Naud van der Ven
Good intentions and illusions
What happens when one
person thinks for another?
intention of this workshop (primarily for
managers) is to trace illusions which may play us tricks. Illusions are
things, certainly when they are inspired by good intentions and are
supported by hierarchical power. The French philosopher Levinas thinks
impossible in these matters to be your own critical instance, that’s to
for the greater part not. According to him an external force is
call to a halt the raging rationality, be it only for a short moment.
Levinas another person can act as such. When we pour out our
rationally accounted for ideas and schemes on others, suddenly the
show itself of such another person who is supposed to walk in our
this confrontation makes us question ‘What am I doing?’ or ‘Am I right
such or so?’ we may be close to discovering an illusion.
- Check for yourself:
where have you
been in the position you had to think (also) for other people, to plan
them, to formulate policy? (e.g. as a manager, as a consultant, as a
- Have you been
confronted, in that
situation, with – possibly unarticulated – resistance or grief or
others (e.g. co-workers, customers) who were supposed to follow your
- Did you ask yourself, be it for a
split second: ‘what am I doing?’ or ‘why should it be done this way?’
or ‘am I
going too far?’.
- Did that feel as shame for your own
ideas, however thought through and well-intended they were?
- Did that confrontation
enable you to
put some of your ideas to discussion and to allow new ideas?
- Try to put into words the
shame, which is the key to the illusion.
- Exchange in conversation
situation, the shame, the possible illusion. Can you determine whether
is an illusion?
Time: one-and-a-half to
three to seven
150,- per person
Naud van der Ven, The Shame of Reason in Organizational Change
- A Levinasian Perspective. Dordrecht: Springer,