Emails to a Young Entrepreneur: Conceiving – The Cosmos of a New Venture

Day 116 of Self Quarantine             Covid 19 Deaths in U.S.:  132,000

The Cosmos of the New Venture

One of the challenges of the entrepreneur is learning how to make progress even when feeling lost in the shifting from being in expert mode (causal thinking) and into an observing, discovering and exploring mode (effectual thinking). This “lost is the new normal” can feel like Orbiting the Giant Hairball:

Orbiting the Giant Hairball

I find when I am feeling lost that it is because I don’t see the bigger picture. J. G. Bennett in Enneagram Studies shares a powerful model of the “cosmos” to help us see the larger context that we are immersed in at any given moment.

“The enneagram is an instrument to help us to achieve triadic perception and mentation. Whereas our ordinary mental processes are linear and sequential, the world in which we live is threefold. According to Gurdjieff, three-foldness is one of the ‘fundamental sacred Cosmic Laws’ and must be studied by anyone who wishes to understand himself and the world in which he lives.

“We find it hard to look at the whole of what is happening in and around us because our thinking is linear, by which I mean thinking along one single line or by association. We miss significant episodes and cannot understand how it is that processes go the way they do. When things go wrong we seldom know where, nor how to put them right. This is not a serious handicap in thinking about processes that are themselves linear, such as most of those in the material world. However it breaks down when we try to think about man and his life, for these are not linear. Man is very complex and his life is always made up of different processes that cannot be separated without falsification. To think about man effectively we must get beyond linear thinking in order to see the inner cohesion. The spiritual world is totally non-linear and this is why we cannot ordinarily think about it at all. We must therefore find a new way of thinking. In order to change our way of thinking we have first of all to recognize that it is not only a matter of looking along several different lines at once but recognizing that there is structure in what we are looking at. The structure may be imperfect, but if it were not there at all, we could understand nothing.

“To illustrate this, let us take the example of a meal being cooked in our kitchen at Sherborne. The obvious thing is to look at the food and to say that the process of preparing a meal is a process of transforming food. This is quite true, but it is not the whole story for something is also happening in the kitchen itself. The kitchen has to be in a certain state of preparation and things in it are going to change. Its state has to be maintained. It is not enough to have cooks: some have to play the role of kitchen boys and cleaners, whose task it is to maintain the conditions that allow the meal to be cooked. Help is needed in preparing the vegetables or other raw foods. We usually take all this for granted and do not notice its importance because our thoughts are flowing in a single line. We notice only when things go wrong, and then the cook begins to concern himself with the function of the kitchen boy and the kitchen boy begins to concern himself with the cooking process.

“Linear thinking will assume that only the cooking process is important and disregard the need to maintain order in the kitchen, the cleanliness of the utensils and the provision of what is required. However the whole process of cooking a meal is not confined even to these quite distinct series of events; the one being the changes that are happening in the kitchen itself and the other the changes that are happening to the food. There is also something happening to the people and it is necessary that this too should be taken into account. When a meal is being cooked, especially when it is on a fairly large scale, which makes these distinctions significant, many people have to be taken into account: the people who are cooking, the kitchen boys, the people who are preparing the table and the entire community which is going to eat the meal. What is happening to them is also an essential part of the whole process; they have to be able to communicate with one another to understand one another’s needs and, if necessary, to change their roles. Those who cook will in turn become those who eat. Again, we can see that this is obviously necessary and we do not attach special importance to it all unless something goes wrong, at which point we may say that there is a “bad relationship” between the cooks and the kitchen boys and so everything is going to pieces, or perhaps people have not taken the trouble to find out what is going to happen with the meal, who can eat what, who will be there or will not be there, so that too much or too little is cooked. Something has gone wrong, but we do not associate this “something has gone wrong” with the cooking of the meal. Now if you look at the preparation of the meal for the house as one whole event, you can see that each of these three processes can be thought about linearly, yet each of them is quite distinct in nature from the others. They do not replace one another. Looking at it in this way, if you ask “Could you cook a meal without a kitchen, without utensils, without fire?” the answer is “No, cooking would cease to be there at all if there were not all these things in some form or other.” Even if you are camping in the open air you would still require certain conditions and implements with which to make it possible. It is obvious that you cannot cook without food, as you cannot or would not cook if there were no one to cook for. So food and guests are both independent of one another and also mutually necessary. There is no such event as cooking a meal unless the kitchen, food and guests are present. They are closely interdependent. How one goes will determine how the others go. But how they will affect one another is not at all obvious and in general it is by experience alone that little by little we learn what is required.

With experience, it is possible to see that there are different rhythms. The order of the kitchen and its utensils goes in a cycle which completes itself. When everything is properly organized, the kitchen starts clean with all the utensils clean and in their own places and when the meal is finished it is brought back again to its initial condition. It has completed a cycle. Something has happened in the kitchen, but the kitchen has returned to its prime state. With the food something different has happened for the food has changed its nature from being raw to being cooked. It has not returned to its primitive state but instead has been through a variety of irreversible processes.”

Bennett, John Godolphin (2012-04-02). Enneagram Studies (pp. 17-18). Bennett Books.

This first Email on Conceiving begins the first point on the core triangle of work for our Cosmos of the New Venture.

Figure 4 Cosmos of the New Venture Conceiving

Conceiving sits within the courage cycle described in the Entrepreneur’s Prayer of serenity, courage and wisdom. The navigation and interrelationships of the nine terms in the Cosmos of the New Venture meta-model aid the entrepreneur in discovering, developing and trusting your inner guidance system.

Conceiving is COMMITTING.

This entry was posted in Content with Context, Emails to a Young Entrepreneur, Entrepreneuring, Flipped Perspective, Learning. Bookmark the permalink.

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