Consciousness, Unconsciousness and Leadership

I’m experiencing a deep sense of sadness as I reflect on an event at the recent G8 summit meeting in Japan in July, 2008. The event was a six-course lunch followed by an eight-course dinner where the agenda was – hang on to your hat, and take a deep breath – famine and the global food crisis.

First, some details:

路Participants were served 24 different dishes during their first day at the summit – just hours after urging the world to reduce the “unnecessary demand” for food, and calling on families to cut back on their wasteful food use.
路The dinner consisted of 18 dishes in eight courses – including caviar, smoked salmon, Kyoto beef and a “G8 fantasy dessert”.
路The banquet was accompanied by five different wines from around the world,Understanding Seduction including champagne.
路African leaders – including the leaders of Ethiopia, Tanzania and Senegal, who had taken part in talks during the day – were not invited to the function.
路The dinner came just hours after a ‘working lunch’ consisting of six courses.

The lunch/dinner misstep is a metaphor for the unconscious, hypocritical and insensitive behavior many leaders and managers manifest when they espouse values that purportedly support the well-being of their organizations and then engage in the sort of excesses and unethical behavior that only undermines their integrity, respectability and credibility.

Betrayal and the corporate world of today.

Betrayal and mistrust are rampant in the corporate world today. Take, for example, corporate bosses who paint a rosy picture of the future, then show thousands of workers to the door, then pile work on the unfortunate individuals who remain. Or those who urge employees to take care of their health, then denigrate them for using the gym on ‘company time’ while expecting them to work 70-hour weeks, including weekends. Then there are those leaders who drive their organizations into the ground financially and walk away with huge bonuses and severance packages for doing so – while their employees walk away with nothing.

These and many other examples of daily betrayal are creating a pervasive atmosphere of mistrust in the workplace.

The excessive spending and lavish consumption of the G8 participants points to the difference between consciousness and unconsciousness when it comes to living life by taking the high road, to living life by following one’s inner moral compass and to living life by serving others.

Consciousness and unconsciousness defined

There are four basic levels of consciousness:

路Not conscious (instinctual, ego-driven) – The behavior of the G8 leaders is simply being unconscious – allowing their lower-level, ego-driven, base, and selfish desires to drive, completely unaware of the consequences and the impact on greater good’ of the community.
路Subconscious -habitual, robotic, reactive.
路Conscious – aware, intelligent, conceptual, reflective
路Superconscious – (intuitive, guiding, truthful, loving, universal

It’s not about contempt for others. It’s about being conscious! Awake! Aware!

The behavior of the G8 folks is one of being unconscious – allowing one’s lower-level, ego-driven, base, instinctual, selfish and blind desires to have free reign, completely unaware of the consequences and the impact on the “larger good” of the community, of humanity.

It’s not about arrogance. It’s not about greed. It’s not about politics. It’s not about contempt for others.

It’s about being conscious! Awake! Aware! It’s about the fact that no one – NO ONE – said, “Wait a minute! What are we doing here? Something doesn’t feel right to me.” No one!