Spiritual Capital

Wealth We Can Live By

Danah Zohar (Author) | Ian Marshall (Author)

Publication date: 04/01/2004

Spiritual Capital
  • Provides a radical new philosophy for business that redefines its meaning and purpose and offers hope for a more sustainable future
  • Takes the concept of spiritual intelligence, pioneered in the authors' bestselling SQ: Connecting with Our Spiritual Intelligence, and applies it to the business world

Our world is at a crossroads; we must choose between two alternatives. The first is capitalism as we know it today-an amoral culture of short-term self-interest, profit maximization, emphasis on shareholder value, isolationist thinking, and profligate disregard of long-term consequences. Based on narrow assumptions about human nature and motivation, this system is unsustainable, a monster set to consume itself. The second alternative is "spiritual capital"-a values-based business culture in which wealth is accumulated in order to generate a decent profit while acting to raise the common good. Rather than emphasizing shareholder value, spiritual capital emphasizes "stakeholder value," where stakeholders include the whole human race, present and future, and the planet itself. Spiritual capital nourishes and sustains the human spirit. The crucial question is how we can move from one alternative to the other-how we can move from present-day business capitalism to Spiritual Capital.

Danah Zohar and Ian Marshall introduce the concept of spiritual intelligence (SQ), and describe how it can be used to shift individuals and our culture from a state of acting from lower motivations (fear, greed, anger, and self-assertion) to one of acting from higher motivations (exploration, cooperation, power-within, mastery, and higher service). Zohar and Marshall describe how this shift actually happens a given organizational culture. They look in depth at the issues that dominate corporate culture and how they are influenced by the processes of SQ transformation and discuss the leadership elite who must be the ones to bring about and embody this cultural shift. Finally, Zohar and Marshall argue that spiritual capital is still a valid and workable form of capitalism and detail what we, as individuals, can do to make it happen.

  • Provides a radical new philosophy for business that redefines its meaning and purpose and offers hope for a more sustainable future

  • Takes the concept of spiritual intelligence, pioneered in the authors' bestselling SQ: Connecting with Our Spiritual Intelligence, and applies it to the business world

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Overview

  • Provides a radical new philosophy for business that redefines its meaning and purpose and offers hope for a more sustainable future
  • Takes the concept of spiritual intelligence, pioneered in the authors' bestselling SQ: Connecting with Our Spiritual Intelligence, and applies it to the business world

Our world is at a crossroads; we must choose between two alternatives. The first is capitalism as we know it today-an amoral culture of short-term self-interest, profit maximization, emphasis on shareholder value, isolationist thinking, and profligate disregard of long-term consequences. Based on narrow assumptions about human nature and motivation, this system is unsustainable, a monster set to consume itself. The second alternative is "spiritual capital"-a values-based business culture in which wealth is accumulated in order to generate a decent profit while acting to raise the common good. Rather than emphasizing shareholder value, spiritual capital emphasizes "stakeholder value," where stakeholders include the whole human race, present and future, and the planet itself. Spiritual capital nourishes and sustains the human spirit. The crucial question is how we can move from one alternative to the other-how we can move from present-day business capitalism to Spiritual Capital.

Danah Zohar and Ian Marshall introduce the concept of spiritual intelligence (SQ), and describe how it can be used to shift individuals and our culture from a state of acting from lower motivations (fear, greed, anger, and self-assertion) to one of acting from higher motivations (exploration, cooperation, power-within, mastery, and higher service). Zohar and Marshall describe how this shift actually happens a given organizational culture. They look in depth at the issues that dominate corporate culture and how they are influenced by the processes of SQ transformation and discuss the leadership elite who must be the ones to bring about and embody this cultural shift. Finally, Zohar and Marshall argue that spiritual capital is still a valid and workable form of capitalism and detail what we, as individuals, can do to make it happen.

  • Provides a radical new philosophy for business that redefines its meaning and purpose and offers hope for a more sustainable future

  • Takes the concept of spiritual intelligence, pioneered in the authors' bestselling SQ: Connecting with Our Spiritual Intelligence, and applies it to the business world

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Meet the Authors


Visit Author Page - Danah Zohar



Danah Zohar, author of Rewiring the Corporate Brain, is also coauthor of the bestselling The Quantum Self and The Quantum Society, books which extend the language and principles of quantum physics into a new understanding of human consciousness, psychology, and social organization. She was born and educated in the United States, studied Physics and Philosophy at MIT, and then did her postgraduate work in Philosophy, Religion & Psychology at Harvard University. Zohar is on the faculty of Oxford Brookes University in England.


Visit Author Page - Ian Marshall

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Changing Ourselves to Change the World

Chapter 1: The Monster that Consumes Itself

Chapter 2: What is Spiritual Capital?

Chapter 3: The Motivations that Drive Us

Chapter 4: Applying the Motivational Scale

Chapter 5: Spiritual Intelligence

Chapter 6: The Twelve Principles of Transformation

Chapter 7: Applying the Principles of Transformation

Chapter 8: How Shift Happens

Chapter 9: Shifting Corporate Culture

Chapter 10: A New Knights Templar

Chapter 11: Is it Still Capitalism?

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Excerpt

SPIRITUAL CAPITAL

Introduction
Changing Ourselves to Change the World

Recently, while visiting Nepal, I had a dream that bears on the theme and unfolding of this book. In the dream I was attending a play with three acts, at a theater-in-the-round where the audience sit very close to the actors and feel part of the action. In Act One of the play, a group of Tibetan monks were chanting their prayers and performing the rituals of Tibetan Buddhism. The scene was very ordered, beautiful and peaceful and uplifting to watch. Everything was in its place. But then suddenly the wooden-beamed ceiling of the room began to collapse. Poles and plaster began to rain down on the monks and killed many of them. I ran from the stage in fear for my own life.


In Act Two of the play, Tibetan monks were again performing rituals, but they were old men, bitter and cynical. They were just going through their ceremonies as a matter of habit and appearance, and they were behaving cruelly, even sadistically, to the younger novice monks who attended them. This act of the play had no life. Indeed it was filled with very negative energy and I wanted to flee the theater.

In Act Three of the play, a group of very young novice monks were setting off on a journey. Some were walking, others riding yaks (long-haired, bull-like creatures). These monks were innocent, even naive. They were not certain of their goal, but they knew it was their destiny to travel and discover new rituals for their order. As in all the best dreams, they were riding off into a rising sun, filled with hope and a sense of adventure.

I found the dream an uncanny representation of how our own culture has unfolded. The peaceful monks of Act One, performing their healthy rituals, represented a more traditional time, with “God in his heaven and all right with the world.” It was a time of belief and values, a time when human beings knew where the goal posts were. The cynical monks of Act Two represented our modern era, dominated by capitalist materialism and bleak Newtonian mechanics. Theirs (ours) was a world of disillusion, bitterness, selfishness, and even perversion. It was (is) a world where people just go through the motions of once-meaningful things. No one was nourished. The young monks of Act Three, I would like to think, are where at least some of us are today, setting out on a journey to discover new, living rituals (practices, philosophies) that can take our race forward into a meaningful and sustainable future.

I very much hope that a critical mass of individuals can identify with the young monks of Act Three, finding new and broader foundations for our capitalist ethos and our business culture that will use to the full their potential both as material-wealth-generating mechanisms and as fuller human activities. Perhaps a few will find inspiration in the pages that follow.

It is the assumption of this book that our capitalist culture and the business practices that operate within it are in crisis. I describe global business as “a monster consuming itself.” This is because the underlying ethos and assumptions of capitalism, and many of the business practices that follow from them, are unsustainable. Capitalism and business as we know them have no long-term future, and these limit the future of our culture at large.

The central theme of this book is that a critical mass of individuals acting from higher motivations can make a difference. Its purpose is to show how this critical mass of present and potential leaders can use their spiritual intelligence to create spiritual capital in their wider organizational cultures, thereby making those cultures more sustainable. The goal is a capitalism that is itself sustainable and a world in which sustainable capitalism can generate wealth that nourishes all our human needs.

The key word here is wealth. My own definition of wealth is “that which we have access to that enhances the quality of life.” We often speak of a wealth of talent, a wealth of character, or a wealth of good fortune. The word wealth itself comes from the Old English welth, meaning “to be well.” But the dictionary definition of wealth, reflecting the economized culture that has produced our modern dictionaries, emphasizes first, “a great quantity or store of money.” Our usual definition of capital follows from this, defining capital as the amount of money or material goods that we possess. Capitalism as we know it is about money and material wealth.

Spiritual capital, by contrast, is wealth that we can live by, wealth that enriches the deeper aspects of our lives. It is wealth we gain through drawing upon our deepest meanings, deepest values, most fundamental purposes, and highest motivations, and by finding a way to embed these in our lives and work.

Spiritual capital is a vision and a model for organizational and cultural sustainability within a wider framework of community and global concern. It is capital amassed through serving, in both corporate philosophy and practice, the deeper concerns of humanity and the planet. It is capital that reflects our shared values, shared visions, and fundamental purposes in life. Spiritual capital is reflected in what an organization believes in, what it exists for, what it aspires to, and what it takes responsibility for.

My use of the word spiritual here and throughout the book has no connection with religion or any other organized belief system. Religious organizations and religiously based cultures have undoubtedly built some genuine spiritual capital. But they have done so within the limitations of belief systems that exclude those who hold other religious beliefs and those who have no religious belief. The broader kind of spiritual capital needed for organizations, communities, and cultures participating in today’s pluralist and global society must draw on deeper, nonsectarian meanings, values, purposes, and motivations that might be sacred to any human being.

In the same spirit as this broader spiritual capital, spiritual intelligence is the intelligence with which we access our deepest meanings, values, purposes, and highest motivations. It is how we use these in our thinking processes, in the decisions that we make, and the things that we think it is worthwhile to do. These decisions include how we make and how we allocate our material wealth.

Spiritual intelligence is our moral intelligence, giving us an innate ability to distinguish right from wrong. It is the intelligence with which we exercise goodness, truth, beauty, and compassion in our lives. It is, if you like, the soul’s intelligence, if you think of soul as that channeling capacity in human beings that brings things up from the deeper and richer dimensions of imagination and spirit into our daily lives, families, organizations, and institutions.

To understand the book, it is necessary to see the crucial link between spiritual intelligence, spiritual capital, and sustainability. This link is the central unifying thread running through the book. It can be expressed as follows: We need a sense of meaning and values and a sense of fundamental purpose (spiritual intelligence) in order to build the wealth that these can generate (spiritual capital). It is only when our notion of capitalism includes spiritual capital’s wealth of meaning, values, purpose, and higher motivation that we can have sustainable capitalism and a sustainable society.

Spiritual intelligence is the intelligence with which we access our deepest meanings, values, purposes, and highest motivations.

SQ, spiritual capital, and sustainability are crucially linked. SQ’s sense of meaning, values, and purpose generates spiritual capital. Spiritual capital’s wealth of meaning, values, and higher motivation are necessary to sustainable capitalism and a sustainable society.

Sustainability itself requires that a system be able to maintain itself and evolve into the future. Sustainable systems in nature are systems whose elements cooperate in producing a balanced environment that nourishes the whole. They are holistic (the parts interact internally), self-organizing, and exploratory. The earth’s ecology (Gaia) is an example, where plants produce the oxygen that animals need, animals in turn produce carbon dioxide needed by the plants, the various plant and animal populations stay in balance through a combination of cooperation and competition, and water is recycled through processes of evaporation and rain. The ecology as a whole uses the diversity within it to breed evolution (genetic mutation).

People, organizations, and cultures that have spiritual capital will be more sustainable because they will have developed qualities that include wider, values-based vision, global concern and compassion, long-term thinking, spontaneity (and hence flexibility), an ability to act from their own deepest convictions, an ability to thrive on diversity, and an ability to learn from and make positive use of adversity.

I discuss three kinds of capital in the book: material capital, social capital, and spiritual capital. The building of each kind of capital is, I believe, associated with one of our three major human intelligences: rational intelligence (IQ), emotional intelligence (EQ), and spiritual intelligence (SQ).


See Table


Material capital is the capital most familiar to us in our present capitalist society. It means money and the things that money can buy—money to spend, money to invest, money with which to buy material advantage, power, and influence. As the founders of capitalism maintained, we pursue this kind of capital with our rational intelligence (IQ). IQ is the intelligence with which we think.

Social capital is the wealth that makes our communities and organizations function effectively for the common good. Francis Fukuyama defines social capital as the ability of people to work together for common purposes in groups and organizations. He argues that this is an ability that arises from trust and from shared ethical values.1 Social capital is reflected in the kinds of relationships we build in our families, communities, and organizations, the amount we trust one another, the extent to which we fulfill our responsibilities to one another and the community, the amounts of health and literacy we achieve through our common efforts, and the extent to which we are free of crime.

The amassing of social capital depends largely on the amount of emotional intelligence we can bring to our relationships. Emotional intelligence is our ability to understand and feel for other people, our ability to read other people’s emotions or to read the social situations we are in, and to behave or respond appropriately. EQ is the intelligence with which we feel.

Spiritual capital, as noted, adds the dimension of our shared meanings and values and ultimate purposes. It addresses those concerns we have about what it means to be human and the ultimate meaning and purpose of human life. I strongly believe that really genuine social capital must include this spiritual dimension. It is the cultivation and sharing of our truly ultimate concerns that acts as the real glue of society. Spiritual capital is built by using our spiritual intelligence. SQ is the intelligence with which we are.

All three kinds of capital—material, social, and spiritual—must be built, using all three of our intelligences, if we are to have sustainable capitalism. My emphasis in this book is on building the spiritual capital component of that whole equation. No other kind of capital really works without an underlying base of spiritual capital.

Motivation, the kinds of motivation we experience and the possibility of shifting from behavior inspired by lower motivations to that inspired by higher motivations, is a strong subtheme of the book. It is only when we know what underlying motives are driving our negative and self-destructive behavior that we can aspire to acting from higher motivations. The twelve dynamic processes of our spiritual intelligence provide an energy input that enables us to shift our individual behavior. My point, then, is that a critical mass of individuals, using their spiritual intelligence to act from higher motivations, can shift the dominant features of a whole culture, be it that of a family, a community, an organization, or of a whole global culture like capitalism.

The motivational transformation of individuals and cultures in all aspects of society is critical if we really are to build a better world, and those who live and work within such diverse areas of life as education, psychology, politics, the professions, and business can benefit from amassing spiritual capital, and thus from reading this book. Indeed, it is crucial we get them all on board. But I have chosen business as the audience from which I have drawn most of my examples and to which I address most of my remarks in the book. I have two reasons for this choice. First, business is the dominant instrument through which capitalist values have permeated our society. If we want to broaden the values of capitalism, it must be done, hands on, by broadening the values of a significant number of businesspeople. Second, it is business today that has the money and the power to make a very significant difference in the way that wealth of all kinds is generated and used to benefit individuals and society at large.

For business to be in a position to make such a difference, though, business culture must make a significant shift. This shift can only come about if the senior leadership of business act to change themselves. The book envisages the creation of a critical mass of business leaders (current and potential) who would act from higher motivations. I call this critical mass knights. Like the monks in my Tibetan dream, these men and women will have the creativity and the motivation to invent and embody new, living practices and a philosophy of business that can take us into a meaningful and sustainable future.

The book makes many criticisms of capitalism and of business-as-usual. Chapter One is a catalogue of wrongs and problems, many of them already familiar to the sophisticated reader. But the book is not anti-capitalist or anti-business. The anti-capitalists are wrong to reject an economic mechanism that has generated more material wealth than mankind has ever known. The trick is not to reject capitalism but to transform it. I see a rich potential within business and other fields to generate, within a wider framework, even more wealth and value, some of which can be used for the common good of humanity.

What follows is a “fractal” book. It is addressed, simultaneously, to the level of the individual and to the societal and cultural levels. Each level mirrors the others, and the same dynamic principles apply on each level.

The book’s development follows its main theme of how a critical mass of individuals, acting from higher motivations, can change the world. Chapters One and Two describe the two very different scenarios of capitalism in business-as-we-know-it, and capitalism in business-as-it-could-be. The first scenario portrays a materialist, amoral (often immoral) culture of short-term self-interest, profit maximization, emphasis on shareholder value, isolationist thinking, and profligate disregard of its own long-term consequences. It is based on narrow assumptions about human nature and motivation. The second scenario is that of spiritual capital. This portrays a values-based capitalist and business culture in which wealth is accumulated to generate a decent profit while acting to raise the common good. Its emphasis is more on “stakeholder value,” where stakeholders include the whole human race, present and future, and the planet itself. Spiritual capital nourishes and sustains the human spirit as well as making business sustainable.

The rest of the book is devoted to the process of how we can actually shift from today’s scenario to that of spiritual capital. To shift any culture, corporate or otherwise, we have to understand the motivations (and attendant attitudes and emotions) that drive that culture in the first place. Chapters Three and Four offer a new, systematic way to diagnose the motivational and emotional state of a present culture. This is done through offering a new scale of motivations that both mirrors and extends Abraham Maslow’s well-known pyramid of needs. To use these chapters properly requires cultivation and use of emotional intelligence, particularly the component of EQ that develops emotional self-awareness.

Chapters Five through Eight introduce the new concept of spiritual intelligence, define its twelve qualities and principles of transformation, and describe how these can be used to shift individuals and their culture from a state of acting from lower motivations (fear, greed, anger, and self-assertion) to one of acting from higher motivations (exploration, cooperation, power-within, mastery, and higher service).

Chapter Nine describes how this shift actually happens and can be diagnosed in a given organizational culture. It looks in depth at the eight issues that dominate corporate culture (communication, fairness, relationships, trust, power, truth, flexibility, and empowerment) and how these are influenced by the twelve processes of SQ transformation introduced earlier. Chapter Ten discusses the leadership elite who can bring about and embody cultural shift. This introduces the crucial leadership categories of “knights” and “masters,” those who make the new culture (knights) and those who embed the new culture within the practices of the organization (masters). Finally, Chapter Eleven, the concluding chapter, argues that spiritual capital is still a valid and workable form of capitalism, and summarizes what we, as individuals, can do to make it happen.

You will see some science in the book. Familiarity with a few discoveries of the most recent neuroscience is necessary to understand how spiritual intelligence is enabled by structures in the brain. In particular, it’s essential to be aware of the recent discovery of the “God Spot,” a mass of neural tissue in the brain’s temporal lobes that enables human beings to have a sense of the sacred and a longing for the deeper things in life.

Chaos theory, too, plays a role in the book’s development. Chaos (and the associated science of complexity) is one of the twentieth century’s “new sciences.” It describes nonlinear and self-organizing systems poised at the boundary between order and disorder, between stability and instability. Such systems include anthills, beehives, the weather, the stock market, and the human immune system. I argue that any organization or society with the capacity to be creative and sustainable in today’s unstable and crisis-riven world will have the characteristics of what chaos and complexity theory calls “complex adaptive systems.” These characteristics include holism, diversity, spontaneity, self-organization, emergence, and coevolution between the systems and their environments.

All living systems, ourselves included, are complex adaptive systems, and human consciousness itself displays the characteristics of complexity in many of its abilities. In Chapter Six, I discuss how and why the properties of complex adaptive systems make it possible to derive most of the qualities that distinguish spiritual intelligence.

A great many subthemes and minor threads run through the book, all necessary to put real flesh on the bones of the main theme. This is not a single-idea book, though I hope the brief road map that I have provided here will allow readers to experience the book as an integrated whole. Ultimately, spiritual capital is not just an idea but a whole new paradigm, and new paradigms contain a richness and complexity that branch out in many complementary directions.

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Endorsements

“It is folly to imagine that this can be achieved without transforming the motivations that govern organizations and societies, starting with each of us. As Zohar argues, for all of human history this has required cultivating our spiritual intelligence and building spiritual capital, and today is no different.”
—Peter Senge, Director, The MIT Center for Organizational Learning and author of The Fifth Discipline

“It is folly to imagine that this can be achieved without transforming the motivations that govern organizations and societies, starting with each of us. As Zohar argues, for all of human history this has required cultivating our spiritual intelligence and building spiritual capital, and today is no different.”
—Peter Senge, Director, The MIT Center for Organizational Learning and author of The Fifth Discipline

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