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Creative Metaphor

Back to normal

January 21, 2009 — by Daryll Scott1

A coupe of months ago, whilst putting my 2½ year old son to bed we went through our usual ritual… he asks questions; and more questions, and I tell him some stories. On this particular evening the conversation went something like this:

Joe: Tell me about daddy when he was a little boy

Me: Well, daddy lived with Nanny and Papa because they are my mummy and daddy

Joe: And mummy?

Me: Mummy was a little girl, and she lived with granny, because granny is mummy’s mummy.

Joe: (after quite some thought) Where was I?

It took me some time to come up with an answer that would be helpful and comprehensible to Joe.

We, as humans, tend to think of the world we have known as being stable and find it difficult to contemplate dramatic change – we read about it in history or futuristic sci-fi, but surely none of those things could really happen to us.

Most recent conversations I have had in the business world have included the phrase, “When things get back to normal.” Will they? It’s as if the world we have recently known is the way it ‘should’ be, or the way it really is. What happened yesterday tells us nothing about tomorrow. If you would disagree, I would point you in the direction of the extraordinary genius ‘du jour’ Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

I remember being in my 20s the first time I watched BBC documentary ‘The world at war’. It suddenly dawned on me that this very alien world, that I had thought of as history, was just two generations ago. It was recent!

The world can change dramatically and quickly. Our perceptions of stability are delusional. The world is changing right now; it needs to. The question is will we be think creatively and create the change?

One comment

  • Jeremy Johnson

    January 28, 2009 at 11:38 am

    We live in a small village; one of my neighbours, now in his 80s, is East German and was sent to fight against the allies on the Russian front before ending up here as a POW. He’s a keen gardener and likes to show me his flowers and complain about his dog, all of which we occasionally chat and joke about. On Armistice day I see him at the memorial in the centre of the village observing the silence along with the others in the village, including the few old soldiers who are left who served with the allies. I have no idea how much longer he’ll last as he’s had heart problems in recent years, but in many ways my life is a bit richer for him being there…even for the unsolicited advice he gives me on my hedge. I’ll be sorry when he goes.


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