The importance of remembering

March 2, 2008

Sitting amongst 1000 other people listening to Joe Jackson on Friday evening I was struck by the importance of remembering. I, like many of those present, remembered the first time we heard Is She Really Going Out With Him? Most people knew the lyrics and sang along to the set list..we were transported back to 1979 and the overwhelming feeling was one of nostalgia, belonging and the collective sense of remembering.
Why do we spend so much time in organisations dreaming about the future? Strategising? planning? hoping? moulding ourselves into a fantasy of what the future will bring? Why don’t we spend more time remembering? Remembering what brought us together in the first place? the ideas, values and dreams that were supposed to be worked out in this gathering of people.
If more planning processes attended to the reasons why we started this rather than rationalising why we should stay together then like most relationships (personal and professional) we could start from a place of shared commitment..maybe I’m wrong about this .. but sitting in that theatre on Friday night I know that we could have moved mountains out of our shared emotional connection. Remembering is a present tense activity .. maybe we need a bit more of it, more of the emotional connection.. In the meantime…

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  1. I was a little envious(and appalled) when Fergal said he was going to “see someone called Joe Jackson” with you! Glad to hear it was a good show, and that at least one of you enjoyed it with due reverence and emotion.
    So you think there is something grandiose about imagining future emotion, that holds us back. Whereas remembered emotion we are not presently accountable for, and can connect to it more freely?

  2. I’m not sure I meant grandiose… some of the ‘visioning’ processes I’ve been part of (and I’m about to facilitate a group in their thinking around the future today!) are often predicated on manufacturing a vision of the future that we can get ‘excited about’. I’m wondering if connecting to the emotion that started us off i.e. remembering what it was that brought us together might be another and more useful way of tapping into that emotional connection – what do you think?

  3. Annette,
    Twice in a weekend! I missed you at the blog awards and now I discover that you were at Joe Jackson too! (That was me in hysterics when he played the opening chords of ‘cover du jour’ Knowing Me Knowing You).

  4. A typo on my part, Annette, I meant “Do you think?” rather than “So you think”. I agree that connecting with remembered emotion is likely to be much more powerful than envisioned emotion. I think one of the reasons for that is that you run into all kinds of questions about “do i deserve that emotion” and “am i embarrassed by envisioning that for myself” and so on, when you trade on future emotion. Connecting to past emotion is less risky I think for participants.

  5. I think that’s right Sasha – because when you connect to remembered feelings you have a choice about what to do with them – it’s more ‘real’ if I can use that expression. Although at the risk of unravelling all of that, sometimes the imaginary is safer than the known…oh, I feel another blog post coming upon me!

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