It used to be belief that fueled human endeavors. Our projects were dependent upon people believing in them. Take alchemy : all these years of research have very little to show for. They led to the discovery of a couple of elements, the preparation of a few acids and some other chemical procedures like distillation, but that’s about it for its actual successes. And yet, people kept striving for centuries in the hope of the miraculous finding.
But the same is true with almost any other industry : now that technology and new management practices are effectively disrupting every business, we realize that what got us to remain attached to the old ways are almost always beliefs.
This means that one of the most important skills one could develop in the past was the art of convincing, of telling a story, of lying. If you could share your dream with others and ignite a flame within them, you could get them to join your project. And if you were very good at it, it could work for any project. Your idea could be rubbish and unrealistic, if you could compensate these weaknesses by a great speech, you could potentially make it thrive.
We are now moving to a society where every idea, every project, every insight is scientifically tested, or it even self-tests itself through inventions like A.I. or a capitalist market. Going in this direction, a time should come when people’s affect for a project won’t matter anymore. An idea will either be good and thrive on its own, or bad and automatically weeded out. We won’t have to care about things, ideas, projects anymore : they will prove themselves right or wrong. Our personal, emotional attachment to them won’t mean anything anymore
We don’t feel particularly attached to a good idea that doesn’t need us. A creator we like who earns a ton of money and doesn’t need our help to move forward is not someone we feel very engaged with. If all the good ideas will work eventually because the system will make them stronger and all the bad ideas will die no matter what we do, there is no point in caring. And so, there won’t be any need to convince, lie, tell stories anymore. By the way, does a (perceived) great idea today feel so exciting to us because of its potential to turn out badly ?
Looking back, it looks messy to use human affect as a meter to validate ideas and choose to commit to them. I think this perspective would free up a lot of mental energy to switch our focus from struggling with business details to actually caring about the person we are producing for, and how we can best serve them.