links for 2005-02-15

The combination of my daughter's illness, a dinner conversation with a film maker friend of mine last night and a post from Jon Husband have been the kick in the arse I needed to write something on this blog instead of just quoting others.

Most important first. My elder daughter has recently been diagnosed as having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. For some months now she has been lacking in energy, looking grey and complaining of aches in her legs. We have had everything organic tested for and eliminated from the possible causes and the pediatrician now reckons that she had Glandular Fever about a year ago and her body is still suffering the lingering after effects. What has been interesting is dealing with something for which no concrete cause can be found and for which no cure can be suggested. Her illness doesn't fit neatly into the hierarchy of illnesses doctors are trained to deal with and once you are outside that structure they really don't know what to do with you. We have had to rely on our own efforts to find out more from support groups and individuals writing on the web and in newsletters and to seek support from fellow sufferers rather than from experts.

The, rather heated, after dinner discussion last night was around whether people need "experts" to manage their sense making for them. My friend was saying that unless we have film makers, or broadcasters, or the media generally managing our access to stories then the world will fall apart and we will all descend into echo chambers and misinformation. I was arguing that access to other individuals making their own sense of the world through blogs or increasingly podcasts and amateur films and documentaries gave me a better basis on which to make my own judgments and meant that I was less subject to being misled by powerful media forces with their own agendas.

Jon Husband's post talks of the rise of coaching in the business world as a reaction to restructuring, downsizing and general destabilisation and suggests that coaches need to support people as they come to terms with the wired world and it's fragmentation of sense making.

There is a pattern in all three that to me is exciting but to some is deeply disturbing. We can no longer rely on the certainties that appeared to underpin our world. Experts who knew all the answers, structures that remained unchanged for decades, society that neatly lined up the way it was meant to and individuals who knew their place and assumed the roles expected of them.

For me this is exciting as I believe that we all make our own realities and have the power to be much more than we ever expect. But this ability, which is becoming a way of life for more and more of us as we are forced into relying on our own ability to create meaning, has the power to be used for good or ill and individuals must take on a far greater degree of responsibility than they have been expected to in the past.