Two Views

While playing golf I was paired up with three men I did not know. Each was a delightful character. In the middle of the round, the conversation turned to recent political issues. All three seemed to feel pain as they observed the transactional patterns in society, particularly the fact that many may die because of the ego of one. One of the three stated, “It is really clear that humans are not inherently good.”

The view that humans “are not inherently good,” is also held by many social scientists. Many of them assume people are self-interested, logical, competitive actors in a world of scarce resources. To pursue self-interest at the cost of others is natural.

A few days later, I was speaking to a man with an extensive background as a military leader. He is now a world class change agent. He has had success in transforming the cultures of numerous organizations.

He told me, “All people are beautiful beings. I see the beauty in everyone. I see them do negative things, but I do not judge them. I look at reality with no judgments. Each person can become whole. My job is to help them wake up and see what they can become. I do this by helping the overall group increase in consciousness. I help the group become whole. Each time I succeed, it changes me. I also wake up a little bit more. I gain a little more capacity to help people change.”



  • The assumption that humans are not inherently good is widely held, why?
  • How could a man with background as a military leader come to an alternative view? What happens when one holds both views simultaneously?
  • What might the unusual view of the change agent have to do with his unusual success as a change agent, and why does each success increase his capacity?

How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization