Being at the Edge

Creativity: Living Life at the Edge

“In chaos theory, the edge is the meeting point between order and chaos, between the known and the unknown. In nature, it is where creativity and self-organisation happen. It is where new information is created… Chaos may contain information, but its code is so complex that we could never hope to access it. We are ‘all at sea’, like people who have no sense of what game they are playing…

There is good science that studies order, and good science that studies chaos, but science that wishes to study creativity focuses on the edge of chaos. This is where living systems like ourselves ‘happen’. All biological systems are poised at the edge of chaos. That is what makes us open and adaptive, what makes living systems so miraculously flexible…

The human mind, when it is using ‘spiritual intelligence’, is also poised at the edge.

Being at the edge makes our lives and creativity possible, but it can also add an element of fear- the goalposts of life are less certain.”

– Danah Zohar

It is this tension between creativity and fear that makes us – both as individuals and societies – seek to create a ‘safe certainty’. In the process, creativity is killed.  This is why, when we strive to embed ethics into business, the process should be built on those values that support creativity, and the values that reduce fear – without creating a jail of certainty that does not allow for the creativity to happen.

This is difficult.

From personal observation, the process of creating certainty in an organisation destroys the creativity that created the organisation in the first place. Over time, this ‘safe’ organisation runs out of creative energy… and dies.

“Today, we all have to live at the edge whether we like it or not. We can’t just paper over the cracks in the old tradition and its traditional ethics. Nor can we give way to nihilistic relativism, denying the reality of any truth at all.

We have to devise new concepts and redefine our categories of judgement.

An ethics by which we live creatively today will, of necessity, be an ethics poised at the edge… What Nietzsche meant by ‘chaos’ was the ability to self-organize, to re-invent, going beyond the traditional categories of good and evil that had been imposed by top-down religions…

If we learn to rely on our spiritual intelligence, we shall become less fearful, more accustomed to relying on ourselves, more willing to face the difficult and the uncomfortable, and more ready to live at the edge.”

– Danah Zohar

Is this what we should be implementing in business today?

Should we be replacing ethics with centeredness in line with Greenleaf’s vision of a servant-leader? The one that is ready to serve. Are we not already at some level to start understanding our unique contribution to life – and pursuing that fulfillment?

Are we not all entitled to go beyond personal mastery, and into personal being?

When we find the courage to do so, we not only fulfill our potential but in the process facilitate the fulfillment of the potential of those around us.


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