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Unconstrained Thinking
-- A Goal for Our Time

This column is a bit longer than usual, ironically because I had so much trouble coming up with something to write this month. My original theme was going to be management oxymorons, but the events of September 11 have inhibited my usual ironic wordplay. In trying to come up with an appropriate column, I thought about global versus local viewpoints, the application of logical thinking to issues that are rooted in the realm of faith, or some other similar theme. But like many others, my mind has been pretty numb recently.

While watching the national telethon, there was one quotation from the past that struck a chord with me, and sent me to the internet to read the full original text. In reading it, it struck me as something that expresses what all serious endeavors need -- a goal -- a constancy of purpose. A larger excerpt is offered here…

In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression -- everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way -- everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want, which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings that will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants -- everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear, which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor -- anywhere in the world. That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called "new order" of tyranny, which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.

To that new order we oppose the greater conception -- the moral order. A good society is able to face schemes of world domination and foreign revolutions alike without fear. Since the beginning of our American history we have been engaged in change, in a perpetual, peaceful revolution, a revolution which goes on steadily, quietly, adjusting itself to changing conditions without the concentration camp or the quicklime in the ditch. The world order which we seek is the cooperation of free countries, working together in a friendly, civilized society.

This nation has placed its destiny in the hands, heads and hearts of its millions of free men and women, and its faith in freedom under the guidance of God. Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights and keep them. Our strength is our unity of purpose.

To that high concept there can be no end save victory.about it. – Franklin Delano Roosevelt, January 6, 1941

A clearly stated and consistent vision and goal, such as this from 60 years ago, is critical to the management, support, and success of any effort, whether in our personal lives, our companies, or this larger context. In may never be reached in absolute, but is worthy of focused striving. The terror that is the current constraint inhibiting this goal is a self-supporting symptom of the difficulty associated with attaining this goal in the complexities of a modern multi-cultural world. In dealing with the immediate symptom, we must do so keeping in mind the larger, long-term goal of universal freedom.

Think about it. And do what you can to support it.

©2001, Frank Patrick

We have nothing to fear but fear itself. - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

This column was written in the month following the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. As you read this later in time, there may be new characteristics of the war on terrorism that have taken the headlines, and new victims.

The initial outpouring of charity and compassion in September of 2001 was unprecendented and impressive, but as the war on terror will be a protracted endeavor, so will the need for such caring and sharing. is one of many places one the web that we encourage you to visit for inspiration on what you can do.

This is one of a series of columns usually focused on improvement, TOC, constraint management, change management, systems thinking, uncommon sense, and whatever else comes into my mind. Suggestions for topics are welcome. - FP, 908-874-8664 or via the contact page of this site.

If you are interested in using these 1/2-page columns for your APICS, ASQ, or IIE newsletter, let me know through the same channels, and I'll send you the more easily usable MS Word versions.

-- Frank Patrick

Related links:

Unconstrained Thinking Index

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