Leadership Library Review — “The Science of Life and Wellbeing: Integrating the New Science of Consciousness with the Ancient Science of Consciousness” by Frederick Chavalit Tsao (Journal of Management, Spirituality & Religion, Vol. 18, 2021)

February 2022

[S]o, with a higher elevation of awakening of consciousness, with the practice of mindfulness toward oneness, and with the new worldview that is arising, by the year 2030 we are going to be looking at systemic change quite differently. There will be the rise of quantum leadership, in society and business, and more importantly in the government sector.

Fred Tsao

Readers of this blog will know that I’ve been on a consciousness-development kick lately, and in the midst of my meanderings I’ve come across this fascinating and appealingly optimistic idea of “quantum leadership.”  The subject of a book by Tsao and Chris Laszlo – which I have not read – quantum leadership apparently has been a concept in the healthcare field for some time and seems to be relatively new in private business.  It recognizes that humanity is, to quote Tsao from this article, “experiencing a shift in eras, from the era of the First Scientific Revolution defined by the materialistic ideas of people such as Isaac Newton and Adam Smith to the Second Scientific Revolution defined by the quantum paradigm…The new era is the dawn of an age of wellbeing, where humanity embraces a new narrative of life, a new worldview based on oneness and holism, validated by quantum science and practiced by traditional Chinese culture.” 

It just so happens that the current three-month leadership discussion group I’m facilitating, “Beginning,” is reading parts of the timeless Chinese leadership treatise, the Tao te Ching – “The Way of Virtue,” written in the 6th century B.C. by Lao Tzu – for inspiration at the intersections of leadership, consciousness and renewal.  (As to the beginning of the Way itself, the 1988 Stephen Mitchell translation reads: “Approach it and there is no beginning;/ follow it and there is no end./You can’t know it, but you can be it,/at ease in your own life.”)  My interpretation of the entire Tao te Ching is that a great leader is one who sagely observes and follows the natural flow of emergence, humbly participating creatively in what arises, for the compassionate benefit of society.  Within the quantum-field-like net of potential in which things arise according to Taoist philosophy, Tsao says, “[a]ll forms of matter have a basic binary code, a Yin-Yang (陰陽), like a sine wave, constantly oscillating back and forth between the two elements. The energy moves as coordinated vibrations.”  The nickname I give to this vibrating energy is “cosmic mischief.”  I think I understand Tsao when he observes that this oscillation, for the purposes of insight into leadership, “is not a matter of right or wrong, it is just cycles in which we evolve. If we follow the impetus of the universe, we can create everything and anything…”  In other words, we can use our human consciousness to synergize this energy in concert with cosmic generativity.

Tsao’s article is, ultimately, a call for a more profound process of healing our individual and collective well-being – which are obviously intertwined – so that humanity can bring itself into greater alignment with evolution on the grandest scales.  He says, “[i]n quantum science terms, healing is defined as the re-establishment of coherence in the physical body, mind and spirit of an individual with the cosmos.”  Tsao cites the rise in Eastern spirituality, philosophies and practices – specifically mentioning yoga, tai chi and meditation – in the West over recent decades as examples of ways humanity has begun this much-needed process of cultivating consciousness, connection, oneness and re-alignment.  He is clear that any practice that deepens stillness and listening allows any of us to tap into emergent creativity, and to bring it forth in service of well-being and flourishing: “We all have the potential for infinite creativity — which in the final analysis is love.”

Additional Resources

  • If you explicitly fold into the ingredients of quantum leadership the theory of “complex adaptive systems,” you get this wonderful chapter on “Twelve Principles of Quantum Leadership” from Zero Distance: Management in the Quantum Age – which is another new book I have not read – by Danah Zohar.  (I’d add a thirteenth principle, “Playfulness,” to make it a baker’s dozen…)
  • As Tsao notes, the United Nations has begun integrating new ways of measuring global sustainability and development.  Some of my favorite thought leaders, such as Susanne Cook-Greuter, Otto Scharmer, Bob Kegan and Jennifer Garvey Berger, support an initiative advancing 23 “Inner Development Goals” for growing or collective developmental capacity to address the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. If this idea intrigues you, I recommend visiting the initiative’s website.
  • For more on Chinese culture, philosophy and medicine and how they mutually inform adult development theory and leadership, I highly recommend the paradigm-shifting work of Spring Cheng.  Originally a hard-core scientist by background and career, she has become a profound indigenous philosopher, and is now also a coach.  This Coaches Rising interview provides a beautiful introduction to Cheng and her radically illuminating perspectives.

A final note: Reflecting on the steady burgeoning of Eastern thought and practices in the West over the past 50 years, I cannot help but mention the loss of an early ambassador of mindfulness in the U.S., Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, whose passing on January 22nd deeply touched me.  Sometimes known as “the other Dalai Lama,” Nhat Hanh was – to many – a living embodiment of peace. The specific type of interconnectedness of all living and non-living things that he taught – “inter-being” – hearkens to Tsao’s main point, above.  Maria Popova in The Marginalian, quotes Nhat Hanh: “[T]here is no such thing as an individual separate self. A flower is made only of non-flower elements, such as chlorophyll, sunlight, and water. If we were to remove all the non-flower elements from the flower, there would be no flower left. A flower cannot be by herself alone. A flower can only inter-be with all of us… Humans are like this too. We can’t exist by ourselves alone. We can only inter-be. I am made only of non-me elements, such as the Earth, the sun, parents, and ancestors.”

Photo: Susan Palmer, Naples Botanical Garden, Florida (2019)

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