self determination

Eyes without a face

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The day AI takes over human medical research, is the day we surrender control of our destiny.

Flash trading of financial futures is split-second trading on our own futures.

Gene therapy (GM that removes cruelty and indifference) was never needed so desperately on a mass scale, as when there is human suffering, rainforest deforestation, ocean pollution and global warming.

Politics and credit – the art of stealing opportunity from the future to buy votes and gadgets in the present.

The borders we sit behind are insignificant compared to the technology, fame and entertainment we seek.

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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?

The man who can’t be moved

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Life’s journey is best experienced with those you love, but has to be walked alone. You can carry children in your arms some of the way. And hold hands with your partner as you walk. As you walk, you can reflect on the advice your parents gave you, high-five your friends, give directions to strangers, dry people’s tears, wave to rivals and onlookers alike. And keep checking if the money in your pockets is growing or shrinking.

As you walk, what you cannot do is retrace your steps. To take back what you said to someone at the last crossroads. Or retrace your route, to spend more time with the people you loved in your life, who are no longer walking their journeys. Time is the steady companion, that keeps a solid beat to the marching rhythm of your journey. Learn to enjoy and take strength from the journey as best you can. That’s the essence of being human…

The green planet that keeps turning…

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Cycle to work,

Cycle some cool ideas on-route,

Recycle at work,

Recycle your ideas at work,

Cycle home,

Recycle at home…

Fire, Water and Time

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BBQ your emotional baggage,

Bonfire your vanities,

Fire up your ambitions,

Light your path and heat your World.


Water down your tension,

Set the sprinkler on your fears,

Chase the waterfalls down to the depths of your conviction,

Bob and float along, past lesser outcomes.


When you swap your youthful stopwatch on all life’s events,

For a pocket watch to sit in the darkness,

Time is short and life’s poem is over.

Reading between the lines, when you’re not even on the same page…

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In the dead of the city night, the people out walking are those running out of time, or those running out of hope. Watch out for the people carrying both burdens.

Resisting change in the workplace versus upskilling is the difference between treading water and swimming to safety.

Insight includes seeing a professional presentation, when you already have the personal connection with the presenter.

Gregory Porter sang about water under bridges that have already burned. Is that the state of UK politics at present (fading memories of the stream of wreckage caused by the Scottish referendum, the UK general election first-past-the-post system and the MP expenses scandal)?

Help your friends and family to save the World

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The old saying that ‘charity begins at home’ could be usefully extended to ‘charity begins in your circle of friends and family’. Helping your friends and family is simply paying forward the benefits and advantages you have received in your own life. It doesn’t have to have a religious context, or be shouted about from the rooftops.

If there are only ‘six degrees of separation’ to another person on the Planet, perhaps the best pathway to help the World, may well be the ‘rippling outwards’ from the circles of all of our F&F. To elaborate, caring is stronger when the personal connection is stronger. This isn’t about replacing charities and philanthropy, But about widening the definition of such things. After all, charitable activity can be effective, even when the entity concerned isn’t listed on the Charity Commission website. Altruistic acts also occur, because they define us as a higher order species.

Altruism and welfare improvement can sit comfortably outside a commercial relationship. Or outside a charitable organisation with the trappings of a commercial organisation; complete with its KPIs, budgets, organisational hierarchies, stakeholder relationship management and endless committees… Perhaps in a nation where too many people expect the State to solve their own problems, the family connections are real relationships to work on.