moving to a new age

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The world is changing.

We hear that a lot lately. Technology, society, East catching West, globalisation, consumerism, social media, virtual reality, robotics etc. Much is indeed changing.

But are we changing with it, or are we trapped, caught in our own story?  A story spun by the very creators and enablers of the change. Much of what we refer to as change is simply the inevitable out turn of the industrialisation age. These early industrialists promised us: work hard, fit into the schemes of work we define, do what’s asked and you will be looked after, you will get what you want. Factories, mass production, even the idea of management, all born at this time.

Now, we’re caught, in this late-capitalist phase of our society. Our narratives about work remain oriented to this thinking. Work days and weekends. Home and the workplace. Career. Professions. Trades. Status. Money. Recognition. Security. Control. Management. Competition.

We learn, more or less successfully, how to mould ourselves to the categories already on offer in the world – factory worker, administrator, school teacher, manager, accountant, doctor…

For the most part we cope. Some thrive. Many however become disenchanted. Disenfranchised. The system isn’t working for them. The rewards may come, but they’re not enough, or they don’t bring happiness. The ‘have nots’ judge the ‘haves’ – the rewards aren’t fair, equal. Our hearts and souls are stunted by the repeated self-abandonment that fitting in can require of us. Square pegs, round holes. Freedom lost to a defined, managed, measured way to do, to be.

And now, a looming challenge is that many of those roles themselves have gone, are going, or will go in the next twenty years. Falling victim to the very possibilities the Industrial Age and its offspring the Technological Age, have created.

Time for a new way of thinking? A new paradigm?

One with enhanced caring and social responsibility perhaps? One that champions a calling maybe? One that redefines contribution and reward? One that places humanity ahead of hierarchy? Who knows? One thing seems clear though, we need to start to define and move to a new age.

 

life will be violent, all will be lost

We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity; more than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.

Charles Chaplin
(speech from the Jewish barber in The Great Dictator)

the rowing dance

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Watching people get in and out of rowing boats, demonstrates how far we still have to travel as a species.

People totter as if in a drunken stupor, mystified by the unpredictable rocking of this small wooden vessel, which when placed in water seems to break the laws of intellectual motion. Puzzled expressions reveal the cognitive struggle as passengers seek to compute this inexplicable movement which seems to defy understanding and rob mere human beings of basic balance and all dignity.

Other passengers seek to assist, so duos and trios dance in a tentative grippy melee. Each tries to support or save another, but with each slight grip, stagger or reach, the equilibrium is once again threatened and the dance continues as if almost perpetual motion.

Someone reaches for terra ferma. One leg on land adds a new dimension to the dance as new forces come into play and all try to compensate for the mix of wobble and solidity.

We can cure all manner of illness. We can transplant someone’s face. We can send probes to the other side of the universe and we can sense sadness in someone without words to express it, as if by telepathy.

Yet put us in a small boat and we become as fragile and inadequate as a paper spoon.

 

does every question..?

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Does every question have a presupposition?

Well it seems that one does. It’s worded to suggest they do. It presupposes all questions, without exception. It presupposes you know what a question is, or a presupposition indeed.

Some coach colleagues and I were discussing this. Playing a game if you like. Who can come up with a question that is presupposition free? We couldn’t.

Even the simplest questions do.  For example, ‘When?’  The question presupposes you have a language for date and time. It presupposes you know what I’m talking about in relation to ‘when?’. It presupposes that I want to know, that you know, and that you want to tell me.

So if every question has a presupposition (and I welcome suggestions of ones which don’t), does that mean that we, the questioner, have a view, a plan, a judgement, a perspective even before we phrase the question? Maybe conscious, maybe outside our awareness?

Does it mean that the question is really in service of us?

The questioner’s need. Could it be that it’s about confirming our prejudice, our view as the questioner? Or could it be about filling in our gaps in knowledge, or about extending our knowing? Or about confirming our map of the world; fitting your world in, for congruence? Or about our belonging or our sense making?

We think of questions as ways in which we expand the perspective of those we throw them at, but maybe they are instead a means to reaffirm our already held perspectives?

 

the tale that may never have been…

A colleague of mine recently copied the team on a document.  They failed to copy me. I only discovered this when another colleague asked me for a view on the work.

This was the third time this had happened.  The team is only six people and we have been formed for about six months and so I have viewed this as interesting. Actually no, I have viewed it with suspicion. I have started to create stories, in my head, about a hidden intent, tales about a potential dislike or disregard for me. I have been telling myself that once is a mistake, twice is careless, three times is deliberate.

I have of course taken an adult approach to this and spoken to the individual directly. (You know I’m lying here, right?)

Yesterday I was in a team meeting and another colleague began a discussion on a topic they are leading. They referred to the pre-read they had shared.  I said I hadn’t received it and they apologised and sent me a link to the soft copy on our systems. I received the email and clicked the link. I didn’t have access rights to the material.

Now my story has legs. It has all the makings of a novel. With characters, twists of plot and an evil back story.  I have trapped myself in a fabrication of my own making. I am unconsciously looking for evidence that my tale is correct.

Imagined dragons. Stories of the mind. Myth and truth.