I don’t know about you, but I have acted on my share of bad ideas. Usually, I didn’t see what a bad idea it was until after I tried it.
“Hey, let’s catch those horses and ride them.””Whose horses are they?” “I don’t know.” “That sounds like a good idea!” So we did catch them and climbed on their backs-at which point they tore across the field trying to knock our heads off on low-hanging tree limbs. We survived, which means the bad idea at least turned into a learning experience.
Ideas are more powerful than armies in the flow of human history history and some of them are bad ideas. “The Anglo-Saxon race is superior to all other races on earth and should rule over them all.” (You know, for their own good.”) When we are in power we shall usher in a communist dictatorship of the proletariat with peace, freedom and justice for all.” “We will build a beautiful and prosperous society with slave labor.” You get the idea.
Lots of ideas are circulating now, as always-like anarchism, libertarianism, free market fundamentalism-and some of them sound pretty good. After all, we might have jumped on those horses and had a lovely ride-that’s what we imagined when we hopped on. We didn’t imagine twenty hectic minutes of fighting for our lives before we bailed out, struggling to our feet and picking briars out of our hides.
So I developed a CACA test for ideas. CACA is an acronym for the stages in the life of an idea. It is also a word that mean “manure” and if an idea does not pass the CACA test, throw it on the manure pile and find a new idea. There are thousands of possibilities, why tie yourself down to a CACA idea?
CACA=Consider, Accept, Carry it Out, Adopt. The new idea wants you to consider it, then it wants you to accept it, then it wants you to carry it out and ultimately it wants you to adopt it as your own and spread the idea to others.
The CACA test is simple:
1) Is it moral?
We don’t want to do immoral things (I hope) for reasons internal to ourselves. But even on a utilitarian basis, immoral things have a way of biting you in the arse eventually. What is immoral? Anything that does to others what you would not want done to yourself-or in the positive: Treat others as you want to be treated. I would not want someone riding my horse without asking me nor would I want to be a victim of British Imperialism or a slave. Those ideas fail the morality test-THEY ARE CACA-TO THE COMPOST HEAP WITH THEM.
2) Does it work?
Some ideas sound moral on the face of them, like anarchism, libertarianism, and communism. Because freedom! Because equality! But do they work? You can tell if an idea works because it will have worked somewhere at some time in the past. When did this idea work? Where? How well did it work? If it has never worked anywhere, ever, then the idea is CACA-TO THE COMPOST HEAP.
So there you go-the CACA test for ideas. Is it moral? Does it work? Simple.
Now if it is moral and it does work, it is probably a GOOD IDEA. It will still need tweaking to fit the current situation, which will require time, effort and thought-time, effort and thought that should not be wasted on CACA ideas.
So stay away from strange horses, compost those bad ideas and have a great week.