Back in the day (October 3-6, 2018), a call to action (aka CTA) shouted out: YOUR STORY STINKS, THEREFORE SO DOES YOUR STRATEGY. So, grabbing a harried reader’s attention, two “guest posters” named Jim Hodan and Rich Berens opined about executive blind-spots, specifically, telling “how to conquer five misconceptions that hold leaders back.”*
In the blink of an eye, I was all but stunned; for less than a “xetasecond.”
God only knows, Propaganda (advert-like, pseudo-surreals, enrapt, embedded in pseudo-myths, cloaked in implied anxieties, under the overly gelled, pin-spot pots of nebulous fear-mongering) can do that to a human. Rimshots, brushes on cymbals. Hum-drumming. Like glinting baubles lost in deep leaves of grass may move a quothing raven, a literary magpie, to clutch their scintilla into its empty nest. While no midnight dreary were far-casting its once-upon-a-moment palette of pallors, yet I found myself, suddenly, moving with the rhythms of my vision forward into an untimely pastime.
Nearly 150 years ago (1873-1876), Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)** published four essays under the serious title, Untimely Meditations. Often translated as “The Use and Abuse of History,” Nietzsche’s second essay could better translate under a more precise title, as suggested by Alfred University philosopher Emrys Westacott: “On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life.” Ironically, perhaps satirically, this rather heady footnote properly illustrates monumentalism, antiquarianism, and criticism (Nietzsche’s three generic kinds of history) while also, much more importantly, demonstrating its five abuses (cultural disadvantages):
- a wide separation between “headtrips/mere ideologies” and artfully engaging the real world (both inanities and insanities, respectively).
- impetuousness, or arrogances based on ignorances and chronological snobberies, which often get rationalized by cheap-shots/apothegms, like: new is always better than old; or worse, new is good, old is evil; or worst, give no quarter; in it to win it.
- denial of natural instinct, a defiant refusal to mature — which, in turn, denatures, then overly nurtures, already overly thin superficiality, defending over-specialization with bureaucratic legalities, threatening loss of creative depth and derogation of the perspectives given in properly cultural wisdom (demoralization).
- ritually enacting inferior imitations of our predecessors, sneakily replacing courage with much riskier cowardice, false humilities, self-subversions, pre-traumatic depressions; victimage owns up.
- avoiding lively human measures: deliberate reduction of ironies to cynicisms, of authentic satires to unimaginative “scientisms “ (slogan-like, sound-byte pseudoscience), and even evoking imperative parades of unspeakably “instant expertise,” that is, of badly scripted, perverse ignorance camouflaged in someone else’s sagacity.
Backing into our future: Any and all of the above are ever so quickly designed in our epoch (1700sCE—2200sCE?) by mercenary guns and pusillanimous pundits to redirect shortened audience attention spans “away from” non-existent imperators’ invisible but shiny new clothes.
Don’t worry, pursue happy. The mylar nostrum of transparency gets worn only once anyway at otherwise naked lunches, at supposedly amoral, public guiltings and maybe moral, not-so-private shamings.
The deliberate abuse of storytelling in real-world livelihoods always comes round to bite, at least haunt, abusers. Such is justice that it favors those truthfully disadvantaged with the deepest, the highest wisdom. Allēlu!
*The original online link to Hodan & Berens “pitch” no longer exists, btw.
**Synchronous with Nietzsche’s passing, the Great Exposition of 1900, and Adams, Theodore Roosevelt’s Bullmoose campaigns; Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Chapter XXV, “The Dynamo and The Virgin,” forecasted the abuses of ideologism and scientism as well as the accelerating rise of both “scientific paradigms” and also “protestant progress.” To the rescue?