An everyday tyranny?

Been offline for a few days with an annoying DNS problem (my mistake, ultimately :-{), but came across a brilliant if disturbing article by Henry Porter in London’s “The Independent”: We’re all Suspects Now [behind paywall]. Mainly about the steady erosion of civil liberties in Britain under Blair, but one quote particularly struck home:

On new year’s day 1990, three days after becoming president of Czechoslovakia, Vaclav Havel looked his people in the eye and spoke to them as no one had done before. [snip]

This is what he said. “The previous regime, armed with its arrogance and intolerant ideology, reduced man to a force of production. It reduced gifted and autonomous people to nuts and bolts of some monstrously huge, noisy, stinking machine whose real meaning was not clear to anyone. It could do no more but slowly and inexorably wear itself out, and all the nuts and bolts too.”

That perfectly defines the true tyranny, where the state takes all liberty and bends each individual will to its own purpose.

What’s disturbing is that it doesn’t just describe a dysfunctional government, it describes most of our organisations as well: “reduce[s] gifted and autonomous people to nuts and bolts of some monstrously huge, noisy, stinking machine whose real meaning was not clear to anyone”.

Unless we’re clear about what our organisations are for, it seems all but inevitable that that’s what will happen. Another reason why a systematic futures discipline is so important for every organisation – yet so rarely exists in practice… oops…

One comment on “An everyday tyranny?
  1. Linda says:

    At some stage it would be good to have a definition or essay about “futures” from you, as I’m unclear on the concept.

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