On my Mind
The news can feel unrelenting at the moment, I suspect pretty much wherever we are in the world. We have such a choice, from the behaviour of our politicians, to the dark side of location technology being used to prosecute those who fall foul of laws that become increasingly authoritarian, to the fragile nature of our infrastructure. It becomes emphasised through the polarity provided by the news of the booming market in private jets for those who want to get round queues at airports, or otherwise leverage extraordinary wealth to continue to consume regardless.
It’s easy to feel stuck between a rock and a hard place.
The problem is that what our attention is drawn to forms a minority – a tiny proportion of the ridiculously rich at one end, and a larger but still relatively small number of the socially and financially impoverished at the other. That leaves the majority of us, those in the contracting middle, feeling under threat at the same time as being the ones who have to deal with the problem. Real change is never intiated by the wealthy (why would they want to?) or the impoverished (because they lack the resources). That leaves us.
So how do we, in the middle make the difference that we can make, not just for those close to us, but for everybody’s sake?
For those trained in resilience, it starts with internalising and understanding that nobody is coming to rescue you. A bit brutal, but true. We have to do what we can, where we are, with what we’ve got.
And that, for most of us, is enough. We tend not to recognise it thanks to the impact of the “baseline fallacy” – our tendency to see the status quo as the minimum we need, and any threat to that as a loss. And for us right now, that status quo is a function of fifty years of relentless consumption, fuelled by Bullshit Jobs. This at a time when everything points towards a need to consume less if we are to get towards a sustainable, regenerative economy.
As I review what I have just written, I’m aware that it sounds downbeat and “doomy” but that’s not how I see it. I just think we have our priorities wrong, and are being given a clear opportunity to do something about it. Particularly when we consider the other challenges we face, from mental health to societal fragmentation.
Our biggest shortage today is not “stuff”, it’s connection.
Connection to each other, to the work we do, and to the vibrancy of the planet we live on. Trading “stuff” for connection feels like a reasonable deal to me. Jon Alexander is taking a lead on our societal and political connection with his New Citizenship Project. There are any number of new businesses reflecting the values of Do Build, with a number of them gathering together at New Artisans as well as those looking at all the possibilities, as well as the complications of Regenerative Economics.
I think we all have an opportunity to take an intitiative here by turning our focus to making connections more than making stuff. There are increasing numbers of opportunities to do so, some of them here.
It’s down to us, because nobody else is coming to rescue us.
Food for Thought
Working out where we are.
It’s easy to take maps for granted. I liked this, found in Aeon Magazine, about the history of the world map. It inspires when we think about where we go next. We start by guessing.
I really liked this short piece of the nature of waves. Another thing it’s easy to take for granted.
This article from “Matters” magazine recounts how a chance encounter gave rise to a business in unlikely circumstances. It reminds me that we can easily thinf that work is “over there”, provided to us by somebody else. It isn’t.
This from Ed Smith, a former England Cricket Selector resonates. It also applies to business.
“Athletes and sports teams waste huge space and energy on external motivators – mission statements about trying to be the best team in the world by 2057; blueprints for global dominance; strategic flow charts about key performance indicators.
In fact, if every sportsman simply tried to be the best he could be, and attempted to behave decently along the way, you’ve pretty much summed up every available optimal strategy in one simple sentence.