There is a fundamental difference between traditional wisdom and modern knowledge. The central concern of traditional wisdom both in the East and West has been man’s inner world of permanent bliss and beauty. The effectiveness of man be he a king or a laity was viewed primarily in terms of subjective parameters. And so we got models of ‘Rajarshi’ in Bharatvarsha, and of philosopher – king in Greece, Modern knowledge has, however, turned the focus outwards. Objective parameters it claims are its forte. External achievement even at the cost of inner demolition is the contemporary human’s slogan for effectiveness.
Peter Drucker’s phrase Knowledge worker has gained a lot of aura popularis over the last decade or so. But it is time we bring it face to face with a saving alternative: the wisdom worker. For the knowledge worker has nothing to do with the knowledge of Socrates which means the single absolute good. The modern world is characterized by an accelerated process of exteriorized human existence both in thought and form. The ‘Knowledge worker’ symbolizes this. However, restoring the inner center of gravity, the wisdom worker within us can provide the much needed foil to the knowledge worker. Einstein had observed that knowledge of what is does not automatically lead to an understanding of what should be the goal of man’s aspiration. The latter task is dependent on wisdom and wisdom workers. They embrace yet transcend knowledge and knowledge workers.
A point often made is that society and culture are not static, but dynamic Indian society in particular is evaluated by many as being shackled by a rigid, static framework peculiar to itself. We think it is vital here to draw a clear distraction between ‘change’ and ‘dynamism’ Continuous superficial outer change is too often paraded as dynamism. This, in itself, conceals a highly static conception of man as a material entity, first and last. On the other hand the much abused static outer social structure of India secretly preserves for us the real dynamics of human’s fulfillment. Unfortunately we have only ‘outsights’. The absence of ‘insights’ causes us to remain oblivious to this dynamic core overlain as it might be with a mass of putrefied garbage.
The problem which Indian culture had to solve was that of a firm outward basis on which to found the practical development of its spirit and its idea in life. How are we to take the natural life of man and, while allowi0ng it sufficient scope and variety and freedom, yet to subject it to a law, canon, Dharma, a law of function, a law of type, a law of each actual unideal human tendency and a law too of highest ideal function.
Manager is a manager first and man only next. If he has not answer in the affirmative then his notions about dynamics and effectiveness need to be reassessed his only when such reassessing gaining momentum on a wide front that several abominable exterior features of our present day society can begin to be scrubbed off. This sequence of events this order of priority has to be clearly grasped. Otherwise no amount of political decision making, social restructuring or organizational engineering can, by itself make much headway. And if several thinkers in the field of management claim that today it is not the politicians, social workers or swamis, but the managers who are the real ‘change agents’, then the burden of responsibility on the latter is really great. In bearing this cross, they can derive a lot of grass root support from traditional wisdom.