Evolutionary Unique Self, Outrageous Love & the Unique Self Symphony (Part 14)

Taken from a first draft text from the forthcoming book The Path and Practice of Outrageous Love by Marc Gafni and Kristina Kincaid, this series elaborates on a critical advancement of the Unique Self Dharma that Dr. Marc has developed after Your Unique Self was published.

Continued from part 13.

Evolving the Narrative of Business

Now, from the perspective of flatland thinkers like Ridley and Hayek, economic growth is also the motivating factor of evolution. Once you are lifted out of poverty–that is to say, freed from being exclusively focused on addressing your survival needs–your consciousness can evolve. You are unencumbered to engage your higher and deeper needs. That is self-evident in each of our lives and a central premise of developmental thought from Maslow to Cook-Greuter. When you are hungry you think less about values. When you feel safe and full you begin to dream bigger dreams.

Our current narrative of capitalism, however, erodes our opportunity for intimacy. It is often hard for people to hear that one of the primary engines of cultural evolution is trade. We are so used to demonizing business. Virtually every blockbuster Hollywood movie vilifies the corporation. Michael Moore, the documentary filmmaker in his well-received movie, Capitalism, A Love Story, bashes free trade. Quite shockingly, he interviews three priests and ministers, all of whom use the term evil to describe business. But this is very jaundiced and highly distorted view of commerce. I want to offer an alternative narrative that accurately meets the contemporary facts of leading edge conscious capitalism, aptly termed by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia.

The world of business is becoming one of the great cathedrals of spirit. Businesses are becoming places in which meaning can be created, in which mutuality begins to happen, in which intimacy and trust become core values, in which the expression of one’s Unique Self as part of a larger context becomes a reality. Evolutionary intimacy and prosperity for all people cannot exist without our whole-hearted embodiment of conscious capitalism.

What does it mean to lift people out of poverty? It means babies not dying, it means mouths being fed, it means girls going to school and getting educated, it means a response to slavery that never existed in the world before. It means that all the values of the great traditions get enacted on two levels: by ending the physical oppression of poverty and by opening a gateway for human beings to experience genuine spiritual, emotional and personal growth.

Communism tried to lift people out of poverty through coercion, but wound up killing 17 million farmers in the Ukraine and countless millions elsewhere.

Yet, in the last 20 years, almost one billion people have been taken out of poverty. Capitalism, through voluntary exchange, is the driving factor. That sentence is so shocking and so powerful that it makes you sit up in your chair and say, “Oh my God! Could it be that evil corporations are actually responsible for lifting more people out of poverty than any other single force in the history of consciousness and the history of the planet?”

Lifting people out of poverty was never the conscious intention of business; it was the by-product of a business well enacted. Now business is awakening to its positive influence and becoming conscious. The free market recognizes it is a force with enormous power and responsibility. By becoming conscious, capitalism can do what it naturally does even better, creating a tide that lifts all boats. It can create more community, more mutuality, and paradoxically, more profit, by engaging everyone in the system. That is exciting!

Every major value of the great traditions is fulfilled in business: intimacy, trust, a shared vision, cooperation, collaboration, friendship, and ultimately love. After all, love is the movement of evolution to higher and higher levels of mutuality, recognition, union and embrace.

Likewise, Capitalism, at its core, is the expression of mutuality between people – the voluntary exchange of value. That mutuality is the cultural force of transformation and healing that is lifting people out of poverty in a way that the great traditions were never able to do. Business enables large bodies of people to work together for a higher purpose: to create prosperity that enables people to live well, to love their children, to create a context for moral, spiritual and social development.

The great traditions, though beautiful and generous, thought in terms of a one-way gift from the haves to the have-nots. Charity has been their essential technology for change. Business moves us beyond the arbitrary split between the haves and the have-nots, between giving and receiving. Business understands a deep truth of evolutionary mysticism; giving and receiving are one in the same. There is no split between the two. Business enables a mutuality in which the giver is receiving and the receiver is giving. That momentous leap in consciousness has created the most potent force of social transformation in history.

Narratives are the stories that infuse our life with meaning. The narrative of business matters greatly, not only to the business community, but also to every human being. The majority of people on Earth are working in some form of business, yet the dominant story spoken is free enterprise is greedy, exploitative, manipulative and corrupt. Consequently, the majority of human beings on the planet experience themselves as furthering and supporting exploitation, greed, corruption and manipulation. When people experience themselves that way, they actually begin to become that way. They think, “I’ve sold out. This is what I am. Isn’t it a shame that I didn’t open a soup kitchen? Isn’t it a shame that I didn’t become a volunteer worker in Sudan?”

The truth is, by participating in business, they create prosperity through productivity and lift people out of poverty. They create stable conditions for families to be raised, they help build communities that then build schools, they create places for people to exchange value and meaning and relationships and intimacy and trust. When people realize they are part of the largest force for positive social transformation in history, their self-perception changes.

If our Unique Selves are to flourish, we must wake to the reality that commerce has the ability to change the self-perception and the self-narrative story for most of the human beings on the planet. Conventionally, and erroneously, we have left the role of self-narratives to psychology. However, psychology is only equipped to cope with the broken pieces of the people living in a society which pathologizes business. We, as Unique Selves, must change the essential narrative to accurately reflect the transformative impact of entrepreneurship and its true identity as the great healer. This is no Shangri-La vision; it is an accurate narrative of conscious business that, if internalized by the majority of citizens who engage in business, will cause a dramatic paradigm shift and alter the very source code of our self-understanding.

Business philosopher, David Cooperrider, got it right when we wrote, Everyone is beginning to imagine the once-in-a-civilization-opportunities—it’s no longer utopian to speak of our witnessing the end of extreme poverty through profitability; or the emergence a world of abundant, clean renewable energy; or of the spread of education to 100% of the earth’s children; or of business as a pragmatic and dependable force for peace; or of cradle-to-cradle factories and supply chains that turn so-called waste to wealth; or of the birth of a full spectrum economy where businesses can excel, people can thrive, and nature can flourish. Moreover, it’s a time where the innovations are leaping beyond the tired vocabularies of social responsibility or ‘sustainability.’ We believe that sustainability has lost its capacity to inspire the future. Doing less bad is not the most compelling call and simply surviving does not equate to thriving. We see a next episode in capitalism emerging where the task involves a decisive shift: it’s the shift from sustainability to full spectrum flourishing and it is being fueled by today’s fertile verge between business innovation, exponential technologies, and the rise of whole new human factor capacities, commitments, and consciousness.”

To be continued…