Reality Check – are you “in Touch”…?

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…have you ever heard the expression – “Living the fairy-tale” …

I always thought it was a way to embrace or talk about visions and dreams – never did I believe that it could be widely used to describe a common contemporary behaviour…

For the vast majority of people on this planet the current “western lifestyle” is a fairy-tale, and given the enormous negative effects it has caused our planet so far – it will continue to be a fairy-tale – pretending anything else is pure escapism. It’s not that most people, not is going to be able to increase their standard of living, because they will, but the standard of living distributed on 9.5 Billion people have to be a significantly different one – for ALL OF US! The planetary boundaries are non-negotiable, the Earth’s “carrying-capacity” is not infinite. (Unlike economists belief about economic growth…)

…If you tell a lie enough times, and never are caught or questioned – is there any risk that you will eventually begin to regard it as the truth? …and maybe even the Society will…

Is there in fact a risk that a “foul behaviour” evolves through, what is often called “aggressions dynamics” so that bad ethics to large extent could drive good ethics out of the market…

Could it be like that…?

Story-telling…

www.sorenandersson.comFor quite some time marketers and PR-specialists have been pushing “story-telling” as the number one marketing-strategy to promote a brand or a product. One reason for such a strategy is that it pushes the boundary between marketing and “reality” – people want to “live the Story”, often to such extent that they don’t even bother to critically check the context.

Yesterday, I saw a commercial from an automobile-manufacturer;
In the commercial I was told a story on how I, in my daily hectic life pursuing a career, travelling, enjoying my hobby, training at the gym, raising a family, engaging with friends, and, and… is dependent on a tight schedule where everything “have to work” and that I therefore should give more attention to my car, servicing it more regularly at, guess what – their auto-dealer…

…is this the same brand as in other commercials tells you that all their latest models can be ordered with “environmental friendly engines”… and in yet another commercial promotes one of their most expensive and high-emission cars somewhere in  the “outback”, with a celebrity, yearning for some kind of “wilderness experience”…

…is this the same brand that revealed that they will close down their European assembly line for their biggest and most “un-sustainable” SUV-vehicle – but instead move production to China, where it still can be sold… but that was of course a much smaller article, and in the Business-section…

Sounds “good” – doesn’t it?

www.sorenandersson.comBut – referring to how a friend of mine would put it – Is the lifestyles and features that they are promoting, possible to obtain for 9.5 Billion people without destroying our planet? …because if they aren’t, what they are saying is “Bullshit” and their stories are nothing more than mere “Fairy-tales”…

… lulling everyone into a dream where everyone on earth is entitled to a life in abundance – with no connection to our “finite” reality…

And in the Automobile-industry the brand referred to is definitely not alone – some weeks back when an annual automobile-fair was held at the eastcoast of US, one of the articles reporting from the fair had this text in its headline: “…´Muscle Cars’ are back and reign at the fair”
– You tell me, if this is a “Fairy-tale” or is it something else…

Not My responsibility…

BOHICA-WideThis is probably one of the most used “excuses” of all, to almost everything, don’t you agree…

Somehow, lots of people have gotten the idea that their own behaviour and lifestyle in no way affects what happens on our planet and that everything outside their personal sphere absolutely must be someone else’s responsibility…

…hopefully these people will get their head out of the sand one of these days and will then realise that everything is interconnected, that every action has a consequence…

Egoism and Greed are rather unattractive characteristics – especially when it’s becomes more and more obvious that it severely affect the survival of humanity…
Driving a gas-guzzling vehicle, indulging in excessive consumerism etc. – “Just because you can” is a very poor excuse when your children ask about why their opportunities to live a decent life is already exhausted…

In the corporate world it’s maybe even worse, following the “wisdom” from undisputed economists, not seldom derived from the “Chicago School of economics” – economists like Milton Friedman who wrote an article in New York Times, 1970 where he stated that:

“…Only ‘people’ have responsibilities…’Business’ as a whole cannot be said to have responsibilities, even in this vague sense’…”

This corporate discharge from “societal responsibility” have led to development of all kinds of setups where corporations operate only as legal “entities” creating their own flawed game rules based on theories derived from Taylor, Keynes and Friedman. (More on this topic “Here”)

www.sorenandersson.comAnd the “flawed game” has evolved even further, often with the use of anonymous companies. Just the other day I learned from an article in the Guardian that UK:s 100 largest corporations have nearly 30,000 subsidiaries[!] I also learned that this building on 1209 North Orange Street, Wilmington, Delaware is the legal address of no fewer than 285,000 separate businesses. (Read more)

Introducing Corporate Social Responsibility to a business landscape where avoidance and dodging has been the norm and dogma for decades and still is, doesn’t come easy and the number of corporate Fairy-tales related to this are outnumbering the ones coming from the Grimm Brothers, HC Andersen, Astrid Lindgren, Aesop, Jean Cocteau and Disney put together and multiplied several times over…and then some…

…What do you think my friend would call this…? 

Selective “deafness”…

www.sorenandersson.comOr “selective auditory attention” as it is called by scientists and in Wikipedia (Link), is when only certain parts of the auditory information are processed in the brain – most often, auditory attention is directed at things people would like to hear.

This is a fantastic human “feature” – if you really want to hear that “Extreme consumerism is [not] compatible with a Sustainable society” – you can instruct your brain to leave or keep the word “not” in the sentence… and it can be done “automatically”…

In the same way you can instruct yourself to only read articles that are expressing what you want to read or to only watch television news from a channel you know promotes what you want to see or hear, or to only search for facts that supports your standpoint…

A truly remarkable human feature with one major fundamental limitation
it isn’t applicable to Facts!

Facts are not something you can have an opinion on, they are “non-negotiable” – watch this hilarious clip from “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” and you’ll “probably” get the picture…

And still, lots of people and corporations turn on the “selective deafness” function if their plans or opinion on how the world “should be”, if their “Fairy-Tale” is challenged – this is probably some kind of defence-mechanism to cope with disappointment of not being able to “live the Fairy-Tale”…

If you, in private or as a company, consistently base your decisions and stances on opinions rather than facts it has nothing to do with “selective auditory attention”, nor is it a mistake – it is a Choice to ignore reality…!

The power of a Good Example…

www.sorenandersson.comI am a firm believer that a Good Example makes difficult issues much simpler to explain, but if the Good Example gets “hijacked” by the PR-department or some other entity using it to promote “something” it’s necessary to be on the lookout…

Have you ever thought about the difference between “a Good Example” and “the Good Example”…

…the first one implicates that it is a Good Example, “out of many”, while the second one is the good example – “in singular”…

Which one do you think is the most frequently used when a person or a corporation want to promote “how good they are…” or how Sustainable they are?

One good example can probably be achieved by anyone, often all it takes is money, it’s when you can pull a Good Example from anywhere in a process or a randomly chosen product that it really carries any value.

So, next time you see a good example – look out, is it in singular or does it really reflect the general “quality” of a service or a product – if it is in singular, at least I know what my friend would call it…

Apply the “Bullshit-filter”…

If something looks “to good to be true” – it probably is.

I don’t want to be a sceptic, but I think we need a little more seriousness when we now together are up for the biggest challenge our humanity has ever faced – our survival on this planet. We also need to “connect the dots” and stop dealing with reality in small “fragments”.

If a product, a service or a lifestyle cannot be distributed on 9.5 Billion people without damaging our planet – it is not Sustainable – let’s stop telling Fairy-Tales.

Equality is part of being sustainable – to only “cater” for an “elite” or to create systems or even political movements on the basis that people are “of different value” is ethically reprehensible and has no place in a Sustainable world.

Let’s Get in touch with reality!