It’s time for some new -isms.

Adah Parris
4 min readMay 31, 2020

“Kairos… is an Ancient Greek word meaning the right, critical, or opportune moment. The ancient Greeks had two words for time: chronos and kairos. The former refers to chronological or sequential time, while the latter signifies a proper or opportune time for action. While chronos is quantitative, kairos has a qualitative, permanent nature.”


The current COVID-19 pandemic has subverted the status quo, especially when it comes to our human want, need, desire and capacity to tell stories.

Traditionally we have been told that stories follow Joseph Campbell’s model of The Hero’s Journey, in which the hero (or heroine) meets the mentor, the oracle, the guru, the shaman. The one who helps to provide enlightenment and guidance that helps the Hero continue on their quest. However, our current reality has forced many of us to realise that there is no one wise sage coming to rescue us, to share their knowledge, wisdom and insights that would help us find our way out of this pandemic. Instead, our behaviour in response to the governing mandates has led to the recognition that we all are storytellers and now more than ever the othered voices, knowledge and wisdom should be included in the wider cultural and societal narrative.

This insight has been fast-tracked by the fact that in this pandemic our (privileged) relationship with technology has changed. That various technology can be used as a tool to help us to connect with ourselves, each other and our environment. Now more than ever we are seeking and exploring ways to use the technology to become more empathetic and create new immersive experiences.

Our behaviour is not new.

But, we have been given the opportunity whilst in this gap between the ‘old normal’ and what comes next to make choices about our personal roles and responsibilities within shaping this new future.

In my previous Medium post Escaping Plato’s Cave I introduced the idea of Cyborg Shamanism. A series of interconnected patterns, an idea, an ideology, a movement and a framework for transformation.

During this pandemic I’ve been shielding alone in the UK, in the most restrictive form of social distancing lockdown. I could have chosen to see this as restrictive, but instead I chose to see this as a time of metamorphosis, a time for me to stop, slow down and ask myself some of the existential questions that I may have been avoiding asking myself and think about what stories I tell when I emerge from this pandemic cave.

Pre-COVID-19 I worked as a futurist, a cultural strategist, artist and a storyteller. Cyborg shamanism has been the first stepping stone for me to deepen that personal, professional and systemic enquiry. To ask how we build trust and transparency in a world of instability, one in which the floor is constantly moving, especially for those of us who have been othered. To explore how to merge the worlds of ancient wisdom, natural systems and indigenous community practices with digital and emerging technologies. To decolonise the lives, knowledge, wisdom, experiences and stories of the othered.

And that leads me to today, Sunday the 31st of May 2020, when I am still reeling and battling my emotions of the very visceral ism of racism, after yet more stories of atrocities and murder, this time of Christian Cooper and George Floyd.

Today I am standing up, using my voice to curate, collaborate and amplify the voices, knowledge and wisdom of others, no longer an armchair activist and feminist. I am publicly launch my new venture

“The suffix “-ism” is neutral and therefore bears no connotations associated with any of the many ideologies it identifies; such determinations can only be informed by public opinion regarding specific ideologies.


-ism is global network of humans who have been recognising the patterns of cyborg shamanism in their own lives, work and future ambitions.

Who see technology as tools and not the solution to the problem.

Who see that the world has become self-referential and this has impacted our view of our place in the world, our approach to solving problems and telling stories.

Who believe that ‘the othered’, their knowledge, wisdom and stories need to be at the heart of the innovation process.

Who are ready to come together to challenge the validity of the existing isms.

Who desire to reconnect with natural systems to create new hypotheses for change.

Who actively seek out other knowledge, wisdom, rituals, tools and technologies that help us to have deeper and more sustainable impact.

Who are proactive in creating blueprints for new rituals, behaviours, tools and technologies of ‘enlightenment’.

Who are redefining and creating new models of citizenship, kinship, activism and spaces to find the others and the othered.

And who start by asking the questions;

What kind of ancestor do WE want to be?

And, what could we be capable of?


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