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Offbeat – 11 October2013

Perhaps, in the interests of productivity, unemployed people could be employed to attend workshops on behalf of people who could be better employed by working

Have been reading the local news again. It’s depressing. We aren’t at war with anyone. There are the same political issues, that were old last year, and the year before that. Even the grubby crimes are getting boring. I don’t have the fire in me to get emotional or excited about things anymore. In fact, most of my irritation stems from the irritation that wells up like a seeping sore when I read the headlines, and wonder which articles to open.

The articles which arouse the most ire are the ones about planning workshops, the things that happen day in, day out, but don’t have any substance other than the same old intent to talk about things.
I have nothing against, planning and understanding stuff, but I like to see a conclusion to the process, preferably a logical one, which envisages starting things right about here because this is what we know and, with minimal deviation from the intended goal, finally getting them finished, round about over there, at exactly that time.
There’s an old expression that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. You can tell it is probably a couple of hundred years old if you look at it closely. If it were modern and up to date, it would read the road to hell is signposted with boards pointing to seminar rooms, breakaway rooms and auditoriums. It is also littered with bits of paper listing forgotten agendas and promising boring biscuits and cups of weak coffee in the breaks in between all the expressions of good intent.
Hell itself is no doubt a million auditoriums in which people waffle on about their programmes theories and approaches, but without any will to actually knuckle down and actually get things moving, changing and done. And I think that in hell, all evening meals consist of repetitious finger food, mainly stuck on the end of toothpicks, and there are never enough paper napkins to deal with the grease from the anorexic chicken wings.
That’s not the true horror in damnation though. The real nightmare lies in dashed hopes. If something is said that indicates some form of progress, there will almost be another get-together to delay action on earlier discussions and push the goalposts just a little bit further out of reach.
I avoid that sort of  workshop like the plague and feel really sorry for people who have to attend them regularly. Unfortunately there are enough people to sustain the things, folks who ‘don’t get out enough’ or ‘don’t get heard enough’ or who just want to get away from the office.
I should restate my earlier contention about the road to hell. Actually it is metaphysically gridlocked with people, a few of who have good intentions that won’t lead anywhere, and the rest overly eager to impress everyone with their uncanny ability to find ‘barriers’ or ‘challenges’, but no solutions.
That leads us to the very real problem that because there is so much talk, and because the goalposts keep in shifting, very little actually gets done. The fact that people rate their contributions on knowledge, intellect and presentation skills, and not on their ability to get out there and roll up their sleeves is another blow to things.
An interesting idea springs to mind. Perhaps, in the interests of productivity, unemployed people could be employed to attend workshops on behalf of people who could be better employed by working. In this way, unemployed people could get a small amount of money for attendance, biscuits and tea, and food on toothpicks in the evening.
As very little gets acted upon, nobody will be much poorer for it, and as the theorists will be rolling up their sleeves, everyone may actually end up somewhat better off for all that productivity.
Now imagine if one of the unemployed people attending the workshop injected his or her own reality or solutions into the picture. Everyone might be vastly enriched by that.
Progress may require a bit of talk and agreement, but the irony of the information economy is that sharing of too much information is impoverishing humanity.


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