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December 11, 2004


Aleah Sato

Brilliant post, Jon. Like you, I naturally gravitate towards the clinical approach, as you call it. From this perspective, one can sidestep the arguments that Fouroboros perhaps unconsciously brings up - That question of whether or not it is "right" to associate an object with the same regard as we associate real people,experiences, etc.

Transference is, in my opinion, apropos. I feel that people who overly identify with brands are filling the void for whatever it is they desire - which all leads back to a sense of acceptance or belonging. (Another topic, perhaps.)

Howard Stern's popularity is simple. He appeals to the "common bloke" who feels they have lost their "right" to behave badly. Because they believe they've lost some form of power, as damaging as it was, they connect and applaud Stern who embodies the unruly, untamed, and unbound side of all of us. He appeals to those who are not bright or innovative enough to effectively express themselves, their thoughts and emotions.

I like to think of them as the Homer Simpsons of the world - which is one of the reasons that character is so timely and important. [And that is my plug for the Simpsons - hah.]


Geez, so much good thought, you guys are hard to keep up with.

Jon, this post rules, my friend. Aleah just posted a comment elswhere about a Robert Johnson song coming to mind...me? I'm thinking a Loggins & Messina album: Twin Sons of Different Mothers. Transference. Molto esplosivo!

Aleah, bout 1/2 way thru part 2 I try to cover exactly what you refer to and what many companies try to sidestep--a personal character (Brand Persona), but with none of the social obligations that "luxury" comes with. Having it both ways I suppose. This is the death of any traditional efort at brand--in order to be real it must be accountable and capable of remorse, gratitude etc to both employee and consumer at once, they must be real, trite as that sounds. Oddly enough, corporate remorse espressed authentically is, without exception, a positive move. But still executive cling to a perfectibillty trap - persona, not the imperfect but yearning self.

You probably haven't seen it, but I did a post on 'companies as the psychopath' after the film the Corporation was released that covers this whole angle more brutally. Begging Jon's forgiveness a snippet

Corporations are not psychopaths. They are schizophrenics. At once bullies and Florence Nightingale. They are collective personalities that, like humans under stress, revert to their shadow, baser personalities of self-preservation at any cost. (Remember R-Complex?) It's funny, but 100s of billions are spent on refinement of collective standards of excellence and reward for collective entities, virtual people, called corporations. But bring up a collective corporate conscience to your average business leader and you might as well suggest jump starting a car with a fish.

Big trouble. Because, in an era of accelerating fluidity, our hunger for humanity, for something--anything--that's not subject to drastic revision or obsolescence next week, or next year will be the only differentiator of sustainable business models or engines of profit. I know this because I feel it in my gut, hear it in mail rooms and board rooms, and because Rolf Jensen, Director of the Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies told me so:

We are in the twilight of a society based on data. As information and intelligence become the domain of computers, society will place a new value on the one human ability that can't be automated: Emotion
That is the problem. As-built, companies are amoral tools amongst moral beings. This is not news. But the frequency, reach and signal-to-noise of corporations trumpeting their virtue while failing at the internal act is now deafening within business. It puts their modus operandi at odds with those it needs, and from whom it needs favor. That IS news. Our great-great grandparents interacted with, in a whole year, the number of people we now bump into in a single day. Those added people, being fallible people, are no more polite or perfect in their execution, just more polished in their presentation. But they and their official mistakes and oversights, excused by systemic, inert officialdom and firewalls of deniability feel like a hailstorm. The insults to psyche and the resulting overload stands to soon tilt things on their axis. It must. Turbocharged entropy will do that to systems. They get manic. They generate shrapnel. [link]
Sorry to clutter up your comments Jon, you made me do it. Or maybe it's the coffee.

Jon Strande

Gee, talk about hard to keep up with.... Aleah & Fouro; your brains work about 6 times faster than mine!! where to begin? First, thank you to you both for such great comments!

Aleah, I really need to find some of those blushy-face emoticons... seriously. Yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head with the need for a sense of belonging and acceptance. It is 1/2 of the twin ontological motives of man: The need to fit in and the need to stand out. Needing to belong man is driven in one direction yet the need to stand out drives him in another.

I don't know that I prefer the clinical... but for something that I am just learning about, it is the only way that I can explain it. ;-)

Fouro, well, since I don't consider it clutter, I'm glad you posted it. So, no foregiveness needed! Really, had it not been for Brain/Brand, I would have never learned about some of this other stuff.

I was thinking about this for most of the day yesterday and wondering what my transference objects are... I know one for sure, and I wrote about it http://jstrande.typepad.com/blog/2004/09/my_zen_is_gone.html>here: my iPod.


Let no man put this consumer and his iPod asunder!

The need to fit in and the need to stand out.

Now there's the rub. Just as courage needs a conscience, an explorer ultimately needs a tribe to share her discoveries with --If a tree falls...

What an excellent chapter... Jon?

Jon Strande

Fouro - yeah, I'm rarely without my iPod... and it has become a true extension of me: like an appendage, extending straight from my ears...

Those twin drivers of man shook me when I read it. I'll be exploring it more for sure. It's funny, most people think of bloggers as narcissistic, but when you think about it, blogging serves both of those two motives: It provides a wonderful community via comments & trackbacks, and it serves as a means for individuation, posting "my" thoughts for the world to see, for others to recognize "me" and "my uniqueness".

No wonder it is so addicting.

More to come on this... after I change the name of my blog that is... ;-) I'm thinking about "Palingenesia" - "recurrence of birth"

Chuck Conway

Great post Jon --

I’d never thought about transference. I was trying to think of what I had. Maybe my car? My computer? I know – my cell phone! It’s my connection to the world, to other people, a connection that can be turned off at any time.

I was chatting with a friend yesterday; he was browsing through my website reading some of my posts. He liked the idea of having a place to write his thoughts -- a record of his thinking.

I find my thoughts fleeting. Not lasting more than their life. I can go back to a post I wrote over a year ago and re-read it and be back into the mindset I was when I wrote it. Simply amazing.

Jon Strande

Chuck, thank you very much for the kind words!! Great thought about the cell phone!

Fantastic point about the blog and being able to reread your old thoughts, that is so true!


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