Leadership is to Italicize The Alternate Universe in Other People’s Mind

Shots of Awe

The more we understand the neuro-chemistry of lived experience, the more we realize that we don’t get to ever really sample and kind of objective reality. Reality is coupled to perception and perception can be mediate. Certain music can change the way we process a scene. A moment can seem truthful dishonest, depending on the tone, depending on whether it’s cloudy or sunny, depending on the place in which you happen to dwell.

So again, reality is mediated by perception. Perception can be manipulated. Brilliant people who change the world, leaders, are said to have this thing known as a reality distortion field. Steve Jobs was made famous for it. His ability to distort, to italicize perception in his co-workers, to inspire somebody to see the world in a new way, to literally engage the attention of all these body minds and present with them an alternative universe. To make people to bring them into your world, to suck them into your trance, and literally engage them to probe the adjacent possible. To gnaw at that shadow future that hovers over the present, that provides a map of all the ways the present can reinvent itself.

That’s what leaders do. They distort reality. But here’s the thing. There’s nothing fake, there’s nothing inauthentic about distorting reality because the distorted reality becomes real the moment that perception becomes the main operating system. The moment you adopt that vision as truth, it becomes truth.

Mankind decided we would fly, it became truth. Mankind creates technology that folds space and time so that minds can communicate instantaneously across digital screens. Somebody hallucinated this technology into being. We live in a world where our thoughts spill over and if they can harness the will of the people around, we can labor new realities into being. We can usher new worlds into being. We can author realities. Because we, as human beings, our greatest potential is that we have this reality distortion field. We are like Neo in “The Matrix” when he sees the code and he flexes his muscle and space and time warps around him. Powerful metaphor but that’s who we are. That’s what we are.


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