I have been bothered by this issue for quite a while, and now I think I may have "thought through" sufficiently to write something intelligent about it.
While I am a keen champion of ideas and creativity, I am also quite comfortable in living with mediocrity.
It is not everyday that one can be inspired and brilliant. In most day, brilliant and inspired people are just plain mediocre.It is mediocrity that allows us to be humans, when we can behave normally and relate with people around us in a decent manner.It is mediocrity that sets the wheel of life running smoothly like clockwork (without the orange). The butcher who cuts a decent piece of meat. The noodle seller delivering a sumptuous piping hot bowl. The bus driver who braves through the traffic every second of his working time. It is this ordinariness of the day that defines our society and our way of life.
Of course, for excitement and to spice up life, we want new ideas and, if we like them, we call them brilliant. Those brilliant are few and far in between the lives of humans throughout the few short thousands of years. While each brilliance produces comfort and convenience, it is unfortunate and inevitable that someone has to pay - as, I imagine, it would be very difficult to come up with a way of living that is effortless and costless to oneself as well as others. It just doesn't jive with the concept of yin-and-yang nor the concept of completeness nor that of world where the total mass doesn't change (except when we are firing things into dark space).
But incompetency is something else. Incompetency is not mediocrity. Incompetency is purely the inability to do something successfully.
The cause of incompetency is not lack of cleverness. Incompetency is an attitude where the inability to complete the work that one has promised to do is not important. Incompetency is the result of a lack of integrity in oneself and one's relationship with another. Incompetency is the result of plain dishonesty.
In this brilliant mediocre nation of ours, we are infused by sheer incompetency.
We disregard learning and education. There is no shame in claiming to have an expertise for which one has not formal training whatsoever. This is a complete disrespect and disregard for technical professionalism, except to steal the fruits of their efforts for one's selfish pecuniary ends. There appears to be a tacit championing of people with crooked dispositions who are regarded as brilliant. It is as if we have founded our national psyche on the shifting sands of quick gain and instant result. There is no investment of time and effort on doing the right things and doing things right.
As a result, we are a nation of traders and speculators in a central-bank-propelled inflationary environment where asset holders are getting wealthier by the day and the poor wage earners and pensioners are forced to abstain from consumption so that precious resources can be reallocated for piling more bricks with more mortar. We used to be a nation of parsimonious people who focused their minds on a deliberately honest way of life. We are now caught with a mental infirmity that eschews devotion and effort. We could be incapable of work.