Is The Impossible Campaign a Religion? Let me start by saying I don't ask you for your money or your time. So I can safely confirm we're not a cult. But I find religions fascinating. Alain De Botton wrote a lot about that and got me thinking. It's funny how resistant I used to be to religions. Probably because I didn't want anyone to mind-wash me. In a speech, De Botton says something along these lines:
We think "someone is trying to persuade me of something" whenever we hear of didacticism. Naturally since Hitler and Staline used this technique! But the commercial world is also trying to make us buy things. Influence is absolutely pervasive. In the meantime, while art could be enriching peoples' inner lives, artists are involved in being enigmatic while coca-cola is responsible for our inner life.
I'm subscribed to Brain Pickings for instance. I'm mindful enough to see how much my thinking was affected by this weekly newsletter. I now see fear and failure as formative experiences and creativity as a combinatory, mainly unconscious process. I have been mind-washed. But why not choose our mind-washers if we're conscious of the washing? Even more, why not help them be more effective and maybe learn from religions' manual. De Botton writes about how people hope to change the world by writing books. Absurd. The only product of the human mind that has left an enduring impact on our lives are institutions. The one institution that has carved our mental lives best is religion.
- Religions use habits. We are immensely forgetful creatures. Repetition helps to combat the terrible tendency to forget. Religions teach us the same things 5 times a day.
- Religions hack our calendars. Wanting to be grateful and having a day dedicated for gratefulness (as is the case in judaism and buddhism) is completely different. Religion manages our time.
- Religions hack other institutions. Religions successfully involved themselves in running banks, legal teams, community centres, orchestras, youth movements, weekend retreats, radio stations, lecture halls and clothing lines.
- Religions use art and understand the importance of the medium. Museums' approach is that the less you explain openly about what a work of art is, the more suspicious it is. "What did it mean?". Religions are very simple about art. It should remind you about what you should love or frighten you from what is bad. Art is didactic for religions.
So maybe to be clear, you are washing your brain by reading The Impossible Campaign. The twice a week frequency is anything but random. The choice of weekly ideas is premeditated. The mix of cultural elements is important. The shortness and style are TIC's way of saying the medium is the message. In a lot of ways, this campaign is religion in your inbox. I hope you chose wisely Impossible Family.