Ego-fodder

Element Descriptor

Ego-fodder is the audience at any event that is not designed for maximum participation. If you can’t see it, you’ll be it. If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu. Something like that.

Level descriptors

NovicePractitionerExpertNinja
you can explain the basic parameters of what ego-fodder is and why they happen and the negative consequences to fellow activists and interested parties.you can explain using examples from your audience’s lives in a compassionate way, how the ego-foddering works, and why we need to stop doing it and deal with what about theories and straw man arguments.you have a detailed understanding of the mechanisms that support endorse and enforce ego-fodder. And you have some experience of trying to undermine ego-foddering, whether successfully or not is another question.You can explain the ego-fodder to diverse audiences, including people who feel rightly that they’re being critiqued and have them grudgingly admit that you may just about have a point.

Element Overview Essay

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The reason people can’t see that they’re being turned into ego fodder is that it’s accepted as normal practice, that one person will talk at everyone else, because their highest status because they have more experience or whatever. And everyone else will sit beautifully in rows. And listen. And there are many circumstances in which that’s entirely the right way things should be. But among adults, who are all more or less on the same page, it’s a power grab. And it’s a return to the comforting sense of being in school and thinking, well, if I just sit here, and copy down beautifully what the teacher says, and then on the appointed day, I will squeeze out the sponge that is my brain. All the factoids I’ve beautifully recalled and the ways of thinking, and then I will get the stamp that marks me as a good person. And I will keep doing that. And then I will end up middle class with enough disposable income and time to go to events that are about abstractions like the global environment, and I will actually be replicating that school thing without obviously having articulated myself in that way. And I will surrender my autonomy and responsibility to the person at the front. And the person at the front is some high status goon, who the organiser is in a little mutual appreciation packed with. And there’s a trade off between, I’ll get you the bums on seats, and then you will give me the bums to talk out to promote my latest book or TV show, or whatever. Now this would be fine, except, well, it wouldn’t be fine, but this would be fine. Except we know that it doesn’t work to build movements. what it can do, a little bit is mobilise, but nothing sustained, nothing sustainable.

So the consequences are that nothing is sustained and nothing is sustainable.

The fixes are to refuse to be ego fodder, as a member of an audience to refuse to give organisers your time, your body, your presence, because they’ll just use you to feed their own egos and the egos of whoever speaking and to explain to them exactly Literally why you’re not coming. If you’re an event organiser, to make sure that your events do not trend towards ego fodder, there are loads of ways of doing that. And fewer, an invited speaker, hack the format and make sure that there is genuine engagement, not just with you, but among people in the audience who don’t know each other. Don’t feel weird at first and you’ll be giving up some of your precious time where you are observed as the important person. But nobody said the global ecological revolution would be easy.

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Assessment Resources