In this issue:
1. Reader Comments
2. Miscellaneous Newsbits
3. June Editorial: “The Four Freedoms”
4. Preview: Next Month’s Editorial
5. Quote of the Month – Abraham Lincoln
6. Hot Link of the Month
7. Come blog with me
1. READER COMMENTS
Thanks to Frank Galea from San Francisco, Dorothea Kraemer from Germany and Rick Highsmith from Colorado for their comments on last month’s editorial. Several new subscribers have joined since my recent workshop (see below) on systems thinking which has prompted a new blog topic – The Future of Organizations. Come read only or post comments.
2. MISCELLANEOUS NEWSBITS
Bay Area Residents: Occasions of Interest?
Joe Murphy, a friend and long-time career coach, has asked me to co-lead a one-day workshop with him and George Beckstead (a retired Oylmpian) on finding the career that you’ll love. My part is on passionate engagement. “The Discovery Workshop” is being offered on four dates this Summer, three in a private home in Sonoma on June 18, July 18, August 7, and one in San Francisco on August 25 (see flyer here). Please pass on to anyone you think might have interest.
I am also helping launch a series of free public events with prominent authors / spiritual teachers for the Howard Thurman Forum, at the Fellowship Church for All Peoples in San Francisco which Thurman co-founded as the first interracial, interfaith church in the U.S. Matthew Fox is the first guest on June 17, Fred Alan Wolf: August 19 and Jean Shinoda Bolen: December 2 (see Series flyer).
“Leadership Literacy” Article Published in Leadership Excellence
The May issue of Leadership Excellence magazine included an article of mine entitled “Leadership Literacy” in which I made a case for leaders becoming more aware of discoveries and wisdom from other disciplines outside of business, such as science, biology, psychology, etc. If you would like a PDF file of the entire publication, send me a request by email (John@Renesch.com) and I’ll email it to you…please put “Leadership Excellence article” in the subject line.
Inaugural Systems Thinking Workshop
I recently designed and delivered a systems thinking workshop for the Executive Development program for the business school at the University of West Indies in Trinidad. Jo-Anne Boodoosingh and Makeisha Bahadur had the courage to invite me to work with them for this two-day executive workshop entitled “Recognizing and Curing Systems Dysfunction: How Organizations Behave and Misbehave.” I even included PowerPoint albeit many, many pictures.
The 2007 Shift Report Now Available
The Institute of Noetic Sciences’ new publication, The 2007 Shift Report, which I have mentioned previously is now available to non-members for $10.
3. JUNE EDITORIAL
On January 6, 1941, U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (“FDR”) addressed the 77th Congress with what has become known as “The Four Freedoms” speech. The context for this State of the Union address was a geographically isolated U.S. sitting in the middle of fascist aggression off both shores. Freedom and democracy were under siege all around us. Eleven months later the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor provoked the U.S. declaration of war and we entered World War II.
A few months after this speech and before the U.S. entered the war, these four freedoms were included in the “Atlantic Charter,” a joint declaration entered into by Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the U.K. The Charter was subsequently adapted by the U.N. when it was founded in 1945.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
FDR’s Four Freedoms are worth revisiting in light of the state of the world now, two-thirds of a century later. They offered a vision for a much-improved world and are as inspiring now as they were then. Here they are:
In the future days which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression -everywhere in the world.
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way– everywhere in the world.
The third is freedom from want, which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to
every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants –everywhere in the world.
The fourth is freedom from fear, which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a
point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against
any neighbor –anywhere in the world.
That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation.
That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called “new order” of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the
crash of a bomb.
Roosevelt saw the possibility of these freedoms being realized “in our time and generation.” Cynics may scoff at this vision and
discount it as pure fantasy. After all, the current status of these freedoms offers plenty of evidence for disillusionment. Yet I could
make the same speech today with similar optimism. This vision is still completely possible!
I would suggest one small but significant change in the last part of the excerpt, however. The tyranny that is the enemy is not
necessarily goose-stepping Gestapo but what I wrote about in April, the unfettered human ego.
A world at peace, a world free of fear, is indeed the antithesis of what the egoic mind wants. If I look at how my own ego can run
rampant unless I remain in a state of perpetual consciousness, I can only imagine what fascism collective ego can create if left
Widespread fundamentalism of all types and the ensuing violence, anger and pain it generates is the work of the ego seeking control
(see “Fundamentalism – Symptom of the Great Disconnect”). The egoic mind likes the rank it has been allowed to assume and is far
more comfortable calling the shots than getting along in peaceful co-existence. (see last month’s editorial).
Despite the 66 years that have passed, the kind of world FDR envisioned is still possible! But it will require a team effort. As stated
earlier in that same speech, “The world order which we seek is the cooperation of free countries, working together in a friendly,
He pointed to our roots as a young country. “Since the beginning of our American history we have been engaged in change, in a
perpetual, peaceful revolution, a revolution which goes on steadily, quietly, adjusting itself to changing conditions ….This nation has
placed its destiny in the hands, heads and hearts of its millions of free men and women, and its faith in freedom …Freedom means
the supremacy of human rights everywhere. “
Roosevelt did not say we are placing our destiny in our egos, which only seem to want control and manipulate. He did not say the
Four Freedoms only apply to the U.S. He said “everywhere in the world.” Each Freedom applied to anyone in the world. He said
no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor; he did not add “except us.” He said
“no nation.” He concluded his speech:
To that high concept there can be no end save victory.
Our strength is our unity of purpose.
The victory FDR envisioned in 1941 was the defeat of those who would enslave us with armies and dictatorships. Let the victory
we seek in 2007 be “peaceful revolution” of the Spirit that “goes on steadily, quietly, adjusting itself to changing conditions.” Let
our 21st Century victory be the transcendence of those egoic forces that threaten true freedom and genuine unity of purpose for
all of humankind.
FDR’s words are as inspiring today as they were then. His vision is still a possibility if we can set our egos aside for the benefit of the
whole – not just the U.S. but the whole world; to shape a future for ourselves so “a world founded upon [these] four essential human
freedoms” is realized “in our time and generation.” As he concluded, “Our strength is our unity of purpose.” I would add “as human
beings” (not just Americans).
4. NEXT MONTH’S EDITORIAL: “Ending the Great Leadership Myth”
5. QUOTE OF THE MONTH:
“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.” – Abraham Lincoln
6. HOT LINK OF THE MONTH:
Geodesic Consulting Executive Coaching: founded by executive coach and consultant Joe Murphy who has over twenty years of experience in designing and implementing unique employee involvement approaches to help companies reach their strategic objectives; John also offers mentoring sessions through Geodesic.