OFFICE HOURS: A DIALOGUE
One act play that is part of a marketing education. We never understand anything without knowing the story from which it is derived. We may find value but not understanding outside of our own story.
WE ALL LIVE OUR LIVES THROUGH STORIES. EVERYTHING IS THE APPLICATION OF A NONLINEAR OR LINEAR ALPHA AND OMEGA ASSEMBLED STORY.
Office Hours: A Dialogue One Act Marketing Play
Cynthia Haym & David Morris
Cover by Cathy Stock Editing by Christine Stevens Layout and Design by Cynthia Haym
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Printed in the United States of America
The unexamined life is not worth living.
To TheExamined Life
The curriculum that now dominates colleges in the United States has very little transfer to our daily lives. This has occurred for several reasons. Educators have separated their disciplines to such extremes that it has become impossible for them to reconnect their work into a broader understanding. What has developed is an assembly-line model of education. This model of education makes it easier for societies to be controlled. The goal of education, however, should be to allow students to develop individually as human beings. How will students accomplish this on the assembly line, where there is no space nor time for inquiries that lie outside the realm of each specialization? To achieve a broader understanding, students need time and space to wander across disciplines.
You may reproduce this dialogue, but please let us know. Teachers are encouraged to use this dialogue in their classes.
C. Haym, D. Morris
Dr. Leo A marketing professor
Addie One of Dr Leos students
Dr. Leo, a marketing professor and author of many works advocating a unitary philosophy, is known at his school for his dedication to students and to their education. Education, to Dr. Leo, means more than just directing students through a specialized textbook. According to him, the separation into specializations creates true obstacles to education. His view is that students should be exposed to all kinds of subjects no matter what fields of specialization they follow. For example, he sees that businesses are run according to philosophies and so he emphasizes the importance of learning the different philosophies in order to achieve success in business. He understands religion and philosophy as fundamental sources of explanations for human behavior and, therefore, advocates that marketing students should learn about many religions and philosophies. In his view, education's role is to enrich the students' minds to help them develop their own ideas.
As the curtain rises, we see him sitting behind his desk ready to welcome Addie, one of his students, into his office. Addie has been studying marketing with Dr. Leo for several semesters. His unitary approach to teaching and her curiosity lead to discussions that make office hours a valuable part of both their educations.
Scene: A medium-size school office furnished with two comfortable chairs on opposite sides of a large desk. Around the white painted walls are three bookshelves piled with books. The desk is cluttered with papers, books, and manuscripts . On the corner of the desk is a black and gold lamp. The office is embellished by a great variety of small statues and pictures representative of Eastern religions. Among those statues are Buddha, Ganesa (the elephant-headed Hindu god of good fortune), Krishna, and others significant Hindu figures. In a corner of the room, next to the desk, is a computer. Naked trees are visible through the big window in back of the desk.
The curtain rises as Addie steps into Dr. Leos office holding a large leather school bag and a small notebook. Dr. Leo is seated behind his desk wearing a navy blue blazer over his white wool college sweater.
ADDIE: How are you? (She hangs her brown winter coat on the empty chair.)
LEO: Good. Very good, thank you. I got this book last night from couple of Jehovah's Witnesses.
ADDIE: Did they come to your house?
LEO: Yes. They said they had a book that went over all the different religions; and it's true. Look at it (passing her the book.) Theres Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Shinto, Judaism, and tribal religions. I was reading it last night after class, and its very interesting. Its written in a simple way, too. I was thinking that maybe they would give me hundreds of these books and I would give them out to my students.
ADDIE: You think its important for students to learn about the different religions no matter what field they're in, don't you?
LEO: You know I do. I believe cultures are highly influenced by religions and that its important to teach students about those influences.
ADDIE: So is their religion about putting all other religions together?
LEO: No, no (with a smile). I don't know why they put all of them together. I think because they go around and try to get people to come to their belief system. And I think one of the ideas is that they have to know something about the other persons beliefs . . . (the phone rings and Leo picks it up) . . . Dr. Leo, may I help you? Im sorry, Kurt is not here today. I can give you his home number (as he looks through his piles). Yes, that's me, he shares my office with me. (He continues searching for the phone number.) Hang on, let me get the secretary. Anne, I've got someone on the line who needs Kurt Dolphins phone number. I've got it, I just cant find it anywhere. Would you give it to her? All right. Thanks. OK. Bye now. (As he hangs up the phone, he looks at Addie, who is still looking at that book.) Yes. That's a very interesting book, isn't it?
ADDIE: It is . . . but what's the idea of this religion, though?
LEO: They're a Christian religion. They . . . I am going to tell you what I know about it, which is not that much. They believe in strict interpretation of the Bible . . . believe that the kingdom of God is coming and that they are members of the kingdom of God . . . not of any specific nation . . . so they wont serve in the armed forces . . . they will pay taxes and be good citizens, but they wont declare allegiance to a nation. And they go around trying to convert people to their religion, so they go from door to door . . . its part of their philosophy.
ADDIE: So are they saying that when you convert you will be part of that kingdom of God?
LEO: I think so, Addie. I think that's what they're saying. They probably have a set of rules they believe they'd follow in that kingdom and they're trying to do it now . . . that's my guess. Anyway, I think this is a very interesting book . . . I am going to study it.
ADDIE: Well, its funny Dr. Leo, because its just what you wanted to have all the religions together explained in one single book.
LEO: Exactly. Exactly. Id assume its easier for them to convert people from all religions if they understand them . . . the basic idea of marketing know yourself, know your competition.
LEO: Yes, this is actually a well-thought-out book.
ADDIE: Id agree. Do you remember that symbol I was trying to create? The one that incorporates all the different religions? Well, Ive come up with a drawing of one. Would you like to see it?
LEO: Oh, yes, sure. (He takes her notebook to look at the symbol.) Yes, I see it. Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism . . . and what about the rainbow?
ADDIE: The idea of the rainbow actually came from Kelly. She thought it encompasses all spectrums of life.
LEO: That's a nice idea.
ADDIE: I thought so too.
LEO: Very good. I don't think you're there yet, but its interesting. I think it would be fascinating to actually come up with a universal religious symbol.
ADDIE: I don't know if Id really want to.
LEO: Why not?
ADDIE: Well, I don't want to provoke anyone. This is a way of thinking that helps me, personally, to be . . .
LEO: You mean . . . to be more universal?
ADDIE: Yes, but I wouldn't want to provoke others.
LEO: I don't know. If I came up with a good universal symbol, Id try to get it out there . . . myself . . . personality-wise.
ADDIE: How? By just wearing it?
LEO: Could be.
ADDIE: That I would do, too.
LEO: Or by putting it on a cover of a book or something.
ADDIE: Oh, that I wouldn't.
LEO: You wouldn't put your symbol on a cover of a book? No?
ADDIE: Not today . . . but who knows? That's one of the differences between us. There are a lot of things that you do already that I don't do.
LEO: Yes, sure. I am older though. I don't want to say wiser, because that's not true . . . but older . . . I don't know, maybe were just different personalities. Here, this is for you (he hands her a black sweatshirt imprinted with the schools insignia).
ADDIE: (She gladly takes the sweatshirt and holds it up to see it before she puts it away in her bag.) How nice. Thank you.
LEO: This is from that alumni who gave my radio show the money to buy 168 university sweatshirts to give them away as a means to bring new students to the school. I gave 50 to the Boys Scouts in my town and 30 to the eighth-grade football team and I've been checking, and the kids are wearing them around town. Id like to see over the years how many people from town will come to the university. I gave them to the younger ones so they'd have a chance to wear them over the years. The eighth-graders are still probably open to the decision of which college they'd want to attend. Let me know of any group of people in your town who you think might get interested in our school. Especially the younger ones.
ADDIE: That makes me think of something that I read in one of your books . . . about McDougla's giving out plastic razors to young people. You said you wondered why they were doing it until you figured out that it was to prepare the young to buy that brand of razors when they get older. They were marketing the future generation.
LEO: That's the same idea. And that was years ago. You have a good memory, Addie.
ADDIE: Well, I just remember reading it in your book. (She sneezes.) Sorry.
LEO: Bless you.
ADDIE: (She picks up a small bronze statue of a lion from his desk to look at it.) That's a nice lion.
LEO: I got that at the Lions Club one time when I was invited to give a speech. I put it here because it makes me think of my warrior theory: The lion is going to come down this path. You stand to the side, and I will stand in the path. When the lion jumps to kill me, you throw the spear and kill the lion. At that point, I don't want to hear you say that you don't know how to do it or that you will throw the spear at me. I will then have to handle both your spear and the lion.
ADDIE: I've read that story in your Market Power and Business Strategy book. (She carefully places the statue back at his desk.) Its interesting. It seems to be very important to you that the reader understands this idea.
LEO: Sure. Its the idea that the lion is in the air. The danger of the hunt is always with us. I stress the idea that you need to be prepared for the moment the lion jumps at you. I think it applies to all aspects of our lives. It certainly is vital in business. To assure that you can perform at the moment the lion jumps, all within the group will make certain that you are trained to do the job. Trust is essential for the survival of any group, don't you think?
ADDIE: It is. Even families fall apart when trust is lost. And its also difficult to restore once its lost.
LEO: Well, that's why the idea of the lion is important to me. Because it represents a matter of survival.
ADDIE: I understand.
LEO: Anyway. I was speaking to my wife last night about how some writers have the idea of having their plays played out in the bigger aspects of life, and I was saying why not have life be the play . . . the other way.
ADDIE: Yeah, yeah, why couldn't a life be a play?
LEO: Life be a play. Exactly.
ADDIE: Life is a play, anyway.
LEO: Even when they have talk shows, its choreographed, which annoys me. I realized that I couldn't do that. I would have to say what I wanted to.
ADDIE: Yes, that's why they say that a school radio show like the one you have, Dr. Leo, is actually one of the few places where you can say what you want.
LEO: I actually know people who say they would be unprepared to come to my show because its not choreographed. Many people have become accustomed to the fact that even the answers to interview questions are choreographed.
ADDIE: So that just makes you think about what were getting as an audience. How much less were getting with that. It keeps pushing us further from life.
LEO: Yes, of course. Were getting less and less that's human. It's so much further from life.
ADDIE: There must be a reason for that, though.
LEO: Yes, control. I think control is the issue.
ADDIE: Control is one. But also . . .
LEO: Risk. I think when money is at stake, people don't take the risk of just kind of doing it.
ADDIE: Time also. If you can know who your audience is, you gain a lot of time. Its the idea of standardization. You create a standardized audience.
LEO: It is a form of standardization.
ADDIE: You create a standardized audience. You design the show to use less time to reach the great majority of peoples attention. Its the old way of targeting markets. For those who stay on the extremes and are not interested, it doesn't matter, they already have what they want . . . the center . . . the bulk . . . their meat . . . they already have it. And they can do it by getting people used to a style which causes them to react or think in a certain way . . .
LEO: I agree.
ADDIE: You know . . . it amazes me . . . a lot of people keep watching things on television that they complain about . . . they still watch . . . why?
LEO: I don't know. But its true.
ADDIE: I think its because we've been molded this way.
LEO: You mean molded to just turn on the television?
ADDIE: Yes. Its the same thing with the newspaper. We have no choice. They're there. Or we do have a choice but don't see it. Its hard to see it. Its the idea of keeping our minds occupied with what they want.
LEO: Sure, its controlled thinking. An attempt at controlled thinking.
LEO: I don't know if it works. But I think they've tried probably for thousands of years.
ADDIE: I think it works. It involves the idea of living the life you have in your mind. Remember I told you I've been wondering if its possible to live your life the way its pictured in your mind? Sometimes I wonder if others see their living hours different than the ones they have in their minds. Or is it only me? Because for me it is so different. And I've been wondering if its at all possible to make it the same. To create your own reality.
LEO: I think its like that for everyone else, too. But how do you think those ideas in our minds get created? Do you think its our own creation, or is it societal, or cultural. What do you think?
ADDIE: I've been thinking a lot about that lately. Its the idea of are we creators or creations?
LEO: Yes. Exactly. So what do you think?
ADDIE: I don't know.
LEO: So the ideal is either created for us or we created it ourselves. I think its probably both.
ADDIE: Both . . . I don't know. I've always wondered about that. Like, how much control do we really have over the things that happen to us?
LEO: As the Hindus would say, its all maya. Its all illusion. Were just kind of playing this shadow play, this illusion. And were just moving in this progression of birth, life, death, rebirth toward ultimate understanding. I don't speak for Hindus, but it would be like the idea that my dog would see the house differently than I would see it, or my children would see it, or my wife would see it. But that doesn't mean that one of us is correct. Its all illusion because were all moving in a progression toward . . . samsara . . . this birth, life, death, rebirth . . . to achieve enlightenment, which means oneness with God, I guess. So until we achieve that, its all an illusion, its not real. The only thing that's real is this end product of understanding and being with God. Does that make sense to you?
ADDIE: Yes. Yes.
LEO: So all the other progressions of life are illusions. That's my interpretation.
ADDIE: Yes. If they're illusions, were making them. Then that makes us more of a creator.
LEO: That's right. You're making them based on where you are in that process.
LEO: Whether you're a rock . . . or whether you're a prince . . . or a peasant.
ADDIE: That's why we should respect everything.
LEO: That's right. Its a path. So the bird would evolve into a human and the human would evolve into a superhuman, then gods and goddesses to the infinitum or void. So the point is that Hindus would answer the question of being creators or creations differently than the Christians would.
ADDIE: How would the Christians answer that question?
LEO: (Laughing) I don't know . . . I knew you're going to ask me . . .
ADDIE: You set yourself up for that question.
LEO: Well, I think a Christian would say that its all created by . . .
ADDIE: Oh, a Christian would say that were creations . . .
LEO: . . . that were creations of God and that we would have to try to work toward that creation within our own lives.
ADDIE: So what you were saying before is that you think that there is reality in both, us as creators and us as creations.
LEO: But I think that its all illusion in Christianity, too, in the sense that we cant achieve it but we try to achieve it. But I think the Hindus would see the achievement over many lifetimes where wed try to achieve it in one. (The phone rings.) Dr. Leo, may I help you? Yes, but he's not here . . . Oh . . . OK . . . Ill call him and tell him . . . All right . . . Bye-bye. Its for Kurt. See, what I do is I let him use the office here on the days that he's here. And he has also been a joy to me . . . I like to help him out since, generally, adjuncts are not offered a desk and office in schools where they work. And I think its important to have the space to feel part of the tribe.
ADDIE: Do you think that this is done by design?
LEO: Well, no. I don't think that's thought out.
ADDIE: I think it is by design. That's one of the privileges that a full-time professor has. Its one way to differentiate them. Its the same case for the consultants in a company. They don't get offices. They work wherever there's room for them.
LEO: Speaking about consultants . . . they called me again to speak at Runs.
ADDIE: How nice. That's great. So they called you to expand on your ideas about subtle marketing?
LEO: It seems. Well see. So what else? What else have you been thinking about lately?
ADDIE: Well, I've been thinking about this idea that I was telling you before. How do we get things out of our minds and turn them into . . .
LEO: Into what? Into reality?
ADDIE: Yes, into a more concrete field.
LEO: How do we take the life that's within ourselves and make it part of the life that's outside ourselves? Is that what you're saying?
ADDIE: Yes. How do we turn an abstract idea into its concrete form? You said to me before that a lot of that depends on how you decide to spend your time. You said that about writing. You told me that, in your case, the more time you spend writing, the more you see life outside yourself closer to the way life is inside yourself.
LEO: Yes, that's right.
ADDIE: You said the more time you spend doing that, the closer your life becomes . . . becomes . . .
ADDIE: Yes. That. I thought that was a great thought. So, now, if we speak about the media in general, as we were discussing earlier, or the way we live our lives . . . the more time we spend with the media, the further away we get from our own internal perceptions of life.
LEO: How so?
ADDIE: Think of it. Were leaving much less space in our minds to develop our own thoughts like that . . . and this is how they gain control.
LEO: Of course, you could argue that's how some want to spend their time, say like watching football games or . . .
ADDIE: Of course, that's how they want to . . . that's why they are doing it. No one is forcing them to do it. But its an escape in a way. It is an escape.
LEO: Escape from what, though? I mean, because the person who wants to watch the football games day and night, would say, This is what I want to do, I am not escaping. I mean, could it be the football games would be as much of an escape for them as writing a book is for me?
ADDIE: (Silent deep breath)
LEO: Hmm, wouldn't it be as much of an escape? The only difference is that I decide about the books format, content, and all that . . . in other words, the game wasn't set up for me.
ADDIE: It depends. See, I think it all depends on how you do the thing. If theyre watching the football game and find the answers for their questions in that football game then it will work that way . . .
LEO: Answers to life, you mean?
ADDIE: To questions, right? I think the issue here is questioning oneself, and then if you find the answers while you're watching the football game, then the football game works for you. But if you're just using the football game to refrain yourself from questioning, then I think it doesn't work. The fact is that questions exist.
LEO: Life questions, you're saying.
ADDIE: Sure. So if you're using those things to avoid the questions, then it doesn't work but anything that you use to help you answer the questions, works.
LEO: So, it doesn't matter what it is, then . . .
ADDIE: So, I think the writing in your case helps you answer a lot of questions, and then from those answers you get more and more questions.
LEO: For what purpose . . . that's just life . . . that would be the thing?
ADDIE: Well, just because we know so little, don't we?
LEO: So, were constantly questioning.
ADDIE: But the thing is that in my life I've encountered so many people that didn't show any interest in questioning life. It seems to me they just wanted to . . .
LEO: They wanted answers.
ADDIE: No, they didn't even want the questions. As if they didn't care one way or another. They just wanted to follow what they learned.
LEO: Aren't there different religions that just set it up: Here are the answers.
ADDIE: Yes, but those are not the only questions. What did you call those who are just following a belief without necessarily understanding it?
LEO: You mean, functionaries . . . the idea that they don't actually have an understanding of their own. They take others understanding and . . . well, most people are functionaries. Don't you think even marketing professors are functionaries? Carpenters are functionaries . . .
ADDIE: Yes. We all are.
LEO: Its hard to break out of the functionary role. We keep doing it the same way . . .
ADDIE: Its very hard. If we think even further about it, we can even say that we are all functionaries in the sense that we don't understand the life we live. Think of it, were born into this world, we learn a bunch of things that we have to do in order to survive, but we have no idea why we want to live. So think of it, maybe someone at the beginning of the history of the world knew why we have to strive for life and taught the survival tasks that are necessary to some followers. The followers without necessarily understanding why they had to do those tasks and passed them to the next generation . . . and that new generation to yet another one . . . and so forth . . . until today. My point is that in that respect we are all functionaries. Were just executing a function of survival without even knowing or understanding why we do it. As you say, its not thought out. We don't do it because of our own understanding, but because of the originator of the world understanding.
LEO: That's interesting.
ADDIE: So, I think that if you can apply the idea of achieving your own understanding to religion, then you can also apply the same concept to life and think through your own understanding of why we ought to live. Its the same thing.
LEO: (Long pause). There are religions that intrinsically view that you're supposed to create your own life . . . like Buddhism. They believe in rethinking everything rather than just taking what has been laid out for them. But from what you're saying, even if we teach that, it would still not mean that we understand it . . . its the same thing anyway . . .
ADDIE: Yeah, but wasn't it Socrates who said that the unexamined life is not worth living?
ADDIE: So I think what he meant, if I may say so, is that it really isn't worth it for us to just live our lives as functionaries. We need to attentively examine life in order to get closer to any original truth.
LEO: Original truth? What do you mean by that?
ADDIE: I mean, the reason why we live. We don't know why we live.
LEO: And do you think that its possible to know why we live?
ADDIE: Well, its possible to examine the question. And that's the point. I think that's the point that Socrates made, isn't it?
LEO: Well, yes. It seems that way.
ADDIE: And its curious, if you think about it, that those who have wanted to examine life have often been given a difficult time by the great majority who surrounded them. Isn't?
LEO: Yes. Are you thinking of hedonists?
ADDIE: At least that's what I understood from the readings you gave me. It seemed that avid pleasure seekers would always counter thinkers.
ADDIE: Do you think that love has anything to do with why we live?
ADDIE: Well, its funny . . . But for a person who's not considered religious I'm starting to sound like a very religious person. Its just that I've been pondering about that question lately. What a strange feeling love is. Love is capable of bringing meaning to peoples lives. And if you think about that, its a pretty odd thing. I mean, just imagine how love affects everything. Love determines behavior. It makes you want to give. Its just incredible what we give to our children, or what we give to our work . . . and to others when we love and the more we love, the more we give. And there's the magic . . . its reversible . . . as you give to others, you give even more to yourself . . . and what is it that you give yourself? You give yourself that very same thing that made you give to begin with . . . love. You feel great affection for yourself for being able to give. Its a circle, like everything else.
ADDIE: To think of it, Shakespeare's works are known for having greatly affected our culture. Its largely because of his works that love marriages became part of our way of living. Now, he pondered a lot about that question of love, didn't he? And he seemed to be always amazed at how love could affect us, foolish mortals, they'd say.
LEO: That's right.
ADDIE: Its quite amazing to think that his inquiry on love about 400 years ago initiated a whole other form of living, isn't it? I guess we can certainly say that Shakespeare examined the question of love. So maybe we cant answer why we live, but we can do a lot by examining the different aspects of life . . . don't you think?
LEO: You're right, Addie. We can do a lot by examining. At least some of us can, as we have seen through history. We can certainly say this external reality that exists that we were talking about before has been largely determined by these examinations that have been done in the past.
ADDIE: I guess if we start looking, well be able to find it all over the place. Adam Smith shaped our whole economy by examining the question of wealth. On that video tape you lent me to watch, they were discussing how the philosophy of Confucius affected the whole economic development of many countries in the East, like Korea, Singapore, and others. Wow!... it just occurred to me, Dr. Leo . . . you're constantly saying we live our lives according to our philosophies. In the book you just finished writing, you compare the philosophy of the East to the philosophy of the West to show how we each run our lives according to those different philosophies. You even mention that arranged marriages are still commonly practiced in the East. I think I am finally seeing what you mean . . . its incredible!
LEO: Do you? Its amazing to realize how much influence philosophy has in our lives, isn't it?
ADDIE: It is.
LEO: I often refer to how philosophy drives marketing and business. In Asian culture, for example, religion plays an active role in all aspects of the persons everyday life. In Japan, the addition of a new machine in a factory is blessed by a Shinto priest to assure its performance.
LEO: Yes. Religion is not separated from the daily life of society. Spiritual individuals are consulted about where to locate a new business, who to hire, where to build a new house, and what couples would make a good marriage match. They're driven by a different philosophy than we are.
ADDIE: Its amazing. But then, think again . . . if those philosophies determine what we consider our common external reality, then . . . no matter can possibly be more significant to the world than that of examining the different aspects of life. And yet people who choose to do that in their lives encounter so many obstacles. People who want to study philosophy, as an example, which literally means love for wisdom in the sense of widening one's understanding of life,@ enter the field advised that there's no future in it for them. It gives me chills when I think of it. How could that be? Are we blind?. . . trapped by our senses? We should be advised of the opposite. Without philosophy there is no future.
LEO: I totally agree with you. And the problem doesn't lie solely on entering the field of philosophy. Its much deeper than that. What happens with the field of philosophy is just a reflection of how we learned to devalue philosophical questions. Look at what happened with the study of religion in our culture. See, we can better understand this situation were in today by looking at the development of science. Science was born from a very significant human transition. The shift from attempting to know who was the creator of the universe and why the universe created to understanding what happens in nature and how things occur. Science evolved from humanity's desperate need to secure definite answers. In other words, the development of science filled humanity's need for unequivocal answers.
ADDIE: I understand, Dr. Leo. Science examines what happens and how things happen and is known as a representation of the state of knowledge. But science doesn't question that which cant be answered by the scientific methods of observation and experimentation. The knowledge we gain from science can only go as far as our senses do.
LEO: That's right. Then we can see how the scientific approach affects our whole way of living. It seems to me the questions science doesn't attempt to answer are considered unimportant in our society. And this is a problem, you see, because we gain so much from examining those questions. As we were saying before, our lives today are still largely determined by these philosophical and religious questions that were examined thousands of years ago.
ADDIE: So, you think our lack of interest in examining philosophical questions has a lot to do with the development of science?
LEO: Yes, I think it does, but that's not the same as to say its the cause for it, though. Around the middle of the eighteenth century, toward the end of the era of Enlightenment, there was a kind of disillusionment about the use of reason to explain nature. Our own interests lead us to where we are today. Are we victims of our own creations? Do we win and lose at the same time?
ADDIE: Well, then we go back to the question of whether we are creators or creations. And Ill agree with you. I think were both. I think were creations of nature though creators of our own interpretations of it.
LEO: I think so. Now, do you feel bad for those who are uninterested in examining life? . . . to borrow Socrates' term.
ADDIE: No, I don't feel bad for them. I feel bad for those who feel that they have to be deprived of it somehow. I worry for those who fear rejection for exposing personal ideas. I think these are the people who have the most difficult times. There are so many obstacles. I think people shouldn't be discouraged from questioning why things are the way they are, for fear of not being capable of supporting their own conclusions. If you think about it, we encounter very few people in our lives who encourage us to examine life. If I think back in my own life, I can remember my parents telling me to stop questioning so much about things that no one can understand. Their main concern was that I could get into trouble by wondering so much. But its not like I could help it, do you understand?
LEO: I do understand, Addie. I told you a thousand times that I've always felt alone as an examiner.
ADDIE: There's so much to be gained by sharing . . .
LEO: Yes, it's true.
ADDIE: Because it goes back to the idea of questioning. The exchange of ideas is essential to the understanding process. It makes us raise questions that we wouldn't otherwise. Another thing is, I think it helps us to keep our balance. Wasn't it also Socrates who referred to the importance of dialogues in the process of unraveling one's thoughts and truths?
LEO: We can certainly say that great emphasis was put on dialogues at that time. But, if we think of obstacles, aren't they part of the challenge? I mean, when you are a parent, or a spouse, or a member of a community and family, you have to give up parts of yourself. Don't you think we have to give up some parts of our own lives for the lives of the other ones? Don't you think so?
ADDIE: Yes . . . but maybe all these different obstacles are a representation of one and the same obstacle. Do you understand what I'm saying? Maybe they're just the many parts of one huge obstacle. And that obstacle has to do with our poor interpretation of things. We go on and on, having no idea of what we are doing. And when we want to stop to think about it, many times we get punished by society. Maybe all these obstacles could somehow be dissipated in our views as we widen our understanding of this one huge obstacle: the obstacle to being.
LEO: Yes, but how would this understanding help us in giving from ourselves to the benefit of society?
ADDIE: Well, the thing is to give from ourselves but not to give up ourselves. And in order to give from ourselves, we have to know ourselves, and the more we get to know ourselves, the more we become capable of giving from ourselves to the benefit of society. Metaphorically speaking, if we would totally give up ourselves to others, all we would be really adding is mass, don't you think? And wouldn't you also think that its probably easier for us to give up ourselves than to find what we are capable of giving from ourselves?
LEO: It's never easy to search.
ADDIE: I think the main obstacle to giving that we encounter is fear. Fear will lead us to act selfishly. What happens when we fear? We constantly think of ourselves . . . I need shelter . . . I need food . . . I need this and that. So, we cant really give for the benefit of society if we are . . .
ADDIE: And what are we afraid of? Obstacles.
LEO: But how do we get over that fear, then?
ADDIE: I think the only way to get over that fear is by facing the obstacles.
LEO: Facing the obstacles?
ADDIE: See, if we feel like we are stuck somewhere and we dont know how to get out, the only thing we can do is search for the exit. Then, as we search, we encounter obstacles. We need to face them if we want to get out, otherwise we are just going to sit there allowing our lives to be absorbed by fear.
ADDIE: In any case, isn't it true that under certain circumstances we will face our worst fears? Like, for instance, people who are extremely afraid of heights will still jump from a building when threatened by a fire inside it. I mean, I know this is an extreme case, but don't you think that when we see death in front of us, we are suddenly able to overcome any fear that we have in order to keep our lives?
LEO: So are you saying that bigger fears allow us to overcome smaller fears?
ADDIE: I'm saying deep inside us we are afraid of change, not of the unknown. In jumping were facing the unknown but in staying were confronting change. Did you ever notice how after we go through a major exploration of the unknown we can still find ourselves living in the same way, only in a disguised form?
LEO: We all do things to make ourselves think were changing, is that what you're saying?
ADDIE: That's right, but are we really changing? According to a friend of mine, Nina, we don't really change only our perceptions do.
LEO: I see what you're saying. I think this fear of change could be because we associate change with death. A part of us does need to die in order for any change to occur.
ADDIE: Well, yes. The evil part has to die. I think that there's a constant battle going on inside ourselves between the forces of good and evil. We fear what we understand to be evil. The only way the good can thrive is by combating the evil.
LEO: The evil meaning the dark forces . . .
ADDIE: Yeah, controlling our actions. We can never be free that way. We can never live the goodness of life . . . because, really, until we face the evil, the evil is in control of us. I always thought that if I would just ignore the evil, make believe its not there, then I wouldn't have to worry about it. But that's not true because I lived with the fear . . . a tremendous fear since I knew I was just hiding from the evil and that if I wasn't careful enough, it could still get me. Its actually very tiring to live that way. You spend a lot of energy hiding from the evil, and while this is the case, the evil is still controlling your actions. Now I think if I could spend half that energy in combating the evil rather than hiding, at least Id be giving myself a chance to allow the good to blossom.
LEO: But what teaches us to face the evil, though? What gives us . .
ADDIE: We need courage. I'm thinking now . . . Many children's classics have suggested that we first need to kill the evil before we find the goodness we seek. Those stories teach us that to kill the evil we need to find understanding, love, and courage within ourselves.
LEO: Its true. So, is it the external, the internal, or both that teaches us?
ADDIE: I think its both. I think we experience things in our lives that bring us a lot of fear.
LEO: As children . . . because everything is bigger and people are stronger.
ADDIE: Could be . . .
LEO: So are you saying that questioning life could bring out change and change represents our biggest fear?
ADDIE: I think so. And this fear is what keeps us from giving. But in fact its scary to question life, don't you think? How do we actually learn anything? Some would say the best way is by teaching it. How do you teach what you don't know, though?
LEO: I guess we can go back to the idea of the missionaries as being functionaries. Maybe were all missionaries. Were all teachers and this is how we learn. We all have ideas we like to share. What differs is only the level at which we practice. But think of it, don't we attempt to convert our children to the way we see the world? Don't they, on the other hand, also attempt to convert us to the way they see it? Don't we also attempt to convert our friends? I think we manage to influence even our pets attitudes with our views!
ADDIE: I see what you are saying. So then, in the end, were all examiners, functionaries, and missionaries to some extent?
LEO: You can say so. I suppose that wed see ourselves as more one than the other at different times of our lives. But how do you think combating our fears could lead us to a better understanding of ourselves?
ADDIE: As I said, I think fear is our main obstacle. The fear of not being or of not existing. I learned in school that we have fear for protection, that fear is actually an instinct of survival. I think it makes sense. But fear is also an obstacle. Fear should lead us to be cautious but not just to withdraw. Unfortunately, I think it becomes too easy for us to withdraw when were afraid. At least for me it does. And by withdrawing, were keeping ourselves away.
LEO: Away from what?
ADDIE: From whatever it is were withdrawing, including ourselves. I think that's the idea that has been conveyed by the Japanese through the image of the samurai. The idea of facing ones fear. Its the symbolic idea of being at the edge of a precipice and not wanting to let yourself go . . . its dark . . . were afraid of death.
LEO: I see.
ADDIE: To me, this analogy means that what awaits us at the bottom of the precipice cant be as evil as our sensation of anxiety while we anticipate the act of falling down.
LEO: Well, as you know, their warrior concept expressed as bushido is what inspired me to write The Warrior Way. Their philosophy advocates living our lives being prepared to die. Its also a very Buddhist idea . . . its the idea of doing the best we can do each and every instant so that in case we die, our last action would be representative of ourselves as we would want it to be. I did use this idea in business. I don't see why we should separate it. Why shouldn't we conduct business as we conduct our lives? I think we do it anyway.
ADDIE: You mean, you think we conduct business as we conduct our lives?
LEO: Yes. Its just not explicit. But anyway, you were talking about fear. So, do you think death is the ultimate fear? Maybe its death that's the big fear that we all have a hard time facing . . . and these are all the little fears that are just . . .
ADDIE: Well, they're with us because of death, right? We fear what we think could lead us to death.
LEO: And the death doesn't have to be a physical death.
ADDIE: No, that's what I was going to say . . . that . . . I think we may be living death . . . by not facing death.
LEO: Mental death.
LEO: Oh . . . interesting.
ADDIE: We could be living mental death by not facing or understanding death. Maybe we need to understand death in order to understand life. We were discussing earlier about our inner and outer world, remember? Thinking about my own life, I realize that I allow my inner world to come out, but only when I feel safe. When Im alone with my children having a nice time, I see that moment as a reflection of my inner world. Its so beautiful. But unfortunately, in many other situations that doesn't happen. I see myself hiding, looking from a small aperture from within myself, amazed at how different things are out there. Then I see myself making sure I do everything as it seems they would want me to do. I even say the things it seems they would want me to say. And then I feel safe again. But the fear of not being wanted or of not belonging in a common reality is what makes me close and ignore my inner world.
LEO: If we each have our own interpretation of reality, it wouldn't make any sense for us to do that . . . other than controlling our appearances based on what we believe. I mean, its like saying each of us could be a marionette, being controlled by ourselves in this huge theater which is the world. Its funny. Didn't we say before that life is a play? There it goes!
ADDIE: Yes, Dr. Leo, and then I go back to my point about fear. The more we fear, the more we will play our part in the outer world differently from our inner world. The less genuine, the less authentic, the more artificial, the more choreographed, the less human, and also the less risky.
LEO: Just like in the format the media presents to us.
ADDIE: Yes! It even makes sense the media should work that way. Doesn't it? To live our external lives the way we see it in our minds would mean to expose ourselves completely . . . genuinely.
LEO: I wonder if that's possible.
ADDIE: According to the Taoists, our senses keep us from seeing the essential in life. They believe were constantly being eluded by our senses. Perhaps we need to journey beyond the senses . . . to find life .
LEO: I believe that.
ADDIE: Its amazing how you make me think . . . I could go on for hours . . . its incredible. (Looking at her watch) But I have to go now. (She slowly stands up, facing him from across the desk.) Thank you. Im so grateful to you. You taught me to look at all the different philosophies, religions, theories, ideas--and to use them all to better understand life.
LEO: That's the unitary approach Ive always thought in terms of combining all kinds of resources and then simplifying them to achieve a purpose.
ADDIE: You helped me a lot. Just the fact that you listen to me. Do you notice how hard it is to find people that will listen to you? And its so important to listen. How else can human beings develop? Listening contributes to the development of both speaker and listener. Don't you think?
LEO: Absolutely. I've often told you about how much my major teacher, Ron Ally, helped me in developing my own ideas in life. And I believe that's what education is all about. In my view, youd actually need to thank him for what you are getting from me today. (Leo gradually steps to the side of his desk as to accompany her to the door.)
ADDIE: Then Ill thank him, too.
LEO: (He bends over the table to write something on a piece of paper, which he then hands over to her.) Here is his address. Why don't you write him a letter?
ADDIE: Ill be happy to. I believe it was Aristotle's idea that the continuity of the world comes from the fact that things don't all exist at one time. Ill write your teacher a letter with this idea in mind.
LEO: That's great! You'll make him happy.
ADDIE: (She puts on her coat and starts walking to the door.)
LEO: (At the door.) In reality Addie, I came to the conclusion that the only way to help those who helped us in our lives is for us to succeed as humans. I expect great things of you.
Artist Colleen Morris
"Men that do not protect women are dead." DM