Saturday 1 July 2006

On Scanlon Plans and Picturish (2006)

From The Philosopher, Volume LXXXXIIII No. 1 Summer  2006


... the Arts of Good Management, and the
Importance of ‘Picturish’ in Human Relations

By Ted Falconar

The basic principles of human relations, at least in the work environment, were set out in 1903 by Elton Mayo, an Australian working in the United States at Harvard. What he did was simply to interview workers at a spinning mill that had appalling human relations. He listened carefully to them and then put possible solutions to the problems causing complaints into action. Performance improved immediately and the bad absenteeism ended. What was most curious indeed, puzzling, was that the new ideas had been applied in only some departments - yet performance improved throughout the mill. It was found later that what mattered was not the new provisions but the new concern and interest of management. Other experiments later confirmed this hypothesis - notably a very large experiment at the Hawthorne plant of Western Electric of Bell Telephone. USA.

Since that time huge strides has been taken by others such as Douglas McGregor with his Theory X and Theory Y. 'Theory X' being the old slave driver method of management, and 'Theory Y' being one involving the genuine support, encouragement and help of the employees in their careers. Later work by Frederick Herzberg' s with his 'Job Enrichment' strategy was a large gain; Rensis Likert too supplied many important ideas, and many others have since contributed to make it possible to enter almost any factory and improve productivity and morale so that output would double or more. Once workers know that management is on their side (but not before), incentives can be applied with amazing success.

The greatest achievement of all comes from creativity supported by extremely generous Suggestion schemes in which employees gain up to 100% of the value of their suggestions. The Lincoln-Electric Company of Cleveland, Ohio, who gave employees thefull 100%, produced four times the output of rival companies and their employees were paid double. I myself was put in charge of a loss making company in the UK (Tetley Tea) Within one year we had reversed the previous loss; after three years we had progressively increased profits to £750,000 when we were sold for 25X earnings; so we had made £16,000,000 in three years for our owners plus the annual profits. Scanlon Plans are installed in companies with very good results. The ideal amount that employees should get for suggestions is 75% according to Scanlon and I agree. ( Lincoln took only Overheads; I think they should get more ) One gain is seen in the enthusiasm of Employees who told me they really liked coming to work. Creativity is a universal joy to all people who use it. All this is unknown in British Industry except fort a very few companies: most are blind to the great power of creativity.

Now the point of all that is not to embellish my CV, to blow my own managerial trumpet, but to highlight the very practical value of what may otherwise seem to the 'unenlightened' as a very airy, very impractical notion- the concept of 'visualization'*. Visualisation is not just a simple method of using black and white shapes in such occupations as carpentry et cetera. There are levels of transcendental images and microscopic and telescopic ones including colours that make visualisation far more subtle and effective than words can ever hope to be. Words have been developed endlessly and millions of books full of words have been written but visualisation and creativity are not taught in schools and are neglected.

Our aim has to be to make the mind as near to reality as possible and then go beyond into the splendours of Transcendental Poetry, which leads on to Enlightenment and the ultimate glorification of the mind. In this endeavour creativity must play an increasing role, making the mind a Creative wonderland. I shall write of two more areas that are dependent on visualisation : Science and Poetry especially mystic poetry. When David Bohn the physicist was asked if there w as enough energy in the Universe to create Big Bang. He said that in one cubic centimetre of space was as much energy as in all known matter in the Universe. He went on to say that the whole Universe that we know is just a ripple on the surface of a vast ocean of energy and beneath this ocean w as probably an even larger ocean. Irving Lazlo in an article in Network Magazine of winter 2005 showed that communication in this ocean of energy took place at speeds of 109c that is one hundred and nine times the speed of light. All this is thought out using visualisation, creativity and backed up with mathematics of complex numbers.

Many people in our modern society have a total lack of inner resources and are dependent on outside possessions, trips abroad, entertainment and so on resulting in an emptiness of mind. Outside is a world of lovely pictures but inside these minds are often like bomb-sites littered with verbal rubble. Contrast this with the contemporary physicist, Stephen Hawking, whose body is a twisted shell. But the thoughts of his mind are like eagles perching on the rims of Black Holes and surveying the black dwarf stars of the far galaxies. Pure verbalisers like the Hull University librarian-cum-poet, Philip Larkin, in contrast, show the adverse effect of words on human happiness by his grim life. Even the least creative of us can surely paint our minds with pictures like the Universe.

Visualisation is my mother tongue ( as I am sure it is for many other people too). I never succumbed to the power of words. Visualisation for me is a language - 'Picturish' if you will, like Polish, English, Irish and so on. I attribute all my successes to it, and indeed some of my troubles too - for example with the 'verbalisers' who thought me a dunce at school, unable to grasp Latin and Greek words, let alone English ones!

In my research into the ideas of visualisation, I have come across countless images of incomparable magnificence such as the Emerald Cities, the Terra Lucida or Hurqalya: the Earth of Pure Light; Kabir's Homeland of the Ocean of Pearls was also mentioned. These together with Rumi's images are to me the most beautiful ideas I have ever met. They regale the mind with their splendours. But how can I give an adequate idea of the beauty of Transcendental or Mystic Poetry? The Scholar Lipsius said : ' When I read Seneca, I think I am beyond human fortunes on the top of a hill overlooking mortality.' When we read Rumi we enter other worlds, it is as if we go into orbit. Only mystic poetry has this effect like a powerful but benign drug whose influence lasts a lifetime.

This is a supreme art of the mind. The three princes entered the Hall of Pictures -the world of nature our picture-Land; the best picture of all was that of the Emperor of China's daughter with whom they fell in love. This is transcendental beauty. Kabir could be called a supreme landscape painter -his Ocean of Pearls. Suhrawardi and Mani drew paintings without shadows - Persian Miniature Paintings of the mind.

All present efforts at explaining and teaching creativity such as Synectics and even de Bono [go easy - Ed.] should be encouraged and expanded. Surely this marvellous human ability of visualisation and creativity can have no conceivable end just as Science can have no conceivable end. Now we have only reached a staging post with our studios of poetry and art but it can discern even higher things on the horizons of the human mind.

'Picturish' is a vital ingredient of Enlightenment and Liberation. One of the greatest poems of Religion was by Shankaracharya, who reconverted India to Hinduism from Buddhism. His Enlightenment followed his poem to Annapurna, the Goddess of the Cosmos. The poem's words are clearly visual, he translated Picturish into Sanscrit indicating he was aware of Picture-Land. Here are a few lines to show visual images of true magnificence:-
Thou who appearest as waves of Light,
or the radiance of Sun, Moon and fire -
Thou who severest the thread of the play we play on this Earth.
Thou whose long tresses, falling to thy knees,
Ripple restlessly like a river's current and sparkle like a blue gem!
Thou whose radiance burns a million times ,
more brilliant than the sun, moon and fire.
For whom the light of the moon is but the shadow of Thy lips 
This poem is said to be part of the 'higher wisdom' of the Buddhists. All religions have a higher Wisdom. I hope that this article brings out some of this Higher Wisdom that is a shared human inheritance if now often neglected.

*See Volume LXXXXII No. 2 Autumn 2004, Ancient Wisdom, Modern Thinking and Realisation.

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