Getting Unreasonable: The Path To Ultimate Responsibility and Freedom

February 2009

In this issue:
1. Readers’ Comments
2. Newsbits
3. February Editorial: “Getting Unreasonable: The Path to Ultimate Responsibility and Freedom”
4. Preview: Next Month’s Editorial
5. Quote of the Month – Ralph Waldo Emerson
6. Hot Link of the Month
7. Want to Blog?
8. Click and Play of the Month


Thanks to Copthorne Macdonald in Canada and Charles Brass in Australia for your notes this past month. If readers anywhere wish to comment, criticize or question me about anything in the newsletter, email me.


John’s February Blog

This month’s blog is “Moving from Hope to Faith.” Please check it out and post your comments:

New Report Just Released

Americans interested in fairness might want to read this report just out from United for a Fair Economy….it is just over 50 pages and reveals some not-so-well-known statistics.


Many of the problems in the world are due to people acting less than fully consciously. This is not to say that there is a black-and-white, all-or-nothing state of mind that makes one conscious and another unconscious. It is a continuum.

On one end of the continuum we have total unconsciousness, total lack of self awareness, completely reactive, prior conditioning dictating one’s actions. True responsiveness, coming from a place of complete self-agency and responsibility, is impossible given how influential past events have been for the individual. There is no freedom here, being something of a slave to one’s conditioning.

At the other end of the consciousness spectrum is the self-actualized person who is in sync with the universe, aligned with all that is, who responds to external events from a place of total freedom from past influences. The actions of such a person are not reactive but chosen freely. Some call this state “enlightenment.”

This is a state of consciousness in which one is truly able to respond with equanimity, to be “response-able” and not merely reactive. Here a person truly has response ability.

Readers familiar with my writings know my fondness for the George Bernard Shaw quote with which I end many of my keynote talks: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him. The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself. All progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

This “unreasonable man” Shaw speaks of is closer to the self actualized or conscious human being who is more interested in moving humanity forward in its evolutionary path than adapting him/herself to prevailing conditions. Unreasonable people do not have their identities tied up with much of anything external. They are at complete peace with themselves and the world. So they can respond freely without interference from past influences.

British management guru Charles Handy wrote of the “Age of Unreason” back in 1990, recognizing our need to get unreasonable in business almost twenty years ago. Unfortunately his message was seen as interesting, perhaps even motivating, but convention and the existing cultures managed to sustain and major changes didn’t take place.

Being enlightened or self actualized is still a sought-after-state for some of us and-it is that same seeking that moves us along the continuum further away from pure reactivity and ever closer to enlightenment. This requires us to become unreasonable, refusing to conform to convention merely for the sake of fitting in.

As we grow in consciousness and become more self aware, we will start being more responsible for our world. We will make decisions that are based on what’s best for all instead of pre-programmed reactions mostly based on personal survival strategies adopted in childhood. It is a process – for some of us a lifetime one. And, like many processes, it has plenty of surprises, twists and turns, none predictable, all exciting!

As our societies and organizations grow in consciousness and more responsible choices are made every day, the world will begin showing signs of transformation. Then we can have the kind of world many of us know is possible.

[For another take on unreasonableness listen to the interview of John by the Institute of Noetic Sciences – “Beyond Reasonable Leadership”]


4. NEXT MONTH’S EDITORIAL: “The Butterfly Metaphor”


“Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

6. HOT LINK OF THE MONTH (see a complete list of links):

The Neo Declaration of Earth Citizenship is a public resolution where citizens declare their commitment and act in such a way as to transform “transform global issues and thereby themselves for the collective good.” John contributed to the initial draft and has signed it.


My blog – “Exploring the Better Future” – is located at the Global Dialogues Center; a new topic every month; take a look and post your comments. I’d love to hear from some of you subscribers!

8. “CLICK & PLAY” OF THE MONTH: (also see Audio and Videos)

Ocean Robbin’s video of young people in Washington for inauguration

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John Renesch

John is a seasoned businessman-turned-futurist who has published 14 books and hundreds of articles on social and organizational transformation.

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