Words as eclectic vehicles to move from MAD to NO MAD Land

Escaping the prison of representations

Escaping the prison of representations

Ones upon a time, there were 2 young Chinese lovers.

The young man leaves his friend to study in the United States and she falls ill. She is convinced that her friend's future is in the United States. Out of love, she encourages him to stay there. But he doesn't understand her, and writes in a letter, "I feel like a kite without his string.” To which she replies: "The kite unable to fly without its string resembles this idiot who, having found a way to make a hole in a wall to escape from prison, feels lost the very day that wall is removed".


We are like this man. Attached to old ideas, zombie orthodoxies and taken for granted beliefs about what is possible, what is true, what is good, what is “normal”.  

They are the invisible prisons of our minds. They keep us busy trying to “correct the Past” or to “solve the problem” within the same paradigm. They keep us locked into a familiar and known world. A MAD world – leading us to Massive Assured Destruction.

We are also attached to words. They are like the kite’s strings. They keep us locked to old ideas.


But formatted thoughts produce formatted languages. And Vice Versa.

From MAD Land to NO MAD Land

We are a generation between worlds. A generation dominated by old words and worldviews and, at the same time, with hints of what a New World could look like.

If we want to move from a destructive MAD Land to a desirable NO MAD Land – based on Mutually Assisted Development - we need to initiate a deep transformation of our worldviews.

Indeed, changing our reality requires to understand that we interpret the world through specific lenses and that it is our power to change those lenses. It means changing how we think and what we think.

It also means changing our language.

Because in each WORD, is a WORLD. And a prejudice.

Beyond what is said, each word is a universe, a vast ensemble of concepts, ideas, worldviews and stories.

Think for instance about the words ownership, value creation, progress apocalypse, Future, wealth, success. Or “gender”. Or Artificial Intelligence.

As we move to the heart of words, we can uncover hidden meanings, beliefs and dominating ideas that need to be challenged.

The words we use sustain and create a certain world.

There is no doubt that MAD LAND and NO MAD LAND are two different "Landscapes" created and sustained by completely different - and often unconscious – mental maps and words.

As much as we need new meaning-making stories to give us a taste of the Futures, we also need new words to tell new stories. we need to revisit old words and invent new ones. New languages open new windows in our Minds and make us think in unconventional ways.

We can see language as Spirit, Movement, Desire and Creation

Words as useful and eclectic vehicles to make that wise move from MAD to NO MAD Land.

Let’s take a few examples and see how words can embody the major Shifts and possible directions for the Future.

Lets move From EGO to an ECO system

That would allow to move from a navel-based approach , often considering others and nature as objects to be possessed or exploited; to a vast consciousness that recognizes and takes care of our entanglement with each other, with the planet and with the future

That could shifts our relationship with ourselves, with others and with places

  • From alienation to connection
  • From separation – such as objects subjects, heads and hands - and classification into old categories to connection and relaltionships
  • From domination and destruction to respect and regeneration
  • From competition to collaboration at ecosystem scale to face our ecosystem issues  

Let’s move From Manufacture to Value Facture

From the old economy based on a linear “take-make-dispose and waste logic”, obsessed with efficiency, economies of scale, standardisation, control and repetition

To a new economy seen as circular, restorative by design, based on intelligence, immateriality, diversity, resiliency, economies of scope, creativity)

The main question would shift

  • from how to do things with perfect replicability at ever increasing scale and increased efficiency
  • To How to radically reimagine our approaches and do the right things?
  • Innovation, transformation and learning would become the main source of value creation

That would also lead us to shift

  • From Economies of scale - cheaper production at larder scale for more people to Economies of scope - creating new revenue flows for all
  • From Outputs Inwardly looking at what we produce as outputs – to To Outcomes Looking at the value we create in the real life of people
  • From core Business and control to care Economies and learning

Let’s move From Silos To Combos

That would shift us

  • from a siloized worldview based on separation and competition to an ecosystem worldview based on relationships and collaboration
  • From pyramids to flows
  • From a vertical to a lateral world
  • From networks to work-nets that work , new value creation flows, cross-sector collaborations.
  • From a world of customers and suppliers To a world of connections,

Let’s move RoadMaps to Broadmaps

Roadmaps are a specific way to move from A to B (for instance from 4G to 5G). Roadmaps are fine when you need to deploy a project without taking uncertainties and new possibilities into account. But the fact is we can’t predict the Future. What we can do is to make wise decisions informed by multiple perspectives.  

Broadmaps help us expand our perspectives and seize the historical panorama. Broadmapping offers a "helicopter" view - yet NOT DETACHED from Reality or the “material” at hand - to any person who wants to get a broader view on an issue, a project or any other situation where "altitude" is key.

We could shift our relationship with strategy

  • We could stop delivering  abstract strategies or “RIGID plans” in which extrapolated data helps explain the Future, giving the illusion of control but toothless in the face of unpredictable forces operating in the world outside
  • We could tango with reality and be in tune with the world. Guided by the grounded Reality of what is being called for in the world and by our inner “soul compass”, we could find a direction, a meaningful purpose larger than ourselves, guiding rules and strategies which are in harmony with “Reality” and its fundamental Uncertainty.

Lets move from Crazytivity to Creativity

Rather than considering that any crazy idea is good, we would really dedicate ourselves to invent radically new and non standard ways to move forward

Lets move from Platitude to Attitude

Rather than delivering empty vison statement or slogan, we would walk our talk with integrity

That could diminish the proliferation of Bull shit

Let’s move from Debate to Dialogue

Our usual Thinking is dominated by critical and adversarial Thinking, the mode of discussion thus revolving around argumentation with the purpose to "defend" the truth and "defeat" the opponent. However, it has limitations, leads to polarisation  and too long, non-productive meetings, dominated by "Ego battles" and fostering more status quo than Change or Innovation.

Lets move to dialogue which is reflective, integrative, humble and exploratory. That would allow us to shift

  • from from rigid position to flexible perspectives
  • from what Edward de Bono calls rock Logic to Water Logic
  • from truth to “protothuths”, momentary truths accepted as hypothesis.

Let’s go to the heart of words and invent new ones. It will help us move forward to NO MAD Land.

Wouldn’t all that be fun?