Coping with Cassandra Complex
The compassionate heart of a warrior
Coping with Cassandra Complex in an age of charlatans and big money.
From Wikipedia: “The term “Cassandra Complex” originates in Greek mythology. Cassandra was a daughter of Priam, the King of Troy. Struck by her beauty, Apollo provided her with the gift of prophecy, but when Cassandra refused Apollo’s romantic advances, he placed a curse ensuring that nobody would believe her warnings. Cassandra was left with the knowledge of future events, but could neither alter these events nor convince others of the validity of her predictions.”
I am Cassandra.
I was laughed offstage. Again. This was beginning to be a pattern.
This was the year I created a presentation regarding the the impending economic disruption digital would cause. FOr two years I presented this information throughout Europe, Australia, and the US. This was when I started to be ridiculed by many of my peers within the ITSM industry.
After almost two decades in the business, I had become skilled at anticipating the direction of IT professionals and their customers .While much of the original presentation may be difficult to understand, I think you will agree that it was an urgent message for all white collar workers in 2010.
But really, the truth of it is that someone who started on a computer help desk in 1990 probably had a better idea than the leadership running it what was going right and what was going wrong with technology.
You can see the original linked here.
When I look back at this presentation, what I find most remarkable is not the prescience of my findings, but the relentless kindness I gave the topics through the year 2050.
To the few people who continue to follow and support my work in 2016, you are my mentors and my friends, and you are leaders in your own fields.
Last week the World Economic forum met in Switzerland and announced that we have entered the “4th Industrial Revolution.” Jobs are going to change so vastly that it will be hard to comprehend in the moment. Hindsight will be the only true lens through which we can understand the world we live in today.
The report and findings are located here.
This was the year I began to speak of how the Internet would disappear.
I had created a presentation called “Existence As a Platform,” where I explored the idea that soon everything we touched would be programmable, that the human body and mind could be reshaped in real time through algorithms, conditioned environments, and massive amounts of data. And eventually this data could be transformed into universal wisdom.
More simply put, what would happen if we combined the qualified self with the Internet of Things? What would happen if every “thought leader” with a Fitbit and a Roomba were providing us with a some greater understanding of our collective unconscious?
Why did I think this worked? Because I lived it. The rest is history. (Or as I dubbed it in a moment of levity, Christory). Again, I was met with some laughter, but this time people took note. My name started appearing in tech news articles, and it was making its way into industries outside of tech.
You can see that presentation linked here.
This was the year I took a radical departure from my “futurist” self and focused squarely on suffering — suffering brought about by our digital age.
In this vein, I created two presentations: “What Happens When the Internet Disappears” and “Designing for Wisdom.” Again people misunderstood my message and some even called for me to return to the “glory days” of Chris Dancy, when I spoke about the future with such clarity. They wanted me to stop talking about emotions, to leave out such human elements. Topics about our existence were almost too directed, too purposeful. The words I used, images I chose, and ideas I expressed were directed at a populous lost between two worlds and suffering deeply from a perpetual sense of grief.
You can see a combination of these presentations linked here.
I’ve spent the weekend stuck inside during the blizzard here in NYC after the premier of my Showtime episode of Dark Net called ‘Upgrade.’ I’m reading Kierkegaard and finding the intersections between his philosophy and Jung’s perception of time and identity. And all this has brought me to this one plea:
Please, take a moment today to think seriously about your place in this emerging new world order.
And know this: if you feel sadness at work, you are not alone.
We live in an age where the system that drove us to this point, “money,” is falling apart. Money has seemingly reach its own Singularity. It’s trying to make the jump to something faster, slicker, and harder to measure. It’s trying to manipulate behavior itself. Billion-dollar, publicly-traded companies’ entire portfolios consist of ways to capture, measure and direct your attention. To force your hand to click, swipe, or pull to refresh.
The marionette of behavior science and data sorcery is crippling our day-to-day grasp of reality.
The only thing evolving faster than technology is our quest to make ourselves king.
Think about the indignation we feel when an Uber driver speaks to us as we speed away to our next meeting.
We just used a piece of technology to force someone to come to our location, we manipulated their cloud based computer to give them directions, and we hijacked their radio so we could play our favorite Spotify playlist. We then ignore the human being driving the car, and once we’ve gotten where we want to be, we jump out without even a parting glance. We never see money trade hands, we only “rate” the human’s ability to leave us alone.
This doesn’t have to be the present, and it definitely doesn’t have to be the future.
Nor do we need to fear for our jobs, time or families.
Right now we can choose to use technology to make us more mindful of our bodies and environments.
Your smart phone is worthless if you do not pick it up. Take back your attention, focus on the tangible things around you, on family and friends, on food and art.
Obsolescence is a technology hate crime and you’re not a victim.
The compassionate heart of a warrior is at hand. Realize you are connected to so many others who are struggling at this very moment. Realize you are not alone.
Wish them peace. Wish them love. Only then will you find it yourself.
Nostalgia will not repair the idealism of our past.
Technology will not save us from our unrealistic relationship to the future.
Contemplation will not cure us of our disastrous relationship with now.