Waiting for the apocalypse

From Dave Pollard’s latest blog post

The audiences that I have met are, at heart, believers in one form or another of what I have called “magical thinking”. They believe that the crises we face today can be resolved by education or persuasion or activism or prayer or innovation or greater consciousness or a million small acts of intelligence and kindness, or some combination of the above. And that through this resolution we will be able, somehow, to continue to live the privileged, resource-exhausting, extravagant life that we have come to see as the only way to live, and perhaps even allow the 90% of humans who can now only dream of such a life (and probably do, as they see it depicted in the ubiquitous global media) to share in it as well.

I wonder why I do not challenge this belief, which, I can see in the eyes of many I meet these days, is becoming ever more tenuous, more doubtful. Magical thinking continues now, I suspect, not because people really believe it, but because they want to believe it, they cannot bear to not believe it. I should, if I am a believer in taking my own medicine, be “naming” this doubt, this foolish magical thinking. As the “Naming” card in the Group Works deck says: “Call it out, stating directly what is perceived. Naming functions to birth things not yet recognized by the group, sometimes things that are taboo… to name can be to transform.”

So what if I were to stand up in front of a group of business people or a group of believers in the power of public engagement, and tell them I believe everything they were doing was a waste of time, of energy, of their lives (and why I believe that)? What if I were to tell them that I want them to learn to be better “group process facilitators”, not so that their organizations will be more innovative or better learning environments, and not so that they will be better able to achieve consensus and creative ideas to transform our industrial growth society, but because our 30,000 year old human civilization is about to come to a crashing halt over the next 50-75 short years, and deep and broad group process skills are going to be absolutely essential to coping with this crash?

Yep.  We are so toast.  And we don’t even know it yet.  We will curse those who knew what was coming for their lack of success in translating that fearful knowledge, in spreading the right skills.  But of course, knowing what is coming and having the ability to help individuals and groups get the right skills are utterly utterly unrelated. You could easily have one without the other.  And those that have the social status for the former have probably expended so much social, emotional and intellectual capital to get that status that the other skill-set, so amorphous and potentially-career-impeding, is just not there…

What is to be done?  Dance and drink and screw, because there’s nothing else to do…


About dwighttowers

Below the surface...
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