Helping the Chronically Overworked Find Life Balance

Regain Control of Your Life Through Stories About People

Chapter 1: My Corporate Idolatry Part 12

Busting Your Corporate Idol: How To Reconnect With Values & Regain Control Of Your Life is a book full of stories..  The longer a story has been told, the more likely it is to resonate with fundamental ideas about people.  I include stories from ancient sources like Aesop or the Bible, as well as modern stories, like the play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller or the movie The Devil Wore Prada.  Across industries and level, in the Bible and in literature, I see the same story again and again. Excess devotion to things (like a company) comes at a high price, while focus on people (like family or community) brings greater happiness and internal peace.

The book is divided into three parts.  The first part of the book, “Corporate Idolatry Busted” tells the story of idols and corporations to help you see the world in a different way.  In today’s world, ‘idol’ generally refers to a secular object that is blindly or excessively admired. ‘Idolatry,’ however, refers not to feelings but actions. To give a trivial example, it is one thing to admire the winner of the TV show American Idol.  It is quite another to dye your hair and change your speech patterns to mimic the winner in daily life.

But idolatry is anything but trivial.  According to traditional Jewish teachings, you are allowed to commit any sin if it will save your own life, with the exception of murder, incest, or idolatry.  Idolatry as bad as murder???  Why should I take a bullet to avoid having to bow down to a statue?  The short answer is that the idol is not just a statue; it represents a value system and a way of life.  The First, and arguably the most important, Commandment says there is only one God, which as I show in Chapter 2, can be translated for unbelievers into “there is only one set of unchanging universal values.” In Pagan Idolatry, there are many gods, each with their own set of rules, meaning that individuals can, and did, pick which set of rules to follow, including some systems where murder was permissible.

Some people look at multiple religions and see nothing but conflict.  I see the commonalities, a single gold standard of values that transcend religion and do not even require belief in God.  In Chapter 2 we will become acquainted with the Golden Rule, the Rule of Self Preservation and the Rule of Universality that together constitute the Fundamental Universal Values (aka Fun-U-Val for the corporate junkies who can’t remember anything without the aid of an acronym.)  Idolatry, then, is the adoption of values that conflict with Fun-U-Val.  Chapter 3 strips away all the anthropomorphisms, demonization, and lionization that we attribute to corporations.  They are institutions created to make money, and are a very efficient way to create goods and services.  But corporations are no more capable of noticing people than an anthill is capable of noticing the ants digging the tunnels.

What stories have inspired you to make a change in your life?

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