Sunday, February 8, 2015

Rage and the Machine

First off, there's no secret to my success or effectiveness.  I don't have a 12-step program.  When it comes to the 7 steps to wealth or 5, 7, 12 or more habits of successful people - bupkis!  And at some point, it may dawn on people who are pretty sure that I've got some insights worth sharing that I come in one size.  Me.  And that's the raw, unedited, unplugged, fully living in analog dynamism, Me.

Some really caring, empathetic individuals came up to me a few days ago and in hushed tones thought I should know that some people found my language offensive, my tone too harsh, and the dynamic range of my passion in presentation "unsettling". 

"You could be so much more effective if you softened your edges," one said.

"I don't really think you mean to come across as angry," stated another.

Now let's put this in context.  I've been asked to contribute to a series of gatherings lately where my experience in business and foresight have been explicitly solicited.  From post-modern, pseudo-spiritual Jungian "shadow work", to the Jaworski, Scharmer & Senge "Presencing" and Theory U, to the Robinson, Blank & Ries "minimum viable product" orthodoxy, to Swammerdam cum Chopra's "imaginal cells" (ironically first used to describe fruit flies - sorry all you feel-good butterfly enlightened ones!), to Prahalad & Ramaswamy's "co-creation", I've been asked to collaborate with purveyors of theories developed by others which are barely recognizable in the manifest deployment thereof.  And while each of these theories served an elucidation function for their progenitors' impulse to communicate, their unconsidered promulgation as a catechism for social engagement is revolting.  Having read an essay or attended a workshop may be suitable for voyeuristic intrigue but it does, my no means, elicit mastery.  Put another way, being able to quote the works of an "anticipatory design scientist" does not a geodesic dome construct. 

Appealing to the sweeping generalizations endemic in Occidental religious dogma regarding the essential nature of humanity and its defiled state, Jung was able to ride a secular wave with his "all have shadows" proclamation.  Theory U presupposes ubiquitous "blind spots".  MVP favors velocity and illusion over momentum and mass.  Imaginal and co-creative impulses perpetuate historicism errors dependent on a linear evolutionary ascent model.  And each of these methods seek to impose mean reversion on a population and its constituents rather than elucidating conditions in which the wild-type mutagenicity is fostered.

If we presuppose the First Law of Thermodynamics which stipulates matter and energy exist in persistent, transitive phases and states (neither created nor destroyed) in a closed system, we can readily conclude that all animation and agency we need is present in our ecosystem.  If we layer onto that presupposition Auguste Comte's positivism - the deterministic "natural order" - we find ourselves in a space that diminishes our capacity to fully engage the abundance that is in our field.  Heisenberg's observation that positivism requires us to "pass over in silence" that which doesn’t fit our model of reality concludes that positivism is a, "pointless philosophy, seeing that we can say clearly amounts to next to nothing."

After being told that my presentation material and style was abrasive and offensive, I decided to enter into a deep observation mode.  I noticed that those most offended by my style were most engaged with copious alcohol consumption at breaks and in late evenings.  I noticed that the purveyors consensus theories of incrementalism promulgated to promote the illusion of "doing something" were engaging in activities clearly evidencing disdain for personal integrity.  And all the while I reflected on why my rage against prima facie fallacies promoted to seduce aspiring entrepreneurs into the jaws of a system that devours all it contacts was somehow deemed offensive while ethanol-induced analgesia was embraced with no critique.  How does a hydroxl linked saturated carbon atom get permission to impair human potential while precise, verbal and aesthetic cognitive stimulation get indicted for being too intrusive? 

And then it dawned on me.  I live in an unconstrained analog system optimized for highly varied operations in acoustic, light, thermal, positional and pressure conditions.  I've chosen a path that has preserved the perceptive amplitude of all my awareness never seeking to deaden pain, escape emotions, transcend the present, or dismiss the unfamiliar.  My opening proposition with any being or any experience is one in which I love to test signal responses across the entire range of energy.  I love operating across dynamic ranges and fall madly into intimate fellowship and partnership with those who fully engage their full amplitude.  And when I encounter those who either constrain their own capacity by socially imposed normative ranges defined as "acceptable" or "nice", I am deeply saddened.  But more than that, I also am cautious.  If one has deadened the capacity to feel and perceive what is considered to be "abnormal" or "negative", then discernment is impaired.  If one has closed the aperture of perception to only engage the normative, than radical mutations that could unleash massive consequential shifts in individual or collective experiences will be ignored.  When one limits their own views and inputs, I'm truly saddened.  When one seeks to impose limits on others - I'm truly angry.  And here's the deal:  if you really want to make an impact on a system optimized for mean reversion and consensus, you're going to piss a few people off.  But that's fine.  Because what they're truly experiencing is an indictment of their own lost dynamism and, with any luck, a little jolt to the system might remind them of their true purpose for living and, who knows, they might come back to reality.

While contemplating suicide and in painful alcohol fueled despondency, Buckminister Fuller reported being told by a white light:

"You don't have the right to eliminate yourself.  You do not belong to you.  You belong to the Universe.  Your significance will remain forever obscure to you, but you may assume that you are fulfilling your role if you apply yourself to converting your experiences to the highest advantage of others."

He went forward from that moment, harnessing the full amplitude of his life's experiences and served the "highest advantage of others".  Live Fully and Unconstrained.


  1. David - while I appreciate your systemic writing, this note on human relationship and what I will call true empowerment strikes a nerve that reverberates sonorously with me. Thank you. May you continually expand your dynamic range to foster a wild-type mutagenicity!

  2. Condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance, challenging a predetermined belief system often means the ego comes up with a wide range of reasons not to participate. Fill a room with 100 people and the opinions will vary, I can tell you thoughthe overall perception was excellent and in some cases life changing. Kudos to you DM

  3. I generally don't mind pissing people off. But I hate the thought of doing it inelegantly. When it comes to doing it elegantly, you are my role model.

  4. Well David I have only seen you on stage via the auld internet, so, let me say as we say over here, every time you take that stage you have always been ''sucking diesel'' so why change a winning combination. Nick Byrne.

  5. Really! I am in awe of how you manage to keep your cool! How you don’t fall into despair! You are an example to us all! When you do speak with passion I see a Righteous anger. You actually help us all to keep things in perspective and stay calm.


Thank you for your comment. I look forward to considering this in the expanding dialogue. Dave