Oct 3, 2022 • 47M

Smuggling Insight

The art of ‘trojan-horsing’ new thinking, wisdom and wit.

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What-ho, what-ho! Join me, the foxwizard (Dr Jason Fox, bestselling author and rogue philosopher) as I attempt to unravel a semblance of ‘sense’ amidst the perplexities that pertain to living and leading amidst this fraught epoch. Together we shall foray heartily through complexity, ambiguity, paradox and doubt—so as to obtain the freshest, darkest and most dubious fruits of ‘wisdom’ for our combined edification and delight.✦
Episode details

In this episode we explore the fine art of sneaking higher orders of complexity into Enterprise Land, and other domains. Most organisations/egregores/SOCI (self-organising complex intelligences) have immune systems that protect them from new thinking. Ergo, some fox-like cunning is oft required if we are to be effective in our endeavours.

But first: there are still a few tickets available to The Rekindling (happening tomorrow evening). We actually sold out last week, but we’ve since reshuffled the room a little and are opening things up once again. It’s a genuine tension—I want this to be egalitarian and accessible; and yet I also kinda want to allow for a level of intimacy and depth. The ol’ ‘breadth v depth’ conundrum! “Whynotboth.gif” I say, laughing to a sea of blank faces. Then someone walks up and whispers to me that we don’t have the time for both, much to my chagrin.

Anyhoo, we make do! If you and a friend would like to join us this Tuesday 530–7pm (followed by casual local hangs), grab yourselves a ticket at drjasonfox.com/rekindling

Conjured with Midjourney

On slipping past the gatekeepers

This topic was a little too nebulous to distil into an essay; you’ll have to instead enjoy my meandering solipsistic soliloquy. Together, we shall brush up against the following notions:

  • Ideas are threats // all entities tend to ‘like’ whatever meta-stability they’ve found for themselves. Knowing this will have you better ameliorate the default ‘threat response’ they might have.

  • We all have allergies // exaggerated negative responses to particular ideas or propositions. “We all have these emotions, but the metamodernist has developed their mind (what researchers call metacognition) to keep these allergies in check, so as not to let them pollute the capability to make objective judgments and fair analysis. The wisdom is, just because something makes you feel bad, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.” (source)

  • Empathy first // meet folks where they’re at, in their own world. You’re a character in *their* story. Are they well rested? Well fed? Are you meeting them at the level of complexity they have capacity for? How do you show up? What role do you play in their story?

  • The Gifted Horse // packaging up otherwise ‘radical’ new thinking into a form that is recognisable to one’s ontological disposition is the key to slipping past the cognitive gatekeepers of any organisation (individual, egregore or otherwise). Note: this is not at all about ‘lying’ or ‘faking’ anything; it’s about being intentional about which aspects of an otherwise complex/nebulous/unfurling notion we might focus on first, and under what narrative sequencing.

  • Peppering the ground // once you have slipped past the gatekeepers, you’ll want to ensure that the otherwise parasitic processes (discussed in this podcast) don’t hamper the ability to cultivate from within. This can be partially achieved by introducing new conceptual frames into the semiotic ecology via ‘downward comparison’. Essentially, you want to make folks more aware of default tendencies and constructs. These usually remain invisible day-to-day, but distinctions like ‘the delusion of progress’ can help. I sometimes also instil the notion of ‘the human centipede of knowledge’; an unfortunate yet potent concept that has folks considering the source of that which informs their decisions. This, in turn, instills a kind of epistemological humility along with a yearning for quality. In most.

  • ····· In the podcast I mentioned the layers of misconception and warped narrative one must wade through to get closer to what’s really happening. Akin to diving through a thick layer of oil and floating rubbish first, in order to reach the purer waters below. Many of us have, for example, default allergies to words like ‘crypto’ and ‘carbon offsets’—and rightfully so! Yet for many, this precludes them from ever accessing a deeper and truer insight of what is actually emerging in the space, and the inherent potential therein. A green blockchain summit happened last week, with panel sessions involving key players in the carbon and blockchain space. (‘Green’ is an allergy-trigger for me). I love how simultaneously disenchanting and re-enchanting such events are (it’s humans trying to coordinate for environmental outcomes in a relatively decentralised and transparent way). Whilst I would’t say this it top rung human centipede, insights from events like this are much better than the lower rung content many of us feed on. ·····

  • Cultivate trust // we co-create each other. You are not the hero come with the solution to ‘fix’ an organisation. Such metaphors work for complicated systems, but not the complex relational systems of people, teams, organisations, soci. This is not the time for hero consultants—we need to move quietly and plant things.

  • A relative utopia // not a utopia. Beware any singular vision of utopia, as such visions oft harbour an element of the tyrannical. Instead, set your sextant to the nebulous cluster of visions—a constellation of potential north stars—that offer a directionality towards relative utopia. “We are trying to achi­eve a self-organization of society that is happier, in a profound sense of the word, than anything that has gone before it. But we’re not saying it’s going to be a perfect world. In fact, we’re saying it’s going to be as mess­y and risky as ever. More complex. Why should we expect any­thing else, when hist­ory—cultural, geological and astronomical—has thus far meant explosive increases of com­plex­ity?” (source; thanks again Hanzi)

Anyway, that’s a gist of what the podcast covers. I had literal springtime allergies, so my voice didn’t quite have the qualities of enunciation I would otherwise aspire to. I’m sure I ambled my way into a few unproductive tangents, too. But if you are inclined to listen, you might enjoy.

As I write this, another element comes to mind. Quite fitting, with regards to smuggling insight, wisdom and wit into the finite constructs of enterprise land. It comes from James P. Carse, for it seems I cannot write any museletter without venerating this sage.

“Storytellers do not convert their listeners; they do not move them into the territory of a superior truth. Ignoring the issue of truth and falsehood altogether, they offer only vision. Storytelling is therefore not combative; it does not succeed or fail. A story cannot be obeyed. Instead of placing one body of knowledge against another, storytellers invite us to return from knowledge to thinking, from a bounded way of looking to an horizonal way of seeing.”

To play the infinite game is to subvert combat. This is not the case of one idea ‘winning’ over another, but of cultivating the shifts that give rise to the moves that serve to continue the play (towards a richer unfurling of complexity, one hopes).

And so, frens, as ever, I wish us well in the infinite everquest to co-create a world more curious and kind. 🧡


PS: Now is a very good time to be planting the seeds for the *rituals* that make for kinship, meaning and progress. Some of my fellow infinite players are already getting end of year wrap-ups booked in. Some of my forward thinking clients are also planting the seeds for meaningful kick-offs in early 2023. In any event, I can be your wizard. 🧙🏻‍♂️