“Does anyone seriously believe the American establishment — Walmart, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, the trustees of Ivy League universities, the major sports leagues, even Brooks Brothers, for God’s sake — would sign on to a movement that genuinely threatened its material interests? And yet these and many other firms and institutions are falling over themselves to express solidarity with the ‘uprising’, some going so far as to donate millions of dollars to Black Lives Matter, an outfit that lists among its objectives the abolition of the nuclear family.”–Sohrab Ahmari

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Seth Godin on Organizing

I’ll tell you a story about how I think about organizing.

I went to the engineering school at Tufts for college. One of the classes I took there was an invention design class.

Our first assignment was to build a case for all the freshmen to organize their tools in.

Back then, every freshman was given about 30 tools to help them do their work — things like a protractor, a mechanical pencil, and a fancy ruler. And we had to build a case for them.

The freshmen would use the case for two weeks, and then we would get a report back about whether it was useful.

Everyone else in the class spent hours and hours building these ornate, beautiful cases that had custom foam inserts that were cut out to organize just the right tool in just the right place. So you’d have a space exactly cut out for your protractor, and a space exactly cut out for your ruler. And everything would be neat and tidy and organized.
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The Mantra

From that supposed Welshman, Ianto Watt:

Here’s the drill, Private. The American version of Mao’s Chi-Coms are running wild, but only in Sector R (all you FireSign Theatre fans who will understand this allusion). Sector R is colored blue, if you haven’t noticed. If you’re trapped in the Blue Sector, there’s only one answer when they demand you kneel before their Black Flag. You have to tell them that only kneel before God. And God created all men. There’s only one race, the Human Race. And we’re all equally created before Him. If I were to bow before someone simply based on the difference in skin color, I would be saying there’s more than one race. My belief says that’s not true. And the name of this belief is ‘Catholic’. We’re not allowed to be willingly stupid. That’s called sin.

Catholic? Yeah, sure! You’re Catholic, too. Sure you are. You’ve been baptized, right? Well then, you’re Catholic, idiot. Don’t take offense, brother, most Catholics are idiots, too. Relax. Sure, you may see yourself as a Little ‘c’ Catholic, but that’s okay. If you’ve been baptized, we’re brothers. And Purgatory will cleanse us both (get ready, idiots). Me too. I’m an idiot as well. I’ve got plenty of my own baggage.
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Krulak’s law

The experience people have with your brand is in the hands of the person you pay the least.

Act accordingly.

(This involves training, trust, responsibility, leadership, dignity, authority, management and investment. It mostly means seeing the front-line people in your organization as priceless assets, not cheap cogs.)–Seth Godin

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When is it Too Soon?

“If we’re holding back because we think someone (or the culture) might not be ready to give us what we want, it’s probably a good instinct. Nobody likes to be hustled.

“But if you’re hoping to contribute, particularly if it makes you feel a little uncomfortable, then go ahead. It’s probably not too soon. Or never too late.

“People almost always want a smile, a kind word or a hand up sooner than we think and for longer than we imagine.”–Seth Godin

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Me and Bill Gibson

I’ve gradually become less of a fan of Gibson, after years of reading one after another of his books. His first few, Neuromancer, Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive with enthusiasm, later ones with somewhat less as I actually got involved in middling-early (pre-WWW) Internet and the world of UNIX and actual technology.

Cheryl, my sister-in-law sold Gibson a house so we started getting autographed hard-copies starting in ’93, and I read them, but gradually lost interest in dystopian SciFi. So, when Kevin Kelly linked to this interview which referred to a new novel Agency I didn’t immediately run out and buy it, but was interested enough to read it (“do I have agency” being a test for “how to stay out of trouble with stuff going on around me” these days). His thought of using a “fuckedness quotient” as a guiding light for creativity might explain how it is that my interest has tapered off,

Still, in the interview, he says, “I think I’ve learned that we need, individually, to find those areas in our lives where we do possess agency, and attempt to use it appropriately. And it seems to me that’s evidenced most attractively in maintaining an operative sense of humor.”

Can’t argue too much with that. Might peek at his new novel and give it a taste – Kindle’s “Free Samples” are a god-send while I can’t get to a library.

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The More Things Change…

Today (or maybe yesterday, or according to Wikipedia, August 14!) seems to be Kevin Kelly’s 68th b’day. Saw this link to 68 things he’s learned. Some good ‘uns.

Paging back through his “Technium” posts, There are a few things I’d like to keep track of.

I wonder how well this will age (from January 9, 2020):
This is true: “To a degree still difficult for outsiders to absorb, China is preparing to shape the twenty-first century, much as the U.S. shaped the twentieth.” From the must read article:

Or this one:
The question “why do the Chinese people like their current government?” is answered here with great intelligence, insight and empathy. I think this article is 100% correct from my personal experience of my extensive time in China. Link

His more recent Technium posts have some good reflections on the Virus situation as it unfolded, but as it’s still unfolding as we creep up on the end of April, why not leave it at that…

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Not Giving a, er, Darn

“This is what is so admirable. No, not me, dumbass—the overcoming adversity stuff, the willingness to be different, an outcast, a pariah, all for the sake of one’s own values. The willingness to stare failure in the face and shove your middle finger back at it. The people who don’t give a fuck about adversity or failure or embarrassing themselves or shitting the bed a few times. The people who just laugh and then do what they believe in anyway.”

“They say, ‘Fuck it,’ not to everything in life, but rather to everything unimportant in life.”

—Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

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The Forgotten ‘Third’

There is little doubt that Western infatuation with Eastern spiritual disciplines, ostensibly designed to transcend or extinguish the illusion of the ‘Ego’, has reached an impasse. Instead of offering an alternative way to transforming Western consciousness, these disciplines have been converted into subtle devices for enhancing its insatiable desire for light, power and control. Once again it is as in the old Chinese saying “If the wrong man uses the right means, the right means works in the wrong way.” In effect, it is the Western belief in the right method irrespective of the man who applies it that seems to be responsible for the impasse, because method alone, divorced from the psyche, only breeds the delusion of technical omnipotence.

What has in fact ensued from the artificial transplantation of Eastern values into Western soil is a kind of “spiritual materialism” — using “spiritual activities” in order to bolster and enrich one’s ego. We may call this phenomenon the hydra syndrome: like the mythical Hydra whose cut-off head is always replaced by two others, the adept’s ‘innermost self’, the perennially selfsame and boring ego, aching for transcendence, appears to reemerge, strengthened and solidified, as a direct result of the methodical attempt to cut it down to size. Another word for this sort of uncontrollable growth is hubris, misleadingly translated “pride.” Hubris is from the Greek hubridzo which means “to run riot.” Applied here it denotes that frantic search for new spiritual experiences issuing in “the mania of an ego’s vertigo, endlessly spinning about its own center.” In a larger setting hubris is the flaw of a grotesquely excessive masculinity and rationality.

From Roberts Avens, Imagination is Reality, p. 4-5

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What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

–Lynn Ungar

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