Friday, April 12, 2013

The firing of the basketball coach at Rutgers University: Who controls the narrative?

This past week Rutgers University fired its basketball coach, Mike Rice, and pressured its athletic director to resign. For our European colleagues, Rutgers is the major public university in the state of New Jersey. An assistant basketball coach for the university’s basketball team, Erick Murdock, unhappy over what he described as his dismissal ten months ago, created video footage of Coach Rice hitting players during practice and calling them “faggots” and “homos.” ESPN got hold of the video, most likely from Murdock’s lawyer, and the university, upon learning that ESPN was about to file a report, released the video to the public. The video created a public relations scandal leading to Rice’s firing and the athletic director’s resignation. Some faculty members asked that the University's president, Robert Barchi, resign. Readers interested in seeing an extract from the video can go to

The press focused on the video and the coach’s distasteful if not abusive behavior. But journalists paid little to attention to a report the university’s outside counsel wrote several months before the video’s release. ( The report, conveys a much more nuanced picture of Rice’s behavior and its meaning. In the popular press Murdock was a whistle blower who was fired after he complained about the Coach’s abusive behavior. But nothing could be farther from the truth. This gap sheds important light on the challenges we face in situating information in its appropriate context. In fact, this case suggests that the "information revolution" strips information from its context.  This is why executives can no longer control the public narrative about the institutions they lead. Their leadership is jeopardized.

Let’s consider four features of the popular narrative about Coach Rice’s behavior. My goal is to not defend or condemn his behavior. Instead, I want to show that when we consider the context of a seemingly straightforward narrative, -- a whistle blowing hero brings down a villain-- its simplicity and evident standing as a morality tale is undermined. We have to ask, “What is real?”  Below, I introduce each section of my analysis by first  italicizing the feature of the narrative I propose to examine.   

Feature 1: The video sequence shows a consistent pattern of abuse: The videos purportedly show that Coach Rice was consistently abusive to players during practice sessions. This conception is based on thirty minutes of an edited tape based on the tapes of over 50 practice sessions, or less that one half of one percent of the total practice time over Rice’s tenure. 18 minutes of the 30-minute clip highlight the coach’s course and offensive language. A few of the clips in the video are repeated and no clips show what precedes or comes after a particular moment, for example, the coach throwing a basketball at a player.

As the report notes, two assistant coaches and one associate head coach who viewed the 30 minute clip, “Pointed out that the scenes depicted on the DVD were out of context, that some of the scenes actually showed Coach Rice playfully kicking a player in the buttocks for doing something positive, and that the 25 DVDs (from which the video clip was created) represented a very small fraction of all of the practices and workouts held by Coach Rice since the Fall of 2010.” Moreover, as the report makes clear, all practices were open to the public. “Despite visits by hundreds of recruits, family members, outside coaches and others, none of those persons complained to the Athletic Director, that Coach Rice’s behavior in practice was improper.”

Murdock’s lawyer had obtained the footage of 50 practices from the university by filing a “freedom of information" claim. He edited them to produce a rhetorical or persuasive argument, rather than to compile an accurate record of the Coach’s behavior. The editing succeeded, since it creates the impression of a continuous barrage of abuse rather than widely separated incidents.  Journalists, who are typically skeptical, if not cynical, overlooked this commonplace use of photos and videos in an era of Photoshop and desktop editing software.

Feature 2: Eric Murdock was fired because he threatened to “blow the whistle” on Coach Rice’s behavior. Murdock was not in fact fired. Instead, the athletic director, Coach Rice’s boss, did not extend his contract. Coach Rice in fact was not authorized to fire anyone. The director closed out Murdock’s contract because he had failed to show up for work at a basketball summer camp one particular Friday. Murdock had asked Coach Rice for permission to take off on that day. Rice said no, and when Murdock failed to appear, Rice insisted that they meet the next Monday to discuss his absence. Murdock did not come to that Monday meeting and so the director let his contract lapse.

As the report states, “When interviewed, Eric Murdock (EM) stated that his firing’ was directly linked to EM leaving the Coach Rice camp without permission and that Coach Rice fired him immediately upon learning of EM’s unauthorized absence from the camp. Thus, (even) accepting EM’s version of the facts,” --(LH: he was not in fact fired)—“he was not fired for “whistle-blowing activity, but for his insubordination with respect to the Coach Rice camp.”

There was in fact no reason for Murdock to blow the whistle on Rice, since the athletic director had already warned Rice about being too harsh with certain players, and reprimanded him for losing his temper with a referee during a game. Rice took this feedback seriously since as the report goes on to note, the associate head coach, the athletic director, the school’s sports psychologist and Murdock himself, “Observed that Coach Rice’s conduct had improved when others advised him that his overly critical style was counterproductive for certain players.” It seems reasonable to conclude that the Murdock’s lawyer deployed the “whistle blowing” cultural trope for his client’s advantage. Indeed, the FBI is investigating whether or not Murdock can be charged with extortion since, as several news outlets reported, his lawyer sent Rutgers a letter requesting $950,00 to settle his employment grievance against Rutgers, else he file a lawsuit. The lawsuit was in fact filed in early April after Rutgers, as we noted above, released the video to the public in advance of ESPN’s report. 

Feature 3: Coach Rice verbally and physically abused his players. One question the report raises is whether or not Rice deployed his temper, insults and physicality out of rage, or purposefully, as a method of instruction. The distinction is important because if he was impelled by rage, he can be dangerous to others, while if he was insulting for a purpose, it suggests he can control his behavior. The report notes, “All of the players and coaches with whom we spoke also conveyed to us that they fully understood that the “chaos” created by Coach Rice in practice was not mean-spirited, but was designed to prepare the players to become more competitive and to remain calm when similar “chaos” would occur in their games. Indeed, newspaper accounts at the time reflected comments from Rutgers basketball players, stating their understanding of Coach Rice’s philosophy; that they cannot control everything that might happen during a basketball game, but they can control their response to those events.”

There is in fact a strong cultural trope about demanding teachers in many fields who are harsh with students in the service of their learning. In college sports, such wildly successful bullies as Woody Hayes, who coached football for Ohio State University, and Bob Knight, who coached basketball at Indiana University, were lionized before they were fired for their abusive behavior. I am not defending such behavior, but simply noting that there is a cultural context particularly, but not only within sports, that prizes teachers whose intensity is the basis for their competitiveness but can also may in some cases trigger their abusiveness.

In fact, many students admire tough college teachers. A business school dean cites a passage wherein a student at the Harvard Business School writes admiringly of a teacher named Cooperman;

“This guy was a true hard- liner. In his class, chip shots (lazy comments) would be taboo, and absences the kiss of death. He made this second policy unmistakably clear on the first day of class…It was quickly apparent that any vapid observation in Cooperman’s class invited disaster. Our other professors had tended to let most comments pass with a nod or a brief editorial aside. Cooperman wasn’t like this. He was more likely to interrogate students after they made a point, pushing their analysis further, and gauging how deep their understanding of the case went. His style bordered on confrontation, and intimidated a number of people. . ‘This,’ I said to anyone who’d put up with my sermonizing, ‘is how classes here were meant to be taught!’” (

The belief that harshness is potentially educative, (for adults only, not for children who thrive on love), is based on the plausible idea that  young adults are preparing for a competitive and unforgiving environment in which neither their friends nor their enemies will excuse lapses or incompetence. In this sense the teacher is a stand-in for the hostility the student will face in the future and must learn to cope with. Looked at psychologically, we can say that the coach or teacher represents and personalizes the indifference the student must ultimately contend with. The psychoanalytically inclined reader will recognize this as the teacher’s “superego” functioning. There is of course room for debate on this issue, and certainly coaches and teachers may go overboard, humiliating their students. Indeed, one study of 206 college athletes in the US found that 22% of respondents reportedly experienced coaching techniques that were verbally or mentally abusive ( Psychology of Sport and Exercise 12 (2011) 213-221). But the popular rendition of the Coach Rice story precludes considering these complexities.

Feature 4: Coach Rice’s homophobic comments demeaned gays, much as calling African Americans “niggers” or Jews “kikes” would. In the current context, when there is so much contention in the U.S. about gay rights, particularly their right to state-recognized marriage, the use of terms like “homo” and “fagot” feels very offensive and tone deaf. Yet even here on an issue that seems so black and white, there is a cultural context to consider.

In an ethnographic study of adolescent culture in a U.S. high school, “Hey Dude you’re a Fag,” the author C.J. Pascoe found that when boys used the word “Fag” they were policing one another’s masculinity, not insulting gays. When Pascoe interviewed these boys many noted that they would never call a gay person a “fag,” nor would they ever insult a lesbian with foul language. (p. 57) They were focusing on masculinity not sexual orientation. One hypothesis is that Coach Rice was reproducing this playground or adolescent culture hoping to stimulate his players’ sense of their masculinity and their willingness to defend it.

This understanding does not excuse Rice’s tone-deaf stance and his insensitivity to his own players’ feelings about the use of such terms. Some may have been more adult than he was, and did not need to re-experience a high school gym setting in college.

Moreover, in September of 2010 a Rutgers gay freshman committed suicide. His roommate secretly recorded a sexual encounter he had in their dorm room and then embarrassed him by posting the video on the Internet This was a traumatic event for the institution and of course a tragedy for the freshman’s family.

This suggests that just as journalists and others did not take account of the cultural context that shaped Rice’s behavior, Rice did not take account of the institutional context that certainly impinged on his own choices and freedom of action. Similarly, even though the outside counsel’s report was thorough and level headed, we could say that its authors’ sense of context was narrowed by their preoccupation with the narrow legal question of whether or not Murdock had been the victim of a “hostile work environment.” If he was not, his grievance was illegitimate and Rutgers owed him nothing. But this brief turned out to be too narrow. The report’s authors did not see the larger context, the institution’s sensitivity to gay rights that reshaped the meaning of the Coach’s actions. This is why they so confidently and summarily dismissed Murdock’s claims without forewarning their clients about possible trouble ahead.  

Moreover, Robert Barchi, the university’s president was pilloried when he admitted to not viewing the video after his subordinates first brought it to his attention. Yet in his context -- he was dealing with a very complicated and politicized merger of several medical-school campuses in the state -- the Rice affair was a distraction, best managed by his subordinates. Yet it led faculty members and others to call for his resignation. The state’s governor, who was depending on Barchi to implement the merger, called Rice an “animal,” a verbal concession to popular anger, which in turn allowed him to protect the president.

The story I am telling here is a story of contexts that go missing, draining meaning everywhere. Moreover, we lose meaning more readily when an issue’s “escape velocity” is high; for example, as is the case here, a video goes ‘viral,” and its subject is sensitive.

Futurists once presumed that the information revolution would give rise to a “systems view” of experience. This meant that we would have access to the resources and technologies we needed to consider all experience in context. But as the case of the viral video suggests, the information revolution, enables people to create “mash-ups” --cultural products that integrate information from disparate and often disconnected sources. Think of them as technological collages. The resulting product creates its own context, since the sources of information disappear from view. This means that people are able to use information to project or tap into fantasies, in this case, the fantasy of the oppressed whistle blower calling abusive authorities to account.

Perhaps we have entered the age of the “simulacrum,” in which, as the French sociologist Jean Baudrillard notes, the copy or the image becomes the “real,” or as he terms it, the “hyperreal.” This is one reason why leaders must be so attuned to the stories people tell about their institutions. Yet as the Rutgers case suggest, it is difficult if not impossible to anticipate what these stories might be. Traditional public relations practice, which rests on the idea that institutions can control these narratives, is in this sense outmoded. This is one reason why leaders today focus more on crisis management and organizational resilience than on “controlling the message.”

There is little doubt that the new information and communication technologies help us hold institutions accountable. Consider how advocates held manufacturers accountable for sweatshop conditions in their suppliers’ factories. Or, how dissidents in undemocratic societies use twitter and mobile phones to coordinate their political activities. But these same technologies blur the distinction between what is real and what is fantasized. They rob information of its context and make the search for truth more difficult and more perilous.  


  1. Thanks Larry, excellent insights. and yes we are  surely in hyperreal times;  and yet the problem seems to be that we still desire or imagine ourselves to be in ‘real’ times.  
    The question is how to live in this mashup society, and this ultimately poses the 
    question about which truth are searching for?  Our individual and collective subjective truth- (the simulacrum); or something else an externally guaranteed truth (old fashioned black and white truth).
      As Larry rightly points out, in the mashup, the contexts get lost;  yet this is not just due to mass communication, it is also due to vested interests and cultural agenda’s being played out, both consciously and unconsciously. In the Vietnam war, the truth of brutal death was shown by striking and disturbing images on TV screens, these are credited for raising anti-war sentiments and bringing the war to an end.  Whereas today a tight control on media images from more recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, have tried to prevent anti-war sentiments rising. So at one level we are much more plural, at another more controlled.    Whilst political and pubic relations cannot always control the message, they are forever trying to shape it.
    In the UK Margaret Thatchers death has sent the UK media hyper in the search for the truth of her political reign.   Yet what is really happening is a battle over whose story will dominate, the liberation and salvation story, or the story of divisiveness and destruction?   Who will win the battle for Maggie’s truth? Today new opportunities arise for those previously without voice. Anti-Thatcherites use the social media to combat the powerful newspapers by organizing the downloading of a song from the wizard of Oz ‘Ding dong the witch is dead’ which is heading for no. 1 in the charts. And the mainstream media report it as tasteless horror, whilst inadvertently giving the anti-thatcher message a wave of media coverage marketing the very message they wish to bury.
     Psychoanalysis teaches us that ambivalence is our truth. i.e.  even when we speak and act with authentic conviction,  our unconscious drives may well be in conflict with our conscious will.    
    Today’s external world of hyper communication mashups,seems to side more with the unconscious, and attacks our fragile ego state. And whilst the unconscious ‘truths’ are less controllable and can be disconcerting, they also open up opportunities for new insights and new truths to emerge.
    All the time the super-ego of powerful interests try’s to police this unwieldy unconscious, yet the unconscious has a habit of ensuring that the truth itself will speak!

    1. thanks simon for this. I think i would like focus on a somewhat different lesson from Psychoanalysis. It teaches us that reality is uncertain and that the process of discovery is never completed. This is because any context is so multidimensional. To say that ambivalence is truth is to talk from the position of the id. But the psychoanalytic temperament, in a way the stance we expect the psychoanalyst to take, is to talk from the position of the dis-interested ego. I think this is a position of humility.

  2. This is a very valuable blog post, both in debunking some of the myths of the Mike Rice affair, as well as pointing out some of the missing context. I want to add some other contextual issues that I think have been in play, perhaps not so obvious and therefore acting at a more difficult-to-find unconscious level.

    The Mike Rice affair broke into the media and public awareness right in the middle of the NCAA "March Madness" national basketball tournament. How many of us (consciously or unconsciously) noted the contrast between the beautifully packaged and seemingly blemish-free spirited play shown on our TV's and other media outlets, and the disturbing video tape of Mike Rice seemingly abusing his players? Was the public ready to hold onto something to balance the sugar-coated tournament coverage? How many people thought that most likely many of the athletes playing in the tournament may have had similarly abusive coaches? And were looking for a scapegoat to "hang" in retaliation for all the other similar abuses?

    More context: the Mike Rice affair appeared also at the same time as the grotesque compound fracture of Kevin Ware's leg during the NCAA tournament. This horrific injury was being shown on news programs, and of course all over youtube. How many people felt intense empathy for this poor guy hurt in such a freak accident? Was their empathy for these athletes more sensitized by this very visible injury, and was the public primed to feel empathy for the hidden hurts suffered by Mike Rice's players?

    Still more: take a step back from Rutgers, and even back from the NCAA tournament. Take in the whole structure of big-time, big money college sports. I say big money because there is a lot of money being made in these competitions. Money for colleges and universities. Money for TV networks, money for coaches, money for apparel manufacturers, etc. Billions. But the players, the people upon whose efforts the whole system rests, don't make a dime. They are perhaps among the most exploited of workers. One aspect of this was highlighted in a NY Times article following the Kevin Ware injury about how college athletes lose their health insurance coverage for injuries once they leave college, and may have life-long impact from their college playing days, with no support from the institutions that made money from their efforts. See There have even been some proposals to pay the athletes in big-time college sports (football and men's basketball), which function essentially as "minor leagues" for their professional counterparts. See, for example, this thoughtful piece and proposal from Sports Illustrated, and this five-point plan from the NY Times

    Is is possible that rather than seeing the public's own role in exploiting these athletes (after all, if no one watched these games or bought those sweatshirts the system would collapse), it's more comfortable to judge an external embodiment of that exploitation, as illustrated in that Mike Rice video?

    My point is that when looking at context, we have to step back to a wide angle lens to see the whole system, rather than just the particular institution involved (Rutgers, in this case). I would assert that big-time college sports is a corrupt enterprise at its root, exploiting young athletes far more than Mike Rice abused his players during practice. Perhaps the outrage over the behavior in that edited video is a stand-in for the discomfort we all have with our own roles in the system that supports that behavior at multiple levels.

    1. Crunchyjax- very interesting response and surely on the mark. It raises an interesting methodological point for me. You show how multidimensional the issue really is, and that the search for context is never quite complete. I took as my context Rutgers, you took as your context, the role of college athletics in university life. Each contributes a partial truth to the situation we are trying to understand.

      I am reminded here of the anthropological concept of a "thick description" of an event. Perhaps what makes a description thick, may be the ways in which it considers the many contexts that each of the actors in a particular situation or event, bring to the event. In this sense there is no such thing as THE event, just as in a group relations small study group there is no such as thing as THE group. It seems also true that people are not aware of the context they bring into an event. This out-of-awareness context is not quite the unconscious in the psychoanalytic sense, but it may be close.

  3. The message here applies broadly whenever forming opinions about events. Also, the question about the Rutgers incident is not what I think, or what members of the general public think, but whether the University abused its discretion. The proper agency to decide how to deal with the case is the University Administration, not the general public. Too many important decisions seem to get redone after the press brings them to the attention of the general public. It is fine for the press to report, but wrong for the general public to substitute their judgment for that of the appropriate authorities; and yet when enough people get hot and bothered from reading partial accounts in the press (I guess those attract readers and viewers), the proper authorities should stick to their guns except in very limited circumstances.

  4. Thanks for this blog Larry. One thing that came to mind for me - another dimension of context - is Howie Schwartz's work on the psychodynamics of political correctness - a few 'touch points' here.

  5. Thanks for the honorable mention, Brigid.

    Larry, I thought your piece was excellent, but I'd like to question the importance of the new media in this connection. We saw much the same thing in many cases of "sexual harassment," well before the new media came on the scene. In my book Revolt of the Primitive, I discuss the case if a Colonel Hallums, fired from his position at West Point for, among things equally bizarre, expressing special admiration for the combat arms, which at the time did not include women.

  6. Howie- you must be right. It does not take new media to create a misleading context for an event. But I was struck by how compelling the video was – it fooled many people. Yet it could be produced at low cost with desktop editing. Can we say that the means for distorting the truth, or less tendentiously, the means for shaping the narrative, have been democratized? The case also draws my attention to the role of “simulation” in general. Can we say that decision makers increasingly live in a world of simulation/modeling as a method for anticipating the future. Yet it is so easy to be mislead by models. For example, I continue to marvel at the fact that no experts predicted the Arab spring. There is something recalcitrant about context, perhaps that is what anthropologists mean when they talk about the “thick description” of events. The case also highlighted for me the challenge of parsing context. It is for example very easy to see the coach’s use of insulting words about homosexuals as anti-gay. Yet in the context of an adolescent male culture I argued that they are not. I wonder if my experience is both a gauge of the challenge of identifying and coming to a consensus about context, as well as our increasing sensitivity to context. In other words could we say that one aspect of the politics of a post-industrial culture is the battle over context, or another way of saying this, the battle over the narrative? If so what role will the new media and new information technologies play in this battle?

  7. Larry- while there is a need for the public to take a step back and look at the totality of all situations presented in media, your blog tries to excuse the behavior as if to say "Well, it is not as bad as it seems." My agreement in that we need to stop sensationalizing every incident on the news will not be seen because social media is about instant spreading of the news. So, lets get to the issues I have with what you have said.
    Feature #1: Your claim that the video unfairly shows Coach Rice as having patterned abusive behavior because it only shows "less that one half of one percent of the total practice time over Rice’s tenure" is misleading. If they were able to create 30 min (or 18 min, as you say)of highlights with only one half of one percent of Rice's tenure, it is scary to think what the compilation might look like with 100% of his tenure. I would say that 30 min from .5% of tenure clearly shows there would be "patterned abusive behavior"
    Feature #2: No argument here- EM smelled fishy from the very beginning and fortunately he continues to look bad. If he was truly concerned for the players, everything comes out right away.
    Feature #3: First, his actions were predicated on rage: angry at players not doing what they were supposed to, angry at losing, angry that his vision was not seen, angry and stressed which made him dangerous to others. This was no "method of instruction" as you claim. This was not part of the drill. It is not part of the game. When in a game will a player have to control their reaction to a random basketball being thrown at their head? Your analogy to a college professor holds no water: to challenge players or students is fine and acceptable. to put extreme pressure and demands on them is acceptable. If said professor was throwing pens, pencils, books, or basketballs while pressuring the students to answer and think, would that be acceptable? If said professor was verbally challenging his students not to be "Retarded" or "learning disabled", would that be acceptable?
    Thats takes me into feature #4: We are overly sensitive to any namecalling as you point out, but calling homo and fagot on the fields of play is derogatory to gays and lesbians, cause of the simple fact that they too are on the playing field, thus challenging as to their validity on the field.

    I do believe that everything that goes viral, we must be careful NOT to take as the whole story as there is "contexts that go missing". This case however, shows some of the good that can come out with our technological advances to spread media. Without it, he would still be coaching today.

    1. I apologize that some of my wording in the response leads to you "claiming" and "trying" to side on Coach Rice's side and excuse his behavior. I know you are not. Please excuse my lack of correct wording in typing the response. Thought inspiring piece.

  8. Edward no need to apologize. These are complicated questions.

    I am not sure I follow your arithmetic. Over two years there are roughly 960 hours of practice (the NCAA allows 20 hours per week the season is about 6 months and Rice was coach for two years) Murdock's lawyer got 50 hours of video to review. 50/960 = is 5% Of these 50 hours, the lawyer extracted a half hour of video that purportedly showed abuse, so .5/960=.05% of total practice time. You seem to be assuming that the lawyer only reviewed 30 minutes of video as opposed to 50 hours.

    You state categorically that rice's actions sprung from rage. But I do point out in my post that some players believed he was play acting to simulate the rough conditions they would face during actual play and that he told the players this. If true this would indicate that this behavior was calculated, manipulative so to speak, rather than the result of rage. It might have been stupid, but it wasn't uncontrolled. In the end we can't know for sure. I just wanted to point out that the thrust of the public narrative that shaped this event, "an abusive authority figure oppressing underlings" pushed out any more nuanced consideration of the issue. I linked this more nuanced consideration to a context for coaching which prizes harshness as a preparation for reality. This does not mean that Rice was right, rather than he was working within a context that normalized his decisions.

    1. In using the .05% data figure, you lead your readers to assume he acted this way .05% of his total tenure. When truly it is 1% of the 50 hours they viewed.

      I am going backwards with the math: If they were able to put together 30 min of video from only 5% (50 hours) of the 960 hours of practice, one can assume that there is about 9.5 hours! of this behavior over the course of his tenure!

      The players being interviewed are obviously not talking about balls being thrown at them. You can see in the reactions that it is not expected. Like I stated earlier, there is no "rough condition" or "actual play" that replicates "Dodgeball" during the game of Basketball. Being a coach, I am offended that anyone would excuse this type of behavior in today's age as a "preparation for reality". Being yelled at, pushed vocally to demands of physical exhaustion can help prepare for reality. Having objects thrown at you, and someone being physical with you are not and have not been truly accepted by society. It just took new age media to garner a bigger voice for those players who suffer through ignorant coaching like this.

  9. I see your arithmetic and I thank you for the correction. But it presumes that the 50 hours were chosen randomly from the 950. We don't know. For example, most participants agree that Rice's behavior changed for the better from year one to year two. But even if we assume a random selection it still comes down to only 1%. 9.5 hours is still slightly less than 1% of 960 hours. Can it be characterized as typical? Perhaps this low rate of occurrence is why of all the people who attended the practices- they were open to the public- no one complained about Rice's coaching. After all, if a practice is say 4 hours then 1% is 2.4 minutes per practice

    My stance in writing this post was not to judge Rice's behavior. Instead, it is to elevate the the principle that we should look at context as a precondition for judgment.

  10. Thanks for the posting Larry. Much food for thought.

    At present, the unfortunate trend is: who can get the strongest emotional response 'wins' or as Simon mentioned, it becomes a "battle over whose story will dominate".

    To reverse this trend, I believe some of what will be necessary is:
    - develop an appreciation for a 'thick description' when appropriate
    - develop the necessary 'negative capability' to not just 'contain' but to 'process' myriad perspectives / contexts so that we don't just add to the clamor and thunder of the 'herd'
    - recognize that our Pleistocene brains are heavily inclined towards ‘winning’ … not dialogic or dialectic approaches.
    Lots of hard work.

    For me it's another instance of Einstein's aphorism - "technology in our hands is like an axe in the hands of a madman".... perhaps a bit overwrought but close enough for me.