Education

June 2nd, 2016

Education

When it comes to change, education plays a crucial role.

“The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas
the secret of tyranny lies in keeping them ignorant.”
(Maximilien Robespierre, lawyer and politician)

As we have seen, skills have a shelf life in today’s rapidly changing world, meaning that the “education – work – retirement” model has effectively – you probably guessed it – retired.

Do robot counselors, simplicity experts, new science ethicists or climate change reversal specialists ring a bell?

Does wisdom have a shelf-life as well?

What about morality?

These are just some of the new jobs in the near future. A future, in which lifelong learning is not only a must, but also a fantastic opportunity to add to the quality of our lives.

“We want our students to have the intellectual tools
to succeed at jobs that don’t even exist yet.”
(Stephen Kosslyn, founding dean Minerva Schools)

“As I grow older, I constantly learn more.”
(Solon, statesman)

“Knowledge has to be improved, challenged and
increased constantly, or it vanishes.”
(Peter Drucker, management consultant and educator)

We should therefore look to enhance our willingness and ability to learn, thereby redefining the relationship between “life-time”, “work-time” and “learn-time”. “Work and learn” becomes a lifelong experience leading to more than one career.

“Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action.”
(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, writer and statesman)

For schools, it means teaching what is going to become relevant, but also “un-teaching” what’s become irrelevant, the latter being quite difficult.

But who will educate the educators?

Who can change older people to tech younger people to embrace change?

There is another problem. In some cases, learning is anchored as a duty in our brain – something that we must do – rather than a positive, pleasurable experience. Not only that, but quite a few people – including myself by the way – didn’t study what they were really passionate about. Often, because they didn’t know or didn’t dare to say at the time. Keep in mind the positive correlation between the difficulty of a task – be it field of study or job – and the emotional involvement. The less involved we are, i.e. the less passionate, the more difficult the task at hand.

“Man works when he is partially involved.
When he’s totally involved, he’s at play or leisure.”
(Marshall McLuhan, philosopher)

The unfortunate consequence being that these unhappy students often wind up in the wrong jobs, potentially turning into disgruntled, unmotivated and disengaged employees. Being perceived as bad employees, many risk being fired sooner or later. But there are no bad employees per se, there are just plenty of people in the wrong jobs, often having been taught the wrong thing. Everyone loses, employees, employers and society as a whole.

What a terrible waste.

“We receive three educations, one from our parents,
one from our school masters and one from the world.
The third contradicts all that the first two teach us.”
(Charles de Montesquieu, lawyer and philosopher)

Judging from my own experience, I am convinced that we have to spend more time to find out what children are really passionate about and educate them accordingly, as opposed to churning out human replacements, i.e. industrious human capital, for the economy, regardless of individual talents.

Shouldn’t schools educate self-reliant citizens, rather than “producing” loyal,  productive employees?

Isn’t the latter impossible in a world, where skills have a shelf-life?

What about fostering radical thinking and some anarchy?

Can attitude be taught?

What about teaching young people to search for their passion and turn it into their mission?

Teach them to think for themselves, to learn, to observe, to analyze?

Teach them to use their own understanding and to stand up for their beliefs?

Teach them the ability to forget and to change often?

And don’t encourage them to memorize. When I went to school, many failed because their ability to memorize was substandard. Again, what a waste.

“You cannot teach man anything, you can only help him discover it in himself.”
(Galileo Galilei, physicist and astronomer)

What about a highly personalized course of study leading to individualized academic degrees, rather than standard ones, making sure that the best use is made of the individual talent every human being has?

For example, I studied economics, which in retrospect wasn’t the right decision. Actually, it didn’t feel right at the time either. Combing my topics of interest wasn’t an option at the time for various reasons. I was told that such a combination couldn’t result in a degree, that I wouldn’t be able to find a job etc. It just didn’t fit in. All too often, we prioritize and think what would be good for our “curriculum vitae”. By doing so, we forget what would be best for our “vitae”. At least I did and made the mistake of studying what I didn’t really feel like studying.

We really should listen to ourselves more often.

Isn’t it also true, that more and more companies hire for attitude and train for skills?

The current German Chancellor is a physicist by the way.

“I believe in two principles: Your attitude is more important than your
capabilities. Similarly, your decision is more important than your capabilities.”
(Jack Ma, entrepreneur)

Disruption anyone?

Entrepreneurial thinking and marketing applied to education?

More often than not, we are surrounded by models, products and services built on the logic of the past. We must challenge conventional wisdom, think what no one else is thinking.

Disruptive hypotheses are true game changers. We must ask “What would happen if …..” more often.

But this disruption must be responsible. Otherwise we’ll just end up with more planned obsolescence. Therefore, ethics and ethical mentoring are equally important. To close the gap between skills and wisdom, ethics has to be an integral part of education from early on. The Humanities need to be taught as soon as possible, they are institutionalized lateral thinking.

Just observe what is happening in the world today and you’ll realize the relevance.

We have to liberate ourselves from market requirements. It’s not just what the market wants, but what humanity needs that matters.

I was fortunate enough to attend a French high school – a Lycée – for several years, where philosophy was a required course. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of not applying what I had learned when deciding what to study. Fortunately, I rediscovered what I had learned later on in life.

“The best way to teach morality is to make it a habit with children.”
(Aristotle, philosopher)

We must not only be taught to do things right, we must also be taught to do the right things. Develop a personal ethical responsibility, in order to follow a morally correct path. Brave individuals willing to shoulder this responsibility are usually the ones initiating change, just look at religion. They wield social influence to get others to share and support their cause. They lead.

Personal responsibility

June 1st, 2016

Responsibility

The time has come to rethink the principle of leaders and followers, including the distribution of responsibilities. We must stop always looking for leaders, prophets or white knights to lead the way – but not necessarily come to the rescue – once things become a bit complicated.

Hiding behind institutional bureaucracies is lazy, gutless, ineffective and usually very expensive.

As a matter of fact, if we were to accept more personal responsibility, were trustworthy and would adhere to the subsidiarity principle, bloated bureaucracies would disappear.

“Tis the time’s plague when madmen lead the blind.”
(William Shakespeare, poet and playwright)

“If the creator had a purpose in equipping us with
a neck, he surely meant us to stick it out.”
(Arthur Koestler, author and journalist)

But it is not just about the neck

We have eyes to see, but do we observe?

We have ears to hear, but do we listen?

We have a mouth to talk, but do we speak up?

We have a brain to think, but do we use it?

We have muscles to move, but do we stand up?

“To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”
(Aristotle, philosopher)

“Those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act.”
(Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist)

Delegation all too often means giving up responsibility and then becoming reliant on those exploiting our weakness and cowardice. We lose our freedom and become prisoners. Prisoners of our habits and those shaping and controlling them. Once many disengage and others quickly exploit, our societal model breaks down. We know that silent majorities are no majorities, as silence gives consent.

“Qui tacit consentire videtus.”
(Proverb)

But once majorities engage and stay engaged, minorities will find it difficult to exploit, regardless of the available technology.

“We are responsible for what we do, but also for what we don’t do.”
(Voltaire, philosopher)

We must learn to help ourselves and when – for practical purposes – some sort of representation is unavoidable, we must make sure to choose our representatives wisely and hold them accountable at all times. The revolutionary and politician Lenin believed that “trust is good, but control is better”. Unfortunately he is right. Transparency is control and therefore key in this context.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, it almost seems like the only good voter-consumer is the transparent voter- consumer. In reality, representatives and companies are the ones that have to become more transparent, a lot more transparent.

“We are moving from the central to the decentralized, from vertical to horizontal,
from top-down to bottom-up. It has taken society more than a hundred years
to build up this centralized, top-down, vertical society. So we are going to have
to learn and unlearn a great deal. The biggest obstacle is between our ears.”
(Jan Rotmans, professor)

On our planet, gravity, i.e. top-down, is a physical law, not necessarily an organizational one.

Haven’t you ever wondered, how many CEO’s would insist on a top-floor office in a high-rise without elevators?

The temptation of power and influence

May 31st, 2016

Dollar

History is full of movements – political, religious, commercial and otherwise – that started of with “don’t be evil”. All too often, it didn’t stay that way.

“In the Year of Darkness, 2029, the rulers of the planet devised
the ultimate plan. They would reshape the future by changing
the past. The plan required something that felt no pity. No
pain. No fear. Something unstoppable.
They called it “The Terminator”.”
(The Terminator, 1984)

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
(Proverb)

Are primacy of self-aggrandizement, illusion of invulnerability and disregard of growing dissatisfaction automatic companions of leaders sooner or later?

Will we always be susceptible to the temptations of power and influence?

After reading Barbara Tuchman’s “The march of folly: From Troy to Vietnam”, one would be tempted to think so.

“Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”
(The Who: “Won’t get fooled again” released in 1971)

Can we trust ourselves to stay humble?

Is large-scale altruism an illusion?

Would a sizable majority vote for a party of Samaritans?

Do we believe in real, reciprocal sharing?

Why can’t we just get along?

This, incidentally, does not depend on the number of people involved, just remember Cain and Abel.

What makes us kill others?

Not respect others?

Is it greed?

Is it fear?

Do we always want the whole cake regardless of its size?

Are we all monopolists at heart?

The power of diversity

May 30th, 2016

Buntstifte

The bigger the number of individual participants in any system, the smaller the potential common denominator. This, incidentally, is a major reason why global conferences on specific – globally relevant – issues don’t seem to be getting anywhere. We live in a heterogeneous world. Our challenge is to find ways to use the existing creative diversity to humanity’s advantage. The challenge should not be to create a “better than nothing” compromise.

Remember Dunbar’s number?

According to the anthropologist Robin Dunbar, 150 is the maximum size for a “natural” group of people. Smaller groups don’t necessarily need rank, discipline and systems. But larger groups can cooperate successfully by believing in common values. Values create identity, a sense of belonging.

While we are connected in various ways in this globalized world, cultural and mental differences and distances remain. Let’s not aim to destroy this cultural diversity for the sake of efficiency.

Regardless of what we say and do, someone somewhere is always going to disagree. Tolerance is key to ensure that local values have a place in a global world.

“Freedom is the right to tell people
what they don’t want to hear.”
(George Orwell, novelist)

For an engineer, tolerance is the enemy of perfection. For the humanist, quite the opposite.

“We should claim, in the name of tolerance,
the right not to tolerate the intolerant.”
(Karl Popper, philosopher of science and professor)

Evolution is based on diversity, not on equality.

“So many countries, so many customs.”
(Proverb)

Could we develop a shared “conditio humana”, while accepting and welcoming cultural coexistence?

I am very fortunate to have lived in 6 different countries and I have visited many more. In my opinion, it’s not only possible, it’s the only way.

But it will take a lot of trust, respect and time.

For example, like many other people, I grew up with music. What sets me apart from many is that I developed my musical taste in a very international environment. Having lived in 6 different countries with friends and acquaintances from many more – but without algorithms – meant that I was exposed to many different music styles: From Abba to ZZ Top via Al di Meola, Art of Noise, John Lee Hooker, Ludwig van Beethoven, Marvin Gaye, Michel Sardou, Pat Metheny, Richard Wagner, The Prodigy and many more.

Yes, cultural diversity definitely enriches our lives and cross-pollination fuels valuable creativity.

Diversity yes, conversion no.

“Forgive him, for he believes that the customs
of his tribe are the laws of nature.”
(George Bernard Shaw, playwright and co-founder LSE)

“Every man takes the limits of his own field
of vision for the limits of the world.”
(Arthur Schopenhauer, philosopher)

A tax dodger hurts society more than a woman wearing a headscarf. “Yes to the cowboy hat, but no to the headscarf” is not only illogical in a globalized world, it is also discriminatory.

Isn’t “culturalism” racism in disguise?

There are, of course, fundamental differences between cultures potentially causing friction. But friction is energy, meaning that there is a positive and a negative way to use it.

By the way, isn’t “exceptionalism” also quite discriminatory?

Don’t forget that emotions matter a lot, as a matter of fact “how we feel” matters more than “what we know” – for better or for worse. But “how we feel”, i.e. emotions, depends on culture too.

We should therefore look for the common denominator, those virtues required to live well in a pluralistic society, virtues acceptable and applicable across all cultures in a multipolar world.

Global, planetary ethics?

“The first step in the evolution of ethics is a
sense of solidarity with other human beings.”
(Albert Schweitzer, doctor and theologian)

Planetary communities

May 29th, 2016

Planet Earth

I know that this sounds like something out of Star Trek, but we must find a better way of organizing ourselves, a better way of living together. So far we’ve obviously not been very good at choosing our leaders and holding them accountable. We’re terrible long-term thinkers and easily manipulated.

Will we, the people, ever know what to do?

Can we be trusted to self-organize?

Can we be trusted to lead ourselves?

Can we be trusted to hold ourselves accountable?

Can we develop a system that is authentic, powerful, just trustworthy, sustainable, accountable, transparent, systemically independent, unbiased and servant?

A system worth fighting for?

Are purpose-minded humans without national allegiances looking after planetary interests, i.e. one common good, a realistic proposition?

Wow, that’s a lot to ask for, isn’t it?

Could trusting, planetary tribes or communities of purpose replace nation states?

Would the disappearance of the nation state lead to national values being debunked as myths not holding up to close inspection?

Could planetary tribes be an effective counterbalance to transnational corporations, also known as corporate states?

“Nike, we made you. We can break you.”
(A 13-year old in 1997)

How realistic is a transnational redefinition of politics and democracy?

What does it mean for the state monopoly on the legitimate use of force, if modern technologies enable control without it?

How long, before this technology is monopolized?

Can we, the people, live together globally? We must, but how?

Unity? A global empire with a multi-ethnic elite and shared values?

“How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?”
(Charles de Gaulle, general and statesman)

Are universal values, identities, rights and responsibilities, purposes, reasons for being, senses of belonging a realistic proposition?

Could we be trusted to live according to these values, principles and beliefs?

Or would they have to be enforced? By whom? By what?

Would they be eternal or would they have a shelf life?

Who would have the moral authority to change them?

A new religion?

“The only real nation is humanity.”
(Paul Farmer, anthropologist)

“The world belongs to humanity, not this leader,
that leader, kings or religious leaders.”
(Dalai Lama)

The return of the tribes in a world without borders?

“Home is not where you live, but
where they understand you.”
(Christian Morgenstern, author and poet)

Consider that deleting an account in one social network and opening a new one elsewhere is easy. Dumping one brand in favor of another is easy. Changing jobs is becoming the norm. It’s possible to convert to a new religion and it’s not so difficult to get a divorce anymore either.

What about more freedom of choice as far as the preferred place of residence around the globe is concerned, especially since the original choice wasn’t usually ours anyway?

Why is it acceptable and even expected to be mobile within national borders to find a new job, if our company goes down the drain, but less acceptable to look for a new place to live, if our country goes down the drain?

What about founding or choosing your own tribe on- and off-line?

Impossible, politicians will say. After all, we’ve never done it this way.

The demise of the nation state

May 28th, 2016

Weltkarte

If users were citizens, Facebook would be the biggest “virtual” nation in the world today.

What does that tell us about the future of the nation state?

What if Facebook and similar “networks” had been invented and run by the likes of Hitler or Stalin?

A frightening thought, isn’t it?

A major problem of national governments in a globalized world is their lack of international trustworthiness. By definition, they are perceived to primarily pursue national interests and hence to be biased. And the distrust runs deep, which is probably why they are all spying on each other.

“Which is the best government? That which
teaches us to govern ourselves.”
(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, writer and statesman)

Not only that, but we’ve also reached a point, when declaring human rights to be universal is being perceived as an intervention in national sovereignity by some. As oxymoronic as it may sound, imposing human rights and democracy wouldn’t be democratic.

Despite what many politicians seem to think, it is simply impossible to treat values like commodities and simply export them. Global trade and communication won’t lead to one global culture, although many would welcome one in terms of efficiency and from a business perspective. History is full of examples, when the attempt to export a certain way of life turned out to be counterproductive.

Furthermore, the world is less and less inclined to listen to – often Western – politicians claiming that their leadership is required to solve global problems, especially when these politicians don’t seem to be leading their own countries. What the West calls Universalism, others call Imperialism or – even worse – “Westoxification”. While Western culture is admittedly unique, it is far from being universal. Neither are others.

Do we really want one universal culture though?

Wouldn’t a peaceful and respectful cultural co-existence resulting in cross-pollination leader to better solutions to today’s pressing problems?

After all, these increasingly global problems simply ignore national borders.

We must also not forget that the West conquered large parts of the world through military force and not through the power of its ideas and ideals. The Western culture of individualism, political democracy and market economy is contradictory to many other cultures. And let’s not forget the Western double standards when it comes to democracy, nuclear weapons, human rights, free trade and so on.

Do in Rome as the Romans do only works for as long as all roads lead to Rome. Well, they don’t anymore and Rome is full of non-Romans nowadays.

I personally can’t think of one country that has the global moral authority to initiate the necessary change. Not one country that really leads by example rather than running around claiming to do so. That incidentally is preposterous and won’t enable a global spirit of co-operation sorely needed to solve the problems humanity has gotten itself into.

So, forget Pax Romana or Pax Americana.

“France has no friends, only interests.”
(Charles de Gaulle, general and statesman)

This is true for other nations as well, they just won’t admit it. Alliances are more often based upon shared interests rather than shared values.

And let’s be honest, there is no such thing as an international community yet either. Most international institutions were established in the 20th Century, but it was a different world back then. Unfortunately, these institutions as well as their member states have failed to adapt to the realities of the 21st Century.

It hasn’t always been this way, remember?

We only have one planet to live on – at least for the time being – and our challenges – pollution, climate change, sustainability, inequality, security, just to name a few – are global and can’t be solved nationally. A return to splendid isolation is no option. But neither is a global government, a monster bureaucracy that would put far too much power in the hands of a very few.

“We are made wise not by the recollection of our past,
but by our responsibility for our future.”
(George Bernard Shaw, playwright and co-founder LSE)

There is everywhere and we are all “the other guy”, whether we like it or not.

No culture, no civilization, no nation state knows best.

Pressure and force are the wrong tools to spread values.

In a multipolar world, we need a Pax Humanitas rather than a Pax Technologica or Algorithmica.

But is this realistic?

Can humans live in peace with each other?

Can we form a global, tolerant, multicultural society dedicated to a common good?

Who really owns a nation state, if not its people?

Is there a moral justification for the concept of a nation state?

Is it an absolute necessity?

The time has come to consider alternatives, to try something radically different. And by radically different, I don’t mean transnational corporations.

“We do not need more laws. No country suffers
from a shortage of laws. We need a new model.”
(Peter Drucker, management consultant and educator)

“The revolution is not an apple that falls when it’s ripe.”
(Che Guevara, revolutionary and physician)

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

May 27th, 2016

Foul

Over 2.000 years ago, the famous Roman poet Juvenal asked this famous question:

“Who will guard the guards themselves?”

It hasn’t been answered til this day.

Can we make Juvenal’s guards redundant? Is there a viable alternative?

With nation states failing, can we come up with communities to counterbalance the increasing power of transnational corporations and ensure justice and freedom for everyone?

Do we have the courage and determination to do so?

Yesterday’s empires were built with weapons, wars and sometimes marriages. Today’s empires are built with data, algorithms and sometimes mergers.

As a case in point, look at Google and it’s mission of organizing – and presumably controlling – the world’s information and making it universally accessible – presumably through Google as well – and useful. In other words, Google is proposing to decide what’s useful and what should be accessible with the help of their diversity killing algorithms and financed through advertising revenues.

By the way, the world’s information includes our “personal” data as well.

That does not sound impartial to me.

The Catholic Church claimed the same privilege for itself centuries ago, albeit without algorithms and advertising.

How long, before we have a new Index Librorum Prohibitorum, a modern list of thoughts banned, i.e. not ranked, by Google?

How can we be sure that this index doesn’t exist already?

What is Google, if not “command and control”, albeit in a rather subtle way?

Too big to control?

Googliath? Could be, but aren’t we all David?

Remember Standard Oil?

Standard Oil was the largest oil refiner in the world. Not only that, but the company produced, transported and marketed the stuff as well. In 1911, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Standard Oil was an illegal company and dissolved it. So, it has been done before.

Nation states are obviously not the only ones with hegemonic aspirations.

What is a monopoly, if not an hegemony?

Monopolies impose their prices and kill diversity, the dictate the terms and ultimately dominate and exploit.

Why invade a country, if you can control and profit from its citizens in a – not always – subtle matter?

Why kill a potential future customer?

Wouldn’t that be terribly inefficient?

“All failed companies are the same.
they failed to escape competition.”
(Peter Thiel, entrepreneur and venture capitalist)

Once alternatives disappear, we – the citizens and customers – lose.

We have to find effective ways to control transnational corporations, also known as corporate states, as well as nation states. If we don’t, they will control us.

Corporate states are reality and there are precedents.

Remember the British East India Company?

The Google example also demonstrates, why privatizing everything is no solution. Rampant capitalism has lead to unsustainable levels of debt and consumerism. It has left too many people behind and created an unsustainable concentration of power and wealth.

When did the IPO, the Initial Public offering, turn into Indiscriminate Profit Obedience?

Is there still a difference between making a profit and taking advantage of someone?

We don’t live in a system, in which banks are systemically important. Banks and transnational companies are the system. And calling the last financial crisis a systemic failure is misleading. In reality, it was enabled by the loss of values, morality and decency. The crisis is still here and the values, morality and decency haven’t come back either.

“Monsters are real and ghosts are real too.
They live inside us and sometimes they win.”
(Stephen King, author)

Neophobia

May 26th, 2016

Neophobia

Change won’t happen, if we’re neophobic.

“It was a new day yesterday, but it is an old day now.”
(Jethro Tull, rock band)

“Success obsoletes the very behavior that achieved it.”
(Peter Drucker, management consultant and educator)

“Everyone thinks of changing the world,
but no one thinks of changing himself.”
(Leo Tolstoi, novelist and playwright)

What are habits, if not yesterday determining our future?

Isn’t “it’s always been this way” impossible in a world in which everything has a shelf life?

The time to act is now. Procrastination is no solution, it never has been.

Deciding not to decide doesn’t mean we’re decision makers.

“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in
being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the
Atomic Age – as in being able to remake ourselves.”
(Mahatma Gandhi, leader)

Be pragmatic: Better and end with horror, than horror without an end.

“Yes, we can” is good.

“Yes, we must” is better.

“Yes, we did” is best.

Dogma

May 25th, 2016

Dogma

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the result
of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’
opinions drown out your inner voice. And most important,
have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
(Steve Jobs, entrepreneur and inventor)

Steve Jobs had the courage to use his own understanding.

Carl Benz was not a member of the horse breeders association. He received no government support, no tax subsidies and had no access to venture capital. He used his wife’s dowry to develop the first automobile at a time when the necessary infrastructure was not in place yet.

Carl Benz had the courage to use his own understanding.

“It’s always impossible until it’s done.”
(Nelson Mandela, politician)

Nelson Mandela had the courage to use his own understanding.

“If the world were to blow itself up, the last audible voice
would be that of an expert saying it can’t be done.”
(Peter Ustinov, actor and writer)

Have you ever read dogma backwards by the way?

Sapere aude

May 24th, 2016

Sapere aude

Over 230 years ago, in 1784, Immanuel Kant wrote his famous essay “What is Enlightenment”. He defines Enlightenment as the emergence from our often self-imposed immaturity, i.e. the inability to use our own understanding without being led by others. Kant adds that relying on others is often only due to our own indecisiveness and lack of courage. His remedy is ”have the courage to use your own understanding”.

“Sapere aude” is Immanuel Kant’s motto of the Enlightenment.

“Clear thinking requires courage rather than intelligence.”
(Thomas Szasz, psychiatrist)

“Truth acquired by thinking of our own is like a
lateral limb, it alone really belongs to us.”
(Arthur Schopenhauer, philosopher)

Today, we need another Enlightenment, but not one led by technology. We need an Enlightenment led by us, the people: Lateral thinkers, responsible citizens, determined rebels and courageous radicals. We could describe it as an intellectual version of BYOB, “Bring Your Own Brain”.

“The most thought-provoking thing in our thought-provoking
time is that we are still not thinking.”
(Martin Heidegger, philosopher)

Are we all manipulated in one way or the other?

How free are we really?

Are we – at least partly – bound by what we are born into?

Will we go off auto-pilot and think for ourselves?

Are we free to use our own understanding to become our true selves?

Will we have the courage and determination to use our own understanding?

What about VB, i.e. Venture Brain, as the new VC, i.e. Venture Capital?

Will we be skeptical and question everything?

Will we think the unthinkable, be radical and disruptive?

Will we develop our own ideas, thoughts, hypotheses?

Will we unlearn, unfollow, forget and delete?

Will we make up our own mind?

Can we start all over?

Can we re-think ourselves sustainably and not so much the world around us?

“He alone is great and happy who fills his own station
of independence and has neither to command nor to obey.”
(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, writer and statesman)

“It is society which, fashioning us in its image, fills us
with religious, political and moral beliefs that control our actions.”
(Émile Durkheim, sociologist)

“Reading is thinking with someone else’s head
instead of with one’s own.”
(Arthur Schopenhauer, philosopher)

While this is true, I also found that reading stuff written by people, I vehemently disagree with – for now – can be quite enlightening, as it helps to break the armor protecting our beliefs.

“No, no, you are not thinking, you are just being logical.”
(Niels Bohr, physicist)

Last but not least, why do we always want to influence, rather than to enlighten?