(Disclaimer: this post has been referred to in an excellent presentation about complexity thinking. The presentation reacts to the un-scientific nature of fluffy bunnies. Here, on the other hand, I borrowed Dave Snowden’s expression to refer to the optimistic nature of some fluffy bunnies, not to the process followed by fluffy bunnies to source knowledge – I value optimism, not the lack of professionalism or unscientific methods of working of fluffy bunnies as the presentation might lead to believe).
A rant-like reflection about attitude to life, this week: I have been sometimes criticised for being overly optimistic, for dreaming away, to the extent I would seem unrealistic. Perhaps I am among what Dave Snowden sometimes colourfully calls “fluffy bunnies”.
Instead, I should – like any decent person – be realistically pessimistic about what’s happening.
Well I don’t think so!
And here’s why:
- Optimism doesn’t mean unrealism – there are facts and there is what you make with them – it is the proverbial half-full half-empty glass perspective. I like to think mine is half full, still I know it’s at half;
- Visioning (a practical extension of dreaming) is essential to go and grow further – without that we might follow a short-term, narrow-minded, mechanistic path leading to more efficient mediocrity;
- Attachment to dreams is probably better than to plans: dreams drive us, plans constrain us if we stick to them at whatever cost (and one of these crucial costs is to miss the bigger picture);
- Optimism gives me energy and that gives energy to others. Eventually it makes us all work better – and this is based on feedback I have been getting from colleagues and work partners around the world when I announced I was moving on from IRC to ILRI.
- In the age of interconnection, social learning and complex interactions, I believe having ideals and being optimistic about realising them is the radical challenging stance rather than the established norm – and since this complex world commands us to challenge our norms, here is my happy contribution to it!
- And at the end of it all, even if all the above were wrong, I still prefer to be wrongly optimistic than to be rightly pessimistic; at least it makes me happier.
So all in all, perhaps I’m a fluffy bunny but then I’m a happy and – so it seems – rather effective fluffy bunny at that.
And that inspired this haiku:
Useless sun I love
Distant silly dreams I chase
– you are sadly blind
And I’d be happy to help!