Tag: independance referendum

#IndyRef – Politics as a state of flow

flow-theory-what-makes-a-good-game-59kq9v1
The recent #indyref in Scotland has been breathtaking. The volume of sources, thoughts, perspectives, interviews and comments has been tremendous. This ongoing noise has led anyone trying to keep up struggling.

As someone who keeps a distance on such things, it was amazing to see. This amazement has carried on in the day after the referendum. But with the political argument moving now to London and Westminster village again Scottish voices appear to be sidelined as a form of English devolution becomes the big storyline. Leaving some in Scotland worried that after the “no” vote Scotland has lost its place on the London political agenda.

I was reading this morning on the concept of flow by Csikszentmihalyi. (From here on in “the Russian dude”). The Russian dude studied flow from the 1960’s through to the 1970’s publishing his book on it 1976 and more since.
He defined flow as being associated with 9 characteristics:-

A balance between challenges and skills;
Clear goals;
Immediate feedback;
Intense concentration;
Merging of action and awareness;
Loss of self-consciousness;
Time distortion; and
Experiencing the activity as intrinsically rewarding.

For the Russian dude the first three are the conditions of the flow state, (challenge-skills balance, clear goals, immediate feedback) the remainder are the characteristics of a flow state.

The more I think about the firehose* of the political focus upon the independence referendum, the more I consider it induces a state of flow in those associated with it. The links between the conditions of Flow states and the IndyRef are legion, the balance between challenges and skills, the challenge of convincing people and having the skill to pull it off well. Clear goals, the yes no disguising slightly the clear goal of maintaining/gaining power. And the immediate feedback of daily polls, a different one in each paper, and even minute by minute tracking of TV debates.

Yet the characteristics of Flow could be recognised in the performance of the politicians. Intense concentration, the hours with PR people to ensure you blandly answer the question you want to answer while subtly ignoring the one you are asked. The merging of action and activity, the loss of self-consciousness, a sense of control, time distortion and experiencing the activity as intrinsically rewarding, were demonstrably evident.
electric blue brain in hands
The question has to asked is a high level political existence actually a deep flow experience or is it a serious of what the Russian guy calls “almost imperceptible microflow events”. My guess is that normal politics are the microflow events, but the big things like going to war, a referendum event, are the pure deep flow. That’s what makes politics appealing, and power and responsibility desirable.

The question s how much of what goes on within this flow state is actually conscious action, and how much is just flowing. How much awareness is presented for what is happening out with the flow event, and how that is perceived by the public and those out with the flow state. If there is a difference, it provokes 2 questions.

1 – should the politicians be allowed to get to a flow state by their acolytes?
2 – if they achieve deep flow, should the politician be held to promises or pledges made in that space.

On the first one. no. I think flow can be a very helpful state where the innate person, their political phronesis all come to play together.

Considering the second one. Is more marginal. we recognise that as a society, things said in the head of the moment, can be explained by such. Buying things on the internet have special protection so it can be rejected at a later date. The agreement of Statement have an Eschatological element to them. For the politician in a flow state I think any promise, pledge or guarantee is deserving of a 7 day cooling off period, from the electorates side. How many no voters if you had to retake the vote today, would still vote no based on the reaction tot he devolution discussion which has been portrayed by westminster in the last couple of days?

Moving on requires trust and integrity, leadership and responsibility, does decisions made in flow give us that? It strikes me that flow is something which can be used well. it can help a political practitioner to say the right thing at the right time, but i have many doubts about wether the political animal one out of the flow state can always deliver the promises they made. whether the tune they make in one specific location at a specific time (Edinburgh, in a Scottish conversation) can be made real in another space, (London, in a UK conversation). Flow may allow you to operate at very high level but it also has the ability to bite you on the bum.

(*Firehose is the term applied to the whole unedited output of public twitter, delivered in real-time. very few people have this access and very few companies have the ability to process this amount of information. http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/apr/16/twitter-buys-gnip-firehose-analytics-apple-topsy)

#IndyReF songs 11 (for the moning after) – Friends by Adam Buxton

F-R-I-E-N-D-S, do you really need them? Yes!
If you haven’t got a friend, then you’re just you.
There’s half as many things that you can do.
Who’s going to tell you that you’re not a brat, if not your best friend?
Do you recall when we did that? Yes!
Sharing – the brilliant jokes we’ve had throughout the years (good times together).
It’s not the same when you’re not there.
Friends.
Alalapupulala.

#IndyRef Songs – Song 10 – Life in a Scotch Sitting Room, Vol 2, ep 6. by Ivor Cutler

(This is a small blog series using songs to ask questions about the upcoming Scottish independence referendum. Not intended as anything beyond lighthearted.)

Song 10 – Life in a Scotch Sitting Room, Vol 2, ep 6. by Ivor Cutler

966

What’s the song about?
I have no idea. its a kinda pastiche of all your worst concepts of growing up “scotch” in one musical item. brilliant though. I think its clear that thats not a policy for education that will get voted for in this referendum.

What questions are similar around the referendum?
where has the humour gone in this campaign. Why do we hamstring our politicians, and not allow them to be outlandish, to have suggestions based on surrealist theories. the grassroots yes people seem to be happier, more likely to have a laugh, but this can often transfer into boisterousness which those supporting no at once both annoyed by and jealous of.
Why does the school only seem to have fish on the menu on Fridays, in a fish and chips combo. More fish would make our children more intelligent? no the Telegraph says it so it must be true.

What conclusions can we draw about the independence referendum vote?
we want politicians who are politicians not rounded people. We don’t want someone with a sense of humour with their finger on the button. we want them to run the government but not be our pals. Is that fair? is that making sure the right person does the right job? would you vote for someone who made you laugh rather than their policies or ideas? would you vote for someone who’s ideas made you laugh, and go “thats brilliant?”
Fish would, fish are intelligent, and literate, thereby by extension so are those who eat them. Vote for fish people, thats the way forward.

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#IndyRef song 9 – Heatwave by The Blue Nile

(This is a small blog series using songs to ask questions about the upcoming Scottish independence referendum. Not intended as anything beyond lighthearted.)

Song 9 – Heatwave by the Blue Nile

vegetable_patio_tomato_plants2 (1)

What’s the song about?
It about a heatwave. and how that equalises everything. its kinda unclear whether the heatwave is desirable, why is it rolling down on the young and foolish, or a undesirable, why is it picking on the young and foolish. to be honest its a song about global warming. Questioning why we are looking after self interest in this global catastrophe. Possibly is it all about Moses in the desert, and asking if all this upheaval is really worth it. (I am not sure yet what its about, but I am pretty sure its one of these things.)

What questions are similar around the referendum?
Does it matter if we are governed by Edinburgh or London when the larger issues are geo-political requiring major cross border agreement put right? Would a separate Scotland and rUK voice at the UN or EU actually carry more weight than one “bigger” voice
Would my tomatoes grow better if I was walking through a desert? (they’ve been rubbish this year).

What conclusions can we draw about the independence referendum vote?
that actually for all the noise and bluster, it matter very little. We pay taxes to someone – we will dislike them and their policies. we pay taxes to someone else – we will like them and their policies because we agree with them. all the while the world will get get warmer, then it will cool down. oil will run out, new oil will be found. Life as we know it will conversely continue, and never be the same again.

are we rich or poor,
does it mater anymore?
Heatwave.

Can this be all we will desire?
Straw houses in the promised land
Why is it time for taking sides?
When all I say and do is take too many chances

My tomatoes may very well grow better in a green house and with a heatwave.

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#IndyRef Songs 8 – Simple Song by The Shins

(This is a small blog series using songs to ask questions about the upcoming Scottish independence referendum. Not intended as anything beyond lighthearted.)

Song 8 – Simple Song by The Shins

(Picture)

What’s the song about?
Its a love song, about the confidence which love brings to people. The chorus seems to speak of someone choosing to do something different, and the problem of going it alone inherently making the going-it-aloner tough and hard to deal with the difficulties of doing something on their own.

What questions are similar around the referendum?
Does a vote for independence, automatically make us act tough, like a stone, as the lyric says. “Loves such a delicate thing which we do, which i never knew.”

What conclusions can we draw about the independence referendum vote?
well how much of the creative, beautifulness of the artistic Yes movement will be “toughened” by the realities of independence. does the vision of a shared love where you can fear your fears and have them banished exist?

sorry not very light hearted this one. more later.

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#IndyRef songs 7 – Run to the hills by Iron Maiden

(This is a small blog series using songs to ask questions about the upcoming Scottish independence referendum. Not intended as anything beyond lighthearted.)

Song 7 – Run to the Hills by Iron Maiden

run-up-hills

What’s the song about?
Well it seems to be an account of how the people who discovered america, dealt with the people who lived there. (ooh history!) In many ways it makes an excellent companion piece to the Proclaimers Letter from America. The song is about the appropriate action to the invaders being running to the hills for you life. In many ways it is a love song to exercise and hill running specifically.

What questions are similar around the referendum?
How do we view the place of others. While the invaders in the song seeks to rape and kill, the others, (in this case the remainderUK) are offering people consumerism and economics based on a largely economic service sector model. historically has our union been good or not? which hill run would increase our fitness but maybe seen as defensive. Which hills should we run up?

What conclusions can we draw about the independence referendum vote?
The response to what happened to the past will probably guide and inform our way forward.
perhaps if Alistair Darling was riding a horse people would be running from him and his campaign?

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#indyref songs 6 – the nerve by Mutemath

(This is a small blog series using songs to ask questions about the upcoming Scottish independence referendum. Not intended as anything beyond lighthearted.)

Song 6 – The Nerve by MuteMath

firebomb

What’s the song about?

Can you believe this world’s got the nerve
To insist they won’t trade for a better one?

The song is a consideration of how things are, and attempt to say wake up, look at how things are and take action. Namely set it on fire. I am not sure if the fire we are setting is actually some sort of pyromaniac tendency to reflect disappointment, (they did have a song called pyromania), or if it is some american exhortation to bust a gut.

What questions are similar around the referendum?
Is the independence referendum actually causing people to look anew at things, or it is just entrenching pre held views? Would actually setting things of fire be more effective? Consider a world where you wake up to the injustice of say the banks and you just set them on fire, oh, hold on, isn’t there laws about that kinda thing? Is this song really encouraging some sort of social consciousness based firebombing. Thats dangerous.

What conclusions can we draw about the independence referendum vote?
The independence referendum may not actually be helping open the eyes of the public to bigger issues on how the world can change.
Settling fire to sites of injustice is a crime under law and in no way advisable.

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#IndyRef Songs 5 – Do you want to build a snowman? from Frozen.

(This is a small blog series using songs to ask questions about the upcoming Scottish independence referendum. Not intended as anything beyond lighthearted.)

Song 5 – Do You want to Build a Snowman by Anna

do-you-want-to-build-a-snowman

What’s the song about?
Well its about a girl growing up locked out of the world of her sister. Her sister has a secret magical power which she doesn’t know how to harness. To be honest it is really a song about taunting someone who is locked in a room told they shouldn’t use their powers. “Conceal it, don’t let it show.” her dad says. But Anna never gives up come and play with me. Anna just comes across as a spoilt brat.

What questions are similar around the referendum?
Well should the Scottish people listen to the Anna, (Mr Salmond), asking for fun and games, or should we listen to our parents, who as we know are surely near death of the Dad, (Darling), encouraging us to be serious and conservative, note the small c.

What conclusions can we draw about the independence referendum vote?
Sometimes being locked in a room isn’t too bad. Knocking your neighbours door and singing an annoying song may just work, or it may annoy them significantly, causing the impending doom of the entire kingdom. Your choice.

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#Indyref song 4 – Whatever You Want – Status Quo

(This is a small blog series using songs to ask questions about the upcoming Scottish independence referendum. Not intended as anything beyond lighthearted.)

Song 4 – Whatever You Want by Status Quo

bugsy-malone-bad-guys

What’s the song about?
about giving someone you like whatever they want, whatever they like. The more I listen to it the more horrified I am by the power dynamic at play here. It begins to sound a bit desperate, a bit clingy, and well

“I can make you an offer you can’t refuse?”

Its a song about being in the Mafia. Aaaaaahhhhhhh.

What questions are similar around the referendum?
When in an election we are being offer lots of good things, and the negative things are being ignored. Its like assuming being in the mafia is all about the cool suits and pasta joints, yet have you seen how the SOPRANOS ENDS?? really? #jings #helpmyboab #michtyme

What conclusions can we draw about the independence referendum vote?
That promises made now may take a long while to pay back? That people who love us will tell us to have whatever we want. The underside of these promises is that you will be forced to put the head of a horse in someones bed. Don’t vote, that just makes you a part of the organisation, next thing you will be in a suit, whistling songs from Bugsy Malone. Don’t do it people, avoid.

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#Indyref songs 3 – 15 step by Radiohead

(This is a small blog series using songs to ask questions about the upcoming Scottish independence referendum. Not intended as anything beyond lighthearted.)

Song 3 – 15 Step by Radiohead.

bungee run

What’s the song about?
It’s about someone wondering why he gets so far and then everything gets cut and how the writer feels about this. It’s a song about a bungee running, and someone with a very sharp pair of scissors.

What questions are similar around the referendum?
How far does the current devolution arrangement hamstring the development of policy? Which politician would fare best in a bungee run? Which politician would do best in a bungee run when the bungee cord is cut by someone with a pair of scissors.

What conclusions can we draw about the independence referendum vote?
Having a cord attached provides safety but can also be constricting, but the freedom brought by cutting the cord is painful.
When I asked “which politician would do best in a bungee run when the bungee cord is cut by someone with a pair of scissors?”, you had a picture of the Prime Minister of the UK, or the First Minister of Scotland in your mind. You will probably not vote for them now or in the future.

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