22 Nov Conscious Business as a Transformative Practice (Part Four)
Examine Your Core Assumptions
Examining our core assumptions and worldviews is vital to the creation of business as a transformative practice. This includes the analysis of our core images for work and business. As noted in a report called “Changing Images of Man,” written several decades ago by Willis Harman and his colleagues at SRI International:
Images of humankind that are dominant in a culture are of fundamental importance because they underlie the ways in which the society shapes its institutions, educates its young, and goes about whatever it perceives its business to be. Changes in these images are of particular concern at the present time because our industrial society may be on the threshold of a transformation as profound as that which came to Europe when the Medieval Age gave way to the rise of science and the Industrial Revolution.
Such sage insight speaks to the dominant image that drives economic growth and our efforts to control the forces of an objective world “out” there. Well into an era of information, globalization and quantum interconnections, the dominator image has lost its focus. Harman encouraged people to hold a positive image for humanity that balances cooperation with competition and love with individualism. Rather than seeing business as a zero-sum game, where one person wins at the expense of another person’s loss, Harman argued that capitalism needs to replace short-term gains in order to consider an interconnected set of potential life affirming outcomes.
Positive shifts in business are increasingly seen by experts as unlikely to emerge unless profound crises first occur that disintegrate the orderly functioning of existing societal systems. At the same time, it is hypothesized that the avoidance of profound economic collapse and evolution toward more benign alternative future possibilities, where sustainable socioecological systems can flourish, will be strongly shaped by the extent to which appropriate new guiding images quickly become an essential part of the zeitgeist.