim, or villain. Success is measured by competitions, campaigns, tin foil titles, and paper crowns. Accolades and followers blindly cheerleading a single leader becomes the goal. Truth is reviled as narcissistic sophistry that supports the narrative of The One is embraced, and running on soul-draining hamster wheels are mistaken for cunning ways to survive in a business as others exploit you as they throw misdirections to deflect attention away from their schemes.
To be The One means to be an authority who cannot be challenged, let alone questioned. It is a coveted position that turns a marketplace of ideas into a monopoly. To be The One is the only position that counts.
And once The One is chosen, anyone deviating from that archetype is dismissed, no matter how much they can contribute.
When you work in an industry that strictly specializes in that mindset, expecting change is unrealistic. Suggestions are inevitably seen as a personal affront.
Yet publishing has been in a free fall precisely because it still embraces the same The One ideology that is slowly killing it.
Because there is no room for change or an expansion of available solutions, the lack of diversity can never be truly addressed. It always drifts back to The One. Stagnation sets in and critics are demonized, alienating allies who then find other outlets, bypassing a system that no longer functions.
The One Rule That Explains Everything doesn’t. In a world where the audience is global, finding new ways to tell stories is crucial, yet changing the Patriarchal structure doesn’t cross too many gate-keepers’ minds. They got that far doing The One; so why put effort and risk it all going for the unknown of The Infinite?
The old structures are archaic, and thus, an impediment to the profession, but change does not come from those entrenched in an old system, but those whose natural inclinations go toward the new.
While traditional publishing hasn’t been keeping up, the Internet is not necessarily the solution, either. It has proven to be the gleeful and puerile exploiter of content-providers as it rules with an iron fist, not the mature fosterer of talent it once promised.
We don’t need another robber Barron promising “exposure”: we need an industry where content-providers have room to grow and make a stable career without the rigged games and pecking order.
It is up to those who create the content to now focus on structure…and the vehicle they wish to disseminate it. There is no room for trepidation or desperation.
After all, there is no the One Right Answer, and it is time to explore them all.