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Spirituality of Companies Print E-mail
Gregory Grove   
Friday, 16 December 2005

spirituality of companies

Is there anyone reading this who has not had a bad experience at some time when having dealings with a company or organisation? It could be the company you work for or it could be one with which you have had business dealings.

The lack of integrity, which too many organisations manifest, does not bode well for business. Lying, cheating, dishonesty and general lack of ethics seem to be the order of the day - the only unbreakable rule being: Thou shalt not get caught.

This could manifest as cheating on taxes, underpaying or abusing employees, not following through on promises (employees and clients), damaging the environment, not honouring service agreements, overpricing… the list is endless.

It is not my intention to imply that all companies operate with a lack of integrity - many operate with a very high level of integrity, but others operate with an almost total lack of integrity.

Integrity, as I use it here, means: when what you say, do, think and feel is consistent with your conscience.

Now companies comprise individuals, all with their own integrity and ethics. Most would be horrified and astounded if they were accused of unethical behaviour. Yet these same individuals, in the name of the company, do exactly that - and will justify their actions with grim resolve. Others, by their silence, condone their actions. So the question begs to be asked: What is actually going on?

Firstly, when a group of people get together for a common purpose, a new entity comes into existence: the company (or organisation). This entity is given a name and has a date of birth (Dewey Cheatem & Howe (Pty) Ltd, incorporated 1 June 2000). It has its own personality (or culture) and in fact has a primitive consciousness.

This brings us to the concept of a golem.

The concept of a golem comes from ancient Hebrew lore. It was a robot like creature that was created using various Kabbalistic practices for the purpose of performing simple tasks.

Some famous golems (although not referred to by that name) include Frankenstein's monster and the magic broom used by Mickey Mouse in "Fantasia".

Tradition says that a golem has a type of consciousness and that it will protect its existence at any cost. A golem has no morals or scruples, and no regard for their creators.

So it is with companies. A company is also a golem; it is created with a purpose in mind, it has a culture (or a type of consciousness) and it protects its existence at all costs.

This is easily seen: most people are gravely concerned about the state of pollution and the reckless deforestation of our planet. But who is responsible for these things? The company - made up of concerned individuals!

So who is running the show? The CEO who loves spending weekends by sparkling streams or the "company" that pumps its' waste into those same streams?

We even refer to companies as entities: "ABC company is sponsoring…" or "XYZ company has donated…" and so on.

It is clear that "the company" has its own agenda and will do whatever is in the best interests of "the company", even if this is to the detriment its creators, its employees or the environment.

The golem is quite capable of influencing its' servants to do the most extraordinary things. It is only by cultivating awareness that we can to some extent "see" the golems in action and then choose to do things differently. While those running the companies remain "unconscious" they will be faithful servants of their golems.

The golems are created to be the servants of humanity and perform many useful functions - in fact, our society would have great difficulty getting by without them. But we need to be aware of their nature and recognize the power they have to "take over".

Isaac Asimov wrote extensively about golems (robots) that were created to serve mankind. They had "positronic" brains and also had a form of consciousness. In his novels, all these "positronic" brains had engraved in them the famous three laws of robotics.

Perhaps if companies adopted these laws as the basis of their constitution, we could regain some control over these useful monsters we have created.

I have replaced the word "robot" with "company":

  1. A company may not harm a human or through inaction, allow a human to come to harm.

  2. A company must obey the instructions given to it by a human except when this would conflict with the first law.

  3. A company must protect its' existence except where this would conflict with the first two laws.
Could you imagine working for an organisation where these principles underpinned all its' actions? Where people were important? Where employees are nurtured so as to become the best they can be? Where fair play is the watchword.

Perhaps then the companies would be rewarded with the loyalty and dedication that they seek.

And of course, such organizations do exist - where their officers operate with a high level of integrity and awareness.

For me, all these thoughts are summed up in one sentence:

"The universe is only a mirror, and you will get little or nothing from it until you first put it out there yourself".

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