Invisible and Unknown to Us – As You Were

As You Were – looking for connections between the work of Brené Brown and Daniel Quinn as I revisit them in book clubs. See the introductory post for what this is all about. In this post, I look at:

  • Daniel Quinn Book Club — The Invisibility of Success, session 2 reading: It’s All Up To, uh.. Somebody Else!; A Tipping Point for the Future; The Human Future: A Problem in Design; The Hidden Agenda – the One We Hide from Ourselves
  • Brené Brown Book Club — Rising Strong, finishing session 3 reading: Six – Sewer Rats and Scofflaws through Seven – The Brave and Brokenhearted

(Commissions earned on Amazon links.)

The Invisibility of Success

It’s All Up To, uh.. Somebody Else!

“But after this terrific beginning, things began a steady downturn. Environmentalists began to be widely seen as being for IT (the environment) and against PEOPLE.” Echoes Brené’s preference for both/and thinking over either/or.

“Here is Quinn’s Second Law: What people THINK is what they do. And its corollary: To change what people DO, change what they THINK.” Echoes Brené believing that culture is more important than strategy.

A Tipping Point for the Future

“What most people don’t realize is that being the smartest and most powerful species on earth doesn’t make us invulnerable.” Echoes much in Brené’s work about vulnerability, perfectionism, power-over, etc.

The Human Future: A Problem in Design

“As designers, however, we should se the matter differently. The very fact that these workers are striking should tell us that there’s something wrong with the design of the organizational system they work within. But the system is set in stone. We don’t change the design, we hire more troops or professional strike-breakers to combat the malcontents…
“When our children start becoming murderers, we typically don’t wonder what’s wrong with the system that’s turning them into murderers, we wonder what’s wrong with them. Imagine an assembly line that out of every hundred vehicles turns out one that is horribly defective. Then imagine, instead of inspecting the assembly line, taking the defective vehicle out and shooting it. Then taking the next defective one out and shooting it. And the next one, and the next one, and the next one…” Echoes Brené’s focus on getting to root causes.

“We’re not going to change anything — no no, everything’s perfect the way it is. We’re just going to punish the hell out of YOU. And that’ll send a message.” Echoes Brené’s criticisms of shame as being ineffective in fostering positive change.

“It can be said with reasonable justification that, in general, natural selection works on this principle: ‘If it doesn’t work, do it LESS.’ … Doing less of what doesn’t work is a principles that is practically instinctive to the human designer of products. But when it comes to our social organizations, the people of our culture follow a very different principle: ‘If it doesn’t work, do it MORE.’… The principle is best seen at work in the institutions dedicated to maintaining the stability of our structures ad systems. It’s an anti-evolutionary principle, a principle that keeps anything new from happening.” Directly echoes what Brené says in the Easy Mark chapter of Rising Strong.

The Hidden Agenda – the One We Hide from Ourselves

“It was perceived then, as now, that there was something strangely wrong with the schools. They were failing — and failing miserably — at delivering on these enticing promises.” Quinn’s broader critique of the educational system reveals structural reasons why it, by design, squashes children’s desire to learn, informing Brené’s discussions about the need for more curiosity, more creativity, etc. — Quinn reveals reasons why we don’t have enough of those things.

Rising Strong

Seven – The Brave and Brokenhearted

“Here is what you need to know about disappointment: Disappointment is unmet expectations, and the more significant the expectations, the more significant the disappointment.” With a culture that delusionally imagines humans as above all other creatures, that tries to ever more perfectly control and conquer the rest of the world, etc., etc., it is no wonder that our culture is rife with disappointment, not to mention setting itself up at each step for ever bigger disappointments.

“As a society, we have pathologized [grief] and turned it into something to cure or get over. Owning our stories of heartbreak is a tremendous challenge when we live in a culture that tells us to deny our grief.” Echoes Taker culture’s denial of its own failures, always trying to conquer ever more perfectly, setting itself up for untold grief and heartbreak.

“Grief seems to create losses within us that reach beyond our awareness — we feel as if we’re missing something that was invisible and unknown to us while we had it, but is now painfully gone… Related to loss is longing. Longing is not conscious wanting; it’s an involuntary yearning for wholeness, for understanding, for meaning, for the opportunity to regain or even simply touch what we’ve lost.” Consider the Great Forgetting and how much we’ve lost of Leaver wisdom, knowledge, belonging and meaning.

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