‘Where is my mind? Way out across the water, see it swimming.’
From “Where is my mind?”, The Pixies, Surfer Rosa, 1988 written by Black Francis
Is an only child a lonely child? Is it possible to be lonely in a crowd? What is it about how I grew up that makes me make different connections from inputs than you do from the same inputs?Most of us have no idea what is really going on inside our heads. In so many, important ways, we are simply slaved to the biological imperatives behind our mental processes:
- Spot and stick to patterns to avoid risk to life and limb.
- Be a part of the herd in order to stay safe and share the load of providing for our needs.
- Differentiate yourself from the others in the herd to earn a mate.
- Spot the gap in the way things have always been done in order to gain competitive advantage.
So many of these imperatives are deeply contradictory and yet most of us are blissfully unaware of this, speaking with certainty about ‘who we are’ and ‘how I do things’ as if these were conscious, carefully thought out things instead of a genetic legacy combined with a good deal of mimicry and very little intellectual rumination or insight.
As any psychologist will tell you, some 80% of what we will ever know is learned before we turn 5. And yet we will resist changing our behaviour even when it no longer serves us claiming that it is key to our identity. What, your identity as a 5-year-old?
In many ways, our resistance to change is rooted in this intellectual uncertainty. It is as if we fear and hesitate about new knowledge as if how long a piece of knowledge has been in our brain is somehow influential. We seem the same with companies. Nothing is so prized as ‘how we have always done things’ even when the world we act in has so radically changed.
Human technology has changed the face of the earth is less than 200 years. Yet biologically humans have changed very little at the same time. And mentally it appears we have changed very little too.
We still engage in dichotomous behaviour, fight or flight, fuck or fight, stay or go, accept or reject. Polarities that throw us into unnecessary conflict, unspeakable abuse and unsustainable resistance to change.
We are adamant that who we are is absolute and sovereign and unchanging. This while it is easily and logically obvious that each and every piece of knowledge we have is a creation in the moment, dependent on our experience… a layer cake of indefinite complexity that can change in seconds, depending on what layer is added next.
If we all changed out behaviour tomorrow, our friends would not recognise us, even though ‘we’ haven’t changed… except that we have, because all anyone else has is how you act, not having access to how you think.
The only way out of this spiral of contradiction and unconscious behaviour is decision, creative activation and conscious change: the embracing of the responsibility for our own determination and the rejecting of everything you have been told.
Yet instead of this, we have Uber and Airbnb doing nothing but distributing middle-class capital slightly differently. Disrupting nothing, improving nothing for those that have nothing.
Human potential will be lost if humans do not start to do something about improving the lot of all humans, beginning with improving our ideas of who, how and why we are, instead of repeating the time-worn litanies of the past.
If you want to be truly disruptive, reject the story of your origins, question the validity of how it has always worked… come up for yourself and your fellow man by refusing to accept that things can be no other way.
Stop reinforcing these random and arbitrary boundaries between us known as countries or nationalities and start focussing on what is going to save the human race from itself.
Come on, do yourself a favour.