Involvement, Quality, and Flow
This exposition will address issues of concern to the world of corporate management in light of the teachings of Chassidut and Kabbalah, the Jewish mystical tradition. In so doing we will employ the traditional expository method of Chassidic discourse as a means of arriving at profound insights relevant to these contemporary issues.
The return of our people to their historic Jewish homeland challenges us as a nation to plan a strategy for social and economic renewal that will guarantee our material well-being while at the same time reflect the unique spiritual character of the land and its people. The ancient mystical tradition of Judaism in fact has much to contribute toward inspiring such a strategy. One of its fundamental tenets has always been that the material realm G-d brought into being possesses great spiritual possibilities that must be exploited if the Divine Will behind Creation is to become manifested entirely. Having been repatriated to the land where heaven and earth have maintained a timeless dialogue, we must strive to release the material realm from its overtly secular character and thereby restore the Divine purpose which attaches to all experience, mundane as well as sacred.
We often find in the Bible that before assigning someone a particular mission, G-d addresses him by name, in order to arouse his unique individuality which is so well suited to the task at hand. When the prophetic call is no longer audible to man, it can be inferred from the way in which we are each spiritually touched by G-d’s Creatio–the wonders of nature and the miracles of Divine providence. The unique sensibilities that emerge from our encounter with His world serve to guide us in mediating between heaven and earth and thereby fulfilling our Divine mission.
The peculiar attachment of modern man to the materialist forces at work in Creation beckons us to explore, among other things, the opportunities inherent in the pursuit of capital gain and profit. Although this might repel those who seek in religion a respite from the material obsessions of modern life, our tradition teaches us not to ignore the collective experience of one’s generation but rather to reveal the spark of holiness that animates the historic forces behind it–and nothing characterizes contemporary life as much as the dynamic of economic growth.
Any attempt to legitimize man’s inclination toward material pursuit must first offer some justification for reducing the world and all it contains to a mere assortment of quantifiable objects. Such a rationale can be derived from the quantifier’s tendency to see relationships of volume and number develop between diverse and unrelated objects. The very act of counting itself generates conformity of relationship by reducing all things to an equal value of one. This lowest-common-denominator approach to experience can serve to confirm the centripetal force in Creation that binds all the discrete elements of this world to a single source in Divinity. Such reductionism helps one discover the underlying unity and interconnectedness of all things.
Conversely, one who measures reality in purely qualitative terms can actually lose this awareness. By emphasizing the unique and intangible essence of things, the quality-prone mind can cultivate a pagan-like idealism whereby all elements of Creation are isolated within their own distinct and inviolate individuality. It is the quantitative orientation of economic thinking that accommodates quality within a system that is also concerned with ever-expanding profit for Creation.