We need to see what isn’t there

Quick thought, because a) working on an overdue Doctor Who article, b) working on The Job (CCS) and c) have a call imminently with an old friend.

So much of what frustrates me about me/social movement organisations comes down to the inability/unwillingness (because it’s hard, and if you don’t practice, you never get better — you might not anyway, of course, even with practice, but that is another story) to see two things.

a) To see the “big picture”, long history. We get so caught up in the here and now and the short-term consequences. The horse-race journalism, the collapse of sense-making, political amnesia all drive that, sure. But as an activist I respect points out “when you’re up to your neck in alligators, it’s hard to remember you came to drain the swamp.”

What to do about that? Try to take a longer perspective. Encourage others to do so. It might get easier, it might help us see strategically, and even be able to act strategically.

b)To see how our very ability to see, to think, to describe, to discuss, is shaped (hindered) by what we can’t see. You don’t have to go Full Freud to realise we are driven by desires we can barely name, let alone admit. And fears of annihilation, insignificance etc. But if we can’t see that, we will continue to be slaves to the patterns that these desires set up. I’ve been thinking about this with regard to the persistence of information deficit campaigning, and the “scraped knee” theory of activism.

We need, somehow, to help each other to not only see what isn’t there, but to develop languages for it.

Or maybe these languages already exist and I am just pig (1) ignorant. That is probably it.

Ideally we would have done this 50 or 100 or even 2000 years ago. But we are where we are.


(1) Pigs are of course smart, and what we are doing to them is a crime. Not that only “intelligent” animals deserve to be treated well. Sigh.

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