communication

If people were smart…

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We’d plan tax reform BEFORE income distribution undergoes the full onslaught of machine automation.

The UN would fund and deploy aerial nano-bots that fly around the World destroying unregistered guns.

Religious opinion leaders would MODERNISE religious doctrine to accommodate future technological change.

We’d REFORM things in society before the flat part of the (technology) exponential curve turns into the steep part of the exponential curve.

Government social services would MANAGE people’s expectations in a honest way upfront, not make excuses in a patronising way afterwards. Prevention is usually cheaper that cure.

We’d APPOINT lobby groups to represent the animal kingdom and not pretend that humans and corporates have all the votes and all the freedom to act.

We’d ENCOURAGE people to self-learn to cope with global changes in progress.

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Battle of the Sexes

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http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/aug/21/john-mcenroe-says-he-could-beat-serena-williams

There isn’t a more pointless and ugly battle in the World than the battle of the sexes. Or the phobia/tension between homosexuals and heterosexuals. Or the phobia/tension some people have for trans-gender people.

Put a bunch of girls together and watch the bitchiness come out. Put a bunch of boys together and watch them drag everything to the lowest, crudest level. Put a TV camera in their face or mix the girls and boys together and everyone’s trying to make an impression. Go figure!

When parents get into a divorce battle, sadly their children can become cannon fodder. And worse, the kids blame themselves for the battle.

Fake it til you make it?

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Are people basically divided into two broad camps – the ‘fake it til you make it’ (the marketers & promoters) and the ‘keeping it real’ camp’?

‘Fake it til you make it’ is about projecting confidence, whether real or illusionary. It’s downside is arguably in making our social groups less cohesive and less real. ‘Fake it til you make it’ can be spectacularly successful – politicians, singers/rappers and A-list movie actors being examples of this. Ironically though, politicians campaign to solve real problems, rappers rap about their gritty own life struggle to success, whilst successful actors choose to star in movies that often have themes of real strength from overcoming adversity of some kind.

Some pioneering cultures have a phrase about ‘keeping it real’. Others talk about ‘keeping your feet firmly on the ground’ (unless you work for the weather service, the airlines, the navy, NASA or Virgin Galactic).The ‘keeping it real’ camp includes support groups, social workers, therapists, counsellors, teachers, coaches, trainers and assessors of all kinds. This camp arguably advocates that ‘struggling to succeed is simply walking the journey’ is what life is about and that being honest about this struggle helps us to build important bridges with fellow human beings. In the world of entertainment, reality shows are in theory about ‘keeping it real’, although programme directors inevitably choose hyping the truth over the reality, if if means improving the viewer ratings in a competitive industry.

What about in the field of design – which camp do designers fall into? Steve jobs said ‘Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.’ In product design, great and successful designers don’t tolerate fake. They are obsessed with building amazing, perfection and excellence. In contrast, fine artists can excell at illusion in their art, folling the viewer’s eye into almost believing the two dimensional is actually the three dimensional. Or that the World shown within their art reveals a far more beautiful perspective on the World outside. Musical artists and actors generally want to create real. It’s the marketing staff of their companies that want auto-tune, edit and airbrush.

Whichever of the two camps a person falls into, perhaps real performance is still the key goal and ambition the driving force. Oscar Wilde famously said ‘all of us are in the gutter, but some of us are looking up at the stars.’ Life arguably isn’t about ‘suffer in silence’, ‘know your place’ and ‘mustn’t grumble’. It is about ‘be the best that you can be’, ‘dare to dream’, ‘give yourself a break’, ‘learn from your mistakes’, ‘recognise the perfect parent does not exist’,  ‘respect yourself’ and ‘strength through adversity.’

Lastly, somewhere along the line, as we switched from selling the products of our labour to selling the services of ourselves, the ‘fake it til you make it’ mantra started to dominate, in business, in our romantic lives (as singles) and increasingly, everywhere else. How do we jolt ourselves out of that mantra?

Force equals mass times enthusiasm

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The enthusiasm of children is a tonic for any office worker. If you’re like me, you get to work in an office environment where once in a blue moon, you pitch in to help on a student fundraising event. It’s then that you are reminded about relationships that run the organisation, whether teacher-pupil or support staff-teacher. It’s all good.

That enthusiasm is a hidden gem that cuts through all political problems, red tape and inertia. I wish we could find a way to value that enthusiasm on the Balance Sheet and make sure it never dips. Just saying.

Beautiful lies, ugly truths

Do we set our beautiful lies on ugly truths, like bleach on porcelain? Or do our beautiful lies hold hands with ugly truths like a child’s game of ring-a-ring-a-roses?

Kenwalt50 (https://kenwalt50.wordpress.com) says ‘Many of the greatest lies are truth and many of the greatest truths are lies. I began “writing” as a child, lonely and unable communicate as effectively with others as I could with myself, so I created fantasies. My stories allowed me to go anywhere and be anyone. These were “lies,” but the truth of them moulded me. The “truths” were the limits on me and on everyone–we cannot be everything we imagine ourselves to be. Only imagination can break the walls of truth.’

A beautiful lie is the bluff. Countered by an ugly truth, the royal flush.

We learn when we confront beautiful lies and ugly truths alike.

Speed meets science, him and her

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The speed of decisions – science runs at the speed of ‘genetic expression’. Him speed: ‘will you?’ Her speed: ‘what’s taking him so long to ask?’

The speed of preparation – science runs at the speed of gestation period per species. Him speed: ‘Keys? Wallet? Let’s go.’ Her speed: ‘Let me run through my wardrobe options one more time…’

The speed of sound – science runs at the speed of 343.59 metres per second in dry air at 20 degrees Celsius. Him speed: ‘how much more flirting and banter do I need to provide?’ Her speed: ‘ My phone number is…’

The speed of energy transfer – science runs at the speed that the electrons in a substance get excited. Him speed: ‘I can feel a definite rush of blood to my central extremities’ Her speed: ‘those butterflies in my tummy are back and making my knees go weak.’

The speed of imaging – science runs at the speed of light. Him speed: ‘she looks utterly stunning.’ Her speed: ‘He needs to drink less and work out at the gym more!’

Going off the reservation, taking the road less travelled, taking a walk on the wild side…

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In my experience, it’s the small tributaries of the river, the overlooked pockets, and the unexpected that offer the most value. Whether you’re a traveller, a student, an explorer, a researcher, or an investigator, what is fresh, what’s genuine and what is original, is the stuff outside the mainstream and off the beaten track. Another aid is in joining up our unexpected insights from one ‘tributary’ with those of another. And by holding two opposing ideas or concepts in your head (as a traveller, reflecting on what you see through local values and through your own cultural values is an example of this). In some ways, stating all this is blindingly obvious, but in others, it’s revealing a pathway to the sublime & subtle.

We make progress as a species, as a culture and as individuals, by pushing our buttons. By pushing our boundaries, making improvements and gathering new insights. So far, we’ve done this faster than any other species, except perhaps viruses. And it’s been high-growth-off-a-high-base too.

Is human love more advanced than the love shown in other species? It’s hard for us to see, even when as researchers and nature filmers, we’re looking hard. The love an animal mother shows for its offspring, given its mental and sensory capabilities, is probably just as valid as human love for other people, given our own mental and sensory capabilities. And arguably, we’re more prone to cruelty and indifference than other species too. Especially since our awareness of the World (and the Universe) is so much greater.

Finally, is it wrong to let our children get bored? On the list of wrongness towards children, I doubt it figures in the top ten, although you may disagree. However, given the direction the World is going, we’re going to need to maximise human creativity like never before.

Like for many things, the earlier you start, the more proficient you can become. Perhaps already, we provide:

-too much of too few types of entertainment and

-entertainment without mental challenge,

to the younger generations (and ourselves). As an aside, we arguably produce too much content that simply feeds our basic emotions and prejudices too.

Technology that encourages people:

-to screen out the complexities of life that we should not ignore,

-to screen out the information we need, to make informed decisions with, as parents, as voters and as citizens,

isn’t something to be applauded and worshipped. Instead, we should be critical of it and demand better. All of us, including our kids need to become those critics.