Maff Potts is the founder of Camerados, a movement rooted in the idea that we all need friends and purpose. Maff is a deep thinker. But he is also practical. His movement has developed a series of simple, ingenious ways to bring together people who would not otherwise meet and get them talking about things they might otherwise have kept to themselves. Maff also has a way with words.
Early on in our work, we reflected on the benefits of continuous data, capturing life day by day, or week by week, rather than before and after intervention. This idea is live in Eric Klinenberg’s work on loneliness. The New York sociologist doesn’t divide the world into people who are 1=lonely and 0=not lonely, he looks at the pattern of being alone and of loneliness across a community. Within this pattern are people who switch between 1 and 0 over time. These are people like us. Hands up if you haven’t been lonely. I don’t see many hands.
In the podcast on loneliness, Maff talks about dancing the Hokey Cokey, how we put one foot in and then one foot out of loneliness, mental ill-health, and other life afflictions. This is not to minimise the burden of those who live with mental ill-health all of the time, schizophrenics for example. But for the majority of people, loneliness and mental ill-health and other afflictions, come and go. They don’t appear before an intervention and disappear afterwards. (The intervention may disrupt the pattern). They come and go. In Maff’s words, they are experienced as a Hokey Cokey.