( Reference: Walking the Road Less Traveled )
When I first came across the work of M Scott Peck around 1997 his work totally captivated me. Scott was a psychiatrist and his ideas revolved around the myriad ways our mind can mislead us and his was a very deep dive into that arena. But it was his idea of a Community in Business that particularly interested me.
He argued that since almost all of us are either in business or working for/in one, business is a huge part of our lives in the modern World. And if businesses could be organized into ‘communities’ where people are seen, heard and recognized, the World could heal. And he gave many examples of how humans deeply crave a sense of community. But within existing business structures and polities. Still it was intriguing.
On my part, I recognized that if Business can be organized ‘rationally’ it can be a tremendous tool to facilitate team building, value creation, decision making & effectivity (identifying solutions that move the needle, finding proofs of concept and communicating them), identifying priorities and move orders in execution… and generally in understanding how things work.
But all the above don’t come easily. It requires empathy and self-awareness to wade through difficult conversations because without building trust it doesn’t work. And I recognized that Community could provide that ‘safe’ environment for it to take place. And Scott bequeathed us 2 ‘therapeutic’ tools he called “emptying” and “bracketing” (will cover this in a future post) to facilitate that journey on the road less traveled. For the start of the journey toward healing begins when we can be seen and heard. And when we can see from the perspective of the other, we begin to learn and grow.
But that hadn’t been my experience in Business. So there is a disconnect somewhere. The net result of many businesses I have been in almost invariably becomes fractured and even toxic. Why was this? Quite the quandary.
Side note: The closest I have come to experiencing what Scott described as “Community” was when I joined the WWW in 2002, just after the first dot.com crash. For a few brief years, the World was truly ‘global’. It seemed like borders had melted away and people from all over the World interacted in what we thought would become the Brave New World. It was chaotic and vibrant. And full of promise. And then it morphed into something quite different. What happened? If Scott was correct about our need for community, and business can be organized ‘rationally’, then why was his Vision stillborn?
And so when the opportunity presented itself with the Nusantara project, I attempted to explore if what Scott proposed was possible. I deeply believed it was but just couldn’t see it. Where is the disconnect? What is the “elephant in the room” — ever-present and impactful but invisible to our eye? And so I applied again the tools of Emptying and Bracketing but only this time, instead of developing self-awareness, I redirected it to look at business models instead.
Side note: In The Nusantara Story, Part 2, Prem helped me peer through the veil of the financialized business models of private equity, revenue streams and share buybacks in an extremely convoluted model of smoke and mirrors.
It then began to dawn on me as I joined the dots on how business models were constructed, that we can’t see that “elephant” because generally our mind, spirit and body are disconnected from each other — we either work within an intellectual bubble, or we practice Spirituality, or we are taught coping skills to deal with our stressed and traumatized bodies. Consider this analogy of a tricycle — it runs on 3 wheels, and if we remove one wheel the tricycle can only go around the same spot. And many of us are stuck in this situation. Trying to find the way forward but not getting traction. For it appears to me that like the fly in the bottle, it’s hard to find the way out without a roadmap out of today’s Kafkaesque World.
And that roadmap only begins to appear when the mind and spirit regain harmony. So yes, I think Business can be a tool to heal our mind, spirit and body… when we learn to see that elephant in the room which is the “invisible” business model, ever-present but hidden in plain sight, that does not recognize us as spiritual beings seeking value and self-recognition.
“The eyes are useless when the mind is blind.”
~ Unknown Author ~