A war currently wages within each of us. It’s between the Collective and the ego, a conflict between our imposter sense of secular worth and our transcendent spiritual nature. The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying describes this dichotomy: “Two people have been living in you all of your life. One is the ego, garrulous, demanding, hysterical, calculating; the other is the hidden spiritual being, whose still voice of wisdom you have only rarely heard or attended to.”
The ego is your perception of self as compartmentalized and uniquely separate from your fellow humans. It’s the constellation of arrogance, self-righteousness, and self-centeredness.
In our culture we have a strong drive for self-importance, which spawns selfishness, opportunism, and exploitation. Egoic fixation in its raw form is greediness.Greed requires an ongoing gathering of trophies, accolades, awards, bonuses, recognition, and power.
In Huffington’s chapter “Pigs on Parade” she argues, “The litany of sins committed by the high priests of profit is a study in venality, deceit, theft, treachery, pride, and most of all greed, greed, and more greed.” Material gain for an untamed soul fosters an unquenchable desire for more. Any award the professional ladder climber obtains will however be insufficient for his manufactured, calculative, insatiable sense of self.
When people choose to exploit their colleagues, they take a step backward on the evolutionary ladder. Like chipmunks with their cheeks full, hoarders are only interested in #1. People who are solely out themselves are emblematic of everything that’s wrong with the world – and they are a world removed from the interlocked stance of sharing.
Exploiters greedily grab from the plebeians most dependent on their opinion – those junior in status. The end game is to get as much for themselves at another’s expense, and to ensure that they receive the lion’s share of the workplace rewards.
We devolve each time we choose to be selfish. However when evaluations are based solely on individual achievement, mercenary behavior is most likely to emerge. Workplaces then become then the embodiment of “live and let die,” cultures in which people fiendishly scramble for themselves. In ego dominated corporations, results (and not the method by which they were obtained) merit reward.
The overarching mission of spiritual governance requires that a firm’s policies, practices, and daily routines attain congruence with the transcendent values of compassion, empathy, forgiveness, respect, and reciprocity.
Margaret Wheatley explains that there is no civil liberties union for employees: “Some organizations have rigid chains of command to keep people from talking to anyone outside their department, and in most companies, protocols define who can be consulted, advised, or criticized. We are afraid of what would happen if we let these elements of the organization recombine, reconfigure, or speak truthfully to one another.”
Workers are so mired in daily survival on the job that they grow unconscious to the desecration they inflict on others, and oblivious to the destruction they create within themselves. Their companies provides the anesthetic which numbs their human presence.