Posted by Mike Kaaks08 October 2019
Enough – this is a question about how much of anything do we each want, do we each need. The words of Otto Scharmer I shared earlier alert us to the importance of this question through identifying the disruptive change that affects our globe and our lives because we are taking too much. Understanding and acting upon how much is enough has implications for individual lives, for businesses, for communities, and ultimately for the planet.
A set of wonderful insights on this question come from a book not surprisingly titled “Enough”. Written by John C Bogle it tells his story in creating Vanguard; the first index mutual fund designed to mimic the market over the long run. With this in place to deal with issues specific to the finance industry he began to see that it opened a window to many other views of the question of what is enough. Is it enough to perform at the market level or do I have to have a fund that aims to beat the market? If I do follow the latter path what are the implications? Beyond the consistency and sustainability he saw issues of ethical and moral importance, and ultimately a view of how important the question of Enough is to the way we live our life, and how we live our lives together.
In a reflective passage capturing a view of what is important in life Bogle writes:
“Now at 79 years of age I’ve also lived long enough to recognise the wisdom of that pointed warning from Ecclesiastes – the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise nor yet riches to men of understanding nor yet favour to men of skill but time and chance happeneth to them all. Put another way time and chance can bestow things on you and take them away from you as well. However even as what you have may come and go, who you are – your character – will endure”. Being versus Doing!
In highlighting that he had reached a point that had been reached before is a reminder that many if not all of the issues we are considering fit that description. Whether it be in myth, through the teachings of religious texts, or the stories of elders, we should listen to these experiences in forming the answers we want for our own lives.
The question of enough is best answered in the light of a long history rather than the experience of the last 30 or 40 years. Enough is unquestionably exceeded in the wealth concentration we see today. Enough is not reached in what we share with those in need, those living in poverty and distress.
I hope you find this question challenging.
- All of us
Whoever is not in his coffin and in the dark grave, let him know he has enough
- Wait Whitman