Over the last few months, as I have watched the events of the world unfold around me, I have taken the time to observe and reflect the many ways in which we interact with our businesses, and how our businesses interact with the world.
For me, this sparked a critical question: how could the retail sector exit the pandemic differently from how it entered?
What learning can we find in this challenging time, both in response to Covid-19 and to the Black Lives Matter protests? What are we discovering about ourselves and our businesses?
Both have uncovered the obvious inequality which appears to have thrived within our systems despite many of our beliefs that it had disappeared.
I wonder whether this can be different in the future. If so, I wonder what it would be like.
One of the ideas that I have seen discussed is that by placing “Humans” in the centre of the business plan, we can bring some of this difference.
I find this effort admirable but a little confusing. Perhaps it would allow us to identify the importance of humanity within and without our businesses, whilst still allowing us to make money in order to support ourselves. For me this is partly an encouraging thought, but I wonder if there is still something missing.
I wonder if part of why we are in an environmental crisis and an inequality crisis, and why we are only just beginning to understand the full impacts of globalisation and our current model of capitalism, is because we have placed humans at the centre of everything.
Perhaps it is because we have made ourselves the pinnacle.
What would it be like to put something else at the centre?
Maybe the first stage would be to not put myself as an individual at the centre. Perhaps as we emerge from lockdown we could put our local community at the centre of our values, way of living and our businesses.
Maybe we could place all of humanity at the centre, not just a particular section of the human race.
However I still sense that is not enough, I wonder what would happen if we were to experiment with placing the Earth at the centre. What would happen if we were to place the natural world, all of it, at the centre of our values?
For me, I identify two different perspectives.
In one we place humans at the centre, viewing everything around us as objects to resource us: in the other, we view the Earth as “the thing” that resources all and consider our own responsibility in resourcing “it”.
This represents a large paradigm shift, a large change in how we think about ourselves and the world.
I wonder, is this the big shift that is required in order for us to survive and thrive as a race and as a species?
What does this mean for me and for Space2think as a company? What would this mean for you and your business?
What would it be like if we removed ourselves and humanity from the centre of all things?
Perhaps it would be a humbling process to remove myself from the centre. I wonder what it would be like to accept that we are simply a small part of a much wider world, and that although my views, life and beliefs are important, they only represent a small part of the picture.
Throughout recent history, we have made a number of assumptions and have built our society upon these assumptions. One assumption is that humanity is the pinnacle, that it is the one thing the Earth needs to support. The other assumption suggests that a particular part of the human race is the pinnacle.
What would it be like for us, as individuals and as a species, to challenge those assumptions?
What role do I have in removing humanity from the centre of all things?