By Anantharaman S.
Business Transformation and BPR consultant, Bangalore
Introduction by Venkat
Freedom is as varied in meaning as love is. Freedom can be an escape from danger, lack of external restrictions, overcoming internal barriers that pull us down like fear and so on. While, as individuals everyone has personal freedom of thought, movement and expression, in the larger scheme of things, with people living in a society as groups, regulation becomes a necessity for the smooth functioning of material flow and relationships in the common living space. This is akin to the need for traffic regulation as the roads and vehicles increase. We are forever in this conundrum of individual freedom vs. social dependence / interdependence. So in reality our freedom has its limits to be able to define and also to redefine peaceful co-existence as changes happen in our socio-cultural environment and the natural ecosystems.
Mr. Anantharaman provides a beautiful perspective on the paradigm of freedom with responsibility as a necessary symbiosis for survival of values in the framework of culture and purpose of living. The models he uses to depict his thought process are rich in meaning and impact. Thankful for this contribution from him with a great perspective to inspire all of us towards a better understanding of values and culture.
Culture and Values are terms that have been lavishly used in our everyday parlance with not much of significance attached to them. It is but often, do we hear elders worry about values, cultural habits, of the younger generation with the younger ones distancing themselves from conventional restrictions (termed generation gaps) as opposed to unbridled freedom. Knowing these, perhaps, are arguably more important than accumulation of wealth in one’s name and bank accounts. This then leads to areas that are more rare than often.
The thoughts and unrelenting questions as to, why do we behave the way we do, why a certain experience affects us more than the others. Why should one feel and think differently and many more like them might have found way and had their fleeting imprints, from time to time, in an otherwise mundane schedule that all of us are busy chasing.
Let us pause and ponder together, shall we?
This is but a small attempt to explore with faith, expelling the myths, and to experience the truth. Just like in any theory, there needs to be a framework, with a list of inclusions. The universe in all its grandeur along with its celestial objects, the flora, fauna and the ecosystem that we are part of, form the subject of our study.
Scientifically speaking, the human species, among all the living, is the most advanced and intelligent. Let us try and explore the questions in the context of an Organisation. Just like in any organisation there are key responsibilities bestowed upon higher ranked officials, the humans also have certain responsibilities towards the ecosystem they share, by virtue of some inherent powers vested in them, like discrimination, higher order intellect translating into coordinated thoughts, words and deeds.
Any action is and should be directed towards an objective. This would need all, aligned towards the same objective, as otherwise it would cause unnecessary burning of energies or and deviations from the desired direction towards the goal. This can be compared to maintaining the pristine aspects of nature and its ecosystem suitable for habitation, for many many centuries to come, with each species having a specific task to fulfill.
For a trouble free, coordinated functioning of an organisation, all its employees would have allocated functions, with defined responsibilities. These responsibilities are expected to be fulfilled with aplomb, in a seamless manner, complimenting with each of their functions, however big or small, they may be.
For the mentioned reasons, the employees in the organisation have rules and regulations that bind them to their work, tied to the overall goals, some specific to their areas of work and some general, spanning all functions.
The individual rules (a sectioned portion of the overall) and attributes of the respective departments enable effective functioning of all their employees, aimed at fulfilling their portion of the overall goal. These overarching steps constitute the Values. These values find ways to link to values of other departments to form the core value of the organisation. Likewise each species has their values as would befit their area of living and functioning. The value of a tree is to bear fruit that is useful to other species, as a source for nutrients and energy, as is the value of humans to protect and provide an atmosphere for more growth, without affecting any other functions of nature. This, when shared as a concern to fellow beings is called compassion. When the conditions are unfavorable for growth, providing alternate methods that enhance growth, taking cognizance of the difficulty the person is in, is called empathy.
What then is culture?
When a community or a group follows a particular set of values for a long time, it is collectively termed as the culture of that group. One of the spiritual Gurus (Swamy Chinmayananda) defines culture thus
“When a group of people live together for a long time in a particular geographical area, living certain values, the special fragrance that emanates from the group is said to be their culture”
Another definition by Dr. V.K.Gokak, paraphrased is “The pursuit of perfection in all walks besides ones habits, attitudes and manners covering the society or that complex whole, encompassing knowledge, belief, customs as well as moral and spiritual values is Culture.”
Science has imparted to us that for anything to exist there must be a cause. The ecosystem thus inherited must be made better before being passed on to the next generation. This being the key, Values and culture form the backbone for any civilization and its progress. They are the lighthouses that show the direction taken, thus far, from the past. Understanding them and any subtle variations to avert or circumvent current existential challenges, will have to be taken up by the next generation. Each one has a responsibility and a need to contribute to them.
Freedom, therefore is not to do any, but is the expression of choice to remove the pains of many. Freedom should be to help expand horizons of hope, and not be led by selfish passions away from one’s conscience, in darkness to grope. Freedom is an expression of that selfless innovative spirit that helps society at large and not be tied to one’s selfish motives that promises joys to only us, at the expense of others.
For peaceful and harmonious coexistence, it is therefore imperative for one to adhere to the values (not dictated by one’s habits and personal choices) and be culturally bonded to the overall interest, be it for an organisation or the world that we live in. Peaceful coexistence is the root with Culture is like the stem, with values as the branches, the virtues and qualities are like the fruits. The farmer needs to know the texture of the soil (Culture) so as to sow the seeds of values, with trust on the implements and fertilizers, that he uses, so as to reap the fruits of Peace.
Next time we hear an elder speak on values and culture, it shall ring in a different tune. Freedom is no longer a catchword to free us from our duties but should be an enabler to think beyond the usual in eradication of challenges that face our ecosystem. As in the context of an organisation, divergence to the core values and culture would decimate its very existence, the effects are the same for our ecosystem, when we, as responsible higher order species, fail to adhere to our values and culture.
Value life, be Cultured in our actions with freedom from bondage, that thwarts us from contributing.
Be a contributor, not always a consumer.
By Anantharaman S.
Business Transformation and BPR consultant, Bangalore
Sairam. By Swami’s Grace, on the professional front, had been part of MNC’s in various capacities and regions, the likes of English Electric, ABB, Areva, Alstom and the recent one was as a Director in GE.
All of them having ENERGY as a common thread.
A firm believer in “What happens is for a cause and the cause is to remove our flaws.”
Have developed interest in understanding life and forms, it’s genesis the intricate bond with nature and ecosystem, purpose and objective with interplay of Energy bands. Their roots in scriptures and Vedas.
Fascinations include the why, how and for what of a ancient Temples , Biographies of people who are influencers, and deep thinkers.
New found interest in astrology as one of the 6 branches of Vedas, not for knowing the future but more in the framework of how the astral elements determine our actions and thoughts, how situations develop that have a say in the sway of joy and misery, as a mystery.
Attempting to understand and share the advice of the Divine (Baghwad Gita), immortalized beyond time, and how it addresses and has solutions to our present lives and times too.
Use the corporate experience to enable and transform businesses by process re-engineering and give a new lease of life.