Many of us do jobs which supposedly demand insight into every facet of human nature; into the wild and gloomy recesses of something so unutterably complex it has defied the comprehension of the most intelligent people ever to walk the earth.
Of course, we can understand to some degree, but to know, to really know what the hell motivates millions of discrete and mysterious entities? No fucking chance.
And yet we (planners more than the rest of us, but we all think we have something of a clue) tout ourselves as experts. We claim to know. We claim to be able to produce words and images that will alter the directions of minds so that they end up bent to the will of those that pay us.
Shysters, the lot of us.
You see, if we were truly able to do that which we claim, we’d be the richest and most powerful people on earth. And why? Because no one can do it.
Richard Branson, Rupert Murdoch, Martin Sorrell, Stevie Wonder, Barack Obama, David Cameron, Jack Nicholson, the XX, Martin Amis, Simon Cowell, Pharrell Williams, The Situation, Billy Joel, Harry Dean Stanton, Hare Krishna, David Hockney…
None of them knows. They can all have a good guess, and they might well succeed, but they will also surely fail.
And there’s no shame in that.
Just as long as you’re aware of your crashing, regular, inescapable, dismal propensity to do the wrong thing.
For the first step on the road to recovery is admitting you have a problem.