I cannot remember when it actually hit me but I do know that I was not surprised when I found others making the same connections.
I am talking about some kind of fatigue that began to settle around the endlessly purposeful march of the target and the outcome into all parts of our lives. People had begun to notice what a finger-in-the-dyke kind of activity this was and how dishonest the resultant presentation of success, assembled around the totem of a coherence that was not evident from the archaeology of the activity. And it was all so unscientific, of insufficient definition, hypothetical in result, and such a narrowing down of possibility. The world of education got it the worst but everyone from business to the public sector took a hit.
A professional life spent in the field of cultural administration and international cultural relations has afforded me valuable opportunities to filter, through the layers of some years, the assertions I am going to make in this volume. Assisted by a process of assimilation and transformation, the period has delivered to my door a creative anthology of other people’s good ideas. Like some magpie, I find that I have raided many ideas that were happily ensconced in their proper place and transferred them somewhat improperly into the heart of my own condition. There, by adaptation, they have illuminated both my working and my social lives. Out of an eclectic mix of theories culled from psychology, management, mathematics and statistics, physics, environmentalism, humanism and world thought, I now see these as forming a thoroughly Uncertain set of ideas and practices.
If you earn your living in one of these fields you might well find this half-baked approach rather irritating. The remaining ideas in here seem to have occurred spontaneously out of the daily work regime, theories that are still half-formed, yet useful to my thesis. Many may yet seem eerily familiar, as I doubt there is now an original idea left in this Wiki world. Where I am aware of a source, I have tried to indicate this and I will happily include any more should you find any to be unattributed.
This journey has necessarily contained challenges to my personal comfort, those little Comforts of Certainty (some bigger) that one develops to survive in a hostile world – yet of which many seem to turn out to have been hostile to the very survival of the world. Perverse Comforts like reducing my exposure to risk, knowing when to say no, and how to put an end to the chaos of my life; closely followed by ideas for conquering the landscape, little tricks for helping me to reach my place, to achieve harmony, and, finally divine, to find God in his heaven and all right with the world.
I now see that at the heart of this experience have been sitting Ten Exhortations to Uncertainty. By requiring small shifts in my behaviour (some bigger) they have induced a controlled instability, opening me up to a much more creative set of options. These have produced risky behaviours – provocatively positive, desirous of chaos – yet all rooted in my innate capacities; learning behaviours that have helped me reverse the equation, deal with contradiction and ride the thermals of my mind; and so, finally, to occupy my own place and turn the world upside down
* * *
As planet Earth heads for growing political and environmental uncertainty, alert individuals are sharing what they know, creating hopeful and innovative ways forward, fresh vision and modern solutions for their fellow world citizens. In my experience, people just want the opportunity to make a decent contribution to the planet, something original for their neighbours’ benefit, whilst earning a living from owning their own output. In our globalised world, much of this is now a collaborative process, involving international partners from other cultures, whose creativity may be harnessed to benefit each and every culture.
 From a poem by Robert Browning: Pippa Passes, vol 1 of Bells and Pomegranates (1841)