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May 28, 2023

Board Meeting 2014: John Mackey on a New Vision for Success

Co-Board Chair John MackeyListen to John Mackey outlining his compelling new vision for success and Conscious Capitalism and read the transcript below:


John: Well, thanks Marc. It’s good to tune in with you guys today. I’m going to talk a little bit about where I think the integral framework, one of the things that it’s largely missing, is if you think about each of the Spiral Dynamics Model or the integral integration of that, each of the frameworks has got sort of a vision of success.

It has a vision of the ideal human being. It has a vision of the ideal society. If you think about, say, the blue meme framework, say, in Europe, if you have something like it particularly in maybe England, you have something like — or in America, you have the Bible as a guide. You also had Pilgrim’s Progress as a text where the ideal human being would be pious and would be striving to ensure their salvation through good works, so you had this vision of what success looks like and that framework would be obedience to God’s word and following the divine path that’s been laid out for you that will lead to your salvation.

As we move into more modernistic consciousness, modernistic framework, you have one of the early … texts, so that would be Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography, as well as his way to wealth. And much of the success literature of the 19th and 20th Century is very much in sort of a modernistic framework or consciousness. It could force sort of a vision of the ideal human being, which in this case is very individualistic and oftentimes striving for wealth, for prosperity, through hard work and through savings and frugality, and through having a strong ethical code of fair trade and honesty.

Continued below the video…


Transcript – Part 2:

Almost all the success lecture I read in the modernistic framework comes from — it might have a touch of whatever you concentrate, you get. You create your own reality through what you concentrate on, through the law of attraction, and prosperity is something you bring to yourself by focusing on it. There’s been a whole genre of success literature, literally thousands of different texts. As we move in that postmodern consciousness, we see that that consciousness had nothing but contempt for the success literature of the modernist age as sort of shallow and materialistic and not very interested in a larger community.And so, when we get the ideal man in that modernistic — or ideal person in the modernistic framework, it would be somebody who’s very successful materialistically, who’s rich, and sort of your exemplars might be. Well, Benjamin Franklin was one of the earliest ones, but I think a lot of your entrepreneurs, Steven Jobs is a good example, or Rockefeller, Gates, Buffett, these are all people who manifest kind of that modernistic consciousness particularly in their striving for wealth and success.

And then that postmodernist doesn’t think too much of material success. That’s shallow, doesn’t matter. The postmodernist consciousness has been kind of either in some type of political activism, so the ideal human being is an activist whether it be an environmental activist or animal rights activist, or I might add, a community organizer in Chicago, someone who’s devoting their life to social change in some way, or they could perhaps go the inward route and they devoted their life to spiritual enlightenment. They might go to India. They might have a guru. They might meditate six hours a day.

So you have either this activist ideal exemplar or you have the enlightenment exemplar, and I think these both fit in that postmodernist framework. There’s a tremendous amount of success literature that reinforces that type of ideal human being. One of the things I don’t think is there as we create this more integral movement is I don’t think there are — there’s not much of a success literature. There are not many guides that point to what does a successful human being look like within this framework.

What are the ideals that he or she should be striving for? So we have theoretical frameworks that are established by giants like Ken Wilber, for example, and the many others, but they oftentimes do not put forth an ethical path for people to follow to live the good life, to create the good society within that integral framework.

I think Marc’s book, the “Unique Self”, in a sense is partly theoretical and also partly practical in the sense that it’s putting forth this — the unique self is both sort of a unique expression of the divine, at the same time, it’s grounded within a framework of community and so it’s got an individualistic flavor while also being a communitarian flavor to it as well.

So I think one of the things that we need to do, I think this conference that’s being created next fall is a perfect opportunity to begin to put forth vision of how human beings need to evolve in the 21st Century in this more integral way that transcends and includes the valuable things that the blue and the pre-modern, the modernist, and the postmodernist have all created to at least include those, and yet at the same time, transcend them.

We can’t inspire people to move beyond postmodernism unless we put forth a vision of the ideal human being and a good society that inspires and activates within people a strong intense desire to consciously evolve. I really feel like that’s something that’s important to do. We do not have a success literature, you might say, for beyond postmodernism, for integralism.