Modern science and ancient intuitive spirituality is discovering that all life is interconnected, dependant and fundamentally built of the same organising principles. What we perceive as separate are in fact all manifestations of a single principle.
Valuing, appreciating and listening to our hearts and souls we can create a remarkably bright future. Amazing advances in the understanding of the human mind, psychology and ancient wisdom are opening up the most astounding possibilities for and actual experience of human development.
This was the subject of a 3 day Conflict and Peace Forum at Taplow Court from 2nd–5th May 2000. Leading thinkers and organisations that have been developing strategies and taking action in this area gathered with participants active in media, academia and business to discuss just what can business do for peace and sustainable development?
There is no doubt that money is one of the most remarkable inventions of human kind. As inventions go it is up there with bread the wheel and writing. It shares similar misty beginnings and yet is so fundamental to the development of human civilisation that we can’t imagine life without it. It is a tool that perhaps has the unique distinction of simultaneously being a metaphysical ideality and a material reality. Considering the closeness of human psychology, susceptible as it is to all the poisons of fear and greed and attachment to all things material no wonder the management of money causes so many problems.
One vital contribution to the debate of modern economic crisis, is the decades of advances in neuroscience and recent developments in psychology pointing to the fundamental importance of emotional health as the key driver of all human activity. There is now a clear scientific understanding of how human emotional needs drive human behaviour and that the "machine" that constitutes the human body and mind has evolved to constantly seek to meet these needs.
Each of us is a story we are trying to write. Sometimes we get in the way of this story, allowing the outside to influence us too much. All we can do is nurture the story inside of us by not being afraid, listening to our hearts as openly as possible and making determined and persistent efforts of self-improvement and having faith that moment by moment, as long as we are doing our best, we are writing our story and in so doing are in a state of revelation. If we do not improve ourselves then how can we expect to grow and move forward and write our story?
Individual’s performance is consistently being damaged by a culture characterised by survival mode thinking. This form of (black and white) thinking is characterised narrow organisational objectives that lack wider social and environmental context, a complete lack of transparency in every aspect of organisation, role rigidity and hierarchy (simplistic power structures), narrow quantity focussed performance measurement, high levels of performance related stress, competitive win lose focus.
Is the world divided between the inner realm and the outer realm? Are the spiritual traditions of the east the soul of the world and the scientific advances of the west the material of the world? Has the movement of self development started in the east been neglected in the beguiling light of western scientific materialism?
Writing in1820, Nassau Senior commented that the new science of economics, as it was then, "will rank in public estimation among the first of the moral sciences in interest and utility". When a discipline becomes so influential there is a tendency amongst some to claim more than the discipline can offer. Even Milton Friedman had to admit in 1972 that "I believe that we economists in recent years have done vast harm to society at large and to our profession in particular - by claiming more than we can deliver.”
Nature has evolved human beings to require physical and emotional sustenance. The primary importance of our emotional needs has been shown by decades of research in neuroscience. The wiring between our limbic system (that part of the brain controlling emotionality) and our Cortex (that part of the brain controlling our cognitive processes) is such that the limbic system takes primacy over the cortex. In short emotion comes before thought. Psychologists, Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrell from the Human Givens Institute have defined 9 major emotional needs as being a useful organizing principle for breaking down how to ensure the emotional health of people.
People have far more in common than we might believe. We all have the same basic physical and emotional needs. Deep down we all have the same needs for security, love and meaning. We are fundamentally social animals. Indeed parts of our brains called ‘mirror neurons’ only fire when in connection with others. Human beings naturally live in families and seek wider community groupings through friends and other social networks. This need for connection to other people is so important that the lack of it is a primary cause of mental illness.