Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Lost in Translation

On a recent comment Russell asks:
I can imagine that there's a huge leap between Porsche culture and Mennonite culture, but does any of what they do still stick with you and inspire you today?
This is one of my most frequently asked questions. So I thought I would answer it here. In short the answer is no.

I try my best not to translate any of the things I learned from advertising into the world of spirituality, faith, church, etc. The reason is simple. Advertising is fundamentally a form of coercion. Granted it is a playful manipulation that most people enjoy when it's done well. (See below)

It's fun and funny, can't be that harmful. Nonetheless, the primary task of my previous life was to try and highjack your imagination, brand your brain with a Porsche logo, and then feed you opinions you thought were your own. I can't think of a method more opposed to the process of deepening and evolving the spiritual life. So I'm very aware of intentionally not translating or using these methods.

In my experience, the best thing I can do to lead people spiritually is to show them love. At the heart of love is making space, honoring the free will of the other. This requires that I intentionally divest myself of their outcomes, decisions, and conclusions. Sounds counter-intuitive, but then again, most things in the life of faith are. When someone senses that I need them to grow to validate myself, it usually hinders their growth. When they sense that I love them and have no need for them to take my advice, they're more free to do so if they choose. This I've found to be the most fertile soil for spiritual evolution. And it is diametrically opposed to the tasks of advertising and marketing, which are driven entirely by outcomes.


TL said...

You just blew my mind, again.

Hopefully in anticipation of a return to the podcast soon?

Adam said...

Here is a post that I'd be interested to get your take on. It seems quite negative, but that's not what we need. We need a productive conversation about technology and faith.

M.joshua said...

I agree. Still being in both worlds, I find my advertising Boss occasionally having to correct my subtleties as I try to communicate through parables and acts of generosity.

Adam said...

Here's another... *shrugs* :)