My first thought, as is often the case, when reading about devastations such as the hurricane Dorian caused on the Bahamas: “could this have been avoided?” Not the storm as such, but the scale of it is brutal impact?
No doubt, this was one of the worst storms ever to hit the Bahamas, with a possible link to Climate Change.
Yet, I was not able to find any international news story on the fact that even this storm did not affect the whole population in equal measures.
What is rather unusual, is, that the Bahamas looks good on paper. It is a highly developed country with less corruption and more freedom of speech than most countries in the Americas.
However, the country has a high level of social inequality. Another fact is that the Bahamas has received a large number of immigrants from Haiti. Both legal and illegal.
Hence, I was pleased when a week later, I found this article in the British newspaper the Guardian: “The poor are punished: Dorian lays bare inequality in the Bahamas.”
Finally, something on vulnerability and risk drivers.
We’ve brought this on ourselves,” was one opinion conveyed anonymously to the Guardian. “It’s all fine when you’re living in paradise and a Haitian comes and mows your lawn. We’ve just created our own structure and there hasn’t been any attempt to integrate.
If only such self-insight had been prevalent around the world.
Could it also be that international media finally has started to grasp that disasters are shaped by vulnerability? That a storm is a trigger, but not a determinator? Could this be the beginning of the end to “natural disaster” headlines?
That would be very good news. Because that implies that journalists would start to ask some more critical questions to national and international power brokers on how their decisions, or indifference, caused the havoc in the first place.
We humans have a strong tendency to believe what is presented to us, without applying even a minimum of reflection or logical reasoning. Instead we try to come up with explanations in hindsight, for why we thought it was true.
Here is an entertaining list of April Fool’s Day jokes people actually believed in.
In case you did not know: you can be punished for drinking alcohol while surfing the internet.
Or the fact that in Norway we have two suns. The normal one and the midnight sun.
What You See Is All There Is – WYSIATI
What You See Is All There Is. That is what Daniel Kahneman, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, wrote about in his book “ Thinking, Fast and Slow” . It is about our strong tendency to jump to conclusions based on limited evidence, and information.
The main reason is that such a story is easier for us to understand. And we believe more in what makes sense to us, than complex scenarios that would involve massive brain effort for us to grasp. What we understand easily makes us more convinced that we are right. Not the amount or quality of the evidence.
I have yet to found anyone who does not believe in climate change, who can claim to have any profound knowledge on the subject. Or on how science works at all, for that matter. Overconfidence is, according to Kahneman, a manifestation of WYSIATI.
Therefore, WYSIATI can have dire consequences. From world leaders denying climate change, to public support for Hitler, or any other noxious authoritarian figure.
No human being or sector are vaccinated against What You See Is All There Is. That goes of course for the aid and development sector, as well.
Here are two examples from the excellent “What Went Wrong?” project in Kenya:
“No answer: Kenya’s gender-based violence hotline fails to connect.”
“Promises kept? Residents stranded in temporary shelters after housing project stalls.”
My take is that WYSIATI was very much involved in the failure of these projects.
We need to bear in mind that we are constantly being duped, by ourselves or others, often unintentionally.
Ask yourself, if there might be more to an issue, than what is in front of you. And that some missing information would might alter your opinion or decision all together.
If you constantly surround yourself with people and opinions you agree with, you will become more and more convinced you are right, since you hear and see nothing else.
Little by little it gets increasingly troublesome to read or listen even to those who slightly disagree with you. This aversion might not just be related to a need to be right. The more impenetrable and smaller your own bubble, the more you will fear what is outside that bubble.
We will never be able to make progress and grow as human beings if we do not expose ourselves to disagreement. [Read more…]
“The Leadership Integrity Challenge” by Edward E. Morler is the most important book I have come across in at least a decade. And I am a voracious reader.
The book is about.
The lack of emotional maturity is at the root of all our problems. That is the main message of the book.
The author lists a variety of issues from highway littering, corporate fraud and terrorism to rainforest destruction.
Although our happiness and perhaps very survival demands mature adult judgement and action, we continue to react and behave like insecure self-absorbed adolescents
Unlike many other leadership or personal development books, “The Leadership Integrity Challenge” does not offer any quick and easy remedies. Morler also takes on a much more direct approach than many other authors in this category, which I find invigorating. [Read more…]
“ The maturity of an organisation’s leadership lays the foundation and sets the tone for everything that follows.
Raise emotional maturity and individuals become more secure, discerning, responsible, productive and happy.”
Edward E. Morler – The Leadership Integrity Challenge.
I started pondering on this article on 21st January, the Martin Luther King Jr. Day. My intention was to write about a highly mature being, mentioned that day in the press or other media, who somehow carries the legacy of King’s ideas.
After an hour or two of browsing and scrolling, I was not able to find a single example.
What I did come across, were numerous illustrations of the opposite.
One of them was a note in a Swedish newspaper on a United Nations’ predicament. It is not my intention to constantly find fault with that institution. But this blog’s focus is on maturity; and the UN is, unfortunately, an easy pick, with an abundance of stories on immaturity to choose among. [Read more…]
In my last blog post, I stressed the importance of showing Nature the gratitude it deserves.
A gratitude encompassing all animals, plants, insects and microbes,
for giving us air, water and food.
Most of us understand that Nature is not just something to exploit natural resources from. However, we also need to stop looking at it merely as a source of recreation, an object to benefit from.
Instead, we should ask ourselves: “How can I serve nature?” Not just nature serving us. [Read more…]
It is easy to feel overwhelmed or in a state of panic considering all the bad news pouring in about the state of the world.
Recently, World Wildlife Fund launched their annual Living Planet Report. According to the report, vertebrates (animals with backbones) have declined by 60 per cent in 40 years.
We cannot survive without nature, and we are part of it, whether we live on Greenland or in a skyscraper in a mega city. Nature is not something “out there”. [Read more…]
The more or less only thing international media reported on during the recent election campaign in Sweden, was the increased support for the right-wing party, the Swedish Democrats. How could this happen? In harmonic, prosperous Sweden? The home of ABBA and IKEA?
The obvious answer is, of course, the huge amount of migrants from, mainly, Muslim countries. This peaked during 2015. But Sweden has received many thousands of refugees from, among others, Iraq in the years before that. Too many of the migrants have not integrated well into society. With high unemployment, crime gangs and burning cars as a result. [Read more…]