Information wants to be free. However, unconscious conflicts often arise in exchanging knowledge and information for money. In response, many individuals and institutions make their services available to anyone interested on a voluntary, offer-whatever-you-can basis. The expectation is that those fortunate enough to have sufficient financial resources and who resonate with the mission – “to put a small dent in the suffering in the world” – will offer support so that services can be freely provided to those less fortunate.
How do we make a decision regarding what to offer? What seems to work best is to find that place where our brain observes us being overly fearful and meager, and the opposite neural circuitry where we can observe ourselves being extravagant and grandiose. Whatever we give, our brain is watching and generating an internal, mostly unconscious narrative about us. Bearing that in mind, it’s probably best to donate from The Goldilocks Zone of our charitable heart – not too little and not too much. In other words, what we would feel good about receiving were positions reversed.
“Let us try to teach and model generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish. Let us understand what our own selfish genes are up to, because we may then at least have the chance to upset their designs, something that no other species has ever aspired to do.”
“My idea was pretty simple at the beginning,” said Wavy Gravy (Hugh Romney). “I started to volunteer in wards for the terminally ill children and burn victims, just go in there, dressed as a clown, and cheer them up a little bit—spread around some laughs and giggles. But things do get very tough in there—very tough. You see some pretty terrible things in these wards. Children dying or mutilated is nothing you ever get used to looking at.
“One day, as I was making the rounds, I came across a room that had the shades drawn. I peeked in, and it was a room with badly burned children in it. They had them in chrome crib beds with walls on the sides so they couldn’t crawl out or fall out when it got too terrible in there. There was one little black kid who was horribly burned. He looked like burnt toast. Pieces of his face weren’t there. Pieces of his ears were missing. Where was his mouth? You could hardly tell who he was. There was no way of pinning a person to the face, what there was of it. It was just terrible, mind-boggling. My jaw dropped and I gasped. I became completely unglued.
“I remember flashing black to the anti-war movement. There was a picture of a napalmed kid I used to carry around on a poster to try to wake people up to that—everybody, including the antiwar people. Suddenly here was that kid right in front of me, unbelievably painful to behold.
“My mind went off in all sorts of directions. What’s it going to be like if he lives? Will he ever play with other kids, or just be this monster that kids goof on? And I was overwhelmed by my situation, too. Here’s this guy in a clown suit, come in to cheer kids up but falling to pieces right in front of them —and probably making the kid feel even worse, like, “I even make clowns cry.”
“So there we were, burnt toast kid and unglued clown. What a sight. I was fighting just to stay there, trying to get beyond my horror. All of a sudden this other kid came whizzing by—I think he was skating with his IV pole — and he stopped, looked at the other kid, and came out with “Hey, you ugly!”
Just like that.
And the burnt kid made a gurgling noise, a kind of laugh. His face moved around. And I just went for his eyes: we locked together right there, and everything else dissolved. It was like going through a tunnel right to his heart. All the burned flesh disappeared.
“Being able to look “you ugly” in the eye has done a lot for me. Once I do that, I can go on to see what might be done that can ease the pain. I can see what I can work with that’s right in front of me —obvious things.
“Like when we were setting up the show Godzilla in the kid’s leukemia ward. I was making kids up as clown. One kid was totally bald, and when I finished doing his face, another kid said, “Go on and do the rest of his head.”
The kid loved the idea. And after that his sister said, “Hey, we could watch the movie on Billy’s head.” We did, and he loved it. It was quite a moment. especially when the doctors arrived. “Come on in. We’re watching Godzilla on Billy’s head.”
“I don’t know: burned skin or bald heads on little kids, kids hurting so bad and so afraid and probably dying—what do you do? Well, you face it, I guess. Face it and stay open and then see what you can do. “I got the idea of carrying popcorn. When a kid is crying. I dab at the tears with popcorn and pop it into my mouth, or into his or hers, and we just sit around together and eat the tears.
“The mind is a living organism that chaperons us everywhere, haloing our bodies as the biosphere does the earth. It informs us of everything we think, feel, and say. Consciousness is as central to life as the ecosystem is to the earth. We can’t live without it, nor can it be escaped. It is home. Neglect consciousness — denigrate it, violate it — and like the earth, the individual suffers, and often causes suffering, too. On the other hand, nurture consciousness — understand its nature, inhabit it wisely — and we flourish, and elevate society too.”
~ Alan Clements
If you ask most corporate CEOs and Human Resource Managers what the most important duties of their Chief Feedback Officer are, the feedback you’re likely to get will be a blank stare. Most won’t have a clue what you’re talking about. Which is interesting, especially when you consider that the number one way the human brain learns and grows is … through feedback.
Here’s a list of virtues – as a high-level CFEO – you might ideally embrace:
- You understand that the primary way the brain grows cells and network connections is through feedback loops.
- You subscribe to the research that shows that collaborative communication fosters attachment and loyalty.
- You recognize that lack of timely, constructive feedback is the Number One complaint of employees the world over.
- You are willing to wear the Chief Learning Officer’s hat and the Chief Listening Officer’s hat from time to time.
- You know the value of and the power in repeatedly answering The Big Brain Question “Yes” for your employees.
- You totally get how important Irrational Commitment is to job satisfaction, performance and loyalty.
- You promote and structure an environment that kindly encourages and supports Impeccability Practices.
- You help foster transient hypofrontality in support of creativity in research and development.
- You help people manage stress while seeking to foster a neophilic environment.
- You recognize that the workplace is where the bulk of most employees’ lives unfold and you want theirs and yours to be a juicy, good-at-the-end, life well-lived.
I’ve put this web page up here very much tongue-in-cheek. If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that there really are no listening legends. Accomplished listening is challenging work that demands the same regular practice as any accomplished skill, not unlike piano-playing or golf…