Our struggle to put first things first can be characterized by the contrast between two powerful tools that direct us: the clock and the compass. The clock represents our commitments, appointments, schedules, goals, activities -- what we do with, and how we manage our time. The compass represents our vision, values, principles, mission, conscience, direction -- what we feel is important and how we lead our lives. In an effort to close the gap between the clock and the compass in our lives, many of us turn to the field of "time management."
"Playing" the resources of characterology for the sake of clarification and insight into the structures of actual existence is many times more daunting than playing a piano; it requires the thinking of chords of thoughts, not just isolated simplisms or abstracta; it demands the shaping or encompassing of morphological modes of intelligence that can comprehend gestalten, syndromes, historical and civilizational patterns in which it is not the particulars but their interactive significance (as an ensemble of actualities or principles) that is vital.
The worldview of modern scientism and capitalism are profoundly wrongheaded, rooted in an artificialism and arbitrarialism that cannot begin to see the primordial truth of the way nature actually works, in animals and in ourselves as well. All modern culture and ideology that try to disestablish these principles -- radical egalitarianism, capitalist or bourgeois materialist-artificialist hierarchicalism, arbitrarial libertarianism, etc. -- are flying in the face of the headwinds of both nature and values, the tides of human nature and human character. But these ideologies' fallacies are incomprehensible to them just because their culture systematically prohibits them from thinking about issues at the level of structural principles, of ultimate preconceptions: nothing but good pedestrian mechanical bourgeois logic, as remote as it can possibly be from philosophy.
Nothing in the matter-of-fact or finite order of experience is directly or obviously grounded in actual authoritative principles; phenomena do not permit us to see through them to their infinite preconditions, and certainly not even to comprehend or conceptualize what kinds of things those preconditions may be. It is only through holistic and variably stressed principles that we can see the formation or architectonics of finite realities, in accordance with those lawful and ordering forces. There is no empirical path to principles, no psychological route to values or ultimate duties or essential character: hundreds of millions of human beings may despair of not having "salvation" who do not and cannot ever comprehend what the issue even is, i.e. the onslaught of the finite order that threatens to make our ambiguously finite/infinite spirit into just another finite particle within the finite world. We have to be always carrying out our self-education dialectically, with one eye on each domain, the finite and the infinite, each of which demands its own peculiar modus of intelligence and insight from us.
The moral and the political are twisted together in all this like a torqued Moebius-strip: we define our political duties toward others or our rights of expectation from them in terms of the highest moral values and obligations and principles conceivable to us. But these highest moral values etc. are themselves ideologically stunted things, a bonsai-ethos that has been deformed by the contraceptive culture of the democratist Many. Do human beings have a positive and universally recognizable right to be left alone as ingrown idiotes, as self-gratifying swinish consumers, as pathetic sacks of illusions and delusions? Are ultimate rights something that the least cultured and least reflective are fit to define for themselves, much less for everyone in general? Can any civilization afford to leave its most vital principles to be framed and legislated by the least philosophically aware? When a society organizes the entire thrust of its energies and institutions to mass-produce such obtuse types, and when malleable human nature makes this organized stupefaction all too easy and efficient, how can any mere exceptional individuals do anything about such a Malthusian dynamic?
How many students who make it into the liberal arts and into philosophy classes still only manage to comprehend the content of these courses dogmatically, as simplisms to "believe"? Instead of grasping principles and values and an aristic ethos of clarity, they still only hear what pleases and flatters them: they grasp in Socrates or Plato the "countercultural" overtones that enable them to shower abuse on the diseased culture of their parents or peers, but they don't grasp at all the overwhelming obligation for themselves not to lie in orthodoxy's bed of sloth. They substitute, as opinionizers and slaves will do, one orthodoxy for another, imagining that the processes of "enlightenment" will change only the matter they think about and not the form of their own activity in reasoning.
Executives run organizations. In business, we need executives who have clarity, people who are in touch with themselves. Then, in leadership and management positions, they can be good role models and leaders. The people I know who have really moved their organizations are scrupulous role models. They are so clear about honesty, integrity, openness, mutual self-respect, dignity for the individual, and creativity, that they don't deviate from these principles at all in their behavior. And by doing that they generate the same kind of behavior in their organization. In that way, organizations are just like families. If you don't show complete respect or openness, it causes the same kind of Negative Love reactions in people in business as occurs in families.
Michael Ray, Ph.D.
Source: SELF-LOVE: The Ultimate Business Tool: http://www.hoffmaninstitute.org/interviews-articles/interviews/career/ray.html
In late modernity we grow more and more accustomed to politicians and public figures who are indebted to their appetites for their "values," to their intellectual sloth for their "principles," to their rhetorical cleverness for their "conscience," and to their regimented conformism for their "philosophy."