I recently saw a Facebook ad for IBM Analytics with the slogan “Outthink Disruption”. What a perfect tagline for our current culture of politics, and our culture and our politics. Forget distractions; we live in the age of disruptions, as though that’s a good thing.
Those who seek to disrupt feel that they are not served by the status quo. Disruption may be effective and even appropriate. Altering or even destroying the structure of something may be important to contributing to or saving lives. Or, such a disturbance may merely interrupt or cause more problems.
When I saw the tagline “Outthink Disruption”, Donald Trump had just become the presumptive nominee of the GOP (a nostalgic name for what is not very related to the modern Republican Party). Certainly Trump has been a Disruption, and he encourages his Trumpeters to Disrupt.
One could say that Bernie Sanders is also advocating Disruption, although without the mishugas, obnoxiousness,low brow-ness, narcissism, insults, hate, misogyny, racism, jingoism, xenophobia, or winking at violence.
The momentum for Disruption is palpable, but we have been living through 8 years of thoughtless disruption that has yielded frustration left and right. Disruption can’t be the goal. We have to Outthink Disruption. Progress occurs incrementally, and often through compromise—something that our culture (or politics) doesn’t embrace. We expect instantaneous results—disruption—and we tout our way of life as the ultimate because we can do whatever we want in an instant.
Except we can’t. Not without ramifications.
As a culture, we have become hateful—not only of those we fear might seek to destroy us, but hateful of ourselves, and we are destroying ourselves. The vitriol that occurs during Primary season, and through the general election, seems to heighten each cycle. I’m not sure if we are really more hateful than ever, or that hate has a YUUUUUUUGE platform. Everyone yells and posts and overexposes and then stays within one’s own social and anti-social media bubble, condensing the ire and agreement.
I’ve heard all sorts of statistics, (which I take with a grain of salt), about how much hate there is for Trump and for Hillary. HATE. Hate is very powerful. It envelops and distorts. It is irrational. It is toxic. I hate hate. I have certainly felt hate. The fire of hate fuels the ego’s sense of what is right. But I don’t want to hate people. It’s actually too easy. I hate intolerance. I hate plenty of ideas and ways of being. Hate can lead to dangerous disruption—not merely shaking things up or tweaking the status quo.
We have to Outthink Disruption, which means examining our love of hate (and our uncomfortableness with thinking outside our comfort zones).
When I saw the tagline “Outthink Disruption” for IBM analytics, I thought it was a clever, albeit almost 20 year late, response to Apple’s “Think Different” campaign. “Think Different” was actually a response to IBM’s motto “Think”. And here we are in 2016….
Can we Outthink Disruption?