Karma Happens

Tom and I were round Nicole’s for dinner the other night and Nicole sounded a bit peeved when she discovered Tom had received an invite to SkooshKarma and she hadn’t. ‘It’s not as simple as that’, I explained patiently, ‘it’s organic and spiritual, it needs to come to you’. She looked blank so I added ‘think of it as part of a long journey without a timetable’.

Nicole gently nodded and I thought I may have gotten through. ‘Think of tonight’s dinner as organic and spiritual and part of a long journey up your karmarama!’. We left it there.

Everyone will be invited in time but SkooshKarma will mean different things to different people, that’s always been clear. For some it may appear a strange juxtaposition of political outrage and sound commercial thinking. For others, a good place to book a cheap hotel. At the risk of sounding like El Duderino, there is no right or wrong, man, there’s just a lot of ins and outs.

The way I see it, people can be broadly divided into Puppies and Hedgehogs. Puppies are adorable things but about as stupid as you can practically be without the benefit of recreational drugs. They’ll endlessly run after balls, stones and anything that looks like a ball or stone without any recollection of having done the same thing fifteen seconds prior. Most football players and celebrities are the human equivalents.

And then there are what Isaiah Berlin terms Hedgehogs. These creatures are virtually indestructible because they have the ultimate defense in that they can roll into a spiky ball to deflect any predators. In this bracket we have esteemed scientists like Richard Dawkins, the vast majority of politicians, many religious folk and the scourge of all mankind, consultants.

Until I was 28 I was a self-declared Hedgehog. And then I discovered that everything I thought I knew had been grossly misinformed to me by other supposed Hedgehogs in the form of teachers, rabbis, employers and the like. So I disappeared off to an island in Indonesia to reflect on what I actually knew for myself. It was a humbling and intensely disturbing experience. The more I prodded the more my bank of intellectual learnings dissolved in front of my eyes and eventually I was stumbling around and yelping like a demented puppy.

That’s another story in its own right and, as we know, I recovered at least a semblance of knowing the odd thing even though, inside, I am fully aware that I know nothing. This was all brutally reinforced to me twice recently. First, when my hero, Lance Armstrong, turned out to be a sociopathic junkie and then when I read Nobel Prize winning, Daniel Kahneman’s, ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’.

If you have any Hedgehog-like pretensions I strongly recommend you read it. Either way, here’s your executive summary. Everything on average is average. Anything that appears to be anything other than average is an illusion but readily and confidently explained by so-called experts in the field.

It gets worse. It turns out that these experts, whether they be scientists or stockbrokers, racing pundits or wine connoisseurs, are considerably worse at understanding and predicting their own areas of specialization than dart throwing monkeys. If you hear someone start a sentence with ‘I believe’ or ‘I think’ walk away. If they tell you they actually ‘know’ something to be true, punch them.

With that out the way, let me tell you about SkooshKarma. It’s a hotel booking site, sure, but there’s so much more to it. It is the culmination of fifteen years of deep thinking and a visual representation of how I believe things to work. It is premised on Buddhist philosophy, powered by the laws of nature and challenges, if not entirely dismisses, conventional commercial wisdom.

This is going to be lost on most people, of course, but you strike me as the sort of person capable of grasping the subtle complexities. And, on that basis, I’d like to personally invite you in. You just need to click on the invitation on the left and come inside to see what the fuss is all about.

If you spot anything in there which you think you could do better just pop me over a message and I’ll file your suggestions with my whistle and dog biscuits.

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