simon hodges
Simon Hodges in full flow

I had a cool meeting with Simon Hodges in Amsterdam last week. He’s a Story Telling professional and someone whose company I immensely enjoy.

During the course of a pretty wild-ranging discussion, he basically asked me: what do I believe in? What do I want to see in the future?

The question made me realise that in many ways, I have been defining myself negatively for some time now: by what I DON’T believe in. I have been intimidated by not really being able to accurately describe what it is that I DO believe in while being pretty clear about what I believe is broken, wrong or bad in this world.

Further, I realised that by doing this, I am limiting myself and my opportunities for growth and development. Like the little engine who said “Can’t” my negative definitions do not provide any forward impetus.

So I took a stab at it. This is where I am going. I don’t think it’s quite the finished product, but it makes for some interesting thinking.

What do I want to change?
I want to see an increase in intellectualism as an antidote to the aggressive anti-intellectual atmosphere we all currently exist in. I want to resist the deliberate dumbing-down of just about everything. But I want to see a practical and community oriented intellectualism. One not divorced from everyday reality in Ivory Towers but shared, applied, shaped and used by everyone

once upon a timePart of this is of course that their needs to be higher education for all. Thinking skills training for everyone.

I see creativity as a key to unlocking this kind of potential in people. What is creativity but the idea that you can alter the reality around you? It’s a process of going, ok, I have got this thing and this skill, and I have this thought, and if I combine these 3 things I now have a new thing which my skill shaped to express this thought… that’s amazing

If you realise you can do that (and we all can) you must surely bound forward to the next step which is, then I can change the world I experience, how I experience it and what that experience means to me and to others. I don’ have to accept what I see and feel or hear and smell. Through creativity I can change it.

And as we have seen through experiment after experiment, when people act differently, they think differently, when they think differently, they act differently. It doesn’t matter which way you come at it, the net result is still change

So if you conceive of something new, you think new things, then your behaviour WILL change… which means your reality WILL change. It’s like dominoes. It’s simple. Maybe that’s why the BIG LIE exists, maybe that’s why it’s so popular, so reinforced: that only the select super talent, not-understandable genius individuals are really creative.

IamsterdamThis is where a little bit of magic comes in: where if we believe in something enough, we can make it happen. But only if we act as well. The golf clubs of your favourite hero may not actually be magic, but believing they give you an edge may well actually give you an edge. It’s time to find that piece of stardust, the twinkle in the eye, the magic we all remember from our youth.

Because if we all thought we could do what we really wish to do all the time, the world would be a very different place to what it is now. What a goddam scary thought. For all of us. Holy shit, WE might actually not only be responsible for the mess we live in, but have the power to change it. How awful, how frightening, how truly… BAD!

If we did accept that responsibility and that we have that power, would our world be any better? I don’t know, but surely anything different is better than the fucked up world we live in now?

“The world is fucked
And so am I
Maybe it’s the other way round
Can’t seem to decide.”
Stop It You’re Killing Me – Therapy? (Troublegum 1994)

Troublegum