There’s a notion I’m trying to catch in my trampoline mindscape of quotes and collectibles that’s hiding in the spaces between truth and trust. It was prompted by Scientists: Earth Endangered by New Strain of Fact-Resistant Humans
Scientists have discovered a powerful new strain of fact-resistant humans who are threatening the ability of Earth to sustain life, a sobering new study reports.
The research, conducted by the University of Minnesota, identifies a virulent strain of humans who are virtually immune to any form of verifiable knowledge, leaving scientists at a loss as to how to combat them.
“These humans appear to have all the faculties necessary to receive and process information,” Davis Logsdon, one of the scientists who contributed to the study, said. “And yet, somehow, they have developed defenses that, for all intents and purposes, have rendered those faculties totally inactive.”
As a truth seeker and trust builder I find this both perplexing and intriguing.
Love Ken Burns. He tells the truth. His work makes me cry. Probably not the work you may think –The National Parks: America’s Best Idea makes me lose it. And I love it. The video above is a snippet from a short documentary about the craft of storytelling, where he explains his lifelong mission to wake the dead:
You know the common story is one plus one equals two, we get it. But all stories are really, the real genuine stories, are about one and one equaling three. That’s what I’m interested in.
We live in a rational world where absolutely we’re certain that one and one equals two, and it does. But the things that matter most to us, some people call it love, some people call it God, some people call it reason, is that other thing where the whole is greater than the some of its parts, and that’s the three.
Jean Luc Goddard said cinema is truth 24 times a second. Maybe. It’s lying 24 times a second too, all the time, all story is manipulation. Is there acceptable manipulation? You bet. People say oh boy, I was so moved to tears in your film. That’s a good thing? That was, I manipulated that. That’s part of storytelling. I didn’t do it dis-genuinely, I did it sincerely, I am moved by that too, that’s manipulation. Truth is we hope a byproduct of the best of our stories and yet there are many, many different kinds of truths and an emotional truth is something that you have to build.
This is the phrase that leapt out at me, the bit about how story can be a reassuring vehicle of truth and connection about one of the hardest things that we all have to deal with- our mortality:
We have to keep the wolf from the door, you know, we tell stories to continue ourselves. We all think an exception is going to be made in our case and we’re going to live forever, and being a human is actually arriving at the understanding that that’s not going to be, story is there to just remind us that it’s just okay.
My brain made a leap to this interaction from So long, and thanks for all the fish by Douglas Adams
“Do you want to have a good time?” said a voice from a doorway. “I have a very special service for rich people …”
“Oh yes?” said Ford, intrigued but careful. And what’s that?”
“I tell them it’s OK to be rich.”
I want to be a champion of enabling the ability to perceive the truth, to feel it, to be moved by it and to be transformed by it. I need to find a way to craft a “tell” so that my audiences can read the difference between “a truth” (story) and “the truth” (fact/proof). But mostly a signifier to say that it’s OK. It’s OK to trust. It’s OK it to change.
“You what?” he said. The girl laughed and stepped forward a little out of the shadow. She was tall, and had that kind of self-possessed shyness which is a great trick if you can do it.
“It’s my big number,” she said. “I have a Master’s degree in Social Economics, and can be very convincing. People love it. Especially in this city.”
Filed under: Get Activist
It’s very easy to forget how privileged I am.
Recently I sat in my father’s kitchen in Mexico defending against the idea that the world is a darker and crueller place.
I had to laugh. I’d travelled across continents alone to be there, stopping along the way to have my voice heard and opinions sought. For me it isn’t dark. I have economic, intellectual, sexual and social freedoms not afforded to almost the entirety of womankind ’till now. But that only means that I have the responsibility to share a bit of the light to those that need it most.
I vividly remember my mother having to get my Dad to co-sign the loan on her first business. As a result every Kiva loan I have supports a woman in the developing world trying to support her family by her skills brought to fruition through having access to a sewing machine.
‘Because I am a Girl’ is Plan’s global campaign designed to fight gender inequality, promote girls’ rights and lift millions of girls out of poverty. Across the globe, girls are at the bottom of the social ladder, deprived of the same opportunities as boys. For example,research has shown that girls are more likely to suffer from malnutrition; be forced into an early marriage; be subjected to violence or intimidation; be trafficked, sold or coerced into the sex trade; or become infected with HIV.
The campaign is based on a series of reports titled Because I am a Girl: The State Of The World’s Girls. To be published between2007–2015 from Plan International, these reports examine the rights and needs of girls throughout their childhood, adolescence and as young women – and how they are uniquely placed to break the cycles of intergenerational poverty gripping many people in developing countries.
Six of the eight Millennium Development Goals – the goals set by the world’s governments in 2000 to halve world poverty by 2015 – are unlikely to be achieved unless there is a greater international commitment to the fight against gender discrimination.Plan recognises that we have to address gender discrimination as a priority if we want to tackle the root causes of child poverty.Therefore we have made the commitment to ‘address gender inequality and the numerous ways in which the rights of girls and women are particularly denied and violated’ (Plan Program Framework, 2009–2013). This is the focus of the ‘Because I am a Girl’ campaign and will better enable Plan to achieve our overall mandate as a child-centred community development organisation, committed to child poverty eradication and all children accessing their rights.
You can download the 2010 Because I am a Girl report, ‘Digital and Urban Frontiers: Girls in a Changing Landscape’
You can find out how to support Because I’m a Girl here
And you can remember. You can be aware that the ease and access you enjoy now was built by the strength and sacrifice of generations before you. You can’t repay them but you can acknowledge your debt by lighting bridges of hope, access and equality for others. Shiny.
Austin Kleon’s TEDxPennQuarter talk is centered around a flowchart that compares his own publishing journey with what he was taught in college was the traditional route of becoming a published author. Looking at the chart, it strikes you that no matter what route you take, everything always comes back to the simplest beginning:
Write something good.
I’m the hugest fan…as he says: Keep making things.
Jack Thompson- could your delivery or timing be any better?
the future I might aspire to- the past I remember with pleasure
life’s crowning glory is the here and now
Developed by Sophie Weldon, the founder of Youth for UNHCR and one of two Special Youth Representatives for Australia. She’s also a resident at the Vibewire Enterprise Hub.
Recently Wired had Clay Shirky and Daniel Pink sit down for a conversation about motivation and media, social networking, sitcoms, and why the hell people spend their free time editing Wikipedia.
I’m a huge Shirky fan, but of particular interest to me was the Wired contributing editor and the author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. I love Pink’s thinking about the power of the three drives that can be utilised in the workplace : Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose, and I’m also pretty sweet on the RSA Animate series that has brought it to life in the presentation above
Here’s a bit of the interview transcript:
Pink: We have a biological drive. We eat when we’re hungry, drink when we’re thirsty, have sex to satisfy our carnal urges. We also have a second drive—we respond to rewards and punishments in our environment. But what we’ve forgotten—and what the science shows—is that we also have a third drive. We do things because they’re interesting, because they’re engaging, because they’re the right things to do, because they contribute to the world. The problem is that, especially in our organizations, we stop at that second drive. We think the only reason people do productive things is to snag a carrot or avoid a stick. But that’s just not true. Our third drive—our intrinsic motivation—can be even more powerful.
Pink: Both of us cite research from University of Rochester psychologist Edward Deci showing that if you give people a contingent reward—as in “if you do this, then you’ll get that”—for something they find interesting, they can become less interested in the task. When Deci took people who enjoyed solving complicated puzzles for fun and began paying them if they did the puzzles, they no longer wanted to play with those puzzles during their free time. And the science is overwhelming that for creative, conceptual tasks, those if-then rewards rarely work and often do harm.
Shirky: You talk about the laws of behavioral physics working differently in practice from what we believe in theory.
Pink: Yes, often these outside motivators can give us less of what we want and more of what we don’t want. Think about that study of Israeli day care centers, which we both write about. When day care centers fined parents for being late to pick up their kids, the result was that more parents ended up coming late. People no longer felt a social obligation to behave well.
I think that the fundamental premise that organisations that link purpose and profit motives are more innovative and have greater long-term financial sustainability is a powerful one. Everybody needs to win when we’re designing what business goals looks like. Customers, employees and shareholders. And not a token ribbon for participation either. Everyone needs to feel like a winner, feel like they’ve backed one and are part of a winning team.
Time for some Seth Godin and his Simple five step plan for just about everyone and everything:
1. Go, make something happen.
2. Do work you’re proud of.
3. Treat people with respect.
4. Make big promises and keep them.
5. Ship it out the door.
When in doubt, see #1
I wrote a piece a while back, ‘user pays’, that explored how artists can now use technology to directly pay for their work. This would seem to be a good thing and an example where you can put ‘good business’ into practice. You are the client when you consume art/content/stuff that someone else/an artist/musician has made. You expect to be paid for your work why shouldn’t artists?
It cause quite a bit of commentary:
How many artists have kids and a mortgage?? If it is an ‘artist’ – truly – then demographic stereotypes are shifty and illusory
Comment by lucy November 24, 2009
artists aren’t demographic stereotypes they’re people
I think the point might be: why shouldn’t artists have kids and mortgages? Why shouldn’t productive, creative, innovative people producing work that people want be able to have an income that provides a sustainable lifestyle?
Comment by katiechatfield November 25, 2009
Love micropayments – but nanopayments? LastFM pays $0.005 per play. As music lovers: where are our boundaries for this new kind of serfdom to music distributors?
I was on the phone with a dealer who’d reached out to me about some kind of business proposal. At the end of the conversation I thanked him and said that it was a nice change of pace to have someone reach out to me, because most dealers haven’t exactly been receptive to what we’re doing. And he said, “Are you kidding? I fucking hated what you were doing when I first heard about it. I thought it was horrible and bad for the art world. But the more I looked at what you were doing and how, I realized that it’s the future of the business.” That was awesome.
I want everyone to collect art. I want people to be embarrassed if they don’t have a collection that they’re proud of and can talk about. Because that means that their homes will be happier, and that artists are being supported on a grand scale which will make for a better society. And I believe it’s the first time in history that it’s possible.
I’m looking forward to seeing how projects like Fundbreak might seed a little change here. It’s a crowdfunding platform developed for artists, musicians, filmmakers, journalists, designers, entrepreneurs, inventors to raise funds and give the project creators the break they need to realise their goals and aspirations.
Again it will mean that artists will be asking you to fund art. Until then: maybe it’s time for a boundary check. How much does art contribute to your life? And how much are you willing to pay to keep it?
Filed under: Get Activist
The ad is written by Richard Curtis and stars Bill Nighy.
A British coalition of charities and unions has launched a campaign The Robin Hood tax for a tax on speculative banking transactions.
The ‘Robin Hood Tax’ targets financial institutions who were bailed out using public money during the global financial crisis.
The idea is to direct the money to public services, poverty relief and addressing climate change.
For an Australian perspective you can listen to ABC’s Life Matters program which interviewed Max Lawson, Senior Policy Advisor, Oxfam U.K and Professor Neil Warren from the Australian School of Taxation, University of New South Wales. They have a chat about it here.
I’d have to agree: Not complicated. Just brilliant.