“The old world is dying, the new world is slow in appearing, and in this half-light the monsters appear”.
Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937)
We are living in a period that may correspond to this quote. Our historical World is resisting, despite the awareness of the finiteness of our resources and the global warming induced by our increasing activity. At the same time we are struggling to conceive a new World that would allow us to survive.
Between the two, if we are not careful, there is a risk of “Monsters”, violent, maladjusted Worlds, as evidenced by wars that we would not have believed possible two years ago. Today, for the first time in human history, we risk finding ourselves in exile from our own World, which has become unliveable.
On its own modest scale, this is what P-VAL is all about in its “Better World” approach. Founded in 1994, P-VAL has positioned itself since 2008 on the creation of a World to which people want to belong. Until now we have done this for our clients: you want an Agile World? Perfect! A World of B2B growth? Let’s go ! a Low-cost World ? Let’s go ! …
Today we want to go beyond this approach by guiding our clients towards a Better World.
To clarify what a Better World means, we invite our consultants and clients, friends and relations to philosophical workshops to open up the field of reflection.
We share here the main points of the workshop held on 27 September.
A Better World is a World that aims to institute harmony between disparate elements: the world (kosmos in Greek), is a harmonious arrangement, which is opposed to chaos (khâos in Greek). No matter how hard we try to harmonise, increasing chaos is inevitable, according to the principle of entropy (increasing disorder). So there is no perfect, unchanging World, but we can try to do the best we can, without forgetting that chaos is at work, creating more and more uncertainties: for example, the price of oil is less and less predictable.
To find harmony, our World needs limits. Any community inhabiting a common World must therefore define its own limits and ends.
Rousseau invites us to think of community from the point of view of self-love, which every human being feels. The community expands in concentric circles through shared experiences, rules and affects. The wider the circle, the more the affective and regulated links that unite us with others risk becoming distended, abstract, disembodied. Can we think of affective and regulated relationships on a cosmopolitical scale? How can we articulate the local and the global, in terms of affects and rules in common?
Machiavelli highlights that the common good can be achieved on the condition that plural (sometimes antagonistic) interests express and limit each other. The confrontation of different positions can give rise to a common goal, which gives direction to a common World.
From this framework of thought, we can think of two questions in our transformation towards Better Worlds:
1. How far should we extend the common World, knowing that it could dissolve if we extend it too far? A department of the company, a hierarchical level, the whole company, some customers, all customers, the whole ecosystem? It would be advisable to think of different forms of participation that would allow members of the World to share affects and rules in common, while avoiding the danger, pointed out by Rousseau, of a logic of representation. This logic would lead everyone to seek to distinguish themselves from their rivals: the common World would run the risk of dissolving into isolated factions.
2. How far should we organise our energies around a common goal? A common project should be found, which is not reduced to the expression of a few common values, and which can be contested and amended. The risk to be avoided, according to Machiavelli, is that of a disappearance of the common interest under the effect of flattery and corruption.
As an opening to our next workshop, we can ask ourselves, like Socrates, which Worlds deserve to last and to be shared in common:
Are all Worlds the same? The first quality of a Better World is undoubtedly to be a World that is the least unjust, i.e. the least destructive, possible. Perhaps we should seek to be a fairer World, before aiming to be a more common or more sustainable World?