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Thursday
Aug052010

cults end badly

Mike Ivey has pointed out something very pertinent about cults and cult leaders: they always end badly. One to bear in mind for future leaders and members. My tentative suggestion is that leadership might be passed around rather like the Conch in Lord of the Flies (another bad end, ot-oh). Maybe everyone should get a go at being leader of a cult, a bit like those charity auctions where you buy a slave for a day or be one. Maybe you have to pay to be the cult leader for a day...sort of a reversal of the usual cult where the followers get to pay the leader. One to ponder.

Thursday
Aug052010

more on the cult

The great thing about being in a cult is a)having everything taken care of so you can experience ‘the back seat home’ and b) being the cult leader with all the perks of power and status that implies.

Unfortunately in a non-transparent, ie. real, cult those things are mutually exclusive. Though the cult leader may get all the kudos, the women acolytes, the Rolls Royces he is also burdened by his followers. He has to give them stuff to do. He has to feed them and house them. It’s a big worry. One thing the cult leader NEVER experiences is the ‘back seat home’. This is taken from the superb book by Arthur Deikman “the wrong way home”- essential reading for anyone interested in The Cult- in essence the ‘back seat home’ describes that wonderful feeling you had as a child, when, after a long day out with your mum and dad you’re driving home and it’s dark and you’re falling half in and out of sleep on the back seat but its all warm and cosy and you don’t need to worry because the adults are TAKING YOU HOME. You even look out of the window and muse at what mysterious things could be out there but it all doesn’t matter because everything inside is warm and cosy. That’s the feeling cults offer their members. You’re wanted. You’re understood. You’re one of the family. Your life has meaning. And this continues- unless you start to question things or show some independence of thought, ie. grow up. Then the ‘back seat home’ is withdrawn. Cults use exclusion to bring their members into line- and it works. And the greater the sense of ‘us and them’ that has been created, the greater the sense of the leader being inviolable and the one source of ‘secrets’ the more that exclusion, or threat of it, works.

 

Tuesday
Jul272010

the anarch

The anarch is to the anarchist, what the monarch is to the monarchist.

Ernst Junger

 

Friday
Jul162010

joke from a young twigger

What did dracula say to his new assistant?

We could use some new blood around here!

 

What should you always do if a cannibal is hungry?

Lend a hand!

Friday
Jul162010

joke from another young twigger

There is a guy who lost his eye in a war and he got a wooden eye. This guy after the war ended was sitting in a pub and he sees this really pretty girl and he goes up to her. There is an adult dance later on in the evening, so he goes up to her and says to her, "Would you like to go to the dance?" She answers, "Would I?" Before she can finish the guy gets really angry and shouts, "Watch your manners!"

Wood eye? get it?

Friday
Jul162010

get it done for free

On the London underground railway system you may notice the thin yellow line that is about a metre or so from the track at each station. The safety line. It isn’t in every station though, or at least not visibly, as they get worn out from passengers walking over them.

They also cost London Underground an incredible £1000 sterling to repaint. Yep, a single line of yellow, one brush width thick, maybe 200 metres long max. A thousand quid. You could live on that in Egypt for a year.

Of course it’s insane…but factor in the special ‘accounting’, the time, the materials, the admin…and you get a grand.

Fact is- you could ask two passengers if they fancied doing it for free- maybe in return you give them a week’s free travel or something.

That isn’t going to happen. But it does reveal something interesting. Money, which is supposed to make things more efficient, can, in a big organisation make them less efficient and less likely to happen.

Money is very efficient for buying things like newspapers and sweets and restaurant meals. Can’t imagine gifting or bartering taking over there. But money is less efficient when you have services that are hard to cost, together with SPARE CAPACITY. This is a result of the incredibly abundant world we live in. We have empty cars standing everywhere, empty woodland not being used for anything except as an investment, empty houses visited only in the holidays, people with incredible skills playing with the Xbox instead of doing fun stuff with friends that may also be called ‘work’ if looked at in another way. Hey- I can imagine painting that thin yellow line with some of my good friends and having great fun doing it.

When I belonged to a martial arts club I found an incredible mix of people whose skills were on offer to friends. Clubs and social groups can work like that. So can the internet. Now you can search the world for someone willing to do it for free plus the something extra- what I mean is- the great feeling of doing something worthwhile with worthwhile people. It could simply be the chance to actually learn something in return for doing a task of some kind or lend some land or equipment for some purpose and learn something in return. Or maybe it’s just about being of assistance to a worthwhile project. Or just having fun: most 'work' is made to be far more dreary than it needs to be.

I think it makes sense to look at all the ways you can do what you want to do for no money at all, or very little. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes money is the ultimate toolkit, but I think we live in an over-monetised world. Years ago I heard of someone charging a friend because the friend wanted to store luggage at their house…well you can sympathise both ways- houses are small these days at the same time what are friends for? The interesting thing is different from the opinion you may have: the fact is we can monetise renting a cupboard. We can monetise buying a meal- which is impossible for many, even now, indigenous people living in isolated spots to comprehend- for them you just give food when someone is hungry.

Monetisation of absolutely everything has led to thrombosis in many businesses- take the film business in the US- you need, because of union regs and company practices, a crew of people who only work so many hours and only do certain jobs etc etc. In reality to make most films you actually need only three people- camera, sound and director- and everyone should be able to do everyone else’s job if necessary. When a good friend of mine- actually an animator by trade- was filming a big film in the US recently he offered to run a distance of about 3km (across a piece of wilderness) to get something- if he hadn’t they would have waited all day for a helicopter to do the job- no kidding.

The kind of films that get made have to be blockbusters because of the ridiculous costs involved. The same trend is apparent in TV and publishing. Firms have such high costs they need mega sellers to succeed.

Insane. That thin yellow line is there for a purpose. To remind us to be careful and not get hit by a moving train. Paint your own line. Get out of the way of the trainwreck which is modern ‘efficient’ business practice.

Before you lifeshift or engage on a new and maybe costly project think of the Amish people building a great barn in a day and rewarding everyone who helped with a big party at the end.

Harnessing the power of the longtail, of friends, and friends of friends, to getting and giving free help and resources has to be the way forward. Hand the paint brush to someone with a smile, get that thin yellow line done for free!

 

Wednesday
Jul142010

I don't have enough time

How many times have I heard this? “I don’t have enough time to read books.” “I don’t have enough time to write my novel”. “I don’t have enough time to start a business.” “I don’t have enough time!!!!”

All wrong. You never lack time, you lack energy. Remember as a kid those summer days that stretched away forever? You had more energy then. Seems like time just flies by? Why? You have less energy now and do less ‘new’ stuff and more boring repetitive stuff like going to work and getting drunk.

When you learn something new there is always loads of time- an hour set aside to learn ancient greek- I guarantee that hour will NOT fly by. And when you look back on a year and say- I learnt this and this- it doesn’t seem like it flew by at all. Likewise if you make trips throughout the year you ‘slow’ time down through the expenditure of energy in doing new things.

You never lack time, you lack energy. You work for twelve hours at a desk not moving except to get coffee and go to meetings- are your surprised you lack energy in the evening? Especially because then you thrash yourself at the gym and drink a couple of beers in front of the latest hot TV series which you own on dvd. What better way to dissipate your energies than giving it away?

You never lack time, you lack energy. As you get older you have more commitments and more responsibilities. These take energy- but probably not that much if you corral and marshall how you expend it. You can also build energy- primarily by breaking down mental barriers. One way of energising yourself is to talk like a complete prat (watch Tom Green’s ‘Who fingered Freddy’ if you want lessons in pratdom) in front of people who won’t hold it against you- you family and your closest friends. We are so used to exercising control over what we say- not lying, not boasting and not fantasising that taking the brakes off releases a ton of energy. I think it’s worthwhile to start ‘big whopper’ clubs where the idea of the evening is to tell obvious big whoppers all evening. Nothing subtle at all. Great fun.

You never lack time you lack energy. We dribble away energy in a thousand ways. We have routines that take energy from us, we have habitual encounters we have decided we ‘hate’ and these also rob us of energy. Learn to spy the energy vampires and pirates who lurk out there just waiting to grab your precious vitality.

You never lack time you lack energy. Energy is not like money- which is a kind of temporal substitute for energy- energy belongs to the ‘realer world’ of abundance. The more energy you give, the more you get. Ever wondered what that mysterious parable of the talents meant? Exactly this: the more you give the more you get. OK try this: next time you go to a party talk in a really loud cheerful voice. Boom it out. Watch successful school teachers- they all have loud voices- for a very good reason- the more you give out the more energy you’ll get. Energy somehow flows back to fill the space vacated- AS LONG AS IT WAS GIVEN AWAY CONSCIOUSLY- and not squandered or stolen.

You never lack time you lack energy. Remember that time when you were a teenager. Lying on the sofa feeling you could hardly move, hardly even answer the ringing phone? But you do- party at a mate’s house- hey suddenly you have a million volts running through your body. Tiredness is not the opposite of energy- sleep is. If you are sleepy- after doing some kind of physical exercise- this being the test because we con ourselves too easily otherwise- so do five minutes of hard walking or cleaning the house- if you still feel sleepy- then sleep. But just being tired means you still have energy except it is locked up and needs to be released.

You never lack time you lack energy. How to release that ton of energy that is locked up inside you? Break down the barriers- work really fast at something- so fast you cannot check or inhibit yourself. I do this in writing- but I learnt it in aikido. They have a method called ‘hajime training’- you simply do the same technique again and again as fast as possible. It is knackering but you get to stop thinking. You switch to autopilot, glide control- and miraculously you build energy rather than lose it.

You never lack time you lack energy. Orde Wingate the unconventional but highly successful special forces commander in WW2 believed you could store energy by lounging around taking it real easy and then you could expend it during a mission going day after day with hardly any sleep for months on end- JUST AS LONG AS WAS REQUIRED. This is the key. Many people try to force themselves to do lots of tedious tasks they don’t like and much more importantly, don’t think are meaningful. When you have a mission you unify your sense of meaning with the momentum that comes from focusing on one task. Momentum energy is a massive force- see it as reusing the same energy over and over, kind of like a rebreather, or a kid on a swing who only needs a well-timed small push to go higher and higher. Politicians out on campaign give impassioned speech after speech- how? Momentum energy. How am I writing this article- momentum and removing barriers – just letting it flood down. Can always edit it later.

You never lack time you lack energy. One way to keep the momentum going is to have a refrain or mantra such as the above- use it to get back on track, refocus your thoughts. Distraction is the enemy of energy, dissipation is the enemy…unless you embrace it as another opportunity to play and be uninhibited. Why do we crave wanton sex and drunkenness? Because it allows us to uncork that bottled energy. Wouldn’t it be better to have access to it any time? To be able to use it to achieve our goals?

You never lack time you lack energy. When we get a success- by which I mean something we do seems to work- we get an energy payback. Lots of entrepeneurs report that they were ‘lazy’ until they saw how much money they could make…ie. they saw how to make a success of something. Success is in the eye of the beholder, but one source is ‘being wanted’. If more people want us- give us a job, buy our book, want to go out with us- we get more energy. If we are unwanted- rejected, scorned, then we lose energy. It’s the law of abundance- that which has a place in the world gets rewarded. But we are human, we are not dumb machines- we have the power to create meaning out of seeming chaos, we also have the power to create a ‘success situation’ where others just see ‘normal life’ or ‘nothing special’. You want to feel wanted: have a party. You want to have a quick success? Paint an abstract painting- a really crazy one, then frame it nicely. Do ten and have an exhibition party. Write a haiku. Write ten haikus and post them on the net. Clean a public space you love of garbage, every last bit. Have a garbage collecting party. Build a model kit. I made a model boat the other day and it gave me a massive buzz, weirdly disproportionate to the effort- but that is energy for you- it’s there, all around us, ready to flow into us as we dispense it. But the law of the universe is this; you can’t squander and waste it. You have to pour that energy into things you find meaningful. So the more you can find meaning the more energy you will have. Expand meaning and you will expand the inflow of energy.

You never lack time you lack energy. I have just written this in about ten minutes.