I spoke with the indomitable Frederick Malouf on Bondi FM a few weeks back about philosophy, trust, collaboration and the meaning of life. I’ve transcribed some choice snippets below. You can listen to the whole interview here: Interview – Bondi Locals @ Bondi 88FM.
On human potential: ‘Einstein is often held to have claimed that we only use a small amount of out brain, ten percent of our brain or something like that. I don’t know whether that’s true … but I think it is clear that we only use a fraction of our personal capacity in life. As I was saying, we tend to live very narrowly defined, strictured, lives, and when we break out of our comfort zones and ask ourselves what is the purpose of this life we are leading, we tend to discover that we are actually capable of incredible things. Each of us is capable of incredible things – we have a huge realm of capacities. We have to make it the point of our existence to discover this realm of capacities. I completely agree that the meaning of life ought to be experience and the discovery of personal potential, because this is the route to a flourishing life’.
On personal change and social transition: ‘There is a lot of talk today about the need for social change and social transition, and there is also an acknowledgement that any kind of genuine social change needs to be driven by personal change, because the personal is political and we need to transform ourselves in order to change the world. I think the first thing that we need to acknowledge is that if we want to create a better society we need to commit ourselves to the task [of personal change] and actually make the effort, the struggle, something very positive and meaningful. So the first thing that I would say is that we need to make social change the meaning of our lives – personally, on a personal level. Devote yourself to that task, devote yourself to that life, and all of sudden you have a mission, a quest’.
On Coalition of the Willing: ‘It is an animated short film about how we could use the internet creatively to focus and coordinate and inspire people to engage with the great problems of our time. I believe that we are only beginning to understand how we can use the internet. The internet is the great transformative tool … of the 21st century but we still haven’t figured out how to make the best use of it. Facebook is not the beginning and end of social media. I think the social media systems of the future are going to be systems that enable people to engage in collective life-changing projects and to recreate their localities and societies and the world’.
On ordinary heroism: ‘The greatest heroes in my life are, to be honest, the women in my life. My sister is one of my heroes. … Let me tell you a little story: I grew in New Zealand, at the bottom of the world, and my sister decided at an early age that she was going to enter the hospitality industry and take it all the way to the top. One day she was working as a legal secretary; the next day she was on a plane to New York City. And she just pursued her dream. She went out and met people and convinced them that she was capable of doing the job that they needed doing, and in the space of two years she was managing some top restaurants in Manhattan.
‘I’ve always found that incredibly inspiring, because it’s an example of someone who decides, not that they have something to prove to the world, but that they have something to be in life… – something extraordinary and life-changing. The hero inside us is saying all the time: “Go and find that thing and pursue it, make it happen, because extra-ordinary things happen every day’.
On trust and co-creation: ‘I think that the way that social media systems are increasingly incorporating reputation systems into their models is a very positive sign that we are learning how to create web-based systems that enable people to come together and work together on the basis of trust – not on the basis of dollars, but on trust and common dreams – to create incredible things’.