Reflections 7 March

In a week that has seen a budget, a contentiously low pay award to those who’ve covered our backs in the last year, massive spends in Downing St on a media centre, and a makeover by a temporary resident there that would buy a house elsewhere in the country, my mind has been drawn towards connections and infrastructure.

When things are uncertain, connection is critical – physical, emotional, purposeful and spiritual. It’s what anchors us. The non fungible aspects of our lives. In this strange and liminal, trans Covid, trans Brexit period whatever comes next will be built on these aspects.

It seems slightly absurd when we cannot hug at will, in order to prevent the spread of a virus because we don’t have the capacity in our healthcare infrastructure because we have been following an “efficiency” dogma, that when the crisis begins to ease, we ignore the relationship, sacrifices and infrastructure that got us out of it.

It’s a bit like not servicing a racing car so we can pay the driver more. It doesn’t do much for our chances in the long term.

I think we need to pay real attention to our relationships – with each other and all the other non human actors in our lives at a time when pressure makes the temptation to blame easier than change what we do. If as a result of Covid and Brexit we can find common cause in our relationships to do what really matters for the long term, we can make this a time we will look back on with gratitude.

Books I’ve liked this week

Do Build. Alan Moore. Out this week, a book for these times. How to build a business the world needs.

The Philosopher and the Wolf. Mark Rowlands. Recommended by someone whose taste I have come to appreciate. The story of the relationship with, and lessons learned by a philosopher from a Wolf. Wonderful.

Dark Emu. Bruce Pascoe. There is much to be learned from indigenous wisdom, and worth reflecting the price that has been paid for sidelining it. This account of how Australia made that transition away from it has lessons for us now as we leave another age and are in danger of putting technology ahead of humsans for short term gain. Important for anybody who wants to lead people they care about through now.


Lessons from Mushroom Hunters. A great article in Psyche Magazine on what Doctors are learnng about what artificial intelligence misses as well as notices. A great ally, but flawed in human terms. It’s all about the relationships.

Jessica Livingston on the importance of noticing what’s really going on around you. Important right now.

Skills Development. From FS Blog. At a time when things around us are changing quickly and unpredictability, learning new things quickly based on what we notice is vital. This approach is worth considering. (Clue: coaches are great when we know the rules, not so much when we don’t)

What if we’ve forgotten how to socialise? Not so tongue in cheek. Social skills are at the heart of connection and relationships. From the Economist.


Philosopher Alain deBotton talking about love at the Sydney Opera House. Well worth listening to. Truth and Fun.

I found myself rewatching this Simon Sinek classic from 2017. I’m glad I did – highly relevant as we think about relationships in times of uncertainty.

A Quotation

One of the most essential elements of human wisdom at its best is humility, knowing that you don’t know everything,” she said. There’s a sense in which we haven’t learned how to build humility into our interactions with our devices. The computer doesn’t know what it doesn’t know, and it’s willing to make projections when it hasn’t been provided with everything that would be relevant to those projections. How do we get there? I don’t know. It’s important to be aware of it, to realize that there are limits to what we can do with AI. It’s great for computation and arithmetic, and it saves huge amounts of labor. It seems to me that it lacks humility, lacks imagination, and lacks humor. It doesn’t mean you can’t bring those things into your interactions with your devices, particularly, in communicating with other human beings. But it does mean that elements of intelligence and wisdom—I like the word wisdom, because it’s more multi- dimensional—are going to be lacking

Mary Bateson

Have a great week.

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