I spent Easter Sunday morning at my local church, where a number of folk were being baptised. At its heart, baptism is about stepping out of one worldview into another. As The Bible would have it — stepping out of a kingdom of darkness into a kingdom of light. It’s a reframing of ones perspective on the world (spiritual or otherwise) and, depending on the degree to which ones view is pivoted, the experience and resulting change of belief system and lifestyle can be powerful indeed.

He who has been forgiven much, will love much. – Jesus.

It’s interesting to me to juxtapose the baptism (or even the Damascus Road) experience with listening to Adam Curtis on the Russell Brand podcast last week. I’m not a huge fan of Russell Brand or his interviewing style, but he has some interesting guests and Adam Curtis was a name I recognised from his documentaries Hypernormalisation and Bitter Lake. The premise of Hypernormalisation (also the focus of the interview) is that we’re living in an era of fakeness. That powerful corporations and politicians have replaced the complexities of the real world with consumer values, fake news and echo chambers, with a view towards maintaining a semblance of [economic] stability, rather than allowing necessarily chaotic conditions to prevail that would likely usher us towards a new world order.

In case the parallels with baptism aren’t already clear, as a metaphor, it’s rather similar to The Matrix, in which Neo has a choice. Should he take the red or the blue pill? One maintains the status quo, a life of blissful ignorance. The other catalyses an awakening to the real world. A world in which Neo necessarily forsakes the fake pleasures and certainty of living in The Matrix, replacing them with grim awareness and struggle against the dark prevailing forces that would otherwise keep him bound and ignorant.

It feels a bit like, with recent “revelations”about how social media is being used to manipulate political outcomes, there is something of an awakening to the fakeness of the world many of us are living in. Notwithstanding the fact these revelations are being communicated through the media, which is arguably just another source of the fakeness problem, there is a sense that things may be shifting in a positive direction.

I fear it’s not enough though. That, like baptism and Neo’s choice of whether to take the red or the blue pill, the turnaround has to be radical and powerful. Like baptism depends to some extent upon deep repentance and a commitment to turning away from the old and embracing the new, some similar kind of revolution needs to take place on the internet and in the media and how we use them, that exposes the nature of the world as it really is, rather than how we wish it to be in the case of social media, or how it is presented to us via traditional media.

I don’t know exactly what that looks like yet, but this is just one of the things I’m musing on this Easter Monday.

  • Work is all about GDPR compliance at the moment. I haven’t yet found what I would consider to be an authoritative source of information, but this place seems like a start: https://www.gdpreu.org/
  • I’m still working on defining and implementing good product management/owner systems and processes. I read a couple of good articles this week in that regard. Growing up Lean with regards to focusing on the right things (objectives over features) and this article on identifying and using the right metrics (particularly for SaaS products), AKA KPI’s.
  • I found a rather wonderful resource for Vipissana/Mindfulness guided meditations here, which I expect to be digging into over the coming weeks.
  • There is rumour of an upcoming MEWT… It may have an AI/Machine Learning/Automation theme, and may take place around October. I can neither confirm nor deny such reports at the present time.
  • I watched a Wrinkle in Time with my family. They liked it. Nuff said.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to reach out via a comment or on the socials if anything resonates.

Cheers,
Simon

4 Comments

  • Robert Day says:

    You said “… powerful corporations and politicians have replaced the complexities of the real world with consumer values, fake news and echo chambers, with a view towards maintaining a semblance of [economic] stability, rather than allowing necessarily chaotic conditions to prevail that would likely usher us towards a new world order.”

    Of course, the radical end of the political argument has been saying this for years; whilst it’s nice to see others waking up to the same realisation and there’s a certain amount of grim satisfaction in being able to say “Told you so”, the question remains: what is to be done? And once you get an answer to that, it merely provokes the next set of questions, which is “will anyone be allowed to do it? And how do we get from Here to There with the minimum degree of catastrophic disruption?”

    I was interested to hear Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme seriously discussing whether recent furore over anti-Semitism in the Labour Party might just be a smear campaign against Jeremy Corbyn. The idea that there might be elements within the Establishment challenging its own thinking might be the first glimmer of the sort of shift you mention, though whether they are a part of the problem or part of the solution remains to be seen.

    (Mind you, I’ve spent the last week reading Tariq Ali on Lenin, so perhaps my viewpoint’s a bit skewed at the moment.)

    • Simon Knight says:

      I don’t pay a huge amount of attention to politics generally. So I’m not particularly cognisant of the radical end of the political argument. And, if you take the view (as Adam Curtis has) that politicians no longer have any power anyway, the political discussion seems somewhat redundant. To have leverage in the macro, you need to be in tech/media/publishing (much of which is basically the same thing these days) with a healthy bank balance and good legislative connections.

      Of course, you can opt to effect change at a micro level instead, which would necessitate a different approach. I have thoughts on this, and will try to post them another time.

  • Iain says:

    Stepping out of the melée to find a space for self contemplation is valuable. The melée will always be a distraction masquerading as the purpose.

    Thanks for the pause for thought, and I am glad the family liked the film – critics are melée dwellers!

    • Simon Knight says:

      They enjoyed the film greatly. I enjoyed the film in as much as it served as a catalyst for some of the reflections above.

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