You Don’t Learn How to Sail by Only Having Sunny Days

Excerpts from the new Team Human interview with Nora Bateson

Douglas Rushkoff

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I spoke with my great friend, systems thinker and author Nora Bateson about how embracing the “in-between” opens new possibilities for seemingly intractable challenges. Here’s an excerpt of our conversation. You can hear the whole thing at: https://www.teamhuman.fm/episodes/269-nora-bateson

Douglas Rushkoff:
Nora, you embody Team Human in a single person. There’s whole team of human beings and other species in there — your gut biome and everything — and you’re accepting of them all. The most important aspect of your work, for me, is the way you recognize the “in-between.” I always talk about how we live in this world of computers and systems that tend to value the ticks on the clock and not the space, the duration in between those ticks when we actually live. When the time goes buy. And I say that a lot because I, too, am one of those people who emphasizes the ticks. Like the men of the 16th Century who gravitated to empirical scientism, I am also afraid of that in-between. It’s like the space between each monkey bar on the playground or each rail on the ladder. Anything can happen there.

Nora Bateson:
But isn’t that exactly it, Doug? Maybe the most important thing that my new book is actually doing is providing a place to practice — in lots of different textures and tones and forms of language and ideas — to practice what it is to take care of the possibility that is in the in between. Okay, so what you said: anything can happen. And that’s exactly the opposite of “everything is stuck.” So what I see is that in this in between there is vast possibility, and it’s a whole realm of possibility that is virtually untouched by the kind of thinking that’s so anxious and eager for desperate solution. The place they’re looking for possibility is not where the possibility is.

Rushkoff:
They’re not looking for possibility. They’re looking for probabilities, which has always been my problem with with AI and behavioral economics, and with captology and online algorithms. They’re trying to auto tune humanity towards the most probable outcome so they can bet on it and revert us to the mean. Possibility is the enemy of…

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Douglas Rushkoff

Author of Survival of the Richest, Team Human, Program or Be Programmed, and host of the Team Human podcast http://teamhuman.fm