How to Disappear is a practical book that draws significantly from the author’s personal observations of nature to suggest several values and ways to being inconspicuous in a time when many seek undue self-promotion. Yet it is also philosophical, building upon the work of Edmund Burke, D.W. Winnicott and other important psychologists and philosophers.
Akiko Busch, an author, editor, columnist, blogger, lecturer and former university teacher for the last 45 years, addresses the important problems of over-exposure and this generation’s pre-occupation with self. In addition to How to Disappear, she has written and edited books on stewardship, patience, and design.
Contrary to the current fever of ‘selfies’ and posting (or tweeting) about even the most mundane issues, Busch calls this generation to invisibility. Giving example after example of natural phenomena on land and at sea, the author shows that human nature is more inclined towards a meek, invisible disposition than the ‘loud’ one popular culture might lead us to believe. The author’s argument correlates with the stance of John the Baptizer, a remarkable leader described as being “greater than a prophet,” yet one who, interestingly, said “I must decrease and He [Jesus] must increase.” This concept of ‘decreasing’ is what Busch highlights in her book. Inconspicuousness is not only true in spirituality but also in business. Jim Collins, a researcher who studied several thousand companies to discover the variables of corporate greatness, believes that invisibility is an integral part of great (or Level 5) leadership. According to Collins, Level 5 leaders display “compelling modesty, are self-effacing and understated.” In other words, they are invisible.
Busch’s call to invisibility is important because it helps us identify an important social dysfunction today. Looking at invisibility through the lens of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs model suggests that this generation struggles with being invisible because it is lacking in at least one area of need: love and belonging. The high rates of unresolved conflict in marriage and other social institutions are evidence of a shortage in this higher-level of intangible but important need. Unfortunately, many people seem to be trying to fill that void through over-exposure, especially through social media. The high level of single parent homes in countries like South Africa, where more than 20% of children 17 years or less did not grow up with both parents, is further evidence of a dearth of love and belonging. Obviously, this is not the only reason for the craze for visibility, yet it is an important contributing factor to this social dysfunction. If this need is met through godly families that are loving and respectful, the foundation can be laid for a society that is healthy emotionally, with greater inclination towards invisibility. Presumably, meeting other needs in Maslow’s model would increase the chances of healthier families and societies around the world, and ultimately increase the possibility of greater awareness and embracing of invisibility. However, love and belonging is emphasized in this review as it seems to be the most critical factor for invisibility.
 Matthew 11:9
 John 3:30
 Collins, Jim. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t (2001). P40.