Maps are useful. We all use them as an aid in navigating, especially in life. A map need not be physical; it can be an idea, a notion, a belief, a theory or paradigm.
A map is both an approximation and an abstraction of reality; it is always less than that which it re-presents. Therefore to structure and order life according to an approximation without at the same time actively challenging the map-in-use would be unwise—yes even foolish. When the map becomes the reality we lose touch with life itself.
For example, ordering life according to the notion that reality is nothing more than the quantifiable, the material and the objective, is tantamount to claiming the non-existence of the qualitative, the non-material and the subjective. Accordingly, experiences in life such as love, joy, compassion and meaning are expunged from life. As a result our very life becomes shallow and superficial. Even though these are very much apart of life, in business we aren’t encouraged to acknowledge and act on them. Life then becomes compartmentalized and we become alienated from our very humanness.
In the 18th century Adam Smith claimed as part of the Divine Plan that economic order—and in t turn societal order—followed the principle of maximizing material self-interest. To this day this erroneous belief is used to justify self-serving behavior. With this notion being the defining way toward order in society, there is no pursuit of greater human value or meaning, just more and more material gain for ‘me’.
With the universe—and everything in it—(thought of as) being mechanical in nature, there is no human state to progress towards. After all a machine has no ideal place it just runs! Perhaps this is why many feel as if they are on a treadmill—running faster yet going nowhere. Even though they may acquire more in life, their life remains empty and shallow.
With reality limited to the material, all we have is a work-a-day existence where vision is limited to a future of acquiring more. Accordingly, the measure of a full life is framed in terms of quantifiable ends.
Is this the best-known way to order life? Need we compartmentalize life? Is this best-known way to order and manage a business enterprise?