Friday thread: On doing things that make us feel good but which don’t work…

Benjamin Brattan gave this anti TED TEDx talk in San Diego last year. He’s talking directly to the kind of techno-utopianism that TED often falls into.

But this section towards the end might have some useful lessons for Northern Ireland. Consider, following Jim’s analysis this morning, that the Haass talks fall under the category of “things that make us feel good but which don’t work“:

If we really want transformation we have to slog through the hard stuff: the history; economics; philosophy; art; the ambiguities and contradictions. Because focusing just on technology or just on innovation actually prevents transformation.

We need to raise the level of general understanding to the level of complexity of the systems in which we are embedded in which are embedded in us.

This is not about personal stories of inspiration. It’s about the hard difficult work up demystification and reconceptualization. More Copernicus less Tony Robins.

At a societal level the bottom line is that if we invest in things that make us feel good but which don’t work and don’t invest in things which don’t make us feel good but which may solve problems then our fate is that in the long run it’ll just get harder and harder to feel good about not solving problems

In this case the placebo is not just ineffective it’s harmful that it because it takes your interest and energy and outrage and diverts it into a black hole which is affectation.[Emphasis added]

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty