This blog was inspired by this morning’s #JoyFE💛 Ideas Room. I’m writing it, but equal credit goes to Jackie Rossa, Jo Fletcher-Saxon and – above all – Hannah Woolgar, because I wouldn’t have got here without our constellation this morning. Thanks also to the genealogy of thinking which led me to Nassim Nicholas Taleb‘s ‘Antifragility’ via Nancy Kline’s latest book, ‘The Promise that Changes Everything’ and onto the brilliant work of Sam Conniff Allende, author of ‘Be More Pirate’.
Caveat: I’ve still got a lot of reading, thinking and listening to do.
The stars collided this morning around all of this and our enduring experience of the pandemic (and everything else that’s happening in the world), plus the posthuman perspective of my thinking and practice over the past few years and a desire to articulate the philosophy I bring to #JoyFE💛 – which is both the place I get my strength and the joyful work of my heart.
I’m reading all of the above, at the same time, plus Brené Brown’s ‘Dare to Lead’, which is always pertinent and also timely, as it’s the subject of the #APConnect Reading Rooms on Friday. I’m trying to practice an ethics of joy and care in everything I do, which involves challenging a lot of my own internal narrative.
And I’m seeing a convergence which has so much promise. As I read it, ‘antifragility’ is the counterweight of what Jennifer Thetford Kay so helpfully termed ‘gobackery’ right at the start of first lockdown. It’s a concept which means that not only do we survive adversity, but we thrive on it. It means seeking out and challenging the assumptions, norms, binaries we take for granted and which are enshrined in the monuments and documents of our society so deeply that we believe not only have they always been there, but they always will be. They are held in place by language and by the hierarchies, structures and processes we operate within.
What would it mean to operate out of communities, rather than organisations? Those of us involved with #JoyFE💛 and other grassroots constellations already do both, which creates tension – yes – but also opportunity to find new spaces in which to unfold our thoughts. Here we can recognise gobackery in all its forms and start to challenge documents, in the hope of pulling down the monument. As we said right at the start of #JoyFE💛 we want to do different things, rather than the same things differently.
In the Ideas Room, Hannah was reminded of her time at sea. Seafarers have to be antifragile, since every moment is unexpected. They learn not just to live with that but to embrace every wave. We are in the ship together and we’re not just trying to reach the gobackery of the distant shore. We want to embrace our identity as pirates, sailing on the sea.