Substance not Quantity

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVZf-W3B_cc

After a taxing day at work one of the things I enjoy most is cooking. It’s my tryst with myself. I do not get to do that very often because I generally find a freshly cooked meal, my wife and two children awaiting my return from the office so that we share a meal and one’s day together. Today was one such day where I got to cook and, after a sumptuous family meal of grilled lemon chicken with marinated, barbequed vegetables my fingers still smell of onions and garlic.

Sometimes I am captivated by the seemingly trivial things in life. Take, for example, garlic, lemons and onions. How can something as small as garlic make such a difference to a meal? The same applies to a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon. Onions on the other hand are like a good relationship; the more you peel at it the more tender it becomes (and the more tears it brings to your eyes) … but, hey, doesn’t it garnish life’s plate?

While on the subject of substance I like to share with you a song I heard for the first time some twenty five years ago. It’s called the Steeple Song (by Don Francisco) and, although the direct references are to churches, pews, steeples and sermons it really applies to all situations in life. The point that the song-writer wants to drive home is that, when one takes all the bells and whistles away, do we do the things that really matter, where they matter and to whom they matter most in life?

Today I sat through presentation after presentation on corporate governance, compliance, codes of conduct etc.; all very important topics when companies and countries are only just emerging from the throes of a crippling financial crisis. What got us there in the first place? Understandably my mind could not help wondering off at times and I kept asking myself, “Why do we have so much rules, regulations and codes of conduct that precede but fail to prevent financial debacles?” Put more simply, “Which part of NO don’t we understand?” or more importantly, “Do we really need so much rules and regulations to drive home some very simple principles in life such as not to steal, or to lust over money, possessions or dominion?”

When one peels away at these regulations, they do not require more from us than would an abbreviated version of the 10 commandments (or, for the more ardent Christian, the beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount in chapters 5 to 7 of the Gospel according to Matthew). Why do we need reports by Cadbury, Higgs, Hempel and Turnbull plus three editions of the Combined Code of Governance, for example in the United Kingdom (or Sarbanes Oxley et al in the USA), to teach us not to be greedy, not to steal or not to exert undue influence? How hard is that?

The same applies to any other jurisdiction; so much so that for decades several theses have been written on the subject! But nothing in all these volumes combined adds to the simple truth our inner being would tell us if and when we allow it to speak to us.

What’s your tryst? Does it have a voice? 

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2 Responses to Substance not Quantity

  1. joe erl says:

    Nice questions, hard answers

    Regards, Joe

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