Friday, December 23, 2011

Thinking is not a highbrow sport. Change Managers know all about thinking

Thinking is not a highbrow sport; not an activity for the intellectuals or the intelligentsia to practice and thus to lord over others, demonstrating some supposed sense of superiority. That is neither what thinking intends nor what I propose nor who I am. Thinking is, however, a vital part of being alive, a privilege that, for some reason, a seemingly, ever-increasing group of fellow-citizens have abdicated: to the Tube, or to “the crowd” or to anyone else except themselves. Again: or, so it seems. Thinking, rather, is a gift, is our Divine right as human beings: “cogito ergo sum”. We all, each of us, has learned that such is the essence of being human. We do not think well any longer. Is it that we have grown so unconscious of what we do daily? Do we not simply plug in and surrender to some force other than ourselves and find superiority in that commonality of approach to life and its issues?

Thinking is not a highbrow sport. Not an activity restricted to lawyers and doctors and politicos or to . Yet as a nation, we, without a second thought, without the uproar the decision deserves, have done nothing to overturn the worst decision our nation’s Supreme Court has ever made: unrestricted control of the airwaves and media channels to the monied. And so people have become lemmings, led by a talking-head who is already brainwashed of the truth. These talking heads and pundits no longer think themselves. They spout that which is approved and is PAID FOR; nor the truth that has been concealed, hidden, unquestioned, forgotten, displaced.

Thinking is not a highbrow sport. I am not talking from an ivory tower. I am talking from the trenches of 2011. While admittedly, I come from a Patrician background, I am not a Plute in thought or reality: unless They now be among the poorest and those beleaguered by life (and, we know that the Plutes are THAT oligarchy – that tiny ! group of the richest ½ of 1% at most, who want to tell all of us that because they are rich that they know best and that they are right). Yes, I am a Republican by birth. I was not, however, brought up to believe the lies that the Tea Party is foisting upon the unwitting: my contention is that “the unwitting have become all of us.” Stop drinking “the Kool Aid”. Please! That is all I ask. We need to think; and, thinking is not applying group common sense. We no longer ask authentic questions; we no longer seek the complete truth; we accept the good enough instead of the best; we accept lies from Tea Party “pledge”-takers and certain Republicans who care only for themselves and the very wealthy who now own America.

Do you remember reading Plato’s Republic and the Allegory of the Cave? Thinking, the role of teaching, the challenge of taking on a responsible role in the world is the touchstone for life that is presented to us during our encounter with the text of the Allegory of the Cave. We all know that text. Many of us have re-read Plato. As readers of the text of during this present-now, this-today, the challenge, now, is how do we become unfettered; and, how do we go back up into the world, aware that most has been hidden; aware, and struggling to change the fact, that we are 3 removes from the truth. More importantly, how can we demonstrate convincingly and straightforwardly, and with simplicity that we have and continue to be misled, lied to by these Plutes? The Allegory of the Cave is much about what lies concealed, what has been hidden, what is several removes from the truth. My “allegation” or charge against myself and you is that all too often we kick pebbles. Try this test for yourselves: Pick up one of those pebbles. Hold that rock in your hands in a dark room. Then, take your narrow beam flashlight and direct its beam towards that rock. How much is revealed? 7%? 1% ? Certainly not much more. The challenge that we face, then, is to learn how to shine the light upon the 99% (or 93%) that remains concealed by when that partial particularity of a mere 1% is revealed; it is to learn how to discover the greater proportion, and then all of, that 99%. From that point on our responsibility under a new civil and social contract would be to share it responsibly, authentically with one another.

Thinking is not a highbrow sport. I am no intellectual; just a guy who believes that we have become deceived and led far astray by the oligarchy - the few. Their message has become only and exclusively a message that says “no”; it is a message of fear, exclusiveness, deception, lies, and betrayal. Thinking is not a highbrow sport, but it does require one to unplug from Tubeville, from the talking heads, from the summarizations that only provide a distortion of truth, from the cave; and to emerge into the light so as to ask questions and to listen authentically. It does demand a great deal of constructive questioning, informed paranoia, and a willingness to uncover what has been concealed and hidden away from us. That is what I would offer, if I could, to those who want again to find a path to a sustainable future. Instead of kicking pebbles; pick them up: shine a light upon the 99% that the Plutes want to hide. Make thinking truly a participative sport at last.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Common Sense is not what is needed, Mr. President.

Common Sense isn’t what’s needed, Mr. President

If you listened to Mr. Obama’s interview on 60 Minutes, did you hear the phrase? Yes, that phrase. Personally, I listened until I heard the phrase “common sense”, after which I turned the Tube off. What calls for thinking in this present-Time, Mr. President, is not common sense. At one time, I had a Chinese employee who loved to repeat “common sense isn’t so common is it?” when client discussions became mired in details that clouded the bigger picture. Clients loved it; it simplified life for them. That is not what we need from our leaders, our friends, family members, or ourselves! Mr. President, I want to share this little paragraph with you, because I was disappointed when you called for “common sense” in a time that calls for thinking.

“That sound common sense which is so often ‘cited’ in such attempts” ascertain facts, by appealing to particulars> “is not as sound and natural as it pretends. It is above all not as absolute as it acts, but rather the shallow product of that manner of forming ideas which is the final fruit of the Enlightenment in the eighteenth century (emphasis mine). Sound common sense is always trimmed to fit a certain conception of what is and ought to be and may be. The power of this curious understanding extends into our own age; but it is no longer adequate.
The organizations of social life, rearmament in moral matters, the grease paint of the culture enterprise – none of them any longer reach what is. With all the good intentions and all the ceaseless effort, these attempts are no more than makeshift patchwork, expedients for the moment. And why? Because the ideas of aims, purposes, and means, of effects and causes, from which all those attempts arise – because these ideas are from the start incapable of holding themselves open to what is.”

Instead of common sense, Mr. President, we need to think and to think differently from those ways we have allowed ourselves, or been allowed, to think. Certainly - if we are honest with ourselves - each of us already has some sense that we no longer truly engage with life and think. Television, cable news, the internet, Facebook, Twitter, radio pundits pushing a message supportive of one platform or another: each of these “channels” through which we are bombarded daily, deliver messaging that merely distract us from, allowing us to avoid, thinking. There are, in all likelihood for most of you, actual human beings sitting next to or across from you right now from you; and yet, in many instances, you are not connected, you have not come together, no thought is taking place.

Several avenues of help are available. Psychiatry, Religion, gatherings, engaging with thought, engaging and building with Others: these all seem to be better for us and for our times than staying plugged in and not thinking. In other words, there are multiple “Tubal-detox programs” available to any one willing to unplug, to engage, to recognize, as well as to accept the fact of their own Being-in-the-world and the Being of others. Such engagement brings with it awesome responsibilities, responsibilities which if accepted can negate both “common sense” and the failure to think so prevalent at present. It is hoped that we thus could find a path along which we could co-create a sustainable future, inclusive in nature, characterized by it ability to allow all to flourish. We need to repair and to re-weave the world and local tapestries. Common sense will never achieve either of those two goals.

Was heist Denken? was written by Heidegger nearly 50 years ago; and yet, its message is more relevant to our present-Now than any earlier time. Thinking is not “common sense”! At our most Sacred time of the Year, what greater gift could we give our friends, families, partners, lovers, employees and employers than to engage as humans, as thinking humans? Thinking requires that we unconceal that which has been hidden; it requires, in Heideggerian-speak that we come together to gather; that we no longer accept the concealed as truth.

Let me leave you, Mr. President, with Heidegger’s conclusion to this portion of his lecture. It applies in today’s Flat World more than in 1954.

“There is the danger that the thought of man today will fall short of the decisions that are coming, decisions of whose specific historical shape we can know nothing – that the man of today will look for these decisions where they can never be made.”

Mr. President, you have demonstrated that you understand and have internalized Michael Porter’s admonition: “strategy is choice”. We need you to choose to lead us out from tubal-land’s morass of conflicting utterances of concealment. Currently it seems as though the Sybil of Cumae is allowing leaves to blow, leaves that portend disaster, leaves inspiring fear. Mr. President, make the concealment stop. We need you to eschew common sense and to set the standard for thinking in America. Help us see that “common sense” is not the way.