The Eight Critical Questions
“I have written this book for the new wave of emerging entrepreneurs as well as existing business people who are transforming their organisations. For those who, at the same time as wanting to develop a business and make a living, also want to do more to help people and the planet. It’s a vibrant and definite sea change from the way business was always done, when financial profit was a driving force.”
Branson is a force for good and his work is championed by former Irish President and United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson (follow the link).
"Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.” - Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
Whose rules are you following?
Whose rules are we all following? When we start to unwind our complex selves, we realise we are following so many different rules almost as if we have no choice in the matter. We need to review which rules and why. A number of films, books and videos are refrred to in this chapter, and links to some of those can be found below.
Five steps to tyranny
The film 'Five Steps to Tyranny’ shown by the BBC on 19th December 2000 can be watched below. It raised a plethora of debate which still continues to this day.
In a comment in the Guardian on 19th December 2000, Tim Radford wrote; "Five Steps is a politics lesson, conducted by Sheena McDonald and based on a series of academic experiments, some of them so shocking they have never been repeated. In one of the most notorious, a psychologist asked volunteer interrogators to administer increasing electric shocks to a victim - an actor, of course - shrieking and begging for mercy in another room. "Do I have to do this? It hurts him", they would say, and the experimenter would answer "Do it. I will take responsibility." And most of them did it, apparently because a man with a white coat and a calm voice told them to do so. They were, after all, only obeying orders."
The five levels expounded in the film are; Level 1, 'Us' and 'them', level 2, Obey orders, level 3, Dehumanize the enemy, level 4, 'Stand up' or 'stand by', and level 5, Suppress Individuality.
Philip Zimbardo, author of ‘The Lucifer Effect’
who appears in 'Five Steps to Tyranny' gave an excellent talk on TED about his Stanford experiments which can be seen below. He has given several TED talks around this subject. His book raises the following questions;
"How can good people become the perpetrators of evil? How can honest people be induced to behave illegally, and moral people be induced to act immorally? " He examines closely what it is about our human makeup that makes it so easy for us to do bad things.
Religion plays an extraordinary part in the lives of many but it is important to step back and consider religions through history and recognise that they have been heavily manipulated (as some still are) for the purposes of power and control. The messages of the great religious leaders remain an extraordinary example to us all, but it is those who have followed, not the original seers who have done this. I have written more on this subject on my blog at this link.
Jacob is a young American who has surprised the world by having an IQ higher than that of Albert Einstein. It measures 189 on the Wechsler Intelligence scale for Children. However it is not his intelligence that is surprising - there are always going to be children born who are considerably brighter than most. What is most enlightening is that his mother intuitively recognised that what the Special Needs and Education experts were telling her about her son, with the very best intentions, was wrong. Diagnosed with Asperger's at the age of two, they suggested that he would never read and that they would teach him very basic life skills so that he could cope, i.e. getting dressed in the morning.
She knew in her heart this wasn't right. She had the courage to follow her intuition and decided to educate her son at home. She says that rather than forcing him to follow a certain path, she 'followed his interests' and allowed him to develop in his own way. Today at 14, he is studying for a Masters Degree in Quantum Mechanics at University.
Jacob recognises very clearly that his mother's approach to his education was unique and that it gave him the space to develop naturally, unhindered by stereotypical and (in some cases) outdated educational methods. He became aware that it was in the space away from structured learning that he was able to develop his own ideas at his own pace. Interested by this, and whilst researching into the lives of Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, he discovered that it was in the 'spaces' away from systematic learning that they came up with their greatest discoveries. He recognises that it was their break from following the rules and becoming slaves to everyone else's thoughts and guidence that they came up with their own extraordinary theories. Watch the TED talk below to hear Jacob explain this in more detail in his own words. A very interesting treatise from a 13 year old boy.