from EudaimoniaAndCo Website
From one that
single-mindedly, one-dimensionally maximizes near-term income, at
the price of the well-being, health, flourishing, of you, me, our
grandkids, and our planet, to one that elevates and expands all
that - from one that, as it grows more and more broken, minimizes
life realizing itself, instead of maximizing life realizing itself?
But death is a funny thing. It asks you questions about life that you can't unask.
So as much as I didn't
want to, I found myself thinking, reluctantly, about life itself.
How the old paradigm fails to elevate and expand it. How the old
world is falling, but the new world isn't yet born. About us, stuck
in the interregnum. And most of all, about an absence of good
answers for what to do about it all.
You can think of it as a
branch of, an adjunct to, or a step beyond "economics". It doesn't
really matter. And no, it's not the best, or only answer. Just my
own little framework.
How much eudaimonia, life
well lived, does an organization - whether a company, city, town,
or country - realize? For how long, how intensely, along which
But it's eudaimonics are profoundly unsuccessful:
In my framework, we'd say social media has a low Omega - more about that in a second.
First, see the yawning gap?
An organization can have great economics, but awful eudaimonics. And many, if not most, do, precisely because they maximize income - not life realizing itself.
The question is how to put both back into balance with one another.
Again, see the yawning gap?
We all know of fracking's
harmful effects - and yet because the old paradigm
single-mindedly, one-dimensionally maximizes near-term income, those
effects aren't represented or valued by it.
It counts pollution, mistrust, hate crimes, ill health as benefits - if I were to deface a mosque, church, or synagogue, hiring cleaning crews would add to GDP, just as breaking your legs would, because you'd have to go to the hospital , just as building a car factory does - and from there its income-maximizing imperative trickles down to companies, cities, towns, banks, markets, funds, households, and so on.
Perhaps you think I'm kidding, and I wish I was:
In my framework, we'd say
a society like that has a low Omega, Theta, and Lambda - the
nation's income's growing, but well-being, real wealth, and human
possibility, the fundamental components of eudaimonia, are all
It has two parts,
I don't think that life can or should be reduced to a one-dimensional end like maximizing income.
So eudaimonics has five
ends, to help us optimize for life, in all its richness and
fullness, not just reductively, single-mindedly increase a single
quantity. Each is embedded in a simple variable.
They're not just abstractions - they're tools, meant for you and I to use and employ, pragmatically, here and now in the real world, to begin a new quest:
They are there to supplant, augment, or expand our,
...the raw stuff of human,
...what the point and
purpose of human organization is.
And we probably should...
It'll take armies of talented people - and new jobs, roles, and positions for them - to do the hard work of collecting the data, synthesizing it, correcting the errors, and so on, to compute those, or similar quantities, over many long years, just as we learned to measure GDP and income and profit and revenue and so on a century and more ago - and that's why I say eudaimonics is today's great quest.
And yet, in a way, that's just statistics and arithmetic:
Tomorrow's step is
mechanics - today's step, which is harder, more fundamental,
The second part of the little framework created for Eudaimonia & Co consists of a set of design principles:
They're again very
different from what you might be used to - not new, technical,
abstract, cold as we expect heuristics to be, but very, very old,
We discard old ideas like last year's iPhone. Yet when I was at death's door, I realized that ancient ideas gave me vastly better and greater consolation, insight, wisdom, truth, about a life resonant with meaning, happiness, and purpose than today's reductive, simplistic, and frankly often ultrabrutal ones - "be resilient! get some grit!!" - ever did.
I learned infinitely more
from the Zen theory of mind and the classical Indian
philosophy of knowledge than I ever did from PhD level
macroeconomics about what we are here to be, do, have, live.
If we're really going to build organizations capable of transforming human lives, then I think we're going to have to enact those timeless ideas, because they are the most powerful ones.
They are really ways to be.
To be what...?
By prioritizing economics over eudaimonics, we've created an age where human organizations seems to going backwards in many ways, riven, fractured, stuck, stagnant - a natural consequence of a paradigm whose sole end is maximizing near term economic gains at any price, instead of elevating and expanding life's possibility in the first place.
So when I talk about
paradigmatic change, it's that imbalance that need correcting.
If that sounds like you,