"Scooter covered in lavender" by Alejandro Gheorghe
Dakota Native Americans have a saying:
"When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount"
Many times governmental agencies and even corporations believe they can outsmart the Native Americans. Here are some of their "strategies"*:
1. Buy a stronger whip and use it more often.
2. Change riders.
3. Appoint a committee to study the horse.
4. Arrange to visit other countries, to learn how other cultures ride horses.
5. Lower the standards so that dead horses can be included.
6. Hire outside contractors to try to ride the dead horse.
7. Hire consultants specializing in riding dead horses.
8. Harness several dead horses together to increase speed.
9. Provide extra funding and training to increase the dead horse performance.
10. Perform a productivity study: would lighter riders improve the dead horse's performance.
11. Declare that as the dead horse does not need to be fed, it is less costly, it carries lower overhead and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy that live horses.
12. Rewrite the expected performance requirements for all horses.
And last but not least:
13. Promote the dead horse to a supervisor position.
*(Adapted after Russell Ackoff's "Systems Thinking for Curious Managers")
Since starting to work more and more with people who are in high-tech, web development and bio-tech industry, I have been pleasantly surprised to meet or find out about amazing people, many of them fellow Romanians.
I am therefore happy to read about the Romanian computer scientist Matei Ciocirlie and his project, Robots for Humanity. Mr. Ciocirlie has built robots which help people with severe disabilities. And I like the name of the offices where he works Willow Garage and I love the way he summarizes the difficulty of programming robots:
"The problem with computers is that they do what we tell them to, not what we want them to."
Please read the full article bellow.
For years I've telling my clients (and friends alike) that running all over the place doing things brings only illusion and meaninglessness in our lives. Driving around from one "errance" or "appointment" to another, cramming in "activities" for them and their children, scheduling "playdates" (nobody really notices anymore how close to ridiculous this word is?.. Do you really need a date to play?!.. World renown Danish family therapist Jesper Juul names play as the one of the only 4 things children really need. The other 3 are food, shelter and affection).
It seems to me that anger, anxiety and conflict are the three major symptoms of a life that not only is unnecessarily busy, but it is cluttered in a habitual manner, in order to avoid dealing precisely with the sources of anxiety, anger and conflict.
It is Rollo May, in its "Freedom and Destiny", who points out a truth that we seem to be eager to ignore:
"The pause is especially important for the freedom of being. what I have called essential freedom. For it is in the pause that we experience the context out of which freedom comes. [...] When we don't pause, when we are perpetually hurrying from one appointment to another, from one 'planned activity' to another, we sacrifice the richness of wonder. And we lose communication with our destiny."
And it is the contemporary Tim Kreider who reframes the same issue, just in a more popular manner, in his New York Times article The 'Busy' Trap:
"It’s almost always people whose lamented busyness is purely self-imposed: work and obligations they’ve taken on voluntarily, classes and activities they’ve “encouraged” their kids to participate in. They’re busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they’re addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence."
I am very happy to have participated at a round table discussion with Ionut Ancutescu, representing Forbes Romania. The event was organized by George Roth, Honorary Consul of Romania in San Francisco, and organizer of Romanian American Business Network (RABN). It was an extremely interesting, lively discussion, where several generations of Romanians, mostly entrepreneurs and high-tech professionals, dialogued about what it means to be a Romanian in Silicon Valley.
One of the most interesting participants was Anda Gansca. A Stanford graduate, at her 23 years old Anda is involved in some extremely exciting projects. She is CEO and Co-founder of the start-up called Knotch (together with Stephanie Voltesun). In my work I use psychology, sociology and systems theory, so I liked to hear her using the expression (new for me) sentimental analysis. I am very curious about how could I use my skills and knowledge in this area of virtual social networks.
The poster contains all the necessary words, just in a different order: "Like", and "we need your support". As I said in a previous commentary to the NY Times article (“The Island Where People Forgot to Die”), it is the meaning, the metacommunication that occurs beyond the verbal what matters the most. The fine line between humorous and offensive creates a sort of adrenaline rush. I believe that sarcasm, in its most complex forms, creates a psychological double bind and psychological tension. Depending on circumstances, this tension will be released either toward anger/aggression, either toward a relief, a relaxation.
Part of my work (www.synergiscounseling.com/anger-coaching) is to help clients identify (real or perceived) psychological double binds. They can be present within any social system: work environment, group of friends, family, couple relationship, community, nation, etc. In fact, since we are in the middle of it, politicians use very often psychological double binds to push the voters in the desired direction.