The Translation of Culture – Soil vs Crops, Strategic vs Operative, Experience vs Innovation.. Questioning vs Trust. Old vs New.
New ideas vs knowledge. Old mindset vs new. The translation of an old culture to a new – to renew our way of life and our way of thinking.
There’s a fundamental difference between creating a seedbed, the right soil and bringing up the crops, sort of like science vs engineering. Taking care of the plants and harvesting is very near the future-focused and connected to results and concrete actions (adjust light, watering, right temperature, maybe adding nutrition). Creating the soil is a long term process which involves preparing something that you don’t exactly know how it will be used for. It also involves a bit of imagination and hope for the future. What you do in the immediate will affect what will happen in the future. But you’re not always in control of what will happen. Who will use your soil and to what. You need to trust people to plant the right seeds and trust them to harvest. There’s a strategic level here. For the seed-planters to come back to you for more soil you must do your “homework” also in order to make sure your soil is good and delivers as expected.
The gap between Strategic and Operative capabilities is spelled Trust.
How can you be sure that your soil is great if you don’t test it like your customers will for real. You have to know the new crops, what they like and what risks and problems that might occur. Now, this makes it impossible to trust only your experience and your own secret reciepe for success. You need to be updated with the latest information available. You need to take a long-term strategic decision about being strategic in your choice of changes in your product. The strategic part is the gameplan, the operative part is implementing the strategy in smaller steps and concrete actions. In a chess-game a strategy can be to be defensive and wait for the opponents mistakes. That means to operatively be active with pawns and be careful about opening up spaces for enemy movements. And if any clashes occur make sure many are taken out in order to minimize risk of losing (going for a draw is a more certain tactics than going for a win). The strategic mode allows you to step back and consider the whole instead of focusing on specific pieces and moves. A strategy is something that cannot be determined and graspable – it’s a mindset. Be aggressive, the opponent is nervous. Be cheerful, your collegues might help you some day. Never give up – there’s gold and happiness waiting. Make sure the soil is good – then you will be able to harvest later.
Requirements, resources and boundaries
Now, this is also about the changing world and prerequisites. If you have mastered something like if you would be a bird picking seeds on the ground. You have always gone to that special place and you have your friends there and over the years the resources (seeds) become fewer and fewer while your group of friends have become bigger and bigger. Now, strategically you should probably rethink your position and discover another site where you can find better and larger seed. But when only focusing on now and the current situation it will always be less risky to stay – after all it has been working every other year and it will surely work another year. It’s hard to risk something new and risky to leave the current place.
Should you trust your instincts on experience and knowledge or new ideas that suggest new knowledge? When do you say enough is enough? Shouldn’t there always be a strategic choice saying you should review you previous choices in real-time? Decisions should not be based on insecurity of parameters you don’t know. A system should not be self-made or self-contained, that is, that you decide everything you do based on what you know that you know. If you don’t measure your state with indicators that have a connection to the future and surrounding networks you will not have the proper basis for proper decision making. If you and your friends only focus on finding the next seed quickest you will probably run out of seeds. If you don’t look up and study the environment you will end up being late for keeping up on your own needs. You’ll end up in being forced to “eat” less and cannot grow sustainable. If you don’t grow sustainable and networked with your surrounding environment and cultures you cannot adjust and adapt in time.
You need to be aware of the situation. You need to make sense of what you do. You need Situation Awareness and Sensemaking.
In strategic mode
If the flock of birds could stand back in time and implement a strategy of always find the best place to find seed, they would revise their choices in real-time. They would actively send out scouts that would report back. They would make sure to connect to other groups of birds to network and to discuss the past, presence and the future. Stepping back from the immedient and seeing the whole is something that is hard to do – especially when there’s hunger involved. You can be strategic about science as well. For me science is the only way forward. Religion and mumbo-jumbo is not an option in finding out what to do now and in the future, let me be perfectly clear about that. But there is science and “science” – science that is a product of a schooling system, or political science even worse, or just plain old science. No matter how you put it science or scientific evidence must be put into a strategic or cultural perspective. If science teaches to be sceptic – you also need to be sceptical and critical about bad science itself. If your school teaches you to be critical about change you should question that – especially if the school is the change object.
Values, mindset and strategy
Is a scientist from Libya or China and his report more worth that one let’s say from America? Especially if we are taking about what to do now in order to be successful in the future. There’s no evidence at all proving the outcome of future? You can guess, provide excellent technology for predicting weather etc. You can predict earthquakes in some way and tsunamis. But ultimately you will be standing there guessing and use the whole capacity of your brain and others in order to make the most (at the time) appealing decision. It’s like playing chess – you know (hopefully) your wanted outcome – check mate -but you don’t know how to get there. But you can use principles on the way and try to outsmart your opponents (obstacles) with a positive and creative mindset – solving problems as they show up will make you passive. And imagine a chessgame where you don’t see the whole board and you don’t know which pieces you have and which pieces are against you.
Imagine society is run this way today. What a nightmare. Imagine if an education system would be run this way without knowing the situation on the board – what effects would that have on society over 20-30 years?
The Values we have and share are built up over years of interplay with culture, across generations and borders, and they are not easily changed. The values are rooted in the soil. Now, what happens when you mix things up, when you introduce new and perhaps strange or old or super-new values? Problems occur – but they are really not problems, the symptoms are problematic maybe but the “problems” are just another type of soil that can make new and better crops grow if you have the proper mindset – if you have a strategy of coping with change, a strategy of learning and learning to adapt you will see things differently. If you have this mindset and if you are combining it with trust you’ll find the opportunities and the future (crops) instead of the overwhelming problems in the presence (watering seeds that needs draught, exposing plants with sun when they need shadow etc).
Old vs New
The conflict is always there, the one between parents and their children. The new worker vs the old. The new teacher vs the old. The new way of working vs the old. This is natural. People of different generations are different and have different values. An old James Bond movie suck compared to Transformers and vice versa. An old Nokia-phone suck compared to a new one.. and vice versa depending on who you are.
But you can’t really say the same about an old or new culture, can you? You have to respect other people’s values and rights. But if one group of people causes problems to another – who is right? If wearing a hat indoors gives one group status and security and for another group it means the opposite, who is right? The old or the new? You have to solve the issue operatively and you need also to make a strategic choice on what’s best for the future. And there aren’t any problems in the first place – it’s a matter of values, mindset and trust. The focused “problem” with the hat is not the issue to debate and “solve” – the “problem” is about respect and lack of communication, dialogue and again.. trust.
How about old and new science? Or biased science? Some science is used to prove that new phenomenas in society is dangerous, and new science is equally used to promote the very same phenomenas. The culture of science even promotes and proves itself like it would be a religion. And the thing is, everyone is so focused that they forget the whole. The whole point if science to improve the world, to go further, to bring clarity, to simplify, to unfog reality and perhaps point to and envision the future!
The divided brain
Iain MacGilchrist explains it for us. THE most important lecture you need in able to understand SELF (focus) and SOCIETY (the whole). How can we use industry doctrines (the “problems”) to implement life, love, serendipity, miracle design, dreams and opportunities? Is there a linear process for happiness? Yes, if you use strategic thinking and if you are allowed to be free within your known boundaries. If you are free to adapt, change, renew, evolve, learn.. If your spirit is allowed to grow into what it need to be.. If we allow our own spirit that drives us to shine. If we are in control of our own mind-set to command our own life in interplay with others. Communicating that and communication is key. And the best way to communicate is to do stuff. In that way the frontal lobe can take action after some reflection!
So all of these conflicts are just effects of different ways of thinking. And our thinking is controlled by our experience and culture. What if the culture was focused on building a better world. If the culture was focused towards exploring and how the west would be re-won? What if the mindset would change to focus on enabling our young and making sure they can bring life to to the future? What if old people began to master Internet? What would happen to the knowledge base then? What if young people could teach old on how to use new technology? What is young people could teach old people about trust?
Putting the pieces together
I order to deal with a vision and being concrete in the same time you need to rethink your thinking. You need to focus on the terms that are setting the scene (resources, reality, life) and envision where you wanna be and why in the future. No matter in which domain in society if it is education, sustainability, doing plain old business or even dealing with you personal aspirations you need to be in control. And you need to get some command in what you wanna do. The best way for you personally and for society is to set the vision and decide upon the terms which limits or hinders the steps towards your vision. It can be about you childhood dream.
Or curing a planet with sustainability:
Or enabling young people with a future:
Once we get a grasp of a will or an Intent, we can do something. But, let’s not forget. It’s not about picking seeds. It’s about living life – seeds are just one part of it.
Oh, and this is not a scientific article, it’s just a text to make you think a little differently… and perhaps change your mindset. And perhaps to inspire.. Or perhaps it’s just a text to make ME think and set MY mindset straight. I’m up there in the right corner. Where are you?
I wish I could fine a clear answer to difficult questions. But sometimes the questions are unnecessary – they are part of something old that you don’t need anymore. Maybe we should all step back a see what out there here and now and where we wanna be in the future. And ask ourselves “why?” all the times – but be as critical to old stuff and behaviour as you would be on new stuff and new behaviour. Or else we loose the balance – alltogether.