This is the short version. For more, see this post.
I’ve spent the past ten years writing books, blogs, and articles on technology, jobs, economics, law, personal growth, cultural transformation, psychology, neurology, fitness and health… all sprinkled with futurism. Along the way, I’ve picked up three key lessons from those seemingly unrelated topics: 1) we create the world through what we believe; 2) our beliefs reinforce status quo; and 3) if we want to create something new, we need to change what we believe. Those lessons have far-ranging implications.
Belief creates personal and collective identity and perspective. When widely share, it creates and sustains our religious, national, and other cultural institutions. We cherish the things we have created, treat them as handed down from an untouchable level of reality that supersedes our agency and self-efficacy. We treat them as divine and sacred;, revere them as Truth with a capital T, devote ourselves to them, grant them our allegiance.
We make them into icons.
In doing so, we forget that we created them in the first place, that they have evolved with us, and that to examine, challenge, and reconfigure them is an act of creative empowerment required by our humanity and the constant change that comes with being alive. If we want to at least understand status quo, and maybe even change it, we need to know what beliefs currently sustain our personal and cultural status quo. To do that,
We need to become iconoclasts.
The Online Etymology Dictionary says that “iconoclast” originally meant “breaker or destroyer of images.” It originally referred to Protestant zealots who vandalized icons and other religious objects in Catholic and Orthodox churches because they were “idols.” Later, the meaning was broadened to “one who attacks orthodox beliefs or cherished institutions.”
I like “examines and challenges” better than “attacks.” I’m not an attacker by nature, I’m an essayist — a reflective, slow thinker who weighs things and tries to make sense of them. I’m especially not a debater or an evangelist — I’m not out to convince or convert anyone . I’m also not an anarchist, libertarian, or revolutionary. If you’re after those things, this blog won’t deliver.