Sunday, October 22, 2017

Commentary on Meditations: B6:42-43

We all work together to the same end, some with conscious attention, others without knowing it - just as Heraclitus, I think, says that even people asleep are workers in the factory of all that happens in the world. One person contributes in this way, another in that: and there is room even for the critic who tries to oppose or destroy the production - the world had need for him too. So it remains for you to decide in which category you place yourself. Certainly He who governs the Whole will make good use of you and welcome you into some part of the joint workforce: but just make sure that your part is not that of the cheap and vulgar line in the comedy, as noted by Chrysippus.

Does the sun presume to do the work of the rain-god, or Asclepius that of the goddess of harvest? And what of each of the stars? Is it not that they are different, but work together to the same end?

Marcus reminds himself that we are all working together, whether we intend to or not.  I love that he notes that even the critic plays an important role.  One of the ways people make bad decisions is by groupthink.  Often, groupthink is not a good thing.  When it happens, creativity and discussion die and the decision that is made is not the best.  The VP of the IT shop where I work, encourages active discussion and dissent in his leadership team.  He wants the critic to speak up.  In this way, the decision can be made with all viewpoints considered and hopefully a better one is made.

Another trick I use on myself when I'm dealing with grumpy managers, is to think on this passage.  I tell myself that the manager is simply trying to make the best decisions.  She or he is making me better by being critical.  And when I try to give feedback, I try to give it in a good tone, but I also try my best to be critical and offer up feedback that may be useful.

Regardless of the situation, it is always good to keep in mind we are all working together, even when some people don't know it.

(see also Citadel p. 54, 163)

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