Thursday, October 14, 2010

Could Honesty and Trust work?

While discussing things in blogs and emails earlier today, I had an idea.
Instead of drug testing in sport, why not just trust athletes to be honest, and believe them when they say they are not doping?
Instead of policemen and hidden cameras catching speeding motorists, why not just trust drivers to obey the speed limits and rules of the road?
What are we really afraid of?
What is so fundamentally wrong with honesty that we do everything in our power to keep it at arms length?
Why can't we trust each other?
In thinking about these questions it occurred to me that the whole design of our current social fabric is biased towards overtly supporting fabrication, fraud, and dishonesty.
We expect people to lie, cheat and steal.
Why is that?
We expect smart people to take advantage of the system at our expense.
We expect our politicians to lie, fabricate positions, and take advantage of their power.
How did we get to this state?
And more importantly, how do we reverse this untenable situation?
Do we want to?
I believe we need to, so how do we do it?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Honesty and Intellectual Integrity

One of the very few blogs I follow is NPR 13.7.
Recently a new "master blogger" has been added to the site, to introduce a "softer" side of the science debate.
Suddenly I find myself uncomfortable and confronted by some of the blogs this person writes. Really uncomfortable, and really confronted.
So much so that for the first time I can remember, today I actually challenged this person to be intellectually honest.
Now he may well be within his rights to proffer a point of view that is different to mine, but I challenge his right to use his position, academic learning and achievement, and his access to design an argument that is fundamentally dishonest, by disguising the content in such a manner that the core of the issue remains hidden.
Many will argue that the core is only hidden if no one challenges it. I would argue that the level the core is hidden at is only in the purvey of a handful of people in the world, most of whom will never read this blog.
The basis of a good honest argument or discussion is that the elements that we differ on are "apples to apples" - or Like to Like - you know from experience you cannot argue your case if the other side slips off onto a tangent, or does not pay you the resect of recognising your argument and countering it specifically and directly.
And I guess this is what upsets me most about the new blogger. He does not seem to respect his audience. It is almost as if he is talking down to the masses to demonstrate what a brilliant thinker he is.
In my experience, really brilliant people never have to demonstrate how clever they are, because simply by their actions and their thinking processes they provide leadership to others allowing them to learn from the experience, in their own time, and in their own way, and form their own mental maps from the encounter.
This whole process today reminds me of all that I dislike about political correctness, and rewriting history.
It's as if the older we get, and the more mature we get, the less we are trusted to work it out for for ourselves.
Noddy can no longer sleep with the policeman, and we can no longer believe in the tooth fairy.
Why can't a child's story be just that, a child's story?
Why do we suddenly feel the need to protect everyone from everything?
What happened to free choice, and personal responsibility?
A friend of mine said just yesterday after yet another bad experience with the airlines that "the terrorists have won, in a manner we still can't conceive of, and Big Brother is here to stay".
Sadly, I think he is correct. But we did it to ourselves, and we have to take responsibility for that.
That is being intellectually honest.
Now, incase some one will think I am taking a shot at the new blogger and not giving him the opportunity to respond, I am pasting this entire blog into an email to him, with an invitation to discuss my feelings.
I'll let you know the outcome.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

No middle ground

I wrote this to a friend of mine this morning.
In looking through all the blogs this morning, it occurred to me that we don't have to sit between polar opposites.
Nor do we have to compromise.
We simply have to take a stand, think out our rationale, smile, and offer suggestions as to how others might benefit from participation.
My friend is wrestling with a new concept that he is seeking a name for, a process that can be both extraordinary and difficult.
While reading some of the blogs that I follow (not many, I'm jealous of my time) I suddenly had an insight when looking at the incredible photography you can find on "Extraordinary Light".
Renee has just posted some simply brilliant shots of really ordinary things - rusty sheds, crushed cans, wet fence posts - and produced her usual magic with natural light and her innate creativity.
Then I re-read one of Mike's blogs, and it got me thinking again about Time and Distance.
It got me to thinking about the Space between things.
Politics is the art of comprise - something I personally hate - and War is politics by other means - also something I hate.
But Politics is not a polar opposite, and War is.
So the conundrum is about the alternatives to War - negotiation, discussion, sharing, caring, respect, all of which are not polar opposites either.
Then it occurred to me that Leadership might well be the solution.
Leaders take people where they don't know they can go.
Leaders inspire, challenge, motivate, and create momentum where there is fear and homeostasis.
Leaders challenge the ordinary in us, and bring out the special, unique qualities that make us all different.
Renee's photography always makes my heart beat faster, yet makes me strangely calm. In her images I see creativity, inspiration, and an open and honest appreciation for what is natural but not obvious.
You have to look for the magic that she captures so brilliantly.
And that is the key. You have to look.
Desire, conviction, action, the last three steps in the Salesman's credo AIDCA.
Where is this going?
As I said to Mike, perhaps we don't have to sit in the middle between polar opposites. Perhaps all we have to do is take a stand, and stand by it, using our intelligence to provide a rationale that has appetite appeal and attracts like Minds.
And talk about things in a meaningful manner, with the objective of making a connection and not a position or a conquest.
As a very great friend said to me once when I was struggling to come up with the title for a book, "Pete, all the knowledge in the world is worthless if you don't share it".
There it is - share what you have, share what you know.
I'll start the ball rolling - if you would like the benefit of forty years of thinking and study into human performance, send me an email address, and I'll send you back a book called "Chapter 8".
It's about Leadership, Making Peace, and succeeding as a human being.
Or you can just go to earlier blogs here and copy it down in parts.
Over to you.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Negative vibes should be illegal

Recently I have attracted a little negative feedback for my stance on what I believe is a very poor attitude by our local State Government. What has surprised me the most, is the viciousness of the attacks. Instead of constructive criticism or arguments with countering points of view, the attacks have been personal, questioning my birth, my parents, my heritage, and my abilities.
Now, I weigh in at around 250 lbs in my socks, 6 feet 2 inches off the ground inspite of a compressed spine, and have lived long enough to have survived a fantastic and varied life. And although my parents marriage certificate was dated 10 years after I was born, I know I was a LOVE child, and not a bastard.
The point is I am not easily upset.
But the sheer volume of the negativity thrown at me for having an opinion has set me back on my heels as it were, to contemplate the process and try to understand the motives.
A business associate of mine has just had a similar experience, but on a global scale.
He has been fighting for nine years to save the last remaining tropical rain forests in the Asia Pacific Region. He is the type of person who has built his very successful life with his hands, from the ground up, and with the inspiration of his father's words, he has literally walked the forests from top to bottom, meeting and talking with the traditional Owners. He has created a unique process for them to stop logging, and create commercial carbon trading projects under the Climate, Community, Biodiversity Alliance and Voluntary Carbon Trading protocols.
He has fought Governments, the UN, financiers, traders, brokers, and bloggers. And the hardest fight he has had has been with the bloggers.
Blogging allows someone to anonymously say anything they like, with no consequences for the outcome. And the truly amazing synergistic effect of this negative and irresponsible behaviour is other bloggers pick up the mis-thruths and lies and give them creditability by increasing the frequency of the message.
We have even seen credible journalists publishing one thing in a magazine article, only to "privately" blog a totally different, and untrue story the same day. And then wonder of wonders, other journalists pick up the fake blog and run with it as a credible story using the byline of the originating journalist/blogger.
Now normally, I would just let this fraudulent and corrosive behaviour go by, treating it with the contempt it deserves.
But the negative and false stories these two people created between themselves and fed to the rest of the blogging world have almost destroyed the lives of 40,000 indigenous people in the rain forests, by eating away at the credibility of the project developer, and the project.
There is always a cost for a freedom, and it seems that the cost of freedom to blog is to be totalled in human lives in some cases, and I think that is just plain wrong.
So I would like to suggest that the world makes negative vibes illegal, and demands that people take responsibility for their personal attacks and false stories.
I take responsibility for my stance against the State Government, and they are punishing me for it.
The same should be true for bloggers who deliberately attack others simply for the vicarious pleasure of doing damage anonymously, with no consequences.
What do you think?