We live in an era in which we get told round-the-clock what to believe, how to behave, who to become and where to belong, yet at the same time we're urged to live 'authentically' and remain true to ourselves. How can we make sense of this? How can we identify what really makes us itch, or what we love? How can we seamlessly reconcile our competing desires and obligations? How can we balance individual resolve and achievement with a sense of collective understanding and well-being? Moreover, how should we define what a successful life is?
PATHS OF MEANING is a book about growth and development, with a slightly rebellious flair, calling on readers to never surrender the gift of inquiry and wonder. Part heuristic, part anecdotal and part contemplative, it examines the crucial role that symbolic thought and creativity have played in the evolution of our species, and how this uniquely strange and evocative ability may hold the key for designing our present and future. It celebrates the full spectrum of human capacity, and asks us to gauge the degree to which we cherish - or downplay - our talents and passions. It questions the sincerity of corporate mantras such as 'doing well by doing good', eliciting a clear distinction between 'value creation' and the now popular yet wobbly 'stakeholder value' narrative. It analyzes some of the remarkable qualities that make up effective leaders and teams, and points to the essential ingredients that might help us maneuver through life with greater personal courage and professional resilience.
While discussing the work of influential authors, as well as drawing on the legacy of innovators, trailblazers and polymaths, Christian Filli helps us reflect on our creative potential, frameworks of meaning and universal values. He explores some of the misconceptions about the nature of progress, the role of conflict, and the pursuit of mastery. He juxtaposes the dangers of self-righteousness, standardization and conformity with the beneficial effects of constructive disagreement, lifelong learning and interdisciplinary thinking. And he ponders whether we have what it takes to really become a mature global society.