A Powerful New Message from a Worker
in the Field of Business, Finance, and Organization
In this important year of 2000, a book has just come out entitled BIRTH OF THE CHAORDIC AGE by DEE HOCK (founder and CEO Emeritus of VISA International). Dee Hock coined the word “chaordic”, which is a joining of the two words Chaos and Order. This is Dee Hock’s way of calling attention to the fact that our organizations cannot reduce everything (no matter how hard they try) to an absolutely controllable order. The effort to do so is a major part of the problem.
“All things, even life itself, are a seamless blending of chaos and order.” The questions that he has lived with and sought to answer through his long professional career are: “Why are institutions, everywhere, whether political, commercial, or social, increasingly unable to manage their affairs? Why are individuals, everywhere, increasingly in conflict with and alienated from the institutions of which they are part? Why are society and the biosphere increasingly in disarray?”
Throughout his career in banking, Dee was confronted with organizations that seemed fundamentally flawed. He tried to figure out why. The hierarchical command-and-control models were “increasing irrelevant” in our complex age. The organizations “decimate the earth, and demean humanity.” In spite of the obstacles of the present systems, Dee Hock was able to search for and to apply new principles of organization. He accomplished the impossible in his development of VISA International. He became one of only 30 living Laureates of the Business Hall of Fame. Yet his inner voice told him that his business success was only preparatory for something larger and more significant.
What are the reasons for organizational failure, and what can be done to develop new models of organization? The problematical factors include linear thinking, overspecialization, and a lack of meaningful connection with the beautiful. There is also a lack of wholeness, too much greed and self-interest, which results in nothing less than a very sick society. Organizations close their minds to the fact that they are destroying the earth.
In terms of the knowledge that any society might have, there is something like a natural movement from data, to information, to knowledge. All these have been enhanced in the scientific age. There are also such factors as understanding and wisdom that have been more in the domain of the arts, philosophy, and religion. Science and information have greatly expanded, but wisdom and understanding is neglected and not recognize as a vitally important contributing factor. Technological power is not handled in a wise manner.
The better type of organization begins with “Purpose, then proceeds to Principles, People and Concept, and only then to Structure and Practice.” Purpose goes very deep. Making money is not a Purpose. Of the Purpose one must be able to say that one’s work is meaningful.
Heaven is purpose, principle, and people.
Purgatory is paper and procedure.
Hell is rules and regulations.
Rules more often than not have to do with the old style of ruling from the top down—a method that prevents creativity and trust.
Dee Hock generally considers any organizational problem-situation from the angles of:
1) Where was it in the past?
2) How is it now?
3) What will it be in the future, and
4) How ought it to be?
Dee preferred to spend as much of the planning time as possible getting his associates to think together on how things ought to be. This helped them to get away from linear thinking and from the selfish attitude. This enabled the magic of community to break free to a new level of solution. Healthy organizations inspire people rather than coerce and compel people. Without a meaningful purpose, institutions become tyrannical.
In his book Birth of the Chaordic Age, Dee Hock alternates between the telling of his experiences working with various corporations and the discussion of the insightful concepts that grew out of his experience. The stories he tells about working with VISA and other banking-finance organizations are fascinating. His theorizing and his concepts are most helpful to others as they endeavor to make practical application of his experience. Many books these days take one or two points and stretch them into a mile. Dee Hock takes miles and years of intense struggle and condenses the experiences into jewels of knowledge and understanding. He does not waste the reader’s time.
At several points in his life he could have eased into that common condition which he calls “retirement on the job.” Since everything is controlled from the top down, one is forced into a sort of institutional straight-jacket. The younger, idealistic ones try at first to expand the creativity of the organization, but eventually they are forced to play the institutional game, which has everything to do with the demoing, the meaningless and the harmful.
Instead of the top-down, control-command, model, all units within the organization—all indispensable in their own right—need to self-organize in accordance with the principles the organization espouses and around the Purpose that unites all. This is one of the new organizational factors that would have a liberating effect.
The Seventh Ray of Organization and Ceremonial Magic.
Dee Hock’s quest for a purposeful and meaningful organization appears to have much to do with the incoming Seventh Ray. The Seventh Ray Worker looks for the secret within the form itself, or looks for the true dynamic blending of spirit-form. The sixth ray Piscean Age rejected the earthly forms in so many ways. In the emerging Aquarian Age, the form—in this case the human institutions—must be alive with the spirit in them. We can no longer divide the world into an abstract distant spirit and a very immediate world of flesh, mammon and the profit pressure. Humanity has to bring its organizational forms within the divine flow—where the rest of nature is—instead of standing arrogantly out of the divine flow, and threatening to destroy human dignity and the world in the process. Spirit, soul, meaning, wisdom, understanding are not pleasantries and niceties that stand outside of the real world of economic survival. The political, commercial, and social world cannot survive without them.
In 1992 Dee Hock was recognized as one of the eight individuals who most changed the way people live in the past century. His work continues now on another level. He founded The Chaordic Alliance, which is “committed to creating the conditions for the formation of practical, innovative organizations that blend competition and cooperation to address critical societal and environmental issues.”
ALICE BAILEY ON THE SEVENTH RAY
“One of the major characteristics of the seventh ray disciple is his intense practicality. He works upon the physical plane with a constant and steady objective in order to bring about results which will be effective in determining the forms of the coming culture and civilization.” (Destiny of Nations 126)
“The energy which produces order and which magically brings spirit and matter together (the energy of the seventh ray) is already organizing human affairs and these three great coinciding events in time and space make it possible for the seventh ray energies to reach a high point of fused activity and of blended cooperation.” (Discipleship in the New Age II, 426)
“The difference between the methods of the old age and that of the new can be seen expressed in the idea of leadership by one and leadership by a group. It is the difference between the imposition of an individual’s response to an idea upon his fellow men and the reaction of a group to an idea, producing group idealism and focalizing it into definite form, carrying forward the emergence of the idea without the dominance of any one individual. This is the major task today of the seventh ray disciple, and to this end he must bend every energy.” (Esoteric Psychology II, 145)
RUDOLF STEINER, the CHRIST IMPULSE
and the SOCIAL QUESTION
Steiner approaches the most important question of the Christ Impulse from several different perspectives. In his book The Inner Aspect of the Social Question he discusses the need to recognize and overcome our innate prejudices if we are truly to work with the Christ-Soul energy in a viable way. At first glance, one tends to assume that one is well on the way to overcoming, say, the prejudices to which one was introduced as a child. This goes much deeper than that, however, and it is akin in fact to overcoming the prejudice of one’s own individual ray and astrological type.
In order to overcome prejudice it is necessary to find the “Christ Impulse” within. One has to see oneself as a member of the human community rather than seeing oneself as being the source of everything one thinks. The way to achieve this is to develop an intense interest in the opinions and viewpoints of other people. Even if one considers the opinions totally erroneous, one must endeavor to understand them in a very deep way. Generally, the tendency is to identify with and reiterate one’s own dogmatic opinions in an automatic way. When people do this, however, they lose the way to the Christ. The effort to enter deeply into the way that other people think is what Steiner calls “the way to Christ through thinking.”
Another way to Christ is the way through doing or willing. This has to do with “achieved idealism.” Young people are naturally idealistic. Ideals are brought over from the other side when one comes into incarnation. According to older people, however, ideals are considered impractical and unrealistic. This results in a problematic psychological separation between the generations. Young people need understanding, but instead they are given negative and pseudo realisms. Young people are counseled to abandon their ideals. One should nurture not only youthful idealism but one’s own idealism throughout the life cycle. According to Steiner, this is something that “opens the way to the Christ.”
Achieved idealism “draws upon spirit” and, therefore, is of special importance. “Achieved idealism” could also be called actualized ideals and relates very much to what has been called practical idealism in earlier times. The actualization requires the willing. Thinking involves the patient work of first tolerating and then understanding the opinions of others, seeing the work of the soul in others, and therefore very much involves the heart. Willing involves doing, and, according to Steiner, is a very concrete way to the Christ.
The Seven Ray Types. We can see the ray energies lining up here according to the two major lines. Those who endeavor to work primarily along the way of consciousness (understanding, the heart) are generally those who develop along the 2-4-6 line. Those who work to make ideals practical in terms of concrete changes in the environment and social conditions are generally those who work along the 1-3-5-7 line of ray energies. Generally, there is an overlap, to be sure; often there is, however, a predominant focus on one or the other. In each case special skills are required—special skills which are need in order to triumph over the particular obstacles in each discipline or area.
Steiner reminds us that Christ came not to achieve merely earthly ends, but He came “to fulfill a super-earthly purpose.” Steiner also says that if we pursue these ways to the Christ through thinking and willing, then we will have a “genuine interest in our fellowmen” and that we will “no longer speak in such a way that our speech is an inward lie.”
It is useless to preach and sermonize about loving one’s fellowmen, Steiner emphasizes. It is far more important to strive towards a “rebirth of idealism.” This is a path towards “warmth of soul” and a path away from egoism.