Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Trade and Spirituality

Commercialism has become notorious among many people nowadays. Poeple have started associating negative conotations with the term "commercial". But is doing trade and being commercial really something bad?

Answer lies in our perception of business. Since ancient world, it is in the basic nature of man to try everything he can to fulfill his needs. Man has been doing trade since ages and we all know that he will continue, because he has to satisfy what he considers as basic need of his life. Here, we all have to agree that trade and business will continue with the existence of man. Should we assign negative connotations with something very basic to human?

If we reflect on this, then there remains only one reason for attaching negative connotations to commercialism: The way business is done is questionable. But, can't we improve it?

A businessman is very central person for a nation. As, he's the one who supplies oil for the machinery of a nation. Concept of collective self should be introduced to businessmen first, so that he can trade for nation rather than himself.

Alas! our corporate businessmen have become selfish and greedy. Exploitation of nation and its resources have become something normal. They can do anything to keep their pockets filled, even depriving someone from his/her life.

When we trade it's obvious that the objective is to earn. Can't we do it in interest of our nation? Isn't there spirituality in such a trade in which interest of collective self is taken into account rather than individual self?

If there is spirituality in serving humanity, then there is spirituality also in business which serves humanity.

23 comments:

Connie L. Nash said...

Immediately, I thought you might want to take a look at YES! magazine which may at least have a few ideas and tends to be quite positive. Right now they are offereing free subscriptions to teachers and special help for students.

(Disclaimer: some items in this magazine may be well-meaning and yet may sound a bit too American or Western with occasional assumptions. (By the way, there's a lot there right now on Iran with photos.)

I love your questions and your approach. I will be watching for all you can teach me about ethics in business because I do agree with you and the older I get I realize that we can do so little without business education of which I have had none. And if we are to be negative about this sustainable area of life - we will hurt our children and our nations the world over.

Thank you for bringing this topic to our attention.

Connie L. Nash said...

Just one example from yesmagazine.org

http://yesmagazine.org/article.asp?id=3511 Why This Crisis May Be Our Best Chance to Build a New Economyby David Korten - Wall Street is bankrupt. Instead of trying to save it, we can build a new economy that puts money and business in the service of people and the planet—not the other way around.

Find other items on Co-Ops and worker-friendly businesses...planetary visions and more...

By the way, I have a hunch that you may have one of your own articles published there someday...?

Rehan Damani said...

Thanks Connie for introducing me to this magzine. Perhaps poeple who can think this way can bring change to the world.

No I didn't have any article published in that magzine. :)

Connie L. Nash said...

I was suggesting you may want to consider writing for that magazine? You may want to check on their requirements first if you are interested?

Ali said...

omg for a moment i thought, its tirade and spiritualism.. :( though its true to some extent.

Rehan Damani said...

Ohh yeah, thanks Connnie. I'll surely see their requirements and consider if I can contribute in this magzine :)

And Ali, I can see disagreement as well as disappointment in your comment. I'm interested in knowing about both of them.

Connie L. Nash said...

Yes, go ahead Ali freely - you have something to say that we need to hear. The discussion will be uselful to us all. :) Thanx for noticing, Rehan.

Ali said...

well, there is no disagreement with what you have said, though what i have been trying to say/imply was the banality with which spiritualism is associated with all and sundry is almost risible.

Marzieh said...

I like the questions raised here. Though I believe the subject is of great importance I don't know if it has been or can be dealt with as it ought to have been.

I hope I'm not taking a pessimistic view when I say that a successful business in today's world which is built on total honesty and spirituality would be very difficult, if not impossible, to maintain. Though I hope I can be proven wrong!

Ali said...

i totally agree.. business in its crude form is making profit, and for that specific purpose one has to resort to cheap means.

Connie L. Nash said...

Well, people do need to survive - so some business folk can succeed with a small enterprise - at least...and then some here may want to run a nonprofit to both survive and also provide for the survival of others also if at all possible.

Small is often beautiful while big is often harder in business but I suppose some big groups can stay wholesome.

As Marzieh has said - total honesty and spirituality would be difficult to maintain yet what a high goal for any activity!

I'm needing to improve my own very limited business skills for sake of my children - so I'm learning a little from each of you here.

Rehan Damani said...

Business ethics are taught in almost every profession related to business. But these ethics are less followed in real world. Business people have a sense of ethics in business for sure, but the problem is that they see no connection between theories and real world. Being real or practical in business means to skip all ethics for earning more.

I know the baseline of every business is profit. I'm not against earning profit. But I just don't get the idea of exploiting people for profits. This can only happen when a businessman is selfish. What if a businessman understands the idea of Simurgh (Collective self)? Perhaps, then being "selfish" will also mean something different.

Rehan Damani said...

By the way, Thanks for your comments Ali, Connie and Marzeih !

Connie L. Nash said...

Rehan - what are you doing and will you do for life to follow the Simurgh ideals of the Collective Self? Do you have any favorite excerpts of this teaching to share with me and other readers?

Rehan Damani said...

Yes, we have writings of Sufi writers, and especially of Doctor Muhammad Iqbal. I'm still learing the concept of Simurgh (As you can see that with every new learning or thought, I write a new blog).

I believe that one of the services an individual can do to the Collective self is make other individuals recognize this concept, that they are individuals as well as a part of a greater self. Perhaps, there are more things which can be done about this concept, which will be revealed with further learning on this concept.

One thought: I have learned that Concept of Collective Self already exists in unconscious mind of people of east. For example: Marzieh has written a blog, "A 'Creature' Named Iran":

http://marziehg.blogspot.com/2009/06/creature-named-iran.html

Why do Marzieh thinks that Iran is One Creature? while it is composed of a large population. It reflects the concept of "When one and the many are the same thing"

Or Pakistan can also be taken as an organism, have a look at the untold story of Pakistan which Khurram Ali Shafique has written:

http://untoldpakistan.blogspot.com/

I believe we can learn about the concept through minds of eastern people, as they have heritage of concepts presented by Sufi writers.

Connie L. Nash said...

Thank You for this clear and interesting explanation. Yes, I am also quite amazed to see how all of what you are saying fits so well together with the truth I understand and the same values and perceptions of meaning although you give me so much to consider and items I haven't yet read.

Keep educating me because it's more fun through you than it would be were I do try to find out some of this material on my own.

Now as I try to understand how you see Sufi doctrines, values and teachings - and the metaphysical - what are ways they are a bit different from other Muslim teachings? Have you heard of Frithjof Schuon's -Understanding Islam- or better what about a leading Muslim writer on Sufism? As you can see I have a long, long way to go!

Yhanks again, Rehan, for this discussion!

Connie L. Nash said...

I just now reread some of untoldpakistan with new understanding and I do so appreciate your reminder, Rehan..

Khurram Ali Shafique said...

Thanks for the notable reference to my blog about Untold Pakistan, but since everyone wants money therefore everyone should contribute to its ethics :D

In his notebook, dated 1910, Iqbal also gave credit to Jews in this regards. It seems to me that in the present phase of history, East has to take the role of presenting bold and useful ideas but the real beauty of these ideas should be that they should facilitate every culture to discover the best in their own consciences :)

Connie L. Nash said...

Khurram and All - would the East be able to present such beautiful ideals be because as a whole the East is much more solidly founded than the West on universal principles? If so, how do you surmise this to be so - you - as an historian and a scholar of the mystical as well?

Connie L. Nash said...

For me to discover (smiles) am just learning about Iqbal on asking...Back in a few weeks.

Connie L. Nash said...

I am writing this quickly due to lack of time:

Just in case at some point this may prove to be a useful tip for a nonprofit or profit small business: here in america I'm seeing some interest in Himalyan Pink Salt and products...I think this would have to be approached very very delicately with lots of mature and steady ethical advice...

Here's my thought that IF there are still any untouched pure Himalyan Pink Salt resources or on shelves of health food stores you trust.. perhaps in the future they will be most valuable in various parts of the world.

In the US they seem to be wanted by some health-minded groups since they provide evidently all the minerals in the human body...so if people take this kind of salt instead of other kinds their health may improve where they are lacking some minerals? Anyway, the flavor is good and may be a wanted item for sale.

One more possible reason to supply this item may be a connection with poor people who also may need a way to make a living?

Anyway, I like to see what may help out a variety of people, needs and even preservation of natural resources so beautifully provided originally by the Creator.

Connie L. Nash said...

Did anyone in this dialogue ever write for the magazine YES! Not only would it be nice for you to do so but this will definitely help turn around some mistaken US opinion of Pakistan - there is a tendency to feature Indian writers out of habit and because of Gandhi

I would love for YES! readers (who are NOT extremists at all while they are for Positive Peace and Positive business ventures) to get to know the folk here....

Please come back...

I also NEED these dialogues since I'm trying to be more business savvy myself and have failed miserably in past. It's more interesting and necessary to me and most middle-class Americans now than it used to be....

Rehan Damani said...

Thanks Connie for visiting my page even in my absence.

The thing is that I'm having a really busy phase of my life, and I'm really missing many things which i used to do when i used to be a bit relaxed than I am right now. So, I'll try to keep in touch and surely will try to follow your suggession when this phase ends.

In the meanwhile, I will be posting a little bit. :)