eThoughts : July 1, 2012: Decisions, Part I

Brought to you by A Beta-Society Member Speaking Up™, a division of Book-in-Drawer Publications™.

A “No” uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a “Yes” merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble. Attributed to Mohandas Gandhi

The upfront disclaimer is that the following is simply a beta-society member speaking up. I will be going in my Jacuzzi shortly and continue to thoroughly enjoy my evening after this audacious attempt to offer a perspective. Why the noi-erve of me. Hey, I have no idea why you came to read this, if indeed there is a you reading this. But here it is anyway.

Our organizational structures mirror our interpersonal relationships which mirror our fundamental beliefs about the nature of reality. All of which is about decision making.

Yep, we decided, we didn’t simply discover reality. It was not a talking cloud, burning bush, or a vision in the desert, mountains, beach, or whatever let us in on the way things should be—it was us deciding.

C’mon, even if we believe in some force that let us know what’s what, we’d still have to decide to follow that insight, same as if we didn’t believe in that force.

What’s our reality: we notice that if we don’t kowtow to some alpha or the other, we’re in danger. The problem is what is it that’s noticing? Selective attention? Selective inattention?

It seems clear it’s danger that’s regulating our attention and not much else when it gets right down to it. Sure, we have a sense of love and beauty. And a good thing that is I’d say. But what’s the CEO of our attention? Danger.

Seeming segue: The strong survive, the cooperative thrive. Reality check. So, though we recognize an alpha whatever, we also recognize that an alpha cannot be alpha without our cooperation. The result? We’ve even built our cooperative structure—think organizations—around danger, not love and beauty.

Our bottom line is not economic, much as we might want to think so. Good economics seem to mean less danger. Go Green, Democratic, Republican, socialist, capitalist, autocratic or any fill-in-the-blank proposition and we’ve got the promise of a better—read less dangerous–world. We decided that, we didn’t discover it.

Our world and our lives are built around avoiding danger—surviving masquerading as thriving. We’re a troop of monkeys picking nits to be close, using sneaky eyes to seize what we want, and bellowing to each other when the equivalent of a predator shows up. And we live better that way than alone. The problem is the comparison. Yes, we do live better than we would on our own, but that’s our carrot that justifies our shtick. The question we might be asking is how do we live better than we are—especially since we’re not really doing so well.

Mohandas Gandhi said “no.” Okay, he wasn’t the first and he wasn’t the last. And from those folks we’ve received an introduction to a new organizational ideal—a new decision-making basis. And some of the observant folks got all gooey for a while and tried it out. Then they got all hard when pushed and out came the claws to defend the territory and the danger. Back to the “observed” reality that idyllic always gives way to danger and so at best we’ve got to walk softly and carry that big shtick.

Take a group of lovey-dovey folks and one jerk with a big gun and presto, no lovey-dovey folks. That’s just the way it is.

Nope—that’s the way we’ve made it. Think about it. Just what happened that we’ve managed to raise humans who want a big gun? Decision-making at work. The number of folks who want to kill others because of some genetic and/or biological problem is not our real problem. It’s the folks who want to wipe out others because they were wiped out in some way—as in not accepted. That’s a failure to thrive because of a failure of stewardship, because of some bad decisions.

Sickeningly sweet, eh? I might as well be talking Smurf in a world of Klingons. It’s been tried and to no avail. We need the big gun—the equalizer.

Okay, let’s not go leave behind our world-is-deadly decision-making addiction cold turkey. But we cannot establish a new cooperative reality by keeping the old cooperative, nitpicking, sneaky-eyed, bellowing in place and call it a transition—a waiting for things to get better to stop. That’s sort of like saying we’ll quit drinking when there’s a good reason to quit drinking. We all know it’s usually too late by the time we realize it.

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