30 we're increasing 1

Stem-cell pioneer Robert Hariri is one of many investing in lengthening human life:

“Our goal is to help all of us live a longer and healthier life.”*

For me, the missing word from this sentence fulfilling, or maybe meaningful.  Of course, this is the element that’s up to us.

Whatever the average length of a Human life in fifty years time, it’ll most likely be grown in the same way as our lives right now: slowly, over a long period of time.  How attentive we are to growing our lives will effect how meaningful or fulfilling it is, and right now we have the possibility of living out what can be called the adjacent possible.  Options.

Nassim Taleb suggests ‘optionality is a substitute for intelligence’- more comes to those who are open to the adjacent possible.**

“The beautiful truth about the adjacent possible is that its boundaries grow as you explore them.  Each new combination opens up the possibility of new combinations.”^

Some just don’t get this.  Novelist Italo Calvino expresses this when he has his character Marco Polo say to Kublai Khan,

“I speak and speak, but the listener retains only the words he is expecting. … It’s not the voice that commands the story: it’s the ear.”^^

My friend Charlotte has introduced the term mise-en-scène to me.  In terms of film (and theatre) this is everything that fills a frame – lighting, costumes, colour, furniture, distance between viewer and viewed – and how these are organised.

Each of our lives has mise-en-scène – values, experiences, skills, resources, story.  When we notice, the field deepens, the possibilities increase.

‘My sense of identity had shifted, and I was beginning to see myself as part of the unfolding generative order.’^*

(*Robert Hariri, quoted in Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler’s Bold.)
(**From Nassim Taleb’s Antifragile.)
(^Stephen Johnson, quoted in Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler’s Abundance.)
(^^From Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities.)
(*^From Charlotte Bosseaux’s Dubbing, Film, and Performance.)
(^*From the close of Jospeh Jaworski’s Source.)

fire people

29 when you come in humility

There is natural fire (first fire).  There is industrial fire (third fire).

In between there is anthropogenic fire (second fire): Human fire – our greatest technology.

Stephen Pyne concludes his fascinating book on fire with these words:

‘Earth remains a fire planet.  How fire appears, what biological role it assumes, what technological work it does – all will depend on how humanity sees itself as a fire creature and fire monopolist, how it understands itself in the great scheme of things … .’*

Pyne is observing the demise of second fire.  I’m a prime example.  I may experience first fire at a distance – lightening hits combustible material and a fire begins.  As I write on my laptop I’m using third fire.  But I don’t know how to make fire, or use it to farm or make something with.

Pyne’s concern for the loss of fire skills is most focused on the renewing of the earth’s flora.  By not fire-scaping, natural fires become megafires – far more destructive.

I want to make a metaphorical leap to what second fires mean for us.  First or natural fires here are the things which happen to us in life – we wait for them to occur, and they may be good or bad.  Industrial fires are those we benefit from as part of the system which is largely invisible to us but upon which we’re dependent.

Second, or anthropogenic, fire is the ability everyone has to be a maker of fire – spark people.

Spark people know their values and capabilities, resources invisible to others are visible to them, and every day they look for ways to employ these.  They know one person can have an effect on the field of the emerging future and, when they find each other, they create storyboards of the future, explorers of the adjacent possible – because there are many possible futures.

As such, they can be transformative people.

‘My idea of the modern Stoic  is someone who transforms fear into prudence, pain into information, mistakes into initiation, and desire into understanding.’**

“You have to break away from the day-to-day, immerse yourself in a new way of thinking about yourself.”^

(*From Stephen Pyne’s Fire.)
(**From Nassim Taleb’s Antifragile.)
(^Businessman Gary Wilson, quote in Joseph Jaworski’s Source.)

five dream awareness

28 we cannot

Donald Miller got me thinking with his comments about how the industrial revolution disconnected men from the wellbeing of their families, focusing their sense of worth on efficiency and productivity, leaving the more intimate practice of bringing up children to women.*

Things are changing but the memes take a little longer to shake off.

For me, reinforces for me how, when we have a dream, we’re really having five dreams.  Every dream is like an iceberg with four more dreams lying beneath the surface.

Miller had brought a consultant in to help his business grow:

‘Dan said unless I had healthy relationships, I was doomed.’*

Here are the five dreams:**

Work: the art or contribution you must bring into the world (also described as vocation, calling, element, purpose, bliss;

Relationships: we are Human together, so who are the others you need to connect with and the toxics you may need to disconnect with? – it is also about our relationship with the universe;

Finance: the thing which cannot be ignored if you want to pursue your work and care for those who matter most – this connects with your job and maybe your work;

Health: you can’t do any of the above as you want to without pursuing physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing;

Spirituality: which can be about god or not, but is always about your higher values and Self out from which you live your life.

You’ll have spotted, none of these are static.

Always changing and changing again, they’re critical to feeling for and being open to the emerging future.  When we’re “five dream-aware” we’re more able to sense everything the future can be and is moving towards us.

(*See Donald Miller’s Scary Close.)
(**You may come up with better ones towards wholeness.)


connectors and disconnectors

27 if you like

‘In fact, the world is so intertwingled that it may very well be impossible for any piece of information to exist disconnected from everything else.’*

Everything is connected, everything exists in relationship to everything else.  We can’t deal with this all the time so we have to separate.

We have become so adept at separating and can forget to reconnect again.

Nazi death-camp survivor Viktor Frankl developed logotherapy (a therapy of meaning) to help people to connect to a meaningful life, connect difficulty to a redemptive perspective, and connect with others or an other who loves you unconditionally.**

The future is connected and connecting.

Whilst severe disconnectors comes in the form of pride, greed, and foolishness, we have the power to connect. Humility, gratitude, and faithfulness enable us to reach out to those around us,  the universe, and our future Self – head, heart, and will.

I have to ask myself: Am I connector or disconnector?

Here’s a longer excerpt from Joseph Jaworski’s Source, which I thought would be interesting for thinking about deep connectedness.  Jaworski quotes cardiologist and researcher Pim van Lommel who sees the universe as a field of knowledge, wisdom and unconditional love.  We know the universe yields to scientific analysis, but it also opens to the intuitive – scientists and artists, connected:

“This extended or enhanced consciousness is based on indestructible and constantly evolving fields of information where all knowledge, wisdom, and unconditional love are present and available, and these fields of consciousness are stored in a dimension without our concept of time and space, with non-local and universal interconnectedness.  One could call this our Higher consciousness, Divine consciousness, Cosmic consciousness.”^

(*From Sunni Brown’s The Doodle Revolution.)
(**See Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning.)
(^Pim van Lommel quoted in Joseph Jaworski’s Source.)

opps and ops

26 we are to be

When a friend was heading off on a work trip to Africa, and I would be cat-sitting, she asked if I could put What’s app on my phone to make it easier and cheaper to stay in touch.  So I did.

An app is the software, like skills and abilities.

An opp is what we do with these.  The opportunity to do something from necessary to amazing.  We’re moving into a brave new world in which, with imagination, opps abound.

Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler report the coming of a Cambrian explosion in robotics, replacing Humans in manufacturing.  Dan Barry adds:

“If I were an exponential entrepreneur looking to create tremendous value, I’d look for those jobs that are least enjoyable for humans to do … .”*

And the other side of this? Seth Godin sees coming a rise in the value of ideas.**

I was reflecting on all of this whilst pondering how we can finish life well, whatever our past experiences and history.

This is where ops come in.

Ops are options.  The possibility of switching from one course of action to another is an option.  And so too is the possibility of switching from one life course to another.

In this brave new world, there will be more ideas, more options, more opportunities, which in turn create a braver new world.

All around, there are companies of dreams coming together, nurturing and enabling people to add more opps to their lives.

“We are to be, not to be like.”^

(*From Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler’s Bold.)
(**See Seth Godin’s Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?)
(^Shared by my friend Diallo Smith in one such company of dreams.  I use company in its original sense of a group of people sharing bread together.)

get out of the way

25 more is sometimes less

‘The key … is … to bring forth the emerging reality as it desires.  To act on behalf of the future in this way requires a deep sense of responsibility and selflessness.’*

‘The ones who speak love into our lives have an eternal way about them.’*

The future will be shaped by those prepared to bring their foresight, intention, and love.

Whether our contribution is big or small isn’t what matters – everyone’s contribution is welcomed. What will be important is our ability to get out the way and allow what is emerging in the life of another, in a tribe or organisation, in a community or culture.

On Wednesday, I found myself in a room with a company of people doing just this.  There’s  was an idea of event shared, but then those who’d everyone together got out of the way, asking everyone to shape what this event will be, this small act of the emerging future.

(*From Joseph Jaworski’s Source.)
(**From Donal Miller’s Scary Close.)

more lessons from the dawn

24 to be human

I watched the dawn appear again this morning, and I took another picture.  It’s the one on the right.

photo-23 photo-23

It’s not nearly as beautiful as yesterday’s.  The clouds make all the difference.

Of course, in a place like Scotland (where we suffer Vitamin D deficiency) we prefer blue skies and sunshine.

There’s something about the things we wish our lives hadn’t experienced, though – the cloud moments and actions and experiences – which make for something more beautiful when the light of a new day lights us up, something we just don’t get with perfect.

Embracing rather than hiding the clouds is a healthier way to live.

Donald Miller writes about how a lecturing psychologist had noticed the students who knew a lot about their families coped better when they faced challenges; they knew about the ups and downs of their family which had been shared honestly and openly.*

This is my second lesson from the dawn.  I’ll embrace the failures and hurts and mistakes and characteristics which are not so good or pretty about me and let the new day do something transformative with them.

(*From Donald Miller’s Scary Close.)

lessons from the dawn

23 the dawn

Today is the September Equinox.

The days are growing shorter, the darkness increases.

When I began journaling this morning it was still dark.  But as I wrote, the promise of the dawn began to appear over the houses opposite, above, a few clouds ribboning dark against a fast brightening blue.

It wasn’t long before the dark ribbon clouds lit up salmon pink: a new day and a new beginning coming with the promise of taking me into light.

The clouds were then set on fire with pink light and still the sun hadn’t risen.

The promise of a new day is the most beautiful, teaching me a lesson.

I turn off the light in the room and the colour and brightness outside seems to intensify.  Now there are more clouds and they are turning orange and yellow through to pink, I take a picture – the sun almost here.


A lightbulb may immediately change things (and I’m glad for this, living in Scotland with very short days to come), but nature reminds me life moves more slowly through stages.*

I know I can’t suddenly and quickly become a person filled with more light than dark.  I must turn up every day and trust the slow journey of small things which I hope will see me becoming a person who might brings more light as foresight, intention, and love into the world.

This morning the dawn causes me to value my slow journey in the same direction.

(*Check out this post from Seth Godin for a snapshot of lightbulb culture.)

the art of being yourself

22 fail at many

Yesterday, I heard about a TED talk with this title.  Except it isn’t the title, so I’ll have to keep searching – at least I can use the title for this post.

The person telling me about this intrigued when she mentioned how the speaker warned against not acting in a superior or inferior way, but to do the interior work.

It is in honest interior work we find the real treasure in our life.  I often argue that humility is having a true understanding of one’s self: not too high – superior – and not too low – inferior.

Only the person who has a true perception and understanding of themselves can grow in a whole way, helping grow and develop others too.  Humility burns all the rubbish away, the rubbish we hide ourselves with, making it more possible to connect with others and to do what one must do: crystallising our intent or art.

tell me something interesting

21 okay, einstein

“Now you say something interesting.”*

The words come from someone who speaks bluntly, the result of a head injury.

What would I say if I was at a table with hime and he asked me to say something interesting?

What would you say?

But we all have something interesting to say, we don’t have to wish we were someone else more interesting.  Each has an unfinished story about our lives being added to every day.  (We will always say interesting things about what we’re interested in.)

People are amazing, aren’t they?  We need to try and do what it is we love – every day and, wherever possible, together.  (This is my attempt at something interesting to say.)

McNair Wilson tells us, ‘To be less creative is to be less human, less you.’**

‘An artist is someone who brings humanity to a problem, who changes someone else for the better, who does work that can’t be written down in a manual … .^

I knew you had something interesting to say.

(*From Donald Miller’s Scary Close.)
(**From McNair Wilson’s Hatch.)
(^From Seth Godin’s Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?)