Look back through the archives for a spell and you’ll be reminded that I pointed everyone to Kevin Kelly’s 68 Pieces of Unsolicited Advice.
I feel like most of the world is either in desperate need of or trying frantically to give some form of unsolicited guidance/opinions/pseudo-scientific hoopla. So I decided to return to it this week for a little inspiration.
Today’s Tidbit: Don’t Trust All Purpose Glue
The obvious sentiment being that different projects require different tools. The more generic the tools, the less specific the application. Wood working requires wood glue, a substance that has a seriously viscous texture to make adherence to a porous surface possible. You want to bind a couple pieces of plastic? Well the bottle better say, specifically, that it can bind plastics. Otherwise, you may as well melt the things and smoosh them together to cool, while you huff toxic fumes. It’d be more effective.
But I suspect there’s a broader applicability.
I am, the older I get, more and more skeptical of anything claiming to be a panacea. Whether you’re looking to fix all the ills of the world, or just completely and perfectly transform your life, there is no shortage of notions, philosophies, and products that claim to do just that.
Transform your body with this one weird trick!
Just purchase my online course to start maximizing your business!
This ideology will bring about a utopia!
The last is the most dangerous, because it’s the most attractive. It’s so easy to believe if we could all just be a certain way, think a certain way we would all be happy and prosperous. The only problem with this is that in all of recorded human history, it has yet to ever happen.
But the truth is nothing fits all people. No size of clothing will cover all bodies. No daily schedule will work for everyone. And as every parent knows, no form of discipline works for all children.
Unless a tool, a product, or even an idea can show you how it will mold to the individual, meet a diversity of needs and applications, then its claims to be the end-all-be-all are bogus. And in the age of disruptive technologies, this is even more the case.
Side bar: If you haven’t read The Future is Faster Than You Think, get on that.
Just as we get used to a dominant tech, it gets over-turned by the next, and leaves us all scratching our heads about the promises it made to liberate mankind.
Here’s the thing, humanity can’t be liberated from itself. The wood can’t stop being wood. The plastic will still be plastic if you melt it. Each needs a specific glue to bind it. Nothing short will do the trick.
The history of humanity indicates that we tend toward the lazy, entitled, and greedy- ACROSS THE BOARD. No governing system, no ideology, no weird weight loss trick will change our basic natures.
But humans have some pretty cool built in features, too. We build family and community, we are attentive to our children when our brains aren’t being hijacked by addiction, and we dream about and adapt toward a better future.
That means human-specific glues will be unity focused, community enhancing (not destroying), and imagination supporting. They will be full of nuance and context. They will understand that people make mistakes, and cannot be held to perfectionist standards without breaking.
I hope we know these fixatives when we find them. We have a lot of projects that need some adhesion.
Oh, and if you happen to know what that one weird trick that will give me abs without exercise is, let me know.