Beliefs · Business · Circle Square Pattern · Consciousness · Dreams · Life · Society · The Game · The Players · Truth

The Noble Lie

As much as we like to think we are fully conscious rational beings who char their own destiny, at best we are co-creators of our reality. Most of our waking hours are spent in one trance or another. This is because full consciousness is simply too exhausting to sustain for anything more than a brief interval. Once we become familiar with anything, we transform it into a kind of subroutine which we come to perfom automatically. For any society, or group for that matter, to function successfully there must be a shared trance that binds them together.

All trances are kept in place by a set of beliefs. Often these are in turn tied to a single core presupposition. The Ancient Greek philosopher Plato referred to this as the Noble Lie. The Noble Lie that lays beneath the Player Culture that has come to dominate not only our organizations, but our society, is the belief “this is the way it is”. The belief that this restrictive order is an immutable fact of life. If you recall from the Prologue this is precisely the way in which Machiavelli presents his rules of realpolitik. The clear implication: even contemplating resisting this ‘fact of life’ is childish and as futile as charging at windmills.

The vulnerability of this belief is that it is an absolute condition, therefore if we can create but one exception, one single instance which is proved to be sustainable; the seeds of doubt have been sown. From there it is only a matter of time before the bubble bursts, and the structure created by the Circle Square Pattern crumbles.

Placing this in the context of our organization, the initial response to any new direction that does not conform to this worldview will be to resist it, or simply ignore it, treating it as yet another phoney directive, or hoax that senior management wishes to pull one over on the ranks. However, once concrete evidence begins to appear that there is substance behind the words, non compliance is forgiven, and imitative is rewarded, attitudes will begin to change.

With the possible exception of the Players, all of us have a real need to believe in something, take pride in their work, and feel their input can make a difference. Decades of evidence to the contrary has jaded most of us, such that by middle age we have unwittingly given up on life. These dreams do not disappear; instead they lay dormant, held in a kind of psychic suspense file. Once the conditions in our day to day lives begin to support our childhood optimism, they we will once again come to the surface.

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