By John Worne
politics: (pɒlɪtɪks/) noun: 1) the activities associated with the governance of a country or area, especially the debate between parties having power. 2) activities aimed at improving someone’s status or increasing power within an organization.
Most people complain about office politics. And the Specialist-Generalist should be ‘purpose’ first, invitable and unavoidable ‘politics’ very much second.
But it’s worth remembering that two of the greatest thinkers of all time believed politics was the inevitable result of a true society or community – and not the lowest common denominator…
Thomas Aquinas view following the model of Aristotle is summarised by the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy:
The political community is the first community (larger than the family) for which the individual makes great sacrifices, since it is not merely a larger cooperative venture for mutual economic benefit.
It is, rather, the social setting in which man truly finds his highest natural fulfillment. It is in this context that Aquinas argues (following Aristotle) that although political society originally comes into being for the sake of living, it exists for the sake of “living well.”
An organisation that is anything more than ‘a larger cooperative venture for mutual economic benefit’ – i.e. any organisation with a bigger purpose, is a political community; with all that entails.