Category: Insight

Going beyond ourselves

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Art is one of the prime ways we have of opening ourselves and going beyond ourselves. That’s what art is, it’s the product of the human being in the world and imagination, all coming together. The irrepressibility of the life in the works, regardless of the times, the histories, the life stories, it’s like being given the world, its darks and lights. At which point we can go about the darks and lights with our imagination energised.”

Ali Smith

Going beyond ourselves feels like the most urgent necessity for all those in the marketing community. And yet nothing is no guaranteed to shut out the world and close down minds as the institutional and intellectual paraphernalia with which we surround ourselves. Happily some of us are digging tunnels out into the daylight.

Switching off the autopilot

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He was thinking, not only dancing.”

So wrote Suzanne Moore, writing of the continuous invention and reinvention that characterised the art of David Bowie.

Thinking, not only dancing.

The words have rattled around my head since I first read them.

Thinking, not only dancing.

​And it prompts the thought that we should ​beware the organisation ​(whether we work in it, or with it) ​that does not have an intellectual life.

Now given that the word ‘intellectual’ is feared so much by those who like to present themselves as doers, makers and generally amongst life’s practical and unpretentious go-getters, let me clarify.

​We should beware the organization that does not at every level ​exhibit and encourage a healthy degree of spirited debate.

​T​hat merely absorbs the current orthodoxy​.

​T​hat feeds upon the speculation and ‘best practice’ of others​.​

​T​hat cannot accommodate heresy​.

That indeed, believes heresy IS something which exists.

And that is too locked into ​the comfort of ​habit to question ​it.

Of course the bigger the organization, the greater the need for process, systems, and rules.

Which presents us with a rather delicious paradox.

There’s nothing like size and success to make an organization stupid.

And while this is a paradox, it is not excuse.

The balance must be found.

The voices must be heard (and insist they make themselves heard).

The safe spaces and forums created.

The future must be visited.

And the experiments run.

 For the organization that can not or will not, isn’t merely dancing.

 It’s dancing in the dark.

 

Source

Suzanne Moore, ‘My David Bowie, alive for ever’, Guardian, 11.01.16

 

Exercising the empathy muscles

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Literature gives us a broad spectrum of human possibilities. It teaches us how to feel other people suffering. When you read a good novel, you forget about the nationality of the character. You forget about his or her religion. You forget about his skin colour or her skin colour. You only understand the human. You understand that this is a human being, the same way we are. And so reading great novels absolutely can remake us as much better human beings.”

 

Source: interview with Alaa Al Aswany in The Atlantic

 

Resisting the claimed otherness of ‘consumers’

I think we can be sure that what does not concern us deeply will not deeply interest our readers, whatever their age. We must write for children out of those elements in our own imagination which we share with children… We must meet children as equals in that area of our nature where we are their equals.”

Source: C.S Lewis, On Three Ways Of Writing For Children

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