There’s enlightenment in other views.
Few skills are as unappreciated in our world as the ability to see all sides in a discussion. In business, politics, religion, and life we have a huge bias toward the happy simplicity of dogma. Dogma becomes “culture” and culture becomes the groupthink that perpetuates it.
I’m not sure if it’s the accident of my birth as a Libra or the accumulated realization of my life experiences that grants me this annoying penchant for seeing the grain of truth and good in most ideas, as well as their flaws.
The gravity of dogma in institutions at every level from relationships to families to companies to countries to the world is a palpable block to wisdom and progress.
It presupposes that “WE” have correctly deciphered the obscure truths of the universe in their purest distillation and everyone else has it completely wrong. Just a moment’s reflection on the insanity of that stance tells you why we have conflict, war, and dehumanization at the behest of our must-be-completely-right spiritual, economic, and political ideologies.
This is foolishness, but it’s the dominant state of human consciousness today. If you’re immersed in whatever flow your culture dictates, you might never notice this tension. It’s simple and clear. We’re right and they’re wrong. Our company is nobly-intentioned and our competitors are eager to take advantage of you. Our vision of what an economy must look like is correct and theirs is a threat. Our vision of God is good and right and theirs is evil and wrong.
For someone like me, who sees the value in different ideas, it’s easier to see the tension, the missed opportunities, and the anti-wisdom of these unquestioned moral imperatives.
Aristotle stated, “It’s the mark of an educated mind to entertain an idea without accepting it.” In our world today, many refuse to even consider ideas for fear of contamination, as if ideas are viruses.
Power Hack: So what am I asking you to do? Challenge the consensus, the groupthink, the conventional wisdom where you encounter it. Ask WHY.
Your reward may be to be regarded as out there, rebellious, or dangerous. However, in those moments when your willingness to think differently and with balance succeeds, you’ll move the ball forward for your family, your company, your country, or humanity. You may not receive the credit you deserve as your contribution is absorbed into the consensus as if it had always been a part of the dogma.
Your recourse is to go back and do it again on another topic. “A leader,” Lao Tzu counseled, “is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”
It’s the thankless, selfless work of the heroic sage to hold the mirror up to the culture and help it discover the Enlightenment of Balance.
If that’s a journey you’re willing to pursue, you WILL make your dent in this universe.