This weekend I attended The Purpose Summit Berlin. Well, on Saturday. On Sunday I took a three hour nap with my daughter and learned all the names for the Paw Patrol pups (Ryder needs us!).
Purpose is an issue close to my heart. I believe it is at the heart of all large companies. I believe all great leaders have it. And - more controversially, perhaps - I believe that while there are many outer purposes, there is one shared inner purpose. And that's really "faith", that this one purpose exists.
I think as we grow up most of us struggle with the pace of change around us. Technology is really in the process of changing everything - every relationship, every organization. Algorithms increasingly run our lives. Change is accelerating. The singularity (perhaps) is near. At the very least our lives are always on, hyperconnected. As a species we have never been closer together. And yet, never further apart.
We are facing grave environmental, social, and political crises. From climate change to top soil erosion, inequality and discrimination, mass migration and ethno-nationalism, political Islam and government surveillance, ... I could go on.
And yet we have lost faith. Our one joint belief, the scientific method, insists there is no answer. Oh, there are dozens of studies proving that purpose is incredibly valuable - to longevity, to productivity, to satisfaction, to health, etc. But regarding what that purpose could be, science is rather silent.
Which is baffling because, to me, evolution is everywhere. Things are moving in a direction that we can recognize. Fractal patterns that move from chaos to order, from incoherence to coherence, from separateness to unity. Life strives towards the light.
And so to my colleagues erstwhile consternation I sum this up with: we are the Burning Man generation. We seek to rewrite this culture. Change trajectories. To back the transformational leaders and technologies that will change our joint future. That's the purpose of what we're doing here.
The next event in Berlin that I'm attending on this topic is the Catholic Academy's conference on evolution and transcendence. Contrary to popular belief, the Catholic church are some of the deepest thinkers on this stuff. And they're hosting an exciting range of international academics (program is here).