Recession therapy

Posted by HC in 'Good Business' / Spirituality / Uncategorized on 5 April 2009

I didn’t expect it, but this last couple of months have been amongst my busiest. Some very rich people are finding time to think.

I have been shuttling between Texas and New York in a curious dance between two rather different groups of people who share a basic spiritual – the old spiritual – dilemma. Roughly speaking, it goes like this. They want to get capitalism back on its feet. They feel quite guilty that it is enduring the present credit crunch and recession. They want to know what is required (not least of them) to make things work better next time.

That sounds like a problem for an economist rather than spiritual guru (they call me that, and that’s what they expect me to be). But they come to me – they say – because they are wondering what if anything is wrong with their values and whether “fixing” their values can help them fix the economy or feel better about America.

What I don’t do is the kind of meditationalism featured in Damages, where the murdering entrepreneur Arthur Frobisher decides to find himself in flowing white linen. I do recognise the new surge in business described by Jane Haynes, the psychotherapist whose “memoir of the couch” Who is it who can tell me who I am? has won prizes and is now being published commercially. But I don’t do psychotherapy either.

Rich people always expect society to beat them up about the luxury of their lifestyle and the aggression of their business techniques. My clients know from the rumour mill that I have a different point of view. I don’t expect them to change how they operate but I do expect them to examine what they hope to get out of what they do. I don’t let them waffle about family or society. I keep on at them about being sure they have examined what they really want for themselves.

Curiously, the group in Texas has resolved itself into a sort of reading group. A lot of its members are very, very rich though not as rich as they were a few months ago. But the leaders of the group are retired and have decided they want an open-ended discussion of great texts. The Great Writer approach is what they learned at school, in the American way. They like me around because they like strong chairmanship. They are often church people, and some are very right wing. Some are strikingly libertarian. Some say they have been too busy all their lives to think, let alone read.

The leader of this group is a canny man with great style. I fly business class when I’m working for him, and live in a lovely stand-alone house in his grounds. It was the granny house, but granny died. I can see where the geriatric equipment has been dismantled. It has a kitchen and I have a lovely black couple attending on me. Across the little artificial lake in the garden, I see the Big House. It’s all almost vulgar, but it is so frankly and cheerfully new and unpretentious, though vast, that only a great snob wouldn’t like it.

I’ll talk about the New York stuff next time.

share this:
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Google Bookmarks

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.