10/01/2022 0 Comments
1. All Those Perspectives
“Life is occupied in both perpetuating itself and in surpassing itself; if all it does is maintain itself, then living is only not dying.”
- Simone De Beauvoir
It was a sunny day, warm, not hot like it has been during the last summers. We had taken our easels and colours with us to the beach in Hanko, a picturesque city located in the most southern part of Finland. This year (2007) we were three friends attending a painting course here during vacation.
The brush moved over the small canvas as it used to: No assistance from my brain - there is a direct contact between sight and hand that involves feelings but not thought. Painting is all about very focused playing with my gut feelings, and with colours. I never have a vision for how the painting will look when it’s ready, and therefore it’s very hard to tell when it’s ready (countless canvases have been reused over the years).
The same gut feeling has driven me from the day I started my own business five years ago. Then I couldn’t answer this simple question: Why do you call your company All Those Perspectives? I just knew that life, and my company, would be about working with perspectives. Not truths, common rules or easy answers.
I’ve been putting existential perspectives on leadership for some years now. I’m ready to answer the question.
Because perspectivism (google the word!) helps leaders understand those they work with. It’s the principle that perception and knowledge of things are always bound to the perspective of the observer's interpretation. Easy to agree, but hard to live. But if you can bear that in mind you can stay open to other people’s views. This is the perfect ground for dialogue that leads to wise decision making.
Because Existential philosophy, which is an important perspective in my coaching and training, is a way of creating knowledge about things that are too abstract to be measured. I offer leaders thinking tools, they are often more rare - and more needed - than the oversupply of measurement tools on the market. Thinking tools that go a little bit under the surface are built from different perspectives.
Because in existentialism, as well as in good journalism (I worked in media for 30 years before setting up my own business), questioning dogma (other people’s rules and truths) is essential. This leads to the importance of creating your own rules. For me it led to allowing myself to start this blog. Here three things that drive all my activities come together: reading, writing and painting.
Here also three things that are deeply connected in my worldview will be flowering: Phenomenology. Purna yoga with Heartful meditation. Modern physics.
Yes, life is messy, but we don’t need to clean it up. We need to live it.
There will be many paintings and reflections in this blog that will give you no answers but hopefully questions to ponder on.
Just take some deep breaths and look at my painting. This one is easy to approach, isn’t it? An obvious example of how perspectives transform a reality in three dimensions to a reality in two dimensions. From the point where I stood with my easel this is my interpretation of two tennis courts. Or the space between them, if you chose to focus on that part.
Nobody else could paint it exactly the same way I did. Fortunately. And very existential.
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