Last month I sent a survey about The Bento Society and nearly 100 of you responded. Here’s what you had to say.
How would you rate your experience so far?
What do you like most?
What would you like to see more of?
If the Bento Society offered a paid membership option would you consider supporting it?
How has your life or perspective changed — if at all — since engaging with Bentoism?
"I am more mindful in a different way than before. It helps simultaneously ground me while adding clarity to the bigger picture of my life. It has also inspired me to put more effort and intentionality into bringing to life my most hard to overcome ambitions (as small as they may seem), because of their place in my entire life, not just the 'now me.'"
"Life-changing seems a bit of a stretch, ;-) but your work is incredibly validating AND helpful and is helping me push the business leaders I work with to rethink what is important. It’s given me more confidence to be bold/provocative in spaces that haven’t evolved here yet."
"The Bentoism practice combined with the community zoom bentos has profoundly changed my life. I wish I could evoke emotions in these online characters without using emojis, but truly, with the rest of my life, I could never thank you enough (yeah that came out kind of weird, but I hope you get the point)."
"My perspectives haven't changed, but its easier to move between them with such a simple, easily visualized, and memorable model to fall back on."
"More confidence and coherence in my own life and my understanding of the world."
"I used Bentoism to find a new job and I feel this was spectacular to make a better choice."
"More hopeful. Great to see people from different countries, backgrounds, and interest find common ground within values I believe are important."
"The best part is feeling hope from others sharing the values. Daunting to work stuff out in your own head alone. Working things out together is helpful."
"I like the community of individuals that attend and the openness of them to share themselves with the rest of us."
"It reconciles the personal/collective dichotomy of (U.S.) society. Somehow giving equal space to present/future and personal/collective goals has changed how I see these interrelations. I think it does reflect the messy reality of life experience."
"Being able to sit and really think about and being accountable to all aspects of my now and future selves is time I now treasure in my week. Maybe changing the world is in how we all live our lives and not the preserve of a select few. How to marry these perspectives with social or community good has helped demystify ways to make impact that aren't removed from everyday actions. It may have come at the right time, during Covid, but reevaluating how I want to show up in the world, which sorts of business practice I can influence or bring into my way of working has been especially exciting and meaningful."
How can this be better?
"I'm not really looking for community but I would love more analyses, reading materials, guides, case studies. Maybe tools to apply the bento to my business."
"I like [the Weekly Bento events] but they feel more focused on the self then the book does. The rest of my work and time is more driven by larger problems and I would be more interested in meetings that explored the urgent issues of the world more or that worked to spread these tools in some ways."
"I’d like to know how this is related to changing the world and how the org is going to manifest that. Is it going to go further then just suggesting this framework? How is it going to fight profit maximization more directly?"
What would be exciting to you in a future Bentoism community?
"Excited for further learning; insights; understandings; books & articles; connections to others with similar values; exploration of possibilities. Not want to see: devolution to NowMe-ism; a shortage or failure of curiosity & imagination."
"Want to see: the community bringing its skills together to help projects or initiatives that are good for the world succeed, including those of members. Don't want to see/ would be cautious about: the monetization, so that it doesn't feel too gated, but rather a voluntary Patreon-style donation."
"I'd want the thing membership implies - access to resources, opportunities to build relationships, and some measured mandate of participation."
"This seems to be very organic - please grow in such a way that you do not become commercial and the authenticity of Bentoism is lost."
A huge thank you to everyone who took the time to share feedback. Read all of the results and responses here.
I’ll have much more to share on this and our work together in the near future.
Ana Andjelic and I talked about whether the internet killed the mass icon:
Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire author/Harvard Business School professor Rebecca Henderson uses some very Bentoish language in this interview:
“All of our scenarios ended in both street-level violence and political impasse,” said Rosa Brooks, a Georgetown law professor and former Defense Department official who co-organized the group known as the Transition Integrity Project…
The game was elaborate. The participants took on the roles of the Trump campaign, the Biden campaign, relevant government officials, and the media —generally, Democrats played Democrats and Republicans played Republicans — and used a 10-sided die to determine whether a team succeeded in its attempted moves. The games are not meant to be predictive; rather, they are supposed to give people a sense of possible consequences in complex scenarios.
The scenario that began with a narrow Biden win ended with Trump refusing to leave the White House, burning government documents, and having to be escorted out by the Secret Service… The scenario that produced the most contentious dynamics, however, was the one in which Trump won the Electoral College — and thus, the election — but Biden won the popular vote by 5 percentage points. Biden’s team retracted his Election Night concession, fueled by Democrats angry at losing yet another election despite capturing the popular vote, as happened in 2000 and 2016. In the mock election, Trump sought to divide Democrats — at one point giving an interview to The Intercept, a left-leaning news outlet, saying Senator Bernie Sanders would have won if Democrats had nominated him. Meanwhile, Biden’s team sought to encourage large Western states to secede unless pro-Democracy reforms were made.
At least Now Us is looking up in the Metaverse? After years of trying, players in Metal Gear Solid Achieve Nuclear Disarmament:
“The Hideo Kojima-led development team of Metal Gear Solid V designed an incentive structure that so closely mirrors the Cold War logic of deterrence that ridding the game of all nuclear weapons always felt as impossible as decommissioning the nuclear threat in the real world…
“The message is anti-nuclear weapons,” developer Hideo Kojima told The Guardian. “Through the game, the player is motivated to make a base and build up their military centre. But at some point, when it reaches a certain size, the world begins to take notice and, in that sense, you become the threat. Countries begin to attack you. At this point I give the player the option to think about acquiring a nuclear weapon, in order to deter these attacks, a kind of threat. It illustrates the cycle of nuclear weapons, what inspires people and nations to enter into that system. It’s something that you can only really do in video games.”
The article notes that within minutes of players achieving disarmament, thirty other players introduced new nuclear weapons into the game.
The economist Carlota Perez (author of Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital) writes that “You must visualize the future in order to shape it:”
One of the problems we face when considering an environmentally sustainable future is that it is much easier to see what is wrong with the current system of production and consumption than to imagine one that can realistically replace it.
Another problem is the widespread cultural bias towards associating prosperity with possessions. This becomes a formidable obstacle for accepting a more frugal –though fully satisfying– model. Much more so given that many of the advocates of a green future emphasize guilt and the need to give up what has been seen as the ‘good life’, ignoring the natural trend of people towards fulfilling their aspirations…
The spectrum of social ventures, non-profits and NGOs has gained enormous traction in the last decades. Cooperatives and community-led initiatives will increasingly become part of the mix. They all will change the way we interact, consume, and relate to each other.
All those elements together will indeed be a deep transition. But they will only happen if they are led by politics and policy and if they gain the support of the majority by providing a hopeful future.
Elamin Abdelmahmoud in Buzzfeed: “Tech Companies Helped Foster Cancel Culture. They Should Have to Answer For It.”
The “trending” culture that technology companies have built has created the illusion that whatever a few people are yelling about online is what really matters on any given day. It’s all smoke and mirrors: An algorithm drives a conversation to your feed, then it tells you it matters because the people it drove to your feed are talking about it. For institutions navigating large amounts of feedback, it’s created a fear of trending, a desire never to be the main character, and an incentive to cut ties with the source of social media heat — no matter that the next day some other poor sap will be at the center of the outrage machine.
These conversations almost always start brewing on a platform like Twitter. And Twitter is my home address, too, but too often those of us among “the chattering class” (journalists, politicians, academics, and media people) treat the platform as if it matters more in the real world than it actually does. Like Twitter can stop the flow of time and reverse the effects of gravity. It’s enough to make you forget that most people aren’t on the site.
“Ways of Seeing” by Nitzan Hermon is a super interesting essay on building community, “thirdness,” and other fascinating ideas:
In psychoanalysis, the analytic third is the idea when two people have a relationship, they create something new. There is the one person, the other person, and in their exchange, openness, ideas, and feelings, they create a new entity, which is specific to their relationship. They grow and can use that developmental value for the rest of their lives. In many ways, I see the community as a collection of ‘thirdnesses.’ We meet regularly as a group, but a lot of creation of thirdness happens in the ‘diagonal connections.’ Intellectual discourse, mutual support, sharing of work, asking for help between people in the group.
This podcast conversation between Nadia Eghbal and Sonal Chokshi on communities and creating in public is excellent (and discusses the “Dark Forest Theory of the Internet”).
I’ve been using Roam Research for note-taking and thinking the past two weeks. If you’re a note-taker/idea-sketch person, highly recommended.
Peace and love my friends,
The Bento Society