Fight for your rights

November 25th, 2014

We must stop being so gullible and have the courage to stand up and fight for our rights, combining protest with boycott.

We must get out of our societal straightjackets, because blind obedience leads to exploitation and authoritarianism. And in the age of transnationalism, authoritarianism is not just a political phenomenon.

Think of rights as muscles. We have to use them, otherwise they’ll become weaker and weaker and ultimately disappear.

“Freedom is the sure possession of those alone,
who have the courage to defend it.“
(Pericles, statesman and general)

Take a chance

November 25th, 2014

Change is impossible, if we’re not be prepared to leave our comfort zone, to take risks and to fail on occasion.

Can you imagine Armstrong, Collins and Aldrin insisting on a round trip ticket to the moon and back in 1969? I can’t.

Hermann Hesse was right, when he said that in order “to achieve the possible, the impossible must be attempted again and again“.

And speaking of failure, we must also ask ourselves what we would do, if we knew that we couldn’t fail. Wouldn’t that be boring after a while? Or would it be dangerous?

Think about it.

Don’t question the power of questions – part 2

November 24th, 2014

A while back, I wrote a post about a conversation between a mother and her child that I had overheard:

Mother: It’s time to go home.
Child: Why?
Mother: Because it’s getting late.
Child: Why?
Mother: It’s time to eat.
Child: I’m not hungry.
Mother: You have to eat.
Child: Why?
Mother: To stay healthy and to grow up.
Child: I don’t want to grow up.
Mother: All children grow up.
Child: Why?
Mother (slightly exhausted): Because that is the way it is.
Child: Why?
Mother (still exhausted): That’s enough, let’s go.
Child: I don’t want to go.

Sound familiar? The conversation continued and I must admit to feeling sorry for the mother. But that is the way kids are. They are curious, want to learn, know and understand. They don’t feel stupid asking and are not trying to pick their mother’s answers to pieces either.

Now, why are grown-ups so hesitant to ask that question? Fear? But why?

Asking “why“ not only leads to better decisions, it also questions the status quo, thereby enabling innovation and change for the better. To quote the leadership consultant Warren Bennis: “The manager asks how and when, the leader asks what and why“.

Time to lead!

Change revisited – part 3

November 24th, 2014

We have to embrace the necessity to change ourselves often, giving up the secret hope that some magical technical invention will take care of that for us. After all, opinions, habits and customs become obsolete too.

If we want something that we have never had, we have to do something that we have never done.

If we want to go our own way, we must not wait for the bus.

As oxymoronic as it may sound, change has to become a permanent fixture in our lives, which reminds me of the nomads mentioned earlier. In the 17th Century, René Descartes said “I think, therefore I am“. Today, he would add “I change, therefore I will continue to be“.

Will embracing change as a permanent fixture in our lives imply changing social norms as well?

A fascinating question.

Don’t question the power of questions – part 1

November 23rd, 2014

Ignoring uncomfortable facts is no option, as they will come back to haunt us sooner or later. Not asking any questions is the best way to stay ignorant.

We must therefore ask nasty, outrageous, heretic questions, which at first will be despised as stupid, irrelevant and ridiculous, even insane, by the establishment.

“Why“ is a very powerful word and a very radical question, as it gets to the root of things. Ever notice, how curious kids can drive their parents crazy with their questions? This is probably why Albert Einstein claimed that “if you can’t explain it to a six-year old, you haven’t understood it yourself“.

Questioning the obvious is especially exciting, because we often find out that there is no convincing reason why “it is the way it is“.

“The most important thing to teach your children is that the sun does not rise and set.
It is the Earth that revolves around the sun. Then teach them the concepts of
North, South, East and West and that they relate to where they happen to
be on the planet’s surface at that time. Everything else will follow.“
(Richard Buckminster Fuller, design scientist and philosopher)

The IQ – the intelligence quotient – is not the measure of all things, the EQ – the emotional quotient – matters as well. But what is your QQ, your question quotient?

To be continued …

Change revisited – part 2

November 23rd, 2014

“Because things are the way they are,
things will not stay the way they are.“
(Bertolt Brecht, poet and playwright)

Change revisited – part 1

November 22nd, 2014

find yourself,
break out,
rock the boat,
don’t go by the book,
start from scratch,
break the rules
or sink into oblivion!

“Talent and genius operate outside the rules.”
(Carl von Clausewitz, general and military theorist)

Humanity revisited

November 21st, 2014

Have we effectively reached peak people? Are there too many people on this planet? Not in terms of available food and water, but in terms of “useful“ things to do? What is “useful“? What is humanity going to do to avoid becoming redundant?

In order to stay relevant and “in control“, we have to fundamentally change. We have to rethink life and reinvent ourselves.

“What we call the beginning is often the end.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.”
(T.S. Eliot, playwright and essayist)

We are not and will never be perfect. But the challenge is not to become perfect, the challenge is to become better.

Can we trust ourselves to do the right things?

To be continued …


November 20th, 2014

Is there an alternative to work? That – and not the future of work – is the real creative challenge in my opinion. And if there is an alternative to work, we must obviously rethink the work ethic – the moral benefit of work and its ability to enhance our character – as well. Richard Buckminster Fuller was onto something, when he claimed that “we must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living“.

Another interesting observation in this context is that humans only started to “work”, once they settled down during the Neolithic period. Nomads, i.e. hunters and gatherers, didn’t really “work“. Wouldn’t you agree that the time has come to de-stigmatize the nomads? And why do we have to settle down?

To be continued …

The future of work – part 3

November 19th, 2014

“Man is going to be displaced all together as a specialist by the computer. Man himself
is being forced to reestablish, employ and enjoy his innate “comprehensivity“.
Coping with Spaceship Earth and the universe is ahead for all of us.“
(Richard Buckminster Fuller, design scientist and philosopher)