The Quality of Life Toolkit
We can't change what we can't see...
The Quality of Life Toolkit consists of three abysmally simple but immensely powerful tools. Singly and together they answer the fundamental question that faces each of us the very moment we make the decision to improve the quality of life for ourselves, our families, and our communities: Where do I begin?
You came to the right place. Predicated on the fundamental observation that we can’t change what we can’t see, each tool in the Quality of Life Toolkit is designed to reveal formerly unseen patterns of behavior in our lives — in minutes. Each is designed to promote and protect our four basic needs: spiritual, social, emotional, and physical. Likewise, each contributes to the satisfaction of our three Calls to Action…
turn away from distraction, and turn our individual focus instead to those things and resources that promote and protect the quality of life: faith, family, community, and country;
restore meaningful ritual as the key to moderation in our individual lives: the only statistically viable antidote to state-sponsored default addiction; and
return to local autonomy as the best way for individuals, families and communities to combat the institutional tyrannies of runaway digital scale.
Finally, each tool in the Quality of Life Toolkit can be deployed with equal efficacy by individuals, families, educators, corporations, not-for-profits, faith-based organizations, municipalities, and associations alike.
Two of the tools — My Ritual Inventory and the Centrifugal Map — were designed back in 1996 and first introduced at a series of privately organized seminars and dinner parties for friends and colleagues in NYC. I had imagined them initially to protect the quality of my own life when I first began to suspect that the charming and charismatic young Jedi warriors I encountered in my assigned role as the Yoda of the Dot Com Era just might be in league — albeit unwittingly — with the Evil Empire.
Of course, youth movements of any kind are rarely renowned for their patience, and any call for moderation once caution has already been thrown to the wind is likely to fall on deaf ears in any event. Mine certainly did. Although well-received by my generationally younger peers in the initial seminars and dinner parties, both My Ritual Inventory and the Centrifugal Map were politely dismissed as entertaining though thoughtful distractions at best — two drops in a virtual sea of far more profitable and far less demanding distractions at the time.
My dilemma was instantly clear: How do I sell a message of moderation when everyone else is gearing up to sell abject excess? As impossible as that task seemed at the time, finding a sympathetic audience for my cautionary pleas only got harder as time progressed, as more and more institutions and more and more individuals bought wholesale into a Digital Church whose very First Commandment was, “Eat all you want. We’ll make more.”
No one, I was reminded ad nauseum, ever got rich by selling less. So — understandably — when I started writing about what I called our meta-addiction to all things media and all things digital in 2004, I was immediately cast by the digital faithful as an industry heretic.
Over the next couple of years, as I continued to challenge the efficacy and ethics of digital media sacred cows like behavioral targeting and Big Data, my industry star continued to fade until, finally, it was all but extinguished. My weekly column about the business downsides of default media addiction in a prestigious online media publication was effectively cancelled in 2005 when I compared the standard digital media industry practice of dropping cookies without notification on unsuspecting site visitors to the sinister date rape practice of dropping roofies into cocktails at a bar. Now, of course, just about every commercial website offers opt-in notification about cookies the moment you pull up a digital barstool — precisely so you won’t feel like a victim of virtual date rape. But the damage was done: I had become the Digital Apostate.
In truth, my newly assigned status as industry heretic bothered me far less than my previous reputation as digital media pioneer. I was then and remain now far more comfortable as apostate than state evangelist — a character flaw I have learned since to acknowledge with some gratitude in my morning prayers.
In 2009, a few years after Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, and smartphones — history’s most perfect narcotics — were introduced, I finished work on the Communications Impact Ladder, a diagnostic tool first designed back in 2001 to help assess and address the declining efficacy and impact of corporate communications. With the addition of the Communications Impact Ladder, the Quality of Life Toolkit was complete.
Fade out, fade in: Almost two decades after I first started writing about addiction as a default condition in American society, it is only now in the past few years — with epidemic levels of drug deaths, black-on-black crime, suicide, despair, intractable homelessness, institutionalized nihilism, and the commercial reality of endless war — that we are beginning to explore addiction as a deliberate cradle-to-grave feature of American consumer society. Only now are we beginning to imagine state-sponsored default addiction as the obvious Huxleyan rule rather than the presumed exception.
Only now — as we stand on the precipice of AI in the ominous revelations of the Twitter Files and the emergence of immense state-sponsored censorship and disinformation industrial complexes — are we beginning to draw the Orwellian connection between runaway digital scale and the deliberate anarchy and chaos of institutional tyranny.
Only now, in the Huxwellian confluence of state-sponsored default addiction and the institutional tyranny of runaway digital scale, can we look at the rapid 21st-century demise in the quality of our spiritual, social, emotional, and physical lives and know with some certainty — after all of these years — that now is the time to embrace the Quality of Life Toolkit.
Each tool in the Quality of Life Toolkit is presented in two components: an introductory essay that explores and explains the theory behind the tool, and a simple hands-on application guide so you can put it to work right away to enhance the quality of life for yourself, your family, and your community.
I offer them to you in the following order, although they can all work independently of each other and in any order to produce profound improvements in the quality of life. You’ll find that each of them works precisely as advertised…
MY RITUAL INVENTORY
Intro to My Ritual Inventory is the best place to begin your journey with the Quality of Life Toolkit. When invoked on a quarterly basis, My Ritual Inventory helps us identify, maintain, and supplement the meaningful rituals in our lives — those that promote and protect our spiritual, social, emotional, and physical wellbeing — to gently reverse the process of addiction over time, to retreat slowly from behavioral excess, and restore moderation as the only statistically viable response to state-sanctioned default addiction.
When invoked as a discrete three-minute ritual each morning, My Ritual Inventory is nothing less than a sheer gratitude engine and non-sectarian prayer. It reminds us in no uncertain terms that thanksgiving is the greatest healing and liberating force in our lives.
How to Use My Ritual Inventory will show you how to put this elegant, life-changing tool to work for yourself, your family, and your community.
COMMUNICATIONS IMPACT LADDER
Intro to the Communications Impact Ladder explores how our rapid descent down the communications ladder in the 21st century — from a primary reliance on messy synchronous communications like phone calls and face-to-face meetings to a near-total reliance on friction-free asynchronous communications like texts, DMs, tweets, and emails — corresponds to the equally rapid demise in the quality of our lives. Turns out that the medium, per media ecologist Marshall McLuhan’s observation more than half a century ago, is indeed the message.
Because our words matter, How to Use the Communication Impact Ladder will show you how to gently move your communications back up the impact ladder to help restore the quality of spiritual, social, emotional, and physical life for yourself, your family, and your community.
Intro to the Centrifugal Map offers an elegant, intriguing, and entertaining graphic metaphor for life in the 21st century. It illustrates how the constantly accelerating and escalating stressors of modern institutionalized life conspire to degrade the quality of our lives in all ways.
How to Use the Centrifugal Map shows you how to deploy the Centrifugal Map as the world’s only relationship diagnostic and repair tool. Use it to assess — in minutes — how any relationship with anyone or anything in your life adds to or subtracts from your spiritual, social, emotional, and physical wellbeing. Use it as a remedial tool to tell you — again, in minutes — how to adjust or repair those relationships that need help.
I urge you take the next step right now: Choose a tool, any tool, and go for it!