To me it means that you should only use a mental model for as long as it's useful.

I think the the agile manifesto is a good example:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

Working software over comprehensive documentation

Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

That last line is the kicker - we value the items on the left more - it allows us to use various ways of working/processes but when they stop working for us they need to be re-evaluated.

Recently I read a Terry Eagleton piece which decries this way of thinking: with some success, but personally I'd rather be standing confused and adrift than totally trapped in my reality tunnel.

I first came across the idea reading Robert Anton Wilson's book Quantum Psychology. A key related concept is the Reality Tunnel - where our beliefs and experiences mean that instead of experiencing the world and reality as it is we carve a weird tunnel through it shielded and funnelled by our beliefs.

I was thinking about it because I went to see John Higgs talk about his KLF book last night and those ideas run through that book like a naked hippie sprinting through a museum. Sat there in Walthamstow Trades Hall flashing on all those stories I remembered this blog and how important those ideas were and are to me.

The KLF burning a million quid was one of those moments that is like a bomb, smashing through my understanding of reality: what has value? What are they trying to say? A moment where the models and ideology pinning your thinking are exploded and you can look around and think "oh yeah, this is where I am" - a gong hit, a clarion call - a moment of heroic stupidity. A fuck you to consensus reality. Who knows? If it gets enough blows maybe that thing will fall apart and we'll be able to look each other in the eye.

Hail Eris!


Bad Dad piece on Parkland Walk, North London, summer 2023