An elephant is any concept you do not yet understand.
You learn little by little, one step at a time, bit by bit.
As they say, "How do you eat an elephant?"
"One bite at a time".
Economist Lester Thurow: "To avoid in future paying Bangladesh wages to everyone we need to re-educate and retrain half the population."
Dr Jonas Salk: "Relationships are fundamental".
All our experience helps us make sense of the world, but our maps are never complete, we can never be sure we know and understand all the things we need to know. "Everything is connected to everything else" but we don't understand the processes involved.
Rudimentary knowledge isn't satisfactory if we seek to improve what we do. Our islands of understanding are disconnected in our minds, we know things separately, and we don't think. "2" is never added to "2" and this other "2" is not even considered? We seldom "add it all up" to get a sensible answer.
Club of Rome: “The World ‘Problematique ’ is the set of the crucial problems — political, social, economic, technological, environmental, psychological and cultural - facing humanity”. Hence "2" plus "2" plus "2" and even more complexity means exactly what? Choose your own topics: global warming, peak oil, depleted uranium, ocean pollution, the Internet, globalisation etc. Elephant mapping is about discovering your capacity to be an effective leader.
All "truth" is self discovered, you will simply not accept anyone else's "truth" and nor should you. Each of us is responsible for our own views, right or wrong. We choose what we are interested in and hence what we know. Likewise the same process has chosen what we are ignorant about. You are the only source of your own understanding, you choose your knowing and you choose your ignorance.
[Text added Dec. 2006] The ideas discussed above have been quietly developing for several years. Yes, I've been practicing "elephant mapping". Ideas that began as vague fragile notions, are getting stronger as I work on them. If you want to spend 10 hours exploring this site you could discover how the evolution of my thinking has progressed. I wish there was a quicker and an easier way. The ability to talk to other people helps.
At the AdTech 2006 conference, keynote speaker Mark Kvamme said the growth of the Internet resembles other media in past decades. "The commercial Internet began 10 years ago, now it's surpassing the existing players like radio and television in the ability to attract users. The most valuable companies we're placing ads for, didn't exist ten years ago," he noted. "We are at the very, very beginning of the digital age"
"I think we are entering the golden age of the Internet. Apple Computers date from 1976. The company that now dominates the PC market, Dell started business in 1986. Ten years. The next 10 years are going to be a very exciting time."
We must become more globally engaged; becoming better connected to each other in social networks is creating infrastructure, like building a roadway. In the process of discussion we discover how to use that roadway. That discussion is hardly happening. Few people have understood the potential for what I'm saying, and how that affects each of us. Since this page was first published, two years have passed, two years of potential progress have been neglected. Of course this is my own fault. My own understanding comes and goes, like all learners, I struggle to cope with my new understanding too. I revert to old well worn ruts in the brain too often. I see a certain future; then it becomes slightly obscure. If I was more dogmatic I'd be more successful. Dogmatism is the root of all evil, I choose not to be dogmatic. We are knowledge workers, like it or not. I invite you to share this journey. But you need to volunteer. Then we begin to talk. The rest is up to us. [End]
Our task is to become good trees because only good trees bear good fruit. It takes a tree many years to grow. Sadly many of us are planted in misinformation environments. We need to engage in selective feeding to become good trees.
I would like to begin to work with you, but that requires your decision to do something. Can we start with a meeting?