And Let It Begin With Me
I can’t remember a time when I was not asking myself the question, how do I live as an active participant in society and experience an organic and harmonious life?
One important answer to this question came from reading Scott Peck’s book, “The Road Less Travelled”. In the opening of his book, he shares the thought that “life is difficult”, and once one accepts that life is difficult, one can view the difficulties one faces as part of life.
As I have thought about this issue, I have seen the view that life’s difficulties should be viewed as the grist in the mill that helps facilitate our personal learning and growth as human beings. I learned to see that what is important is not avoiding difficulties in life, but rather, how you choose to act in meeting the challenges those difficulties present.
Life is not fair. When I look out of a world that is not perfect I feel despair in the harm that is inflicted on innocent people by the actions of others and the calamities of nature.
However I think that calamities can provide opportunities for people to care. A recent example I saw in the Press was that a community was devastated by flood, and as the residents dealt with the aftermath of their flood, people from neighboring villages turned up to help.
The term “balance” comes to mind as we need to face the challenges of our own lives as well as selectively choose ways in which we can contribute to the well being of others.
These introductory notes are provided to help place in context some personal thoughts that may be helpful in us building a more peaceful world together. I recognize my notes cover only a small fraction of the ways we can work together to make a positive difference in the world. I’ll try and state my thinking as simply as possible by using a series of statements.
- The building blocks of peace on Earth and well being for all are the changes each one of us chooses to make in the way we live our lives and particularly, the way in which we choose to behave in relationship to others and our environment.
- People do not choose to change unless they have a personal experience from which they learn and which provides the foundation for their choice to change.
- The characteristics of the environment in which people live their lives can enable or constrain their efforts to gain the experiences they need to learn and change. Thus, helping build an environment that facilitates learning and growth is a useful contribution to building a peaceful world.
- A cultural environment in which people dominate each other and in which people are expected to do what others say, rather than what they think is right is a major constraint on human learning and becoming.
- Elaine Isley, in her book, “The Chalice and the Blade” made a valuable contribution to understanding the two primary organizational forms mankind has used to survive. She referred to these as the domineering model and the partnership model.
- In human history, particularly in Western culture, I assert the domineering model has prevailed. Whether or not this is true and if so, why it has prevailed, is open to an interesting debate. My view is that it has prevailed in many different forms, whether it be in the work place or in the family.
- Early in the Industrial Revolution, the ideas of Tailor and Scientific Management prevailed. Scientific Management involved breaking work down into simple and mechanistic tasks and workers being instructed on how to do them repeatedly.
- Traditional management is a “top down” domineering management approach and, in general, those who are better cogs in the wheels of the organization gained promotion and dominance, and sustain work places that are graveyards for the soul.
- Traditional management fostered a mechanistic rather than experiential educational system.
- As the rate of change and international competition has accelerated, the traditional domineering form of management has been resistant to change. The associated rigor mortis has and is being the death nell for many companies.
- The Management methods approach that is adaptable to change is based upon the partnership model. It’s known by many names, one of which is Process Management. To be successful in partnerships, people need to understand the work processes that they contribute to, and in particular, the needs of those within the work place with whom they interface.
- The implementation of Process Management is thus an important contribution to establishing work environments in which people can affectively learn and grow, and in this growth, help incrementally to build a more peaceful world for themselves and others.