Fear, Loathing and Limbic Hijacking #34 #cong21


Where we are going is a not nice, it is not safe; where we’re going isn’t going to be fun. We may have finally realised that the only thing we know for sure is that we don’t know anything for sure.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Face & embrace your fear
  2. Learn how to learn
  3. Make sense and orient yourself
  4. Don’t wait until it’s too late

About Gar Mac Críosta

Dad, Architect, Socio-technologist, Dog owner & Walker, Tinkerer, Connecting People & Ideas, Certain I’m Uncertain that Continuously Curious

Contacting Gar Mac Críosta

You can connect with Gar on LinkedIn.

By Gar Mac Críosta

Litany Against Fear

“I must not fear.

Fear is the mind-killer.

Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.

I will face my fear.

I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path.

Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

Dune, Frank Herbert

Where we are going is a not nice, it is not safe; where we’re going isn’t going to be fun. We may have finally realised that the only thing we know for sure is that we don’t know anything for sure. But soon enough we will forget, we will lapse comfortably, wrapped in the warm blankets of certainty on cushions of prediction. But the blankets are now threadbare and the cushions are empty.

The only true wisdom consists in knowing that you know nothing.”

– Socrates

We’ve built a world based on the value of certainty the value of knowledge. The idea that we must know things to have value. Those in leadership positions suffer most from this, the expectation is clear your worth is in your knowledge. And never more so that in the middle of this pandemic.

What happens when we don’t know, when we can’t know, when unexpected events happen and unpredictable circumstances emerge?

We’ve found ways of hiding when things don’t work, enter big transformation programs. When we are stuck we hire some consultants (the bigger the better). We reorganise/transform; the mistakes are consigned to the past. Nearly all of this falls into the Theatre of Knowing. We must appear to know what to do and if in doubt we hire others who must know what to do. The strategies we generate are derivative. As higher primates we have learned how to mimic each other; the mimicry perpetuates the myth that we know. Ideas are constrained onto what fits on a PowerPoint slide (16:9 to give it that widescreen pizzazz), symmetry is important, things are neat and organised. When the deck is ready we are done, we get the satisfaction that comes with completion even though in reality nothing has even started.

We do this mostly because it’s safer and it’s cognitively easier. Dealing with uncertainty is expensive — socially, emotionally, politically and most of all cognitively.

I have a theory that the truth is never told during the nine-to-five hours.

— Hunter S. Thompson

But how else could it be? The other road is full of uncertainties and uncertainty causes unease & unrest. Fear grows with uncertainty, fear for the future, fear for my position, fear for my status, fear for my safety. It so much easier to wallow in the analgesia of a well crafted PowerPoint deck delivered in a reassuring tone by the loathsome Certainty Merchants. The wise grey heads who seen it all before…..

They seduce us into believing that we live in an ordered world even the unexpected is expected. A whole generation of leaders have been limbically hijacked; they fear the consequences of stepping into the unknown.

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.

— Hunter S. Thompson

We must develop the ability to smell the wind and orient ourselves, making sense of where we are. We can’t always live in an orderly predictable paradise. We can’t keep selling this to others and we have to stop believing in our and others ability to predict, it’s more dangerous now than ever.

But the truth is that we should embrace the lesson in the Litany Against Fear and face our fear of uncertainty, accept that we don’t know and we can’t know. Be curious, be puzzled, LEARN. We need to (re)learn how to learn. The future we’re going to could be fun but it’s unlikely to be safe.

A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.

— Hunter S. Thompson

Conspire, Collude, Corrupt, Compete & Collapse #55 #cong20


Coming Soon

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Wake-up
  2. Find ways to to breath the same air
  3. Play together
  4. Seek together
  5. And maybe we survive together

About Gar Mac Críosta

Gar Mac Críosta is an IASA certified architect and spends much of his time trying to figure out what being a sociotechnologist is; so he can be one. He regularly engages in humane human experiments and is very certain that he spends most of his time being uncertain. Currently (since March 2020) he is the Product Lead for the COVID Tracker App in the Health Service Executive (HSE) in Ireland (www.covidtracker.ie) a COVID-19 pandemic response app. Gar has worked as a Digital Advisor to the CIO in the HSE since early 2019. Gar is the founder of Business Model Adventures and has been an active contributor to IASA Global since 2006, developing & delivering education and certification programs. Gar has facilitated the development of change programs with C-level executives, senior managers, technology leaders, and executives in the areas of business model innovation, digital strategy, architecture, and design across various indus­tries. Gar is a Certified Architect Professional (IASA CITAP), a Fellow of the Irish Computer Society, a LEGO Serious Play Practitioner (LSP) and in the process of becoming a Cynefin Practitioner.

Contacting Gar Mac Críosta:

Coming Soon

By Gar Mac Críosta

Conversations about the future tend to hinge around what it will look like when we get there. How things will be better, fairer, more just, more equal. If you had a subatomic particle sieve that you could push our universe through i don’t believe you will find one ounce of fair, one atom of justice. We the talking monkeys on the back of this organic space ship who at this point after 200,000 years of development have a story about ourselves that includes the ideas of heroes/villains, good/bad, right/wrong, success/failure, friend/foe. These are all stories that we use to make sense of the world we briefly inhabit, they are passed down, distilled, washed and amended to suit. We can tell ourselves these beautiful stories and it’s entertaining, hopeful and optimistic. It also gives us a sense of certainty we imbue the story with belief, we invest time, we give this future, life and we jointly share it with each other.

We have created a story about the way the world works and for many people we cannot see this matrix-like weaving of story internally, communally and globally that traps us into a system that is adversarial, self-terminating and running out of time unless the techno-optimists dreams come true (Mars, Meteors and more).

If we accept that we are in some ways trapped in this mesh of stories in a potentially self-terminating system then waking up from this can be quite scary. It’s easier to cling to these fantasies. This situation is compounded by the increasingly partisan nature of communications, the pollution of the information ecology and an increase in mis-information and dis-information. Our loss of self and loss of sovereignty render us like a neotenous newborn who cannot survive outside of the current system.

Wake Up

  • How do we wake up and what do we do if we wake up? I’m not an naive idealistic believer that this will all magically fix itself. I’ve got the baggage and the mental malware associated with 20+ years of work plus 20+ years of education running inside my cranium. Leave aside the bad code – the wiring isn’t great and the plumbing could do with some work.
  • That said the conversations I’ve been having over the past 36 months give me a sense that there is an increased awakening and recognition not just of the immediate risks but rather of the the existential risks and generator functions that are leading us down a self-terminating path.
  • Waking up is not just being alive to possibilities it’s about investing time in the development of self – (not just woo
  • -woo self development stuff) our relationship to information and our relationship to others. This is real development of self with relation to sensemaking and choicemaking, our relationship to others, our ability to engage in the world in a different way are a prereq to anything.
  • Given the scale of the problem this is not one we can tackle alone, nor is one person (definitely not me) able to make sense of it all, therefore collective sensemaking will be needed.
  • Cong is a place where we get to glimpse, we meet, we share and we marvel with others who are in varying degrees of waking up and some still sound asleep. What do we do next?
  • Well we make some moves and throw some shapes and see what happens. The moves we make will use familiar words in unfamiliar ways.

Conspire – breathing together

  • conspiremake secret plans jointly to commit an unlawful or harmful act breathing together with
  • etymology – fromcon– ‘together with’ + spirare ‘breathe’.
  • Conspire has such a bad name but unless we breath the same air and plot together we will never get out and make progress. The unlawful or harmful nature is only with relation to the current prevailing story and narrative. If our goal is to break free we need to mentally unhook ourselves from the shackles of this story. Breaking the mold is never comfortable, but finding people to explore idea and breath the same air is a start. Cong is one such place to start to breathe the same air.

Collude – playing together