Wednesday, April 25, 2007

True Work

The origin of the word is negative. In Greek, it means pain and suffering. In German, it relates to the heavy labor orphans need to do to survive. The Japanese have three synonyms associated with it - painful, dirty and dangerous.

Almost always, we hear it used like this: "Hey, I'd love to join you for that fun thing, but unfortunately ... I have to work."

Today on Thinking with Somebody Else's Head, we're going to look deeply at human work. What it is, what it could be, and especially what it is in fact becoming through the practical experience of a number of us here in Brazil who are working with a new type of business organization and structure.

I'm very excited about this program because I feel that this is one aspect of human social life that we need to improve. And fast! And as we'll stress in this Podcast, this new way of structuring work and companies is here.

A number of us here are having tremendous success in developing Trilogical Enterprises based on Dr. Norberto Keppe's ideas and practical experience. He has outlined these ideas in a very influential book called Liberation of the People.

I sat down with Dr. Claudia Pacheco the other day to talk about business and society and the enormously important field of human work. As always, I found myself intrigued, enchanted and even, dare I say it, excited about Keppe's Trilogical perspective on work, as articulated so well by Dr. Pacheco in this Podcast.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Making Sense of Virginia Tech

It's so terrible as to seem surreal. To survivors and the families of victims, it must feel as if they'll never overcome it. It jolts all of us out of our normal lives and rams us face-to-face with a reality we seldom have to face.

Thank God.

We're swamped with opinions from every possible angle. But precious little understanding. Today on Thinking with Somebody Else's Head, Making Sense of Virginia Tech.

Benjamin Franklin said that the tragedy of life is that we get old too soon and wise too late. There are thirty-two people from Virginia Tech who will not have the luxury now of becoming either older, or wiser. That opportunity was snatched away on April 16, 2007 by an obviously demented and troubled young man.

In Unforgiven, his bleak but wonderful film about morality and murder, Clint Eastwood says, "It's a terrible thing to kill a man. You take away all he is, and all he's ever going to be." We're reminded of that now.

How do we make sense of this? For make sense we must, because this horror that many in the U.S. are living through is a daily fact of life for millions around our troubled globe. And if we want to contribute to stopping this - and I believe we must contribute in some way to stopping this enormous humanly-caused death and destruction - we must begin to try to face the causes of it.

St. Augustine was courageous, I think, when he said that he had the same tendencies inside him of the worst criminals. I mention that not to suggest that we are the same as the Virginia Tech killer, but that we must begin to see our part in the greater panorama of human destruction on our planet. After all, people are suffering in Afghanistan and Baghdad and Somalia and Rwanda, as well as in Virginia.

Furthermore, Virginia is an anomaly. Those others are ongoing. I believe that it is this consciousness of our human destruction that we have an opportunity to become more conscious of now so that we can take big steps - not only to healing - but to resolving the problems in the human soul that cause us to create such a punishing society.

Today, I'll have a profound conversation with Dr. Claudia Pacheco, vice-president of the International Society of Analytical Trilogy in São Paulo, Brazil, about how we can understand Virginia Tech.

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

A Meditation on the Nature of Reality

Einstein said it was an illusion. Nietzsche stated that there were no facts - only interpretations. Picasso was very far from it when he expounded that everything you can imagine is real.

Today on Thinking with Somebody Else's Head, a meditation on the nature of reality.

A few weeks ago, I sat down with my friend, Cesar Soos, a frequent contributor to this program, and we began a discussion about a subject I've pondered a lot since encountering Dr. Keppe's work a few years ago.

Keppe's first important discover was what he has called psychological Inversion, a process whereby human beings and humanity as a whole invert values and perceptions, seeing what's good as bad or dangerous or weak, and what's bad as advantageous in some way. As Dr. Pacheco said in our Podcast about the Pathology of Power, isn't it true that we see humbleness as weak, and arrogant and prestigious people as strong? Don't we have a common belief that we achieve development and peace through war? These are examples of an inverted view of life that all of us have to a greater or lesser degree.

When I first began to study this psychological phenomenon, I asked myself this: if we are inverted, which it appears we are, what are we inverted from? It stood to reason, I thought, that we must be inverted from something. That began my fascination with the nature of reality. What can we say definitively about reality? Keeping in mind what T. S. Eliot offered on the subject - "Humankind cannot bear much reality" - Cesar and I sat down to see if we could get reality in our sights and pin it down somewhat.

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