“Asking oneself to imagine what our lives might be like, without direct tools for a fix to hand, might feel immature and naïve. Yet it is by formulating visions of the future that we more clearly identify what it is we might be missing, and so need, and thus set the wheels of change in motion. Through ‘mad’ experiments of the mind, we can counteract our debilitating tendency to squash our thinking around scenarios that might seem almost impossible. Such experiments are in truth often deeply relevant; when we look back in history, we can see that many machines, projects and ways of life that once appeared unfeasibly utopian have come to pass.” from How to Think More Effectively, The School of Life, 2020
Interesting, isn’t it, how along with the many challenges of the past weeks, we have also been able to reflect on what doing things differently might actually look and feel like. More than one commentator has noted the extraordinary social experiment that the practical impact of the pandemic has caused to take place. For some of us working from home, making video calls in front of a solar system or an idyllic beach Zoom background (Rare offers customised/branded treatments for these – get in touch if you want one), wearing loungewear and not going out represents a pretty big experiment already. But there’s so much more to consider.
An opportunity to imagine
I’m curious. Whilst this is of course the best chance ever to binge every Marvel film ever made on Disney+, it might also be an opportunity to think differently; take advantage of enforced decoupling from all the usual distractions; invent something; maybe even (this might be pushing it) read a book? ‘Mad experiments’ often bubble up in lunchtime conversations here at Rare, but are forgotten as the early afternoon emails start coming in. Our prescribed working pattern, even in the so-called creative industries, is actually programmed to stifle our most creative moments.
If I didn’t have to be sensible, I would...
Maybe our time has come. What is the biggest version of your current ambitions? If you could not fail, what would you do? If others would never laugh, what would you do? If there were no financial pressures, how would you approach things? If you could be absolute ruler for a while, how would you reform the world? And then, without thinking too much, complete the sentence: “If I didn’t have to be sensible, I would…” For some the answers to these questions might simply result in more exercise or applying time to a creative endeavor. Which is a good outcome if they’re not doing much of that at the moment. But hopefully others would be inspired to start a new company; to come up with a brand-new idea for a boring category (what about someone having a go at coffee?); design a better uniform for the Police (those high-vis gilets 😩); create a new app for home educators. This might become more than just surviving a few more weeks of lockdown. It could be the beginning of a whole lot of new things that nobody had the time or the patience or the ‘what’s-the-worst-that-could-happen’ attitude to actually do before. This is how Captain Kirk’s communicator got invented, and look what that became. Just saying!