Spiritual writers often talk a lot about subjects like ego identification and the suffering that results from it. We may get the sense that ego is bad, but this is a misunderstanding of its role in evolution.
In essence, there is a process of fullness collapsing into a point, then that point opening up back into fullness again. This is how fullness comes to know itself in every detail.
In our own personal growth, we experience this collapsing into a point as the development of individuality. A clearly defined sense of local self. In the fullness of that we find what Maslow called Self Actualization. However, in our culture we’ve tended to encourage a less mature form of individual where the sense of being separate is dominant. This personal alienation leads to individual suffering. But it is also writ large on the world stage.
Business is rightly a means to offer a product or service for the mutual benefit of both company and clients. It creates a good for the community and, through an exchange of value, we produce a betterment. A flow of good called an economy. A true economy is essentially an energetic system that mirrors life itself.
A false economy on the other hand is one where there is not a mutual exchange of value. For example, marketing may create demand for a product that has no real value or may even be detrimental. Cigarettes would be one. Or, through the manipulation of markets, profits are produced without adding anything to the community. This is called false wealth as it is actually destructive to the economy. Profits are made at the expense of others, either directly or through debasing of value and markets. The stock market, for example, has become a charade of card tricks designed to produce false wealth. Banks, who task it is to manage wealth, become some of the greatest debasers, betting against their own customers.
When a business becomes an entity solely for generating profit, it looses sight of its function in society and becomes an amoral cancer. As we discussed over on 4 levels of Purpose, profit and labour must follow purpose, not the other way around. It is only through this ego sense of alienated separation that anyone would consider a business entity separate from the society in which it functions. When purpose is so debased, “It’s just business” becomes an an excuse for madness, a justification for any senselessness.
In our society, we give a corporation the rights of a person, then often structure the business to be anti-person. Now certainly, the business is “customer aware” for the purpose of generating profit. But only in the sense that it can convince people to consume.
One just has to watch a little TV to see a parade of advertising designed to convince people they need things that serve no purpose other than producing profit and waste. This is so prevalent that most people are oblivious to it. It’s become “normal” to destroy one’s body, home, environment, and financial well-being. The Hidden Influence of Social Networks spoke of some of the mechanisms of that. It becomes normal to eat badly, fill your home with poisons, waste vast quantities of resources while expecting them to vanish, pollute your community, and go into unsustainable debt to support it all. This is why some speak of our cultures madness. Its obvious if you stop and take a look. And scary for those that do, seeing they live a life of “quiet desperation.”
This also spills over into governments. Because they have to be reelected at close intervals, they have to try to quickly meet the vested interests of populations that will support them. Even “conservative” governments typically spend far more than they have. Long term planning in the greater good serves no profit so the process becomes completely debased. Politics too becomes a bizarre stage ritual of meaningless posturing over artificial positions, dancing to a media people are leaving in droves. Bureaucrats proliferate, seeking to uphold the rules at whatever the cost to the community. And then of course there are the amoral “business interests” with money to spend. Government gradually destroys the community they were tasked to support.
Contrary to the message the ego might offer, we are not alone in this. There is no “every man for himself.” We are in this together. What you do to another, you do to yourself. If this is not apparent to you, you have forgotten who you are. One only has to look at a little longer stretch of time to see the folly of our society as it is now behaving. History repeats itself. If you keep making the same mistakes, you can’t expect the results to change.
Money is energy, the ability to do work. When we place these means above or ahead of our purpose, we lose the whole point of why we’re here.
It’s like we’re collecting hammers without building a house.
Ask the average person to tell you about themselves. They will give you their name, work role, perhaps hobbies. Now ask them what their purpose is. Any entity that focuses on the means rather than its reason for being is bound to lose its way. Without a compass, we chart a path to hell.
We have created a culture that teaches the value of meaninglessness, yet have the gall to call it the “pursuit of happiness”. It is actually the pursuit of suffering. Without purpose, we, and the government trying to please us, behave like children in their terrible twos. Spending money we don’t have, borrowed from agencies wishing to enslave us financially, to run an economy without value. This is a prison of our folly.
It is only the belief that people can’t make a difference that keeps the parade going. Yet we vote every time we pull out our wallet. Businesses play close attention to this. It’s not that hard. It’s just paying attention. What am I feeding with my attention? What am I feeding with my money? What am I feeding my body? My friends and family? My society? My landfill?
I am perhaps talking to the converted. But this was the muse that arose a couple of days ago. And notably, similar points came up in other quarters. So here it is. Your choice.