In my last museletter I swore three things for this epistle. Namely: it will be 750 words or less (¬‿¬), be “good vibes only” ᕕ(ᐛ)ᕗ, and will contain at least one “top tip” that some might even suggest is “immediately practicable” ಥ_ಥ. Luckily for me I am a fox and do not take such oaths too seriously—I typed it with fingers crossed behind my back, ha!—but I shall do my best to appear to honour it. I’ll let you know when I start counting the 750 words.
(I haven’t started yet)
I actually do have some really good things to share with you.
Eventually Everything Connects
My friend Sarah Firth’s new book Eventually Everything Connects is out. Her book launch was the best I have ever attended, and the book itself is timely, relevant and apt. It offers a new way for folks to access the rich, wondrous and paradoxically entangled world of complexity. What was previously bound up within dense academia and obtuse parables is now navigable thanks to Sarah’s exquisite book. Gift this to yourself, and all your friends.
Eventually All Of Your Notes Connect
I’ve recently rediscovered Obsidian—a note-keeping tool that allows for the cultivation of knowledge gardens. In other words, in time Obsidian allows you to ‘see’ the non-linear structuring of thoughts and knowledge. As I go about writing my next book for you, it has been invaluable to be able to witness the entanglement unfurl. (Obsidian allows me to import my kindle and readwise highlights, which is such a boon). The small Obsidian team have adopted a self-sustaining model, staying free from venture capital funding whilst also not collecting any personal data. Wholesome.
The Independent Web Also Connects
I have found myself greatly appreciating the world of ‘personal blogs’—particularly those that feature genuine throwbacks to web1 (the Internet before it became web2 replete with the ‘platform capture’ of centralised, data-harvesting ‘social media’ advertising corporations). In web1—and now, once again—we see things like ‘blogrolls’ (where the creator curates a list of blogs they like), and really simple syndication (RSS) protocols. It is my hope that we will increasingly see an embrace people-focused alternatives to the “corporate web”.
Manu Moreale has a weekly newsletter shining a spotlight on personal blogs. His own blog is a delight—note the distinct lack of clutter. Nothing blaring at you to like, share and subscribe (which is nice).Actually, his latest post gave me pause—particularly as someone who has donated far too much content to Shoggoth in the past two decades—“Why I’ll never do podcasts”. #grim
After my last museletter I received this request from a reader:
I think it’s clear to all by now that I am quite willing to consistently sabotage my reputation and the commercial effectiveness of my endeavours for the sake of what might be ‘meaningful progress’. Namely, for me at least: that which brings us closer to a world more curious and kind (and a future less grim).™️
But I actually appreciated this request. It made me reflect on what has been an unsustainable path for this wizard.
But firstly: politics equates to games of power—and power matters in all aspects of life. “Who makes the calls?” asks Hanzi Freinacht in The Listening Society. “Who is considered morally pure and sexy? Who gets to be smart and respectable, or to be the cool, romantic rebel? Who gets to be the kind, wise woman and who gets to be the boring old hag? Who gets the cards stacked against them in a fight they cannot win? What ideas rule the world and creep deep into our minds and dreams, constituting and structuring everyday reality? These, my friend, are the questions of politics in its true sense.”
To be apolitical is to say the current balance of power suits me just fine, thank you very much. I have my privilege—so let’s not change anything. kthxbye
This may be tenable if your locus of care is constrained to just yourself, your family, or ‘people similar to you’. But for those of us blursed* with a wider and more complex view of society and reality, an apolitical stance is difficult to maintain, as it is often antithetical to deeper values we hold. We realise that the conditions that serve us cause harm elsewhere, and because eventually everything connects, we realise: externalised harm is not good.
* This means: blessed and cursed.
It’s not enough that you have food whilst your neighbours go without. It’s not enough that we live in one of the highest greenhouse gas per capita countries whilst the whole world deals with the consequences of this. And so on.
But—as a fox who just yesterday provoked the lions ire on linkedin by expressing gratitude to the many Jewish folks standing in solidarity with Palestine—I’ve come to remember: people are really attached to their worldviews. If my dms are anything to go by, they don’t like to have their worldview challenged with new information.* And also: I don’t enjoy challenging anyone else’s way of seeing things—at least not directly, and not via social media.° I’d rather do it gently, subtly, over time, via a book—or a series of loquacious museletters with frequently vexing linguistic periphrasis.
* The current propaganda glitch presents an opportunity for positive disintegration though—but only in environments where re-integration is supported. Otherwise we double-down, irrationally.
° Unless they are justifying the killing of thousands of children. I worry that we are witnessing a lion-like trend where people are becoming more comfortable with large-scale unilateral violence to solve problems. To quote Vitalik Buterin, “That trend itself greatly worries me; each instance normalizes and legitimizes the next”.
It would be so much easier if I just did the standard motivational futurist thing of sticking to my lane, staying apolitical yet embracing ‘techno-optimism’, updating my slide deck each year with the latest hype. No one holds any futurist accountable for their claims. I would be a lot more popular, and would be able to profit from the knowledge asymmetry.
* Currently artificial intelligence and bright green lies.
Yet I’ve been in game denial for the past few years. I didn’t want to accept the silent coup that has already happened. I’ve also been in futile despair about a metacrisis (including an ecological crisis) that few have any real interest in. None of this is fun to write about, or read.
Degrowth is a beacon amidst the themes that my quest for meaningful progress has taken me to—yet, relevant as this is, it is a concept that will be resisted muchly.
I need to be craftier.
So, as I genuinely consider how to not alienate those whom I might yet still be able to evoke a more complex all-of-life worldview conducive to planetary mutualism (with all the empathy-cascades such brings), here are a few ‘top tips’ I am reminding myself of. This may be handy for you, too.
Okay we can start counting words now. (▰˘◡˘▰)
7 Ways to Be a Better Impostor
Infiltrate with influence.
If you want to work as an impostor within Enterprise Land—weaving change from within the heart of an organisation (which might be ruled by warlocks and the egregores they serve)—you’ll need to keep your wits about you.
- LOOK AFTER YOURSELF—so that you can be there for others. Making change happen within the hulking behemoth of an enterprise will take time. You need to treat this like a marathon, and look after yourself along the way. Eat well, sleep well, move well. Your wellbeing is your main ongoing resource in this quest.
- SEEK FELLOWSHIP. It’s dangerous to go alone. For the sake of your own sanity, you will need accomplices. Well-read folks on both the inside and outside, to ensure you maintain perspective and do not become corrupted. The corruption looks like: ratcheting up lifestyle and status in exchange for more debt, which means you need to work harder and make more compromises in order to be ‘free’.
- BE SUBVERSIVE. This approach is “grounded in knowledge and wisdom which allows leaders to recognise changing circumstances, make sound judgement, and act expediently” (source). For much of your work, this will look like subtle tweaks here and there. Moving quietly and planting things. But you will also have the wit to know your ‘moments of influence’ when they arrive; this is when you act boldly.
- RAISE COLLECTIVE STATE. We are more likely to be caring, creative, collaborative, expansive, empathetic and future-focused if we feel good, and our current needs are met. Ergo: elevate the physiological and psychological state of those around you. Encourage them, and help them to see themselves in the best light. This cultivates collective courage. It’s all relational. All of it.
- SHINE A LIGHT ON MEANINGFUL PROGRESS. We live and lead within narratives. The way we make meaning is shaped by the language we use. Find opportunities to highlight the subtle, complex and nuanced things that make a difference. Much of The Game Changer (my first book) is about shining a light on progress. How to Lead a Quest takes it a step further, making the distinction between meaningful progress (that which brings us closer to future relevance) and the delusion of progress (usually when default thinking and defunct metrics get in the way of meaningful progress). Your role is to help people see meaningful progress, whenever and wherever it happens.
- BE THE BEACON. Amidst the emptiness of the void (and the sense of lack induced by late stage capitalism), and amidst the darkness (where all hope seems lost), people will look to glimmers. Be one such beacon. This doesn’t need to equate to promulgating ‘false hope’—but it does require you to remind yourself and others that, beneath the layers of illusion we live and lead within, a more wholesome way is attainable.
- CONSPIRE. That is: breathe as one. But also: plot together for better ways. In your quest as an impostor-infiltrator, you will come across others who also long for a world more curious and kind. Folks who also share a deep concern for our collective trajectory. Find them. Then find the others. Then find the other others. Establish cozy rituals, wherein you gather—ideally in person, over a meal or a beverage, or if you must: online—to listen to and encourage eachother. There need not be any singular ‘plan’ that emerges, and you don’t always need to agree. Simply the knowing that different agents are working together alongside you to surmount the coordination failures inspired by Moloch and Mammon is enough. For now.
There are more of us imposters then we might otherwise think. (~_^)
Also: this was well under 750 words!
I’m not sure this was good vibes only—I still feel like ol’ mate Stańczyk must have. Still, the show must go on!
Thank you for joining me once more in my slow quest to find my jolly voice again. I hope there was something at least somewhat practicable for you in this musing.
Would you believe there are actually bright-minded and warm-hearted folk out there doing a damn fine job of changing the world from the inside of Enterprise Land? They are often my clients.
If that’s you, it would be a joy to work with you as your lever and wizard-catalyst. Together we can drive a new narrative wedge into your organisation, so as to bring about new ways of working, and more meaningful kinds of progress.
Meanwhile: watch this space as I begin to cloak myself once more—hopefully making it easier for you and I to work our magics. ✨