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Constant emails, adversarial television, fear of running out of money, not being able to protect the ones I love, constant inner mental criticism is noise we live with.  Meditation, prayer, deep breathing, friendship, genuine intimacy, safety, consuming hobbies can make the noise go away and create an Island of Sanity — a mini Overview Effect. In the grip of corporate, government, and most any institutional or fundamentalist culture, there’s little silence and there are a lot of ‘electric fences’ — beliefs to embrace, thoughts you are paid not to think, and required results, the absence of which threaten your survival.

Bringing the Overview Effect to work, life, and conflict has to involve replacing at least some of the noise with silence, quiet and calm.

Contemplative Concrete Action

A context of Transcendence and Overview Consciousness is necessary for a company, government, or planet that works for most people. A culture that demands or reinforces certainty, identity, force, explanation, transaction and noise is a culture that suppresses or eliminates the possibility of sustainability, the possibility of an environment that’s good for companies and good for people.

Professor Yehezkel Dror writes[4], “All prevailing forms of governance in democracies and non-democracies are increasingly ‘dead ends’…, radical [re]design of governance is required, otherwise increasing social costs, ever threatening failures, even to existence are unavoidable…  At best, markets are well-suited for delivery service functions.  They are not suited for being in charge of and shaping critical future choices.”  His conclusion, stated unequivocally, is that good ideas and new methods will make no difference.  “The changes called for are fully a matter of the mental and moral qualities that distinguish a leader of character.”

Transcendence, Overview Consciousness and high performance rely on the character of leaders who control the most important infrastructures in a system.  Part of me says this vision is ‘pie-in-the-sky.’   Systems are rigged to promote people who require certainty, identity, force, explanation, transaction and noise…, and human nature isn’t trustworthy.  If this is terminally automatic behavior driven by survival and fear, the vision is equally hopeless.

But a better part of me says that the Overview Effect is possible, and it happens when individuals and leaders practice bring curiosity and practice to what they see in front of them. From this place, this character, this ‘curious’ way of being, they are able to: “Bring the Overview Effect Down to Work and Life.”

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