This chapter turns from conceptions to reality, and looks at some current global situations which might be improved were humanity to focus upon its collective future much more often than is the case today.
There are three factors related to purpose which are critical to the success of any organization’s endeavour—whether it is a corner store or an international conglomerate, and whether its aims are to make money, obtain power or preserve peace. These factors are vision, clarity and commitment.
Vision is important because visions, not purposes, excite efforts to succeed. It is the vision the preacher paints that holds our attention, not the bare statement that heaven, or hell, awaits. It is the vision of living in luxury and leisure that attracts many, not the target of amassing a million dollars. Visions are vastly more compelling than statements of purpose, but both are required when deciding how to act to solve problems . Clarity of purpose is important because clarity determines how well subordinate goals can be defined and prioritized, and how well actions can be planned, resourced, carried out and evaluated.
But commitment is most important of all, for no effort succeeds if those involved lack the desire for success. These three factors are also collectively important, because together they help to foster unity of mind, thought and effort. Not a carbon-copy identical-ness or single-mindedness, but a common desire to attain a common goal, where individuals each play their part in their own way.
The possible applications discussed in this chapter thus call for these three components. The “vision” stems from adopting the idea of supporting Life’s journey to become oB as our meta-purpose; this provides the visionary power to surmount any distracting lesser purposes. “Clarity” stems from translating the meaning of this concept into a robust statement of “universal purpose,” a definition that allows practical actions to be planned and undertaken. And “commitment” will likely stem from involving many throughout the world in defining both of these concepts. (This third step is a fairly straight-forward [although lengthy and complex] procedure, and need not be discussed until later in the book.)
The possible applications of a universal purpose are many, but only a few will be raised here. The first issue below discusses how world problems are currently managed, and attempts to show in general terms why “purpose” is key to success. Subsequent examples are provided to illustrate the range and scope of our vision’s unifying possibility.
It is by no means certain that adopting a universal purpose, in an attempt to develop unity of desire and action, would change much in any of the situations presented below. Many of the issues are so large, and involve so many people, that any kind of change (particularly one of the magnitude and pervasiveness being suggested here) will require multiple years to take effect. But please do not dismiss the idea as naïve, simplistic or Pollyanna-ish before asking yourself whether what is being suggested offers any possibility for improvement over our present state of affairs.
If we grant that commitment to a clear purpose has critical organizing value and much to do with organizational success, then we are ready to examine some possible applications.