You can shout until you’re blue in the face. You can wear a spiderman costume and shin up the Albert Memorial. You can dance yourself into a muck sweat. But unless you find the right eyes and ears, you’re wasting your time.
I’ve been shouting since January. I’ve been donning my metaphorical spiderman costume and shinning up a symbolic Albert Memorial. I’m sweaty (metaphorically*) from my efforts.
But I found the right ears. Or rather I found Ed Mitchell and Ed Mitchell found the right ears. Ears that were prepared to listen and attached, indirectly, via the brain and then the central nervous system, to hands. Hands that could do. A mouth that could speak. A mind that could work out answers to questions.
I found Josh Castle (pictured).
Josh is a roving policy advisor. He runs a think tank. He is the CEO of newthinking, a ‘funky consultancy’. His book I ♥ Money which I’ve been very lucky to read in manuscript is due out soon. He’s one of those people that this country badly needs. A genuinely original thinker.
I met him in Manchester where he was running his seminar Think Like Yoda Dance Like Prince.
Good to meet you, Mr Castle, thank you for giving me your time.
I don’t ‘mister’. I only ‘Josh’.
Apology unnecessary. Apo from the Greek meaning ‘away from’ and ‘logos’ meaning words. Meaning apology is a way from words. I think an apology is like singing. And if you’re singing, what’s your song?
Thank you for giving me your time
Time is always a gift. That’s why they call it the present.
Oh very clever
What can Josh do for you, guy?
In your book, you tell us that people who are obsessed with money will always lose money. Why do you say that?
What is obsession? It is an extreme form of attention. It excludes everything else. It narrows your focus to the obsessee. But money is about everything else, see, so if you are obsessed with money, you will miss out on everything else and one day – BOOM. You’re watching the money burn. Obsession isn’t love; it’s closer to hate. Love is about seeing the world through someone else’s eyes. Which is why I say, I love money. If you love money, you’ll love everything else.
I think I understand…
Oh I’m sorry. Did I funk your thinking? POW.
Yes. Funky thinking. You use this idea a lot in the book.
My name is Prince. And I am funky. My name is Prince. And I am funky. Why is he funky? Because he knows how to hit it on the one and keep the rest tight and loose. Tight and loose. Doesn’t make sense anywhere except in funk. But that’s what we need to break apart the tired old stories of politics. Not right or left. Right and left. Not yes or no. Yes and no. Tight and loose. Funk to funky / we know Major Tom’s a junkie. That’s why we need to go beyond the binaries. KIF: Keep It Funky.
It’s all a bit over my head. I did American Studies at Uni.
That’s the wrong metaphor I think. Over my head – no. Why over? Why not beside our beyond your head? Maybe you’re thinking outside the box. But you know what? What happens when you’re outside of the box? You think: it’s cold. I want to be back in the box. Outside the box, inside the box. It’s the same. It’s all box-thinking. Don’t box-clever. I say forget the box.
No, with capital letters.
Oh I see. No I don’t.
Not forget the box: Forget The Box.
We chant it at my seminar. I give them all a matchbox and they crush they or rip them up or shred them. I have a 142 Litre Fellowes 5.8mm Strip Cut 485i Shredder. It handled those bad boys. When they’ve destroyed the box as much as possible, I get them to throw them into its Mighty Jaws. And they shout Forget The Box! Forget The Box! And you know what? By the end of the day, they’ve Forgotten The Box.
You remember the box?
People say to me, Josh, this is like magic. No. Wrong. Absolutely nada correcto. Because what’s magic? Nothing is magic. Harry Potter? I say Expelliarmus! Because you know what really is magic, Mike? The human heart. Yes, Josh is a romantic. Josh loves. There is no story in the world where the heart doesn’t play the leading role. FACT.
Which brings me to my next question. You have been a very significant figure in the story of the Disappeared
Josh is in many stories.
I believe you worked out why people are disappearing
I did nothing. I just looked and I saw.
So, why are people disappearing?
Because they’re sad, Mr Yates. Everyone on your website is sad. These people have saddened themselves into another world.
And you really think it’s possible?
There’s no such thing as thinking the impossible. What’s the edge of the universe? The edge of the universe is in here. (Points at head.) Not possible? It is in here. (Points at head.)
Is that also funky thinking?
There ain’t nothing in my thinking that doesn’t funk.
So what do you think the Government should do about it?
The Government? Should? Do? Think again. Josh says Be Happy. Why does he say Be Happy and not Become Happy? Good question, Josh; Thank you, Josh! (Laughs) Because if you try to Become, you’re already defeated. ‘I want to become’ means ‘I haven’t become’. You’re defeated before you start. Don’t journey from a to b, just Be b. A? uh uh. Be b.* I ask you to Be, because as soon as you Be you’re winning. You’re already there. You don’t admit failure. Failure’s back there, in the box, and where’s the Box?
I don’t know
Right. You’ve forgotten the box.
Oh that’s clever
You can lift anything with a hundred levers. C Latin numeral for 100 + lever. Clever.
That’s also clever
It’s a lever. (makes squeaking sounds that sound like pumping up a jack) I’m opening the old brain box, pour some funk in, close it up again. Don’t thank me. Thank yourself for having a space in your head for funk.
Thank you very much for your time.
Some of us go our entire lives without meeting a genius. I am lucky to have met two. Alain de Botton signed my copy of The Little Book of Calm at the Hay Literary Festival in 2008. He didn’t write The Little Book of Calm (he wishes!!!) but I’d locked myself out of my car and my copy of The Art of Travel was at that moment inaccessible. Alain understood. But now I can tell people I’ve met two geniuses. I may not understand everything he said. I suspect some of Josh’s ideas will only properly be understood in a thousand years time or even 1200 years time. But for now, it is my privilege to name Josh Castle my second Hero of the Disappeared.
* Maybe not completely metaphorically.
* I’m not honestly sure I’ve transcribed this right.