No Atlas

Atlas, seen from the back, his dark shiny arm and shoulder muscles carrying the world (Statue at Rockefeller Center, Manhattan, NY)

“I am often amazed at how incredibly smart people, do not see the completely arbitrary value of thinking that trust or respect can be mandated via a job description in an organisation.” – an exasperation from a collaegue during an intervision breakout room the other day.

It prompted me to write some of my thoughts:

Cognitive Power

Particularly people endowed with cognitive powers so strong, can get ‘shut out’ of their embodied, intuitive, wise side, and lose access to the intangilbe, felt or sensed experience of relating with/to self, other, life itself and/or spirit too.

Contraction into codification

The contraction into explicit codifiable knowledge only (kpi’s, metrics, dashboards, procedures, best practices, rules, manuals, legal contracts, algorithms etc.), imho often is a shield against feeling the insecurity that uncertainty and ambiguity evokes when the internal sense of self, belonging and self worth is fragile.

Praise for achievement

Particularly to those, who have been praised, raised, trained and daily engrained for their smarts, achievements and duty (‘noblesse oblige), from a young age, without a proper healthy (‘good enough’) appreciation of their being – learn to deny, negate, repress or narcoticise their social & emotional needs.

External Validation

If also rooted in attachment issues, and held in a rigid family values and/or societal culture where external validation is systemically calling for competition, narcissistic excess and the individual as ‘apex’ level of analysis, well I am not surprised so many gravitate to position descriptions to find validation for the authority and power they hold and are expected to wield.


They too are humans, not Atlas. Somehow, we’ve come to believe that a single person ought to be able to carry the whole. Not so, imho. We are interconnected mutually reciprocally inter-dependent living organisms, dynamically interacting to exist.

We are as influenced by what our context (inner & outer; past, current & coming) affórds us to express, as we influence our contexts.

Character and capabilities are enabling (or limiting) constraints brought to the table, but it is in the exchange with what is/lives outside ourselves how we ‘choose’ to act and discover who we are ourselves – located in our ‘Cynefín’ – the Welsh word for ‘my place of multiple belongings’.

Cynefín – Welsh for ‘a place where a person or an animal feels it ought to live and belong; it is where nature around you feels right and welcoming.’
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