Ever deeper

Is it possible to change tiny corners of [the world] with simple, thoughtful ideas, by designing a beautiful colouring book that allows people to pause and create?*
(Bernadette Jiwa)

My idea of the modern stoic sage is someone who transforms fesr into prudence, pain into information, and desire into understanding.**
(Nassim Taleb)

Easter 2019

Climate-change protests.

Deep adaptation.

The best job in the world.

Welcome to Thursday morning.

Death and life, a dying planet, life-changes, doing what we love to do.

One of these may sound like the odd one out, yet my hope for the future will be that as we come to grips with the extremely critical nature of the time we’re living in with our planet (and therefore our ourselves together with all fauna and flora) and as we employ deep listening and deep imagination, we will to live more meaningfully than we can imagine right now, we become the transformative people we are capable of becoming: turning fear into prudence, pain into information, desire into understanding, and death into life.

Check out Seth Godin’s blog, Make things better for an interesting read about possibilities.

(*From Bernadette Jiwa’s Hunch.)
(**From Nassim Taleb’s Antifragile.)


To speak or act, or think originally is to erase the boundary of the Self. It is to leave behind the territorial personality. A genius does no have a mind full of thoughts but is a thinker of thoughts and is the centre of a field of vision.*
(James Carse)

Organisations around the world are recognising that either they can expand their thinking to match the real system they belong to or they can artificially shrink the system they are managing to match their thinking.**
(Peter Senge

Think world.

Think future.

Think everything.

(*From James Carse’s Finite and Infinite Games.)
(**From Peter Senge’s The Necessary Revolution.)

Still playing

The earlier artists worked within the outlines of their imaginations: the latter reworked their imaginations.*
(James Carse)

Notice what makes you You – curiosities, talents, energies; see what you have access to right now – resources, people, time, and so much more is possible.

It’s funny, but the more thankful you are for your existence, the easier it is to take advantage of just being you. The easier it is to make the most of this moment in the here and now, no matter how small that moment might be […] with gratitude, any moment can be made magical.*

It’s the truth about humility, gratitude and faithfulness. Embrace and use these, and things happen.

Bernadette Jiwa avers:

The greatest gift you can give to a person is to see who she is and reflect the back to her, when we help people to be who they want to be, to take back some of the permission they deny themselves, we are doing our best, most meaningful work.^

It doesn’t get better than this. It’s why I love the work I do with the amazing people I get to walk with for a while. When we see our imaginations are not some fixed deal then game on.

Lewis Hyde speaks of what happens between what we receive and what we give, about how something new comes into being. This is the wonderfully, glorious, magical-in-a-very-real-way to play with life:

between the perception and the bestowal, lies a moment in which new identity come to life as the old identity perishes.^^

(*From James Carse’s Finite and Infinite Games.)
(From gapingvoid’s blog: Are you sleepwalking through life?)
(^From Bernadette Jiwa’s Meaningful.)
(^^From Lewis Hyde’s The Gift.)

Exploring the variance

It took me an entire lifetime to find out what my generator is: We favoour the visible, the embedded, the personal, the narrated, the tangible; we scorn the abstract. Everything good (aesthetics, ethics) and wrong (Fooled by Randomness) with us seems to flow from it.*
(Nassim Taleb)

We can try and be like anyone else or someone else, or we can explore how we’re different.

Just a random thought.

(*From Nassim Taleb’s Fooled by Randomness.)

I believe, help my unbelief

Myths are so infinitely bound to the culture, time, and place that unless the symbols, the metaphors, are kept alive by constant recreation through the arts, the life just slips away from them. […] There is more reality in an image than in a word.*
(Joseph Campbell)

Which game would you rather play? I’ll give you a choice of two. One. Every picture tells a story. Two. Every story tells a picture.**
(Daniel Gluck)

Pictures can hold powerful truths in ways words are no able, though both words and images can be endlessly reconfigured and re-formed in ways of almost infinite recreation. It’s why familiar words or images are the things of art when they are put together in unfamiliar ways.

This is re-creation, so important for understanding belief today.

Joseph Campbell asserted that the speed of change has left us unable to shape our myths for understanding ourselves and for joining with our society and culture. What he shares in our introductory words expresses hope, though; it is not impossible. We find Wallace Stevens saying something similar to Campbell when he writes about disbelief and of hope in the arts:

in an age in which disbelief is so profoundly prevalent or, if not disbelief, indifference to questions of belief, poetry and painting, and the arts in general, are, in their measure, a compensation for what has been lost.^

The arts are really showing each of us how we all have the capacity to recreate

How we need this. Caitlin Moran warns us about what we lose when we become unbelieving:

When cynicism becomes the default language, playfulness and invention become impossible.^^

Disbelief whilst not an end position, can help us towards re-believing when it is forged into helpful inquiry. It can especially help when it comes to what we cannot see:

Modern reality is a reality of recreation, in which our revelations are not the revelations of belief, but the precious portents of our own powers.^

There is a difference between belief that is memory and belief charged with imagination.

(*Joseph Campbell, from Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers’ The Power of Myth.)
(**The character Daniel Gluck, from Ali Smith’s Autumn.)
(^From Wallace Stevens’ The Necessary Angel.)
(^^Caitlin Moran, quoted in Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: Caitlin Moran on Fighting the Cowardice of Cynicism.)

Unknow your limits

Hindsight is easy, foresight is hard. In hindsight there is no uncertainty left; we know what has happened, and, if we are imaginative, we can always construct an explanation. In foresight, however, we must face uncertainty.*
(Gerd Gigerenzer)

Every morning I is going out and snitching new dreams to put in my bottles.**
(The BFG)

Ken Mogi writes about the Japanese concept ofikigai (our reason or purpose for life):

Ikigai resides in the realm of small things.^

If we accept this then each one of us can develop a unique knowledge and talent core to our lives. As we elevate these things we become artists, connecting with our truest self, those around us and with our environments:

when the poet is in his gifted state, the world seems generous, exhaling odours and auras toward him.^^

The limits to this giftedness and gift are unknown to us. Too often we commoditise what we do and, by so doing, create false limits to our lives.

These words – gift and commodity – help us to explore things further. Youngme Moon writes:

We have to eliminate the extraneous in order to shed new light on the fundamental. […] Less is more only when more has become a commodity.

This is the opposite of fanciful. Seth Godin writes about unicorns:

The problem with unicorns … is that there aren’t any. […] Instead of aspiring to unicorn status, a pipe dream which is simply a place to hide, we can instead decide to do something useful (and possible) instead.*^

When it comes to our dreams – the kind we wake up to and want to live each day, the kind that push us beyond our present limits, when we take away the unicorns, what we’re left with is the less that is more.

If you want to see what this looks like, here are some ways for stripping back the commodity in order to find the gift:

Articulate your values …

Identify the talents you have honed over many years …

Notice when you are most energised and when energy is being stolen from you.

These have emerged as critical things when it comes to some of my dreams, snitched at the beginning of a new day – and which I’ll be sharing with a couple of people before the day is over.

(*From Gerd Gigerenzer’s Gut Feelings.)
(**The Big Friendly Giant, from Roald Dahl’s The BFG.)
(^From Ken Mogi’s The Little Book off Ikigai.)
(^^From Lewis Hyde’s The Gift.)
(*^From Seth Godin’s blog: The problem with unicorns … .)