Cluetrain vs. the Formula for Life

They want the Formula for Life-but they want it so they can institutionalize it. The problem, of course, is that life is anti-formulaic, anti-institutional. The most fundamental quality of life is something the corporation can never capture, never possess. Life can’t be shrink-wrapped, caged, dissected, analyzed, or owned. Life is free. (Locke 181-182)

The author is specifically talking about corporations, but can be equally applied to both governments and churches. Christopher Locke just really nails it. Deep down, I think many of us want to feel free to be ourselves, and have this deep desire to connect with one another. Years of modernism and mass-everything have tried to reduce everything to a manageable level. There are certainly many great advances because of this philosophy, but life is more than that, and people are more than things to be managed.

Why are there so many self-help books? Why are there so many books on how to do business? Why are there so many books on how to raise a family? A more important question is this: How in the world did people survive before research and science were there to enlighten us? If life can be fully-managed and there are answers to every question, then it’s just a matter of finding them, and if you can’t follow the instructions and get it right, maybe there’s something wrong with you. Since other people seem to get it right, perhaps it’s best to be silent and pretend to get it right?

How often is the grand story of the Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ reduced to a few principles and formulas? Are you struggling? Here’s a formula on how to get what you want in life! What happens when God decides to not play along? What if God cannot be so easily manipulated? What if God wants us to know Him and trust Him more than He wants us to rely on formulas for life? In my experience, the Christian life is more than formulas and principles. I really like Matthew 6:33, about seeking God first and letting Him take care of the rest. There’s a lot of important truth there. However, that is not a formula whereby I do my best to follow God and thereby get everything I want out of life. Life, and God, can’t be packaged and handed out.

We do have a vision of what life could be like if we ever make it through the current transition. It’s hard for some to imagine the Era of Total Cluelessness coming to a close. But try. Try hard. Because only imagination can finally bring the curtain down. (Locke 182) [emphasis mine]

Locke, Christopher.The Cluetrain Manifesto. Cambridge, Mass: Perseus Books. 2000.