Improving Your Ability to See (Dragons)

In our previous blog post, Your Ability to See, we pointed to a primary danger of being overly attached and even proud of carefully cultivated perspectives. You become blinded by your pride, and none of us are immune to this danger. By way of analogy, we showed the image of a familiar optical illusion and shared the story of a friend who had to be convinced to broaden his perspective – figuratively and literally – in order to see both sides of that optical illusion.

We invite you to read that blog at your first opportunity if you haven’t already. Now, is it possible to go even deeper, with even clearer vision for even greater perspective? Yes, and we’ll illustrate with another analogy.

Stereograms, like the MagicEye® produced graphic below, are created by using a computer program to encode a three-dimensional gray-scale image within a complicated two-dimensional pattern. Viewing a stereogram requires depth perception and can be easy if one doesn’t try to force, or refuse to see, the gray-scale image that lies within the pattern. Most people can see the image by allowing their eyes to relax on a point in the center and just behind the pattern’s surface.

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Within this stereogram is the gray-scale image of the knight and dragon shown below. Before moving on, look into that stereogram and see this knight and dragon for yourself, don’t just take our word for it. If at first you don’t succeed in seeing any image, relax your vision. You don’t have to search for this image, just allow it to emerge and it will. Stick with it until you, too, see the 3D image of the knight and dragon just below the surface of the pattern. And please don’t tell yourself you can’t do it (unless you truly don’t have depth perception, in which case we’re good with you taking our word together with the proof of the knight-dragon image below).

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In the previous blog post and with its analogy of the optical illusion we asked, “How do you view America’s version of capitalism?” We pressed by asking whether you’re locked into seeing only the benefits or only the evils of America’s version of capitalism. We pressed further by encouraging you to consider additional perspectives that point the way to a more profitable and ethical version of capitalism. We pick that conversation back up now with showing, by way of analogy with this stereogram, one of our perceptions of America’s version of capitalism.

When we at look at capitalism overall, we, too, see great complexity, like the pattern of the stereogram stretched around and covering our world. (No analogy is perfect, we know, but stay with us as this one is accurate enough.) Just below the surface of this complexity are all the concepts, theories, ethics, rules, operations, and outcomes that create and support the complexity we all see and live within.

When we search this complexity for the ethics that support America’s version of capitalism, there emerges the image of the dragon. Now, we know the tropes and bad raps dragons get. There are friendly and helpful dragons, like Elliott - Pete’s Dragon and Falkor the Luck Dragon, but the ethics dragon that emerges from America’s form of capitalism is every bit as evil and destructive as any enemy dragon possible. We’ve given it the name ‘Plantation Economics’ because that’s a fitting name for such an evil and destructive ethic. At its core and how it plays out, this dragon destructively exploits people and natural resources usually with the excuse of maximizing profit. Just as we encouraged you not to take our word for it, but to see the knight-dragon image for yourself, we encourage you to think about and see where this dragon lives in your life.

Searching just below the surface of this complexity for a way to defeat the dragon of Plantation Economics, there emerges the image of the knight. Now, we also know the tropes and bad raps knights get, but this knight is thoughtfully honorable and caring. Otherwise, our knight’s characteristics are inconsequential; any age, gender, race, ethnicity, education level, or position of authority will do. Our knight is anyone and everyone. Our knight is you and me, us and them, we and they. We’ve given our knight the name ‘Partnership Economics’ because that’s a fitting name for an ethic of mutuality capable of retraining a dragon that’s likewise yours, mine, and ours, and that’s devouring us.

Again, we’re quick to acknowledge no analogy is perfect, but this one is accurate enough to simply illustrate a complex issue and dangerous threat. We encourage you to reconsider the ethics you may take for granted regarding capitalism – the ethics that we’ve been taught and have created America’s version of capitalism. Is business really a dog-eat-dog venture? Does competition really mean kill or be killed? Do you really have to sacrifice everything (integrity, honesty, relationships, peace, the list is endless … ) at the altar of maximizing profit? If you’re receptive to a more profitable and ethical version of capitalism, we invite you to join us in learning about and making the transformative move to Partnership Economics and a better capitalism.

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