Synesis and politics

Synesis is twofold: 1) seeing something coherently as together, and 2) seeing together with others in shared vison.

Collectivists neglect the former, and individualists neglect the later.


(Bill) Clinton Democrats and Rockwell Libertarians tend toward individualism.

Rove Republicans and Objectivist Libertarians tend toward collectivism.

Obama Democrats appear to be transcending individualism and collectivism and are moving toward an ideal of community that overcomes the apparent opposition between individual and collective. It is not clear if Obama’s methods will successfully actualize the ideal, but the establishment of the vision is itself a significant accomplishment.


Business also seems to want to approach genuine community. The slowly dawning recognition that brand does not have to be a deception or manipulation but at its best is a true self-presentation of a company community to the larger commercial community is a major step forward.


It is true that business has been inhumanly coercive to employees, manipulative to customers, and predominantly greedy in its dealings.

That does not mean business cannot be humanized and redeemed. Through brand, business is learning to take a constructive place in culture.


Imagine a world where all businesses are as genuine as Apple.


American socialism opposed business and lost. Where did all the would-be socialists go? Many are business leaders.

4 thoughts on “Synesis and politics

  1. I was wondering where the statements about ‘business approaching community’ idea stemmed from.

  2. It has come from a combination of direct observations of company cultures over the course of 15 years working as a user experience consultant, conversing with and reading others in my field and watching the evolution of thought on brand. What I am seeing is an increase in awareness of brand as the expression of a kind of truth (as opposed to pure artifice), as well as interest in organically emergent cultures (organizational culture, as opposed to the prescribed top-down “corporate culture” concept that was in vogue in the 90s). I see the two as connected. Then there’s the increasing prominence of the issue of sustainability, which has developed beyond environmentalism to a much larger sphere of social responsibility, which I’ve seen extended even to include social responsibility to employees. Maybe I’m just stupid or sentimental, when a company brags to its shareholders how good it is to its employees, that’s encouraging even if it’s all bullshit – or maybe especially if it is bullshit. They’re feeling a kind of cultural pressure that was not so strong a decade ago, and that pressure is a sort of moral scaffolding capable of effecting authentic change.

  3. Very interesting. From my limited view I’ve seen some that are cutting edge, we are the first and the best at being a ‘good’ company view, and others that are reluctant to get on board but those also seem the slowest to profit.

  4. You’re right: Business does seem to be flirting with community as a new revenue frontier. Genuine community? Not so sure about that. But why does business seem to be suddenly taken with community? Quite simply because community could be good for business. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. Sincerity, like so many other commodities today, is empty and expedient, and so is Big Business’ current interest in community. It too shall pass. Okay, that’s a bit harsh, but look at their track record. Their championing of customer service and rights sprung from expedient roots, but we’d have to concede that customers enjoy better service today than 30 years ago. Customer service was a differentiator and it has proved good for business. But make no mistake, it’s existence is sustained by pragmatism not principle. Witness Comcast, and the airlines, and hospitals.

    With enough exposure to fostering community within and among their employees, customers, and partners, can for-profit enterprises develop a genuine appreciation for and practice of social responsibility? It’s possible, but oh so unlikely. Could Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle exchange their hard-fought geopolitic principles for Bono’s brand of social investment? It’s possible. Let’s not romanticize idealism to the detriment of personal and corporate accountability. Isn’t it Rudy’s Law that recognizes the depressing relationship between soul and size. Goes like this: Man is governed by self-interest. (Yes, he’s capable of acting outside of that interest.) The awareness of and reliance on one’s soul (individual or corporate) recedes in inverse proportion and rate to the a.) size of the collection of individual souls; b.) the existence and influence of principles on the growth and success of said souls; and c.) External accountability and continuous realignment to said principles. Essentially, the more souls you concatenate toward an end, the more likely it is that the assault on the individual souls–the container of principles–will result in the creation of a new and soulless collective “soul” to replace the individual souls. So does a multinational conglomerate of 100,000 employees have less soul than a Mom&Pop of 10? Not necessarily. Soul atrophy knows no border. Acting without principle an individual can and will create modal souls and contextual principles to guide him.

    How do we reconcile Apple and the few like it with Rudy’s Law? Apple is an anomaly of sorts. It does seem to act from a core set of principles. It’s brand appears pithy and genuine. Does the same apply to its corporate culture, its philanthropy, its regard of its employees? Who knows. The better question is, has it been tested?

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