Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler tell some of the XPrize story, offered for a better cleaning-up solution to the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. Twenty seven teams went after the $1.4 prize. The most intriguing part of this story involves a team that didn’t actually win but came up with a solution doubled cleaning-up efficiency – they were from outside the industry and had met in a Las Vegas tattoo parlour. It’s amazing what we can get up to with some imagination and focus.
‘The obstacles are less important that the opportunities if we replace ignorance with insight, inattention with foresight, and inaction with mobilisation … if we realise we are the people we have been waiting for.’*
This oil story reminded me I’d picked up a copy of Winning the Oil End Game, which includes amongst its authors, the wonderfully named Odd-Even Bustnes. The book offers a vision of an oil-free United States by 2050, naming several policies that would have made this possible. Would because Donald Trump has come to the White House with environmental policies that owe more to the ignorance, inattention, and inaction, than to insight, foresight, and mobilisation.
Whilst the story and quote are from the oil industry, the truth could be about anything within imagining and shaping a better world.
The greatest threat to a more imaginative future is thinking we know: The best way to begin a day is to arise knowing we do not know, starting with what we do not know about ourselves and our motivations:
‘The ego self is by definition the unobserved self, because once you see it, the game is over.’^
This ego is the self that is less than we can be. It is a compassionate activity when we are prepared to look beneath the surface of our life, though some, like E. O.Wilson, discredit compassionate behaviour as hypocritical and calculated:
‘”[Homo sapiens] good behaviour is calculating, often in a wholly conscious way, and his manoueveres are orchestrated by the excruciatingly intricate sanctions and demands of society.”
No doubt, some will use compassion as a technique or skill to get something but there are many who are deeply fascinated at what this means for us as a species. When you think about it, life is all about compassion. Opening our minds, hearts, and wills are compassionate actions. Compassion makes it possible to look at ourselves more honestly and hopefully towards our future Self, and then to look at others, our societies, and the environment of which we are a part and are sustained.
H are the most important words:
If we realise we are the people we have been waiting for.
(*From Amory Lovins, Kyle Datta, and Odd-Even Bustnes’ Winning the Oil Endgame. I use the acronym TEESA to remind me to read around Technology, Entrepreneurship, Environment, Society, Arts – this book is my environmental read.)
(**From Richard Rohr’s The Naked Now.)
(^E. O. Wilson, quoted in Karen Anderson’s Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life.)