Fixing how we Look and SeeMarch 18, 2009
On this blog, I talk about how it’s not about what happens, it’s how we respond that matters. In a similar way, it’s not about the organizational or political system that’s in place, it’s what the people in that system bring to it. Who we are is all that matters. It is the only thing that determines truth.
Communism, for example, is a political model high on ideals. But in practice it has frequently devolved into a top down hierarchy, squelching creativity and innovation. In the west, it is widely despised, yet socialist principles are commonly practiced in fields such as education and medicine to great success.
Capitalism elicits equal extremes. It is often held in high regard or deemed evil. In it’s common form, the pursuit of profits as a sole purpose, a monster is created that damages the very point of it’s existence. Yet that same monster has elevated the prosperity and longevity of the average person like no other in recent history. It has allowed pluralism, free speech, international travel, global communication, choice, and comfort that would shock our ancestors.
Clearly, capitalism encourages innovation and growth. What it’s missing is a purpose larger than itself. Thus, the issue lies not with the system but with the consciousness of the group.
The current financial crisis tends to highlight the faults with the system. In pursuit of blame, the smaller awareness seeks to throw it away or add more rules and conditions. What is really needed is a new paradigm. A paradigm that arises from a fresh perspective in consciousness.
What Capitalism or any other system needs is to understand it’s mission and purpose. And not those dry corporate slogans that came out back in the ’90′s. But a deep understanding of the meaning and purpose that define it’s existence.
Is it here to profit from movies, for example, or to bring enjoyment to people? If it’s not for people, it has no real purpose.
Often, things like meaning, ethics, and purpose are assumed. They are built into the conceptual awareness of the initiators. They begin a grand vision with great principles. But those unstated assumptions quickly get lost as the vision becomes a structure, then an organization. As work is compartmentalized and delegated. Soon, it can loose it’s soul.
We see this loss of meaning in all kinds of effects – dropping volunteerism, low voter turnout, rising poverty in affluent cities, rising petty crime, drug and alcohol abuse, and so forth.
Science is much the same way. In the pursuit of objectivity, scientists are prone to forget who they are and what they bring to the table. Science becomes dry facts, devoid of meaning and purpose. Humanity becomes a machine, preprogrammed as an accident of nature, at the mercy of it’s biology. It becomes OK to build weapons that could destroy all life when it’s an us vs. them.
In the same way, the corporation becomes a machine, churning out it’s product without consideration of actual value, it’s purpose, or the consequence and role of it’s production. The Story of Stuff certainly illustrates this.
All of this points to our lack of internal connection to the source of meaning. Who we are.
When we see who we are, meaning is restored. We see with meaning. And that brings a broader perspective. A more inclusive perspective. One less either/or and more and. When the participants in the organization wake up to who they are, it will wake up the corporation, both creatively and ethically.
When we find meaning, many of societies ills will fade. When we find peace within, we will see peace without. When we find happiness within, it will spill out through our actions, products, even our very presence in the market. This does not have to be planned & implemented. The effect is automatic.
This is the true corporate leadership dawning. Not leadership in service or marketing but leadership in being.
Nothing is more important at this time. Without a restoration of purpose and meaning, the hollow shell of the economy will be overshadowed by other rising economies. Our standard of living will slide and some of what has been achieved will be lost. But don’t look for meaning out there. Only within, in who you are. That’s why you’re here. If we can learn this one thing, we will surpass our dreams of possibility.