Organizational Distraction

Organization distraction is one of the most prominent forms of distraction in the professional arena. Available at every turn, these systems help us know how and when to act in settings, so that we may become legitimized and gain from doing so. Through systemization of advancement and reward qualifiers, distraction has met the ultimate method of compromise with our psyches. At jobs, this type of distraction takes form of formal training, performance reviews, abstracted organizational principles and goals, suggestive interactions, and much more. Oftentimes, the individual could not even be aware of those driving forms distracting him from other possibly pre-meditated goals and aspirations. Herein lies the distraction; the individual becomes enraptured in the propositions and potentials of an organization.

Organizational distraction may be especially felt when an individual has a clear goal outside of an organization.

He proceeds to enter the organization, and becomes distracted in the verbalized or implied advancement and reward potentials. In doing so, he forget or excuses advancements for his outside goal. You may see this with people who obtain a position with a new organization, sometimes that they know little about. They may quickly get sidetracked from their personal attempts to better themselves and their lives for the sake of a more immediate societal reward. Some will relinquish their goals, temporarily or permanently, to obtain the organization’s notice. In doing so, compromising for a period of time an ultimate goal.

Others without a personal goal that rests outside of an establishment can easily become entangled in the fruits promised of their loyalty and submission. In so, they relinquish a path constructed by themselves, and follow a path that has already been preset by an organization. They are often also a lesser burden on that system, because they are less inclined to question it and attempt to change it in their favor. Similarly, they will not suffer the same pains of an unfulfilled goal  outside of the organization. Being within it already and having little or no outside ties to another goal, they need just command their behaviors in accommodation of that which is already outlined.

photo by Alan Hurt Jr.

Organization distraction is potent. It provides a clearer path of conduct than often the individual’s personal goal does. It is far easier to know and follow the qualifying steps of an organizational structure towards a merit than it is to fulfill a goal without a clear path or (nearly) guaranteed reward. So most people will opt to remain distracted by the windings of an organization. The end of the route of organizational distraction is status fulfillment, whether that looks like a name on an email signature or a number on a paycheck.

Regardless of the path of sole goal fulfillment or taking part in organizational distraction, most people resoundingly seek the acknowledgement of an achievement from an entity outside of the self. The path of procuring this acknowledgment depends on more individualized factors. While some pride themselves on the restraint of following organizational regimentation, others cannot fathom their fates being determined by an organization that they do not fully endorse. Organizational distraction is powerful, and can position the individual neatly within a controlled environment. Being a cog is rewarded, socially elevated, and resoundingly abstracted. But ff we fail to question the processes and rewards of the organizations that set our paths out for us, we fail to measure these organizations against our personal ethical ideals and their compatibility with our goals.

The Mask of Riddled Meaning

The mask of riddled meaning is at the point of convergence of ignorance and associative dissociation. Yet it demands the discerning (but not too discerning) attention of an audience. Too often, I have seen the usage of enigma for things that ought not to have been said. Often too, I have seen it where honesty and genuineness otherwise need to be thoroughly conveyed. In riddled meaning, the speaker is saved from explaining himself for the assumption that he is actually saying something far more clever places the responsibility unto the spectator.

Associative dissociation is the antithetical act of associating a party other than the self, and simultaneously relinquishing (or dissociating) the social and ethical implications of making a statement of riddled meaning from oneself. The subject of the meaning is drawn forth as the recipient, and in trivializing manner, the originator prompting the riddling. These two are the same, leaving the riddler out to cause more confusion with his words and images. Riddled meaning appears to be the singular layer in a transmission of information, but it is indeed a mask in itself. The riddled meaning is not a thing of its own, and lives not without the two: mask for the intention and mask for the riddle-teller. When a riddled statement implicates another person, a mask is also drawn on that individual, regardless of his or her want to be involved.

boat in the mist photo by Max Hermansson

Riddled meaning conveys intellectual uncertainty in the act of expression. Where one thing can be said plainly, it is formulated into complex and perplexing play. Depending on the caliber of content used to make the meaning erect, spectators can form assumptions of the riddler. A man lacking depth may plaster song lyrics onto his social media feeds to convey his dismay for the sour turn of a close relationship. A woman lacking self-kindness may take to performing convoluted monologues of the hurt she has endured. In so, these individuals fail to administer proper due to their feelings, and fail also to logical and emotionally formulate understanding for the meanings they really hope to achieve. In this, we cannot discount the usage of riddled meaning in the act of self-guarding.

The mask stretches widely on the face of the riddler, encapsulated in an instance of expelled interpretation. In riddle he seeks comfort, because far too often, it fairs better for emotional resilience not to delve into the purpose of riddling the message in the first place. On the end of the spectator, riddled meaning gives him a more palatable message that is not too harmful to his illusion of reality. Frank meaning can alienate an audience and scandalize even the purest of intents. The mask of riddled meaning sounds its presence to dissuade further self-antagonizing, but draws into being a life of its own. Externally fostered, the riddled meaning can convey the whimsy of supposition by spectators willing and able to tinker to their heart’s delight.

The Unpublished Persona

The Unpublished Persona is all that does not appear on the front of self-display. As the tree falls in the forest, neither does the completed life go unpublished. At least according to current trends in sharing worded and visual messages of the self. The Unpublished Persona splits the contemporary person from his life on display. The shadow has come full form and has simplistically been rendered into the solidification of nothing other than everything untethered to public display. Those who do not present published versions of themselves become the stuff of enigma. More so, they are sided as reluctant, and in so refusing, to participate in the act of individual branding. In effect, the individual seeking distinguishing identification in the social and professional realm relies on similar methods of information circulation as brands do. When individuals become brands, the Unpublished Persona can take a number of faces, and is not pre-supposed by the brand. Though, we may like to think that it is exactly correlative. That is, that the Unpublished Persona and the published persona on social media are the same.

Political theorist Hannah Arendt says in The Life of the Mind regarding the individual and his urge of self-display that “Nothing and nobody exists in this world whose very being does not presuppose a spectator. In other words, nothing that is, insofar as it appears, exists in the singular; everything that is is meant to be perceived by somebody.” This ideology, as applicable to modern displays, intertwines with voyeurism. Spectatorship implies some degree of control that the displayer has over his performance. Whether he invites the public into his theatre or invites the public to stop on the side of the street to watch him, he controls the location, beginning, and ending of the happening of the display. Posting on social media takes some of these elements. It assumes a broad base of viewership, but the beginnings and endings of display are not clearly confined. Rather than give a performance which will expire, social media gives longevity to a parcel of information. Beyond choosing the content and publishing it, the displayer has a lesser degree of control over the interaction. His control is contained in curation of his brand.

mountain photo by mohammad alizade

This avenue of branding transforms elements previously attributed to corporate branding. The status update becomes a press release. The profile photo becomes an icon, a graphic for recognition, and in some functions, a logo. The personal description becomes a mission statement, and is even referred to as a tagline. Relationally though not accurately, the Unpublished Persona is everything that does not exist in this branding formulation. The Unpublished Persona is the one who determines what content will meet the brand message, and will establish how controlled the thematization is. Even the decision to have private social media accounts contributes to the curation, and serves as a formulation of content in itself. Redaction makes its own branding statement. Some individuals opt to make their social media profiles “private.” Even so, a synopsis of intent is viewable through the profile image, tagline, and any content made public. The Unpublished Persona is conscientious, calculating, and aware of his presence. There are inevitably some mistaken moves in the process of administering brand maintenance (depending on the conscientiousness of the brand manager), but social repercussion keeps his brand in bounds.

Many of those Unpublished Personas evolving the brand rely on external validation for brand refinement. When an article of published personal branding information is met with quantifiably positive interaction, the Unpublished Persona takes notes and can replicate some of the elements of that success for a later campaign of self-display. He is cognizant of information met with rigorous examination. His brand aggregates more content, more feedback, and more attentiveness as the social media account ages. The pool of content that fills his feeds reflect the self that cohesively brands his namesake. Social media savviness identifies him if he fulfills predominant categories of content. The whole of self-display rests in cooperative restraint and propelling of the individual social media appearance. He is restrained where his personal branding veers away from his core branding message. He is propelled where the content is safest for those engaging him to associate themselves with.

The Unpublished Persona works for the brand; he is the full-time brand manager. He corrects the content direction when he needs to and he may have internal conflicts about authenticity, proper representation, and alignment of his multi-dimension. The Unpublished Persona self-displays as an act of spontaneity, improvisation, and in semi-controlled extinction; the published self is tuned, whittled, and responsively conducted. The present Unpublished Persona perhaps fears his mortality more than any member of generations before him. For this fear, he leaves record of his persona in measurable narrative. It is not enough for him that he thinks and lives. He establishes his longevity in the pool of social history. As Arendt observes, “To appears always means to seem to others, and this seeming varies according to the standpoint and the perspective of the spectators. In other words, every appearing thing acquires, by virtue of its appearingness, a kind of disguise that may indeed – but does not have to – hide or disfigure it.”

mountain photo by Rohit Tandon

Displayed as the hero of his own story, the brand identifies the peaks and falls of the individual’s journey. Constructed narratives on social media highlight different foundational and universal elements of the human story. Some of the narratives focus on exceptional, politically-neutral, and resoundingly positive momentos of a rather muted, highly-polished existence. Others offer a more rounded view of a human life, including joyous, mundane, and down-trotted examinations with winded descriptions. Sentimentality and focus on outlook as directly correlative with a worldly success may decorate the former. While authenticity and philosophical musing may cower over the spectators of the latter. The curve of narration regards time, place, and experience in developmental, linear, and successive achievement.

Philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty says, “No thing, no side of a thing, shows itself except by actively hiding the others.” A prime example of this saturated division of selfhood in literature lives in the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Jekyll is the outer figure and the exemplary citizen who contributes his share to society. He presents well to the public and meets the requirements (at least at the beginning of the narrative) for presentation of his public self. In seeking a perfectly good version of himself to live in the world, the shadow figure Hyde is torn and manifested into a separate entity altogether. The Unpublished Persona, even if he does not meet this extreme dichotomy of personhood, lives as a different entity from the published self. The published individual brandished to his spectators expectantly trivializes and compounds the unpublished self. Depending on the caliber of social branding, the Unpublished Persona is even romanticized and insights into material, no matter how mundane, that is presented from a source other than firsthand gains traction. Herein, the “candid” personal information takes on a life tertiary to the published persona and the Unpublished Persona.

The Unpublished Persona is not the brand, but it is what the brand suggests of the individual’s life outside of the public narrative. Arendt poses a question in her 1978 book that is just as relevant today, “Since we live in an appearing world, is it not much more plausible that the relevant and meaningful in this world of ours should be located precisely on the surface?” Hannah Arendt goes on to suggest that “the inner, non-appearing organs exist only in order to bring forth and maintain the appearances.” Contemporary persons have added a new layer this meaning. There is now not just inner and outer personas, but also the published individual. The person displays himself to a live audience for in-person interactions, and displays himself to a fluid, voyeuristic audience on social media.

Self-display is an integral human quality, and is dimensionally staged on the front of social media. Through narrative feed, personhood is condensed, summarized, and uniquely posited as an act of recording. He chooses the story of his mortality. The Unpublished Persona lives his epitomized version through social media self-display. Not bound by expiration of information transmission, the brand can display continuity and lasting representation of the Unpublished Persona.