123, Helping people to achieve their potentialities.

123, 2017-03, Helping people to achieve their potentialities., oil on linen, 60 x 90″ (148 x 228cm) (detail, 2)

To achieve one’s own potential is an oxymoron, and the exhortation to “be one’s self” is a rejection of the idea of potential altogether. Intentionality should be questioned for many reasons, not the least of which is that we acquire knowledge and become wiser at all times (or at least we hope we do). If we have an intention, then we should regard that intention as having been instantiated by a more foolish self than we now are, and if we give a gift to someone of something that they already want, we are serving the less wise version of that person. If we attempt to visualize a potentiality, we are limited by our own paucity of imagination, and so little turns out as we would wish. This title is an expression associated with a 1960 Aldous Huxley’s MIT lecture.