Suddenly, in the middle of this board meeting, the door opened, and a young girl said: “DADDY, WHAT IS LOVE?”

Moments of truth

The chairman stood up and said: “Ladies and gentlemen, we will have to postpone our meeting until tomorrow morning. My daughter just asked me a crucial question.”

Everybody in the board room was stunned! And then they left the room.

I was listening to this unforgettable story told be the girl - now woman - in question.Tears were rolling down her cheeks. Down mine too! It was in the late 60’s in her New York apartment and I never forgot one of the most moving Love Stories I ever heard!

Love in action

That's what I call Love in action. We don't care about what the father said to his daughter about love; he had already answered her, through his action. He had showed her that Love is more important than “important" board meetings taking place behind closed doors.

Now, what do you think would have been the message if the father had said: “sweetheart, I am very busy and I suggest postponing your question until tomorrow because I have this meeting and then a dinner with some important clients.”

Or what would have been the message if he'd been listening to the conventional Echo chamber where voices were saying: “Come on, seriously, it's not a kid who's going to interrupt our meeting! Okay, she is asking existential questions but hey, we're doing business here. she can wait. You don't interrupt a meeting like this with important people doing important things.”

 Moments of truth

I believe Life offers us “moments of Truth”. In these moments, we need to be true to ourselves, to our intuitions, to the deep emotions and feelings for people. In other words, we need to be true to LIFE rather than true to “rules, orders, conventions, status, appearances.

I believe, like Charles Handy, that we need to dare “TheAge of Unreason”, a time for bold imagining in the private life as well as public; for thinking the unlikely and doing the unreasonable.”

That's what I call daring Heterodox Wisdom when it leads to greater “Wisdom”.

Every day, in our lives, these moments of truth happen. Because a friend, a woman, a child, a neighbor, asks us a question as important FOR THEM as “what is Love?”

That also happens – or used to happen - in the corporate world.  Sometimes, during a meeting, somebody asks: “Why are we doing that”? Or “why are we NOT doing this?”

I remember a cartoon in which an employee enters his boss’s office and asks: "What's the meaning of our business?” This is followed by a very, very long silence and, at the bottom of the page, the boss replies: "You're fired!”

These questions are of crucial importance.

They need a space to be heard because they are a sign of intelligence in a world that needs it.

They are a way to resist the “normal” way things are. They are challenging our ideas and our dogmas about what “should” be done.

We have good friends and very respectable professionals who dared to open a door to ask those questions.

Most of them have been fired lately. This was their moment of truth.

Because despite the discourse on “Freedom inc.”, the space for that typeof question seems to have shrunk.

Too much pressure, too much fear, too much need for certainty.

This is what a fantastic article calls “functional Stupidity” [1]

“We argue that functional stupidity is prevalent in contexts dominated by the economy of persuasion which emphasizes images and symbolic manipulation. This gives rise to forms of stupidity management that repress and marginalize doubts and block communicative action.” 

At a time when a discourse unpolluted by “bullshit” comes as a surprise, it is more needed than ever to resist functional stupidity: to question evidences, routine approaches, conventional Wisdom that lead us to multiple disasters.

In fact, there is an imperative to resist and escape everything that maintains us in our “mental jails”: Denial,Ignorance, Dogmatism, Conformism, Fatalism, blind Rationalism.

So, let’s listen to the “true questions”that are asked around us.
Let’s put Life over ideas of what is supposed to be normal.


[1] A stupidity-Based theory of Organisations, Mats Alesson and André Spicer, Journal of management Studies, 2012