Maggie’s Farm

We’re two days away from what will almost certainly be one of the greatest collective-blunders ever to impact the US, and possibly the world as well. Here in Britain, we have a similar collective-blunder that is fast approaching its endgame. In both countries it signals a shift to rampant state-capture kleptocracy, with systematic feeding of misinformation to keep a rabid xenophobia boiling on, to misdirect attention away from the real cause of over-deepening social misery, and get the victims of that misery to punish each other rather than the real perpetrators. In both cases, it has already caused the respective countries a serious loss of standing within the wider world – a loss from which they are unlikely to recover. And all of it is likely to get much, much worse before it has any chance, if ever, of ever getting any better.

In short, it’s not looking good…

Not good for anyone – including the self-styled ‘winners’ from all of those delusions…

And I’ll be blunt: I really am struggling to find any kind of hope in all of this mess. Or any motivation to keep going, on anything.

To also be blunt: there’s not much point in trying to develop enterprise-architectures, when the very foundations of human enterprise are being ripped away from beneath us, quite possibly for ever.

(And no, I’m not being melodramatic. Take a look at just about any of the global indicators right now, for anything beyond about twenty years from now: we’re on a knife-edge already, leaning well out over the abyss. We’re already way into Chernobyl-scale levels of non-recoverable stupidity, on a fully global scale: we will not survive a multi-year regression back to policies and practices that we know don’t work and never have…)

Which means that, yeah, it may be quite a while, on this website at least, before Normal Service Will Be Resumed...

There’s one song that seems most apposite for me right now: Mr Zimmerman‘s Maggie’s Farm. Not just for its later association with a certain politician who, some decades back, did her utmost to get us embedded into this mess in as inextricable a way as possible, but perhaps even more for a particular couplet from its lyrics:

I got a head full of ideas
That are drivin’ me insane

Which is exactly where I am right now: wave after wave of insights and interconnections – and seemingly no possible way to get any of them down into a form that others could see or use. Yeah, “a head full of ideas that are drivin’ me insane”, all right…

Perhaps the hardest part of those insights is that they indicate, once again, just how much the Outsider I’ve become; how far I’ve moved from so-called ‘normal’ that I have almost no way now to communicate what I’ve learnt, since none of it can ‘make sense’ in those so-called ‘normal’ terms.

Seems that we’re all supposed to keep on pretending that it’s all just fine – when, bluntly, we know that it isn’t:

Well, I try my best
To be just like I am
But everybody wants you
To be just like them

I’m sorry, I apologise, but I was never any good at that kind of pretence. (After more than sixty years, I still don’t have much of a clue as to what I really am: but the one thing I do know for certain is that I can’t keep pretending to be what I’m not…)

I’ve never been able to keep up the pretences that seem to be needed to be a good compliant wage-slave. It’s not that I think it’s ‘wrong’ for others, if that’s what they choose, much more that I’m no good at it, and never have been. (Believe me, in terms of personal survival, an inability to ‘go with the flow’ and pretend that things are other than they are is not a good attribute to have – not in our present ‘business’-world, anyway…)

And I don’t know how to ignore incompetence – especially when that incompetence is now so dominant in so many domains and disciplines, at almost every scope and scale, that it puts all of us at risk. Not just livelihoods, but lives. Everyone. Everywhere.

Which makes things kinda hard for me right now:

They say sing while you slave but I just get bored
I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more.

But it’s not “I just get bored”: that’s a platitude, a euphemism. The reality is much, much more painful than that: it tears holes right into my very soul.

And yet Maggie’s Farm is no longer just a song: Maggie’s Farm is everywhere. Is now what everywhere is.

For me, the other blunt reality: I have no idea how I’m going to survive from now on, in terms of livelihood or whatever. No idea at all.

But I can’t keep pretending; I just can’t do it. Even if others can pretend that everything around is all just fine, all perfectly okay, I just can’t do that. It hurts too much to keep trying to do it.

Hence, sorry, but no choice: I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s Farm no more.

That’s probably all I need to say right now.

Posted in Business, Power and responsibility, Society, The Outsider Tagged with: , , , ,
5 comments on “Maggie’s Farm
  1. Eric Weinstein says:

    Hi Tom,
    Sorry you are feeling this way. You have acknowledged some very real negative aspects of our current reality. It can certainly be de-motivating.

    I *hope* that you can find hope. You may find hope in action; action towards something positive. Action AS-IF you had hope. Expect that your action will and does make a difference in the world, for the readers of your blog, for me…A huge difference and that is reality. Maybe take a few minutes to appreciate that? 🙂 Anyway, thank you.

    Perhaps it helps to have a social group – of like minded people, like minded Enterprise Architects with a clear vision and values, working towards something worthwhile. Perhaps that could even be part of your legacy that will live on even after you are really done.

    • Tom G says:

      Many thanks, Eric – much appreciated…

      (I’m also acutely aware I owe you a whole stream of replies to some very complex questions about relational-assets. I’ll have a go at tackling that with a blog-post on structure, story and relational-assets – should be out later today if sanity permits…)

  2. Darryl Carr says:

    Tom, I hope you’re alright. I hope also that you know you are important, and so is your work. I know what you’re saying, and I feel it too (sometimes almost as strongly as you).

    You are certainly not alone, and you are most definitely appreciated. Any time you feel you need it, I’m here for a chat, even if it’s just as a sounding board. Just ping me an email and we’ll jump on Skype.

    • Tom G says:

      Thanks, Darryl. I’ll admit I’m struggling a bit right now, but that’s not unusual for me at this time of year. Would be good to talk somewhen, not least because I need to make more sensible plans about when and how and where to move back to Aus, and see if there’s any real chance of making something like a viable income when I do. Topic for another time: right now, thanks for the support. Will keep in touch, anyway.

      • Darryl Carr says:

        Yes, do grab me any time for a chat Tom. You have my email and we’re connected on Skype and LinkedIn. I know it’s not a conversation for now, but in terms of finding work in Australia, the east coast is where you would need to be, as much as I would like you to come and live (and work) in Perth with me! 🙂

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