The live-stream video:
Setting: As the dust settles the Patrician speaks with the Captain of the Night Watch (a civilian police force, i.e. of the people not of the state, it is not military – soldiers shoot citizens).
‘It may help you make some sense of the world.’
‘I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are the good people and the bad people,’ said the man. ‘You are wrong of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides.’
He waved his thin hand towards the city and walked over to the window.
‘A great rolling sea of evil,’ he said, almost proprietorially. ‘Shallower in some places, of course, but deeper, oh, so much deeper in others. But people like you put together little rafts of rules and vaguely good intentions and say, this is the opposite, this will triumph in the end. Amazing!’ He slapped Vimes good-naturedly on the back.
‘Down there,’ he said, ‘are people who will follow any dragon, worship any god, ignore any iniquity. All out of a kind of humdrum, everyday badness. Not the really high, creative loathesomeness of the great sinners, but a sort of mass produced darkness of the soul. Sin, you might say, without a trace of originality. They accept the evil not because they say yes, but because the don’t say no’. I’m sorry if this offends you,’ he added, patting the captain’s shoulder, ‘but you fellows really need us.’
‘Yes, sir?’ said Vimes quietly.
‘Oh, yes. We’re the only ones who know how to make things work. You see, the only thing the good people are good at it overthrowing the bad people. And you’re good at that I’ll grant you. But the trouble is that it’s the only thing you’re good at. One day it’s the ringing of the bells and the casting down of the evil tyrant, and the next it’s everyone sitting down complaining that ever since the tyrant was overthrown no-one’s been taking out the trash. Because bad people know how to plan. It’s part of the specification, you might say. Every evil tyrant has a plan to rule the world. The good people don’t seem to have the knack.’
‘Maybe. But you’re wrong about the rest!’ said Vimes. ‘It’s just because people are afraid, and alone–‘ He paused. It sounded pretty hollow, even to him.
He shrugged. ‘They’re just people,’ he said. ‘They’re just doing what people do. Sir.’
Lord Vetinari gave him a friendly smile.
‘Of course, of course,’ he said. ‘You believe that , I appreciate. Otherwise you’d think you’re standing on a feather-thin bridge over the vaults of Hell . Otherwise existence would be a dark agony and the only hope would be that there is no life after death. I quite understand.’ …
Genius and beautifully explained.
So, is there a way off the bridge?
Is there a chance for “goodness”?
I believe so. But it is not some dramatic performance, it is simply about being more universal. It is about letting go of our animal fear and greed. It is about embracing existence and allowing ourselves to reconnect with nature. It is about realising that you are part of the bridge and the abyss and it is only fearful if your ego overpowers you. If you let go of fear, the bridge becomes choice and the abyss a pool of love.
It is simple to follow the path presented by the universe once you have let go. How to let go? Breathe. Think. Flow.
My excuse for being lazy is thinking up new ideas.
So why would I admit to laziness?
Guilt. It’s increasingly clear that people are amazing. Not just celebrities on TV, also regular people. People who make our lives better,. People who work hard for family and friends and good causes. Shop owners, tradespeople, “employees”, and people who don’t have work, resources, maybe even friends, who share their talents and energy to help others. Real people. That’s a challenge to follow. So I’m feeling a bit guilty.
And what were these ideas that I took time off to think up? Continue reading My excuse for being lazy …
(Chapter from How to Get Rich and Famous.)
How do you see yourself? How do you see others? How do you see the world?
And do you see things the same way as other people around you? Even though what you’re looking at is the same thing, we often see them differently.
Perhaps you’ve come across this optical illusion:
Do you see the young lady looking away, or the old lady looking across to the left? Can you see both?
Maybe what you see depends on what you’ve just been thinking about, what you expect to see or how you think about the world. This collage of the young lady, the old lady and both helps us to see the illusion.
As children we are flexible in our views. We’re working everything out. We can be duped easily because we haven’t established what’s real and what isn’t. Have you seen a baby giggle at the game of “Peekaboo!”? But by the time we’re adults we’ve got a firmer idea of what the world is like. Since we rely upon our assumption every day, our ideas become more entrenched, unless we stay open to new information and interpretation. That’s why young people and old people sometimes don’t see eye-to-eye – understandably they see the world differently.
But what about two people with similar profiles who see the world differently? Continue reading Perspective Matters
There have always been stories of blood, death, corruption and pollution but now the consequences are more global and terminal. There is even a rationale argument that we are past tipping point, but I choose to believe that there is still time to change.
Humans are clearly amazing. Just look around you to see the conveniences and contrivances that make life easy and enjoyable. You’re probably reading this on a computer or phone. Isn’t that fantastic?!
And we’re lovely, especially when we’ve had enough to eat and we’re in a good mood. We’re creative – art, music, dance – and innovative.
So how come the systems for peace and justice don’t seem to work? How come the food we buy is poisoned with chemicals? How come the clothes we wear are made by slaves? How come we’re on top and others are below?
Because we’ve stopped being human. We’ve stopped thinking and regressed to primitive instinct and are prodded by rules and advertising to lie and steal. That is a black and white caricature, but it is closer to the truth than we admit.
And how did we get this way?
We looked at our neighbour’s stuff and wanted more. We didn’t care they are the same as us. Or that we’ve pretty much got the same. Or that in order to get the stuff you have to give up really living. We were duped in to thinking that sitting on a throne is more enjoyable than hanging out with friends.
How did that happen? Fear and greed. That’s OK, because it’s natural. At the beginning instinct and survival rule. That model is fine at the beginning, when the beast is starting to develop language and tools. That time has passed. Now it’s about civilisation. We have moved beyond survival, egocentric, controlling, strategic, even tested consensus models. But all of our systems have been exclusive. About US and THEM. And now it’s about more than US or THEM, it’s about more than US and THEM. It’s about everything.
Everything is connected from politics to environment, from work to play, from business to family. So we must use all we know and move beyond exclusive thinking to inclusive thinking.
This starts with putting yourself in the other person’s shoes.
If you don’t want to be … hit, bombed, starved, underpaid, overworked, abused, cheated or lied to, stolen from, … then don’t do those things. And that means all people, and animals too. And realise that plants are the foundation of life so treat them well.
There are responsibilities too. About compassion and generosity to others, about working when you’re getting paid to work, about openness and disclosure, about care for other’s stuff.
It all sounds so simple. Do the right thing the right way. It’s actually not that hard. It even feels good sometimes.
But we don’t all behave that way. We don’t because of ignorance or complacency. Sometimes it’s peer pressure. But when we’re at the top, there’s no excuse. Then we’re just choosing to be corrupt and corrupt the system.
It’s quite clear that we do have the means and understanding to give people the minimum resources and guidance to lead fulfilled lives. But we don’t do that. Half the world starves, a few million (say 30 million people, or less than half a percent (< 0.5%)) have more than that bottom half. You can see that we’ve chosen that because the evidence is all around. We all get to choose the way we live, the stuff we buy, the talk we talk, the jobs we do and when you add it all up, … you get what we’ve got. That’s common sense right?!
We can change. We can do things differently. We could grow up. We could do the things we’re supposed to. We could give more, take less. Be more open, honest. Stop consuming when you’ve had enough. Understand the connection between your choice to buy … food, clothes, furniture, toys, transport, holidays, homes, cars, votes … and the consequences for other people and for the life of earth.
People don’t want to blow themselves up. They might do it out of desperation or ignorance. But they’d rather have a decent life. So deliver resource to live, work and play, deliver education and technology and the freedom to choose. Choose to share.
We joined an eclectic group at Voice Box at the end of June. We were asked to talk for five minutes about Common Sense, a book about people, planet and profit by a venture capitalist. Here is the edited version of the video showing the slides more clearly. Enjoy!
Thanks to Jaspar for great camera work.
The original footage is available at the bottom of this page here.
It sometimes difficult to be aware of what’s going on in the world because they’re not happy thoughts.
This time last week I was hearing about the dark web and bad pharma from a friend, Howard. He runs a small cloud computing business with 30 million units invested in the technology and deals with a more severe IT security threat than your bank or insurance company.
Bad pharma is the unethical behaviour of your favourite pharmaceutical provider. The big names, with the big drugs and the big money at stake. Ethics get bent.
Dark web is the activity on the web by large, powerful organisations operating outside normal society – arms dealing, drugs, slavery, that sort of thing. It happens.
Then there’s the ongoing wars mixed with greed, where people get killed. Iraq, Iran, Syria, Israel, Palestine, …
Of course civilian shootings (sometimes by cops) and other crimes …
And, rather mundane, the financial crisis continues to confound most of us. We are ok without growth. But distortions continue in the way resources end up being shared. Corruption abounds.
On Tuesday, my awareness was raised by an insightful address by President Higgins on the role of speculation in distorting the livelihoods of people who grow food. It was unusual to hear a head of state talking about actual system change.
Generally, those at the top continue to turn a blind eye to lies. So everyone feels the pressure. Technology allows everyone to live without fear, yet most humans fear hunger daily.
It can seem sad.
So, let’s hope the change in the way we behave will seem funny, as we laugh at ourselves waiting so long to make teh change. Then we could enjoy moving away from hierarchy, moving away from fear.
Education will be important. Technology will help. But if we are to outlive “the singularity” we must choose a natural world over a virtual reality. Let’s feel holarchy and enjoy nature.