Can Business Be the Art of Life?

Good business depend upon both a realistic view of the status quo and an idealistic view of what could be.

You need to see things as they are, specifically in relation to how they affect others. This requires a great deal of reflection on your own needs, and transpersonal acts of putting yourself in another person’s shoes. It requires you to get outside your own head, to stop focusing on just what you want, and to face certain truths about yourself that are common to all people: our mortality, our vulnerability, our dependency, our limitedness.

Then, you must desire to fill these needs, to fulfill what is lacking, to bring what is needed to others. This is great vision, though in some ways it need not be all that different from the forethought you use in planning a week of meals, or starting a savings account, or planning to move.

This abstract goal must then be bridged to the current moment with a physical mechanism, one that is sustainable. This orchestration becomes the business.

What is interesting to me is that good business contains all of these aspects of life to take on a physical manifestation. It keeps us conscious of the whole organism of our community.

And it has amble room for filling all types of needs beyond the most basic biological ones. More and more, we are recognizing filling psychological needs is not a stretch goal, but a fundamental need of humanity. To that end, there are nearly limitless avenues for appealing to our creativity, imaginations, and dreams, which are no less integral than what we eat or drink.

Almost none of the stories that we adore would have existed if not for a sound business platform upon which to deliver them to you, whether in print or audiovisual format. And they do exist exactly because we provided the need for them to fill. And even before our modern market economy, the bard still ate, still slept somewhere, was still clothed and adequately attended to, and was able to bring about their art.

Apart from a necessary evil, good business can be a practice of mindfulness. Of course there are those who seek to profit in deceitful ways, but they are engaging in more or less complex forms of robbery. I’m talking about the inherent dignity in running a business.


This was inspired in part by reading a collection of Warren Buffet’s tips on success. Like Rockefeller, he believed in growing up unaffected by money, and raised his children this way, believing that it was first most important to do what you love, and if what you love makes you wealthy, to do good with it.

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