At its deepest level the process of growth and development is rooted in the idea
that a society or an individual can rise to any level aspired to. We call this idea Human
Choice. While greater opportunities, awareness, improved skills, greater knowledge, and
other factors are part of a process that enables a society or an individual to rise to
higher levels of achievement, it is the choice to rise to a higher level that is
the ultimate determinant.
By making this conscious choice to
move to the next level of success, happiness, and achievement, the society or individual
dramatically accelerates the process of development and evolution. Just as an
individual's choice to rise to the next level can enable that person to achieve in a
matter of months what may have normally taken a lifetime, so too society's choice to move
to a higher level enables it to accomplished in months or a few years what would have
normally taken decades or even centuries. The choice to elevate to the next level by
following the process of growth and development as outlined at this site is one of the
great secrets of life.
Let's review a few examples from two very
different parts of the world that demonstrate the power of human choice in society.
Freedom and Choice in India
The power of human choice is dramatically demonstrated by the Indian freedom
movement. It was not the power of arms or revolution that drove the British out of India.
It was the power of choice. When Indias leaders decided the country must be free and
succeeded in convincing the people to will and work for it, there was no force on earth
strong enough to keep the country under foreign rule. India was freed by the collective
decision of its people.
Imperialism has given way to democracy in India.
Freedom of choice for all is guaranteed by the constitution and laws of the land. But that
does not mean everyone exercises that freedom or that they exercise it at the highest
level for their own best interests. In India the government guarantees every child the
right to education, but not all parents choose to send their child to school, not every
child chooses to study hard, and not every student that studies chooses to think for
themselves, which is the greatest benefit of education.
If every Indian citizen chose to take full advantage
of the enormous range of opportunities afforded by the current atmosphere of
freedomto learn, teach, think, invent, produce and achieve all that he or she is
capable ofthen poverty will soon be a thing of the past in this country. Eradication
of poverty is a necessary achievement and the sooner the better. But it is far too limited
and humble a goal for a great nation with such rich intellectual, social and natural
resources. The best choice for India today is the choice for prosperity. That
choice can abridge decades of progress into a few short years. The commitment of the
individual and the collective to this choice will bring out the best in the nation and
raise it to its rightful place at the head of the world community.
New Forms of Organization Accelerates
We have also noticed that the power of human choice has accelerated
in the mental stage of social evolution. It has even begun to take new and unusual forms
of organization. Organizational authority is shifting from overseeing managers and
traditional pecking orders to decentralized, ever shifting teams where individuals or
groups of individuals make the important decisions. In some cases organization management
itself is simply put "in the hands of" standard operating procedures and
systems, giving individuals more freedom to take initiatives and make decisions. Under
these conditions freedom, initiative, and imagination shift from the collective to
individuals, singularly, or in ever-changing teams and alliances, having the effect of
expanding exponentially the range of individual choices.
This expansion of individual choices through
decentralized, non-authoritarian organization is also mirrored in the opposite direction,
i.e. in the influence of individuals on the needs of the collective. With the
"nobody-in-charge system" each specialist is no longer just responsible for
being right about his/her own specialty but responsible also for the general sense of
direction and the outcome of the needs of the organization/collective as a whole.
Of Society in Human Choice
Then what is the role of society in encouraging and developing human choice?
Modern democratic societies rely on the power of education and the media to get the word
around about what problems we collectively face, and what opportunities are there if we
pursue them together. Those societies whose citizens are encouraged to engage
in the fullest and most enlightened exercise of choice will have the greatest potential
For a detailed paper on the role of human
choice in social development, click here. (MSS)
For a discussion on how individual companies
can energize and empower their employees, click here.
For a discussion on how individuals grow and
develop, click here.