Tag Archives: Best Practices

Memento Mori for the C-Suite

“If you want to live well, think of death.” – motto written on the walls of the traditional Masonic Chamber of Reflection.

As a researcher into the liminal edges of our cultural consciousness, who has often been employed within the confines of the corporate world, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on my mortality.

Between moments of existential panic and giddy freedom I’ve come to face the inevitable fleshy concerns of this world, and to realize that in the hustle and bustle of executive life it’s not often that we have the chance to deeply engage with reality.

When it’s all bottom lines, ROI and sales slicks, when does one sit back and think on the human condition. The problems that we face in society are, in part, due to this disconnect between the executives and businesses that provide leadership and material support in our communities, and the simple facts of being human.

In light of this I propose a humble solution, Memento Mori for the C-Suite. Small tokens to remind those who have the material means of motivating society that they too are made of flesh and bone, and that death awaits us all. In a culture that promotes plastic surgery, dental reconstruction, and photoshop enhancement to hide our mortality, the clocks come round to a time when we need to readdress the basic fact…we’re all going to die.

This is no morbid mockery, rather it’s a return to a long tradition in philosophy and spirituality where symbols of death and decay bring people a true sense of how much life is really worth.

Here at The Eyeless Owl we dream of launching a campaign by creating a series of drawings, paintings, bas-reliefs and sculptures that carry the traditional grotesque into the 21st century.

These items would be offered up for sale (to further fund the project*) for people to distribute to the executives in their lives, along with a brief meditation guide to help those executives come to terms with their mortality, and the positive application of this realization for society at large. I say give because I figure that most executives aren’t responsible enough to do this for themselves, and it’s going to take someone else to slip these things into view.  For those rare few who are open to their mentality, they could send their C-Suite credentials and we’d gladdly give them a memento for free.

The funding from this campaign will go to the material costs of creating and distributing the pieces, as well as the development of a larger media outreach campaign to remind executives of a very basic fact of life.

Memento Mori is a meditation technique used by some of the greatest thinkers that humanity has produced, isn’t it a small thing to ask of our current cultural leaders that they approach their task with the same serious reflection on life and death?

*Note: Originally we figured Kickstarter might be a good way to get this thing going, but after meditating on it, we want this to be a personal project that comes from the heart and all the carnie barker antics it takes to get a Kickstarter thing going seem a bit antithetical to the whole concept. No offense to Kickstarter, it’s just that not everything in life is based on deadlines and fundraising.

Community Parasites

Thinking about manufactured scarcity lead me to look around the local environs with an eye keyed in on gaps in the social structure. Areas that had been picked clean or surrounded by illegitimate interests.

As I mentally perused my community I realized that a good chunk of small business was in some way aiding the decline of our collective culture, if not actively, then passively by not focusing outside of a small set of anemic goals.  It seems there’s a lot of trickle down coming from the universities, management coaches, networking groups and associations that’s corrupting the potential for stable, interesting and culturally diverse communities to arise.

There are too many stale ideas, old habits, prudish strategies being passed around as gospel in a time when the opportunities opened up by communications technology makes a much richer experience possible. You get some crippled thinker at the top espousing ideas on making fast cash and pretty soon there’s another cell phone vendor moving in where the bookstore used to be.

In a piece written for Planetshifter Magazine I continue to explore why every entrepreneur and business needs to ask themselves…am I a parasite or a provider?