Lean Metaphysically
Lean Metaphysically
Benjamin Snipes
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Table of Contents


I went to business school like so many aspiring professionals to learn how to exchange value for money. That’s when I came across the business philosophy of “Lean.” Lean was developed by Toyota, collaborators and academics over the course of Toyota’s becoming the world’s leading car manufacturer. Businesses across the world of all sizes have adopted Lean, and countless books have analyzed and expanded it, to help themselves and others realize similar success.

However, I came to realize that while companies adopted and authors wrote about Lean methods, a more profound and powerful aspect of Lean had been missed by all - Lean is so effective and widely applicable because it is a modern philosophy - a metaphysics - for business and life today. Lean’s precepts come from its profound truth that extends beyond business, which makes Lean much more powerful, universal, timeless, and profitable once fully understood. From that point forward the direction of my thinking about the creation and exchange of value radically changed.

Law students are told to expect that by the end of their first year of law school all of the different legal courses they are studying will come together in their minds in a single “AHA” moment, synthesizing into a unified understanding of how the legal way of thinking works. I expected my business education to provide a similar overarching insight explaining how all business subjects lead to making money through value creation. When I stumbled upon Lean, I realized that while business school taught the specific details of how money got made from business activity, it taught me nothing about the creation of true “value,” which Lean terminology calls “true-north value,” in order to exchange money for it. I realized that while all business subjects allude to and try to quantify value, none fully described the genesis and structure of value itself, which the greatest businesses do. There was no “AHA” moment coming from business school without something more, and I suspected to find the insight in Lean. I knew then I had a lot of further work to do besides attend classes to graduate with the deep knowledge of value creation I was seeking in order to be highly effective at making money, which was fundamentally an axiological endeavor. My business education became a quest to understand the historical and theoretical foundation of Lean, and expand on it intellectually to realize its full potential as a business philosophy. This book is my attempt to share that learning with you for your own financial and personal success.

Perhaps because my head was spinning with thought from reading so deeply into Lean, the somewhat strange acronym, “U/People” (pronounced “You lean people”) came to mind. The acronym stood for, “Uniquely/Profitably, Extending and Optimizing People’s Lives and Existences.” “U/People” can also mean the universe divided by people, which to me is the only way to measure units of true value in the universe. This odd acronym cohered and explained for me the entire value stream in a way the formal business curriculum missed. I relate each letter of the “U/People” acronym to specific business departments and functions of the modern enterprise, and those departments and functions to the deepest levels of true-north value and problem solving, as will be explained later. It also alludes to the deeper premise of the Metaphysics of Lean - that all value that companies create and consumers pursue ultimately has an ontological basis - whereby existence becomes its own measure of value.1

U/People was my AHA moment I had sought by going to business school. I went to business school to get the intuitive sense of how to make money that successful entrepreneurs implicitly know and came away with an acronym that everyone ought to know in order to better help others and themselves. While I originally intended just to make a simple pamphlet or diagram explaining how the U/People acronym explains Lean, my thoughts kept growing on the page to become what I hope to be a well-researched book written with fun and style. And this became more than just a book to me because it led me to the most profound and unexpected places, far beyond what most business books cover. By writing it, I kept finding connections between radically different concepts and multiple levels of meaning, seeing similarities and differences across disciplines - including within language itself - which I put back into the book at every turn.

So studying the history, theory and philosophy of Lean led me to books on widely different topics that all seemed to align for one reason or another with the philosophical, humanistic and post-humanistic concepts of Lean, like Douglas Hofstadter’s, “Gödel, Escher, Bach,” Jim Collins’ and Jerry Porras’, “Built to Last,” David Deutsch’s, “The Beginning of Infinity,” and Yuval Noah Harari’s, “Sapiens.” Thus, in this text and through a close reading of books like these, I summarize and extend Lean to its theoretical extreme, unifying everything from physics to the humanities to religion by further intertwining Lean like a golden braid within the themes that form the bedrock of all true-north value. Thus, you might find “Lean Metaphysically” to be an intellectual companion and counterpoint to all that has been written about Lean.

While I delved into the intellectual foundations of Lean, Lean was only growing more popular in business with its widespread adoption by startups through Eric Ries’ book, “The Lean Startup.” When reading The Lean Startup and the enormous number of other Lean-oriented books that had been produced to capitalize on the “Lean” business trend, they further reinforced for me the proposition that Lean represented a unique perspective on how to achieve success in business and life.

My own research and writing of this book on Lean evolved to become simultaneously academic, literary and artistic in scope and ambition. It became academic because I tried to not only write truly, but to support it copiously with legitimate, well-researched footnotes. I consider it literary because its total meaning requires it to be read to be fully appreciated. And it to me became artistic because I could only articulate true-north value in the space where words fade away, and that sense of the unspeakably sublime that I felt started coming out in the writing methods I used. The fission, fusion, parallelism, coherence and discoherence of its language began to model for me the physics and metaphysics of Lean. I sincerely hope and expect that you will enjoy and learn from it as much as I have writing it.

Lean Metaphysically is intended to be a linguistic technology to improve your thinking in order to optimize everyone’s life and existence. To forewarn, Lean Metaphysically does have its own terminology described in its glossary that leverages and extends the Lean vernacular. This glossary is designed to compress and relate the vast concepts within Lean Metaphysically to make it easier for you to apply it in your own life, existence and work once you learn it. If you read this book end-to-end, you will be able to describe the psychological motivation of all people in ontological terms with this unique terminology. That in-turn will let you efficiently translate everything into scientific, philosophical and even spiritual concepts in a fairly concise way. And by converting between these seemingly disparate worlds of thought, you will be able to better think through and solve people’s problems more effectively while producing less waste than you otherwise would have, which in Lean is the highest form of true-north value creation possible.

Thus, my purpose in writing this book is both ego-centric, in that I wrote it for my own entertainment and benefit, and allo-centric, in that I sincerely hope to pass on what I consider to be useful knowledge to you about the intellectual history and this expanded theory of Lean. By reading this book, I expect that you will learn a bit about history, a bit about economics, a bit about philosophy, and a bit about yourself, which may be like rebuilding a ship you are already on, as the philosopher Otto Neurath famously said. However, by studying the metaphysics of Lean, I hope that you will become more powerful throughout your life’s journey.

Edwin Land, founder of the Polaroid Corporation, once said, “Don’t undertake a project unless it is manifestly important and nearly impossible.”2 I have often felt that writing a philosophy book for business based on Lean qualified supremely on both accounts, and so I thrust myself forward in the open-ended endeavor of trying to produce something of lasting value that only in my wildest dreams might it be used by you in some small way for everyone’s benefit.


We all live within a lean, “ontological teleology,” which is the innate objective of further being and becoming more – a condition we have been unwillingly thrust into since birth. Darwinism is a specific, biological example of the ontological teleology. The overall goal of the ontological teleology is both self-defining within the universe (the “ontological medium”), and possibly for something beyond existence based upon what people believe without common agreement, such as religion.

If we bracket out this speculation, we can see the ontological teleology most clearly across all gradations of life and existence. Existence along these gradations forms degrees of lean, true value. Value can be broken down three ways into that which is universal, process, or personal in nature. Life is created at the point that the universal and process values successfully interact and adapt within the universe to perpetually energize and reproduce. Cognitive and conscious organisms develop the personal type of lean, true value. The mixing of these three value types across the gradations thus creates levels of existence that lean up on top of one another, from raw matter to microorganisms, human beings and corporations.

For businesses to improve their operations and results the most, they must look at the ontological factors that customers and stakeholders depend upon to adapt, reproduce and energize, and optimize those ontological factors with the least waste better than any competitors, which is the key point of Lean. This optimization moves stakeholders upward along the ontological teleology toward further and better being, and possibly toward getting beyond the ontological teleology itself. At their best, businesses ought to consider what stakeholders speculate may be beyond the ontological teleology from their personal perspectives since this search for meaning and universalization influences what actions they take in order to best adapt, reproduce, and energize in circular fashion. Improving all of these ontological factors is thus what businesses ought do to lean toward the highest profits, and use as their normative, ethical imperative.

Lean Metaphysically Further Summarized

The following summarizes, “Lean Metaphysically: Philosophy for Business,” before diving into the confluence of business and philosophy within the paradigm of Lean to solve consumers’ deepest problems for a profit.

Value Stream 1: Headwaters

Value Stream 1 describes what the discipline and paradigm of Lean is, while explaining how Lean Metaphysically extends its reach for you to make money well. Value Stream 1 does this by teaching you the philosophical implications of Lean from both its Eastern and Western traditions to incorporate into a business ideology. Value Stream 1 further introduces you to the U/People acronym (pronounced, “You lean toward people”) and business model that you may use to structure your Lean thinking. Value Stream 1 explains the creative use of language throughout these texts, including capitalized acronyms, homonyms, hyphens -, forward slashes /, circumflexes “^”, and sigmas σ and Σ. Each conceptual fission, fusion and parallelism created through these methods compresses and unifies multiple levels of philosophical and business meaning to quickly capitalize on the far-reaching insights provided across all domains in which you operate.

Value Stream 2: Money & Economics – Lean Normative, Real and Monetary Value

Any understanding of the metaphysics of Lean necessarily requires a sound grounding in the meaning of money for you to make it well. Value Stream 2: Money & Economics analyzes the secret life of money that you may have missed so you may go up along consumers’ value streams in ways you never expected.3 You will learn the true, Lean value that makes money meaningful through market transactions, which cross all consumers’ value streams. Value Stream 2: Money & Economics attempts to review some of the intellectual history of money and economics and how that work applies within the balance of the U/People business model. Value Stream 2 prepares you to advance around, up and through the U/People organization chart and business model.

Value Stream 3: Existence – Lean Universal, Process and Personal Values

Following the Lean concept of Genchi Genbutsu directing all business people to go to the source of all production, Value Stream 3 sums up who and why consumers are from their mathematical, scientific, philosophical and personally intuitive perspectives. This Value Stream 3 leans to the philosophical extreme so you may better understand true-north value from the origin of life in Value Stream 4: Lives and human meaning and motivation in Value Stream 5: People’s. Value Stream 3: Existence takes you through the Lean solution space by factoring Eastern and Western traditions that form the intellectual foundation of Lean. This Value Stream 3 provides a new way of organizing this body of work so you may better understand it, slicing across academic disciplines to effectively dissect an HQ. All organizations may also use this Value Stream to form the cornerstone of their Houses of Quality (a Lean term for a company’s headquarters) to interrelate what they know and believe about existence with what consumers most truly value. Since these philosophical and scientific discussions involve the most fundamental questions, such as the origin of the universe and the human condition within it, they do get a bit abstract and heady.4

Value Stream 3 introduces a new, Lean metaphysical concept of the Ontological Teleology, a.k.a. the “OT” or “Ought,” which is the possibly circular goal directedness of life to further be, but possibly be more, because we live in an open-ended universe – consumers can only intuitively speculate at this present moment what their ultimate purpose is.5 The Ontological Teleology is designed to frame the range of what customers know, believe, and witness actually improving their lives and existences, which you may charge them for if you can positively change.

This Value Stream 3 simultaneously recognizes that customers hold intuitive truths and attempt to eliminate the problem of the seeming paradox of life lived through the OT with a variety of non-circular spiritual, theistic or scientismic beliefs. An organization’s products and/or services may serve these intuitively speculative beliefs in Lean fashion so long as those beliefs do not conflict with falsifiable, intersubjective truths or the deontological ethical and legal rules to which society agrees to cohere for everyone’s eusocial benefit. After reading Value Stream 3, you ought to be able to analyze what consumers will buy through the Lean Ontological Teleology to best extend and optimize their lives and existences by resolving their utmost problems most effectively.

Value Stream 4: Lives – Lean Living Systems

Value Stream 4: Lives applies the Lean true-north values arising from existence explained in Value Stream 3 to the systemic origin of life within the known universe. Value Stream 4 examines these issues against the backdrop of current Lean thinking to develop a Lean metaphysics that brings both business and philosophy back down to Earth. Value Stream 4 identifies the Lean slots from which living systems unexpectedly emerge, with each being a strategically unique degree of sophistication leading to its own Ontological Realization. This emergence is much like how a philosophy of Lean described in this book arises from and supervenes on the Lean meme itself.

Finally, this Value Stream 4 elaborates on the new, Lean concept of “Universalization” as the open-ended, possibly circular, end-goal of life when you bracket out intuitive, non-circular beliefs for business purposes. Universalization analyzes how customers actually live regardless of what they believe, which may be used as a further basis for a Lean true-north value theory of what consumers find most meaningful. Universalization is also largely how busy people discuss true-north value in the workplace, even if not in this same terminology, as I hope you will see.

Value Stream 5: People’s – Lean Ethics, Motivation and Factors of truth-value

Value Stream 5: People’s, extends the previous Value Stream 2: Money, Value Stream 3: Existence, and Value Stream 4: Lives through the disciplines of ethics and motivation in a strictly human context. Value Stream 5 will introduce you to the parameters of metaphysical, true-north value from which Lean originates. You will recognize these parameters as ones used to engage employees and market products and/or services daily. Value Stream 5 proposes a motivational or needs framework based on these Lean parameters to identify the problems customers have to live and exist into perpetuity that motivates them to purchase. This Value Stream 5 thus extends the normative, existential perspective of human meaning to the actual lives of consumers and their universalization by synthesizing who they are with what they ought to buy.6

Once this ethic of universalization gets established within an organization’s true-north business ideology, all Lean people in that workplace can then move the organization toward a universalized and collective ethic of extending all life within existence in whatever markets it operates. You will learn how to increase consumers’ and employees’ standard of existence in a possibly infinite universe, so you may monetize more meaning by solving more problems with the best solutions to delight the most people. Numerous, seemingly hubric, corporate credos and business ideologies demonstrate this Lean end-goal, and a few will be cited within this Value Stream 5. The Lean motivational drivers discussed in Value Stream 5 feed into how an organization behaves and what consumers want in the balance of the U/People business model. Finally in the prologue “Channels,” this book will review how the CMO, CEO, CFO, and IDEO best embody the philosophy of Lean in their good work.

Value Stream 1: Headwaters to Lean Metaphysically

Value Stream 1 A3 Report:

  • Lean is a global business discipline used to make money by improving commercial outcomes
  • Lean has been applied throughout the business environment to all size companies and extended to all types of organizations
  • Lean combines Western philosophies that investigate what is true through the scientific process, along with some aspects of Eastern religious philosophies like Buddhism to determine what has real value
  • Many of the most truly successful business leaders today have seriously studied and written about philosophy
  • Lean Metaphysically leverages this tradition by summarizing and extending the philosophy of Lean to explain what “True-North Value” truly means in the context of all Lean business activity and life in general
  • Lean Metaphysically synthesizes and delivers this knowledge through creative symbolism and writing for improved learning
  • Lean Metaphysically provides a people-focused business model and a heuristic called an “ID Kata” that allows you to apply the philosophy of Lean to all business and life in general
  • The ID Kata teaches you a method of forward analysis to discover true-north value by pursuing a series of who, why, what, and how interrogatories

The business discipline of Lean is more than a set of manufacturing techniques or a way to start up new organizations. It is a holistic philosophy that can help you identify what to produce that people will truly value and purchase. Lean Metaphysically shows you the way to wealth in all its many forms.7 To reach the greatest profit of all, you ought to lean philosophically to reach the highest point of true-north value for your customers using the metaphysics of Lean. You can make money using Lean by meaningfully observing and fervently divining who consumers are, why they may buy something, and what they want to buy from you, so you can delight them the most. Lean Metaphysically extends your abstract thinking toward better understanding what creates true-north value to help you implement that knowledge in life and business. You lean philosophically so you can make meaningful amounts of money while feeling satisfied that you did good work.

However, like looking at the sun, such high-level, abstract thinking is painful, disorienting, and best done through a conceptual lens for you to see people most clearly. Lean Metaphysically filters all complex subjects to help you better see who consumers truly are from their deepest problems up through the universal value stream. You will then discover what they find most personally meaningful in the products and/or services you serve. I suggest that you put on a thinking cap and eye-shades before reading further because these abstract concepts will help you see true-north value if you learn to look carefully enough.

Since commercial value gets measured in money, money is the mythical icon toward which all true-north value in business leans. When deciding whether to buy now and receive meaningful true-north value from you, consumers consider how much money they must pay at the point of purchasing products and/or services. Likewise, you as a business person want to know how much money you can earn through great work. Without clearly understanding why and what consumers want to buy, and how you deliver their greatest satisfaction, you cannot uplift your profits to where you think they ought to be.

While what exactly consumers individually believe to be truly valuable remains beyond what all people commonly agree, philosophy logically coheres and mediates the true-north value of money within our overlapping consensus of the way life is.8 Importantly, philosophy will also guide you past any idolatry of money that will blind you to consumers’ true religion. When you lean metaphysically, you will consider how best to create true-north value for all people, which in-turn supports who consumers are and what consumers individually believe to be most worth their money.

Why Lean?

You may wonder how “Metaphysics” relates to “Lean,” or what the business concept of “Lean” is in the first place. While the metaphysical concepts behind Lean that lead to producing superior products have a long intellectual tradition primarily formed from the Western “Philosophy of Science” and Eastern religious philosophies, Lean now represents the leading business discipline/fad/trend/paradigm used by people to make money in our time. Lean as a formal business discipline was formed from studying what made the Toyota Motor Corporation so successful for so long. In the 1980s, business researchers developed the modern concept of Lean from this intellectual legacy and extensive body of practical knowledge. A gentleman named John Krafcik, under the tutelage of James Womack, first coined the term “Lean” in a 1988 article he wrote for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) about Toyota’s highly successful production systems when he said, “[I]t needs less of everything to create a given amount of value, so let’s call it ‘lean.’”9 From that point forward, the term “Lean” represented a modern business philosophy whose tenets organizations continue to pursue and iteratively perfect today, which is well captured by this quote from Antoine de Saint Exupéry in 1939:

From a fundamental metaphysical perspective, Lean business techniques focus on creating the truest value by removing all forms of waste and adding only what most satisfies consumers’ demands, just as Toyota continues to do today. However, while not complex on its face, Lean demands a different way of doing business.11 In fact, since one of Lean’s main points is to wash away everything but that which provides consumers with value however truly defined, it is a far more abstract money making methodology than most businesses are used to considering. At the same time, businesses have evolved Lean into a practical philosophy of continuous improvement, which the Japanese word, Kaizen (改善), represents. Kaizen is a portmanteau meaning to restore (Kai (佳)) and make good (Zen (禅)) through thoughtful reflection, and is key to any continuous effort to reduce waste in an HQ.

In the spirit of Kaizen, Lean was iteratively improved in the 1990s and 2000s by intersecting it with more quantitative disciplines like Six Sigma that Motorola (once a division of Google but now a part of Lenovo) developed at the same time. Motorola designed Six Sigma in the 1980s to ensure production of its information technology within six standard deviations of statistical precision. Thus, businesses use Lean to accurately target what people most value, while Six Sigma and other quantitative methods precisely lean organizations of people in that direction. Countless books evidence this intellectual legacy of Lean, Six Sigma and other people-oriented, evidence-focused business insights that are referenced throughout the ten “Value Streams” of Lean Metaphysically that you can surface with any search.

Thus, Lean is the best paradigm for philosophically analyzing business because it has the highest rate of problem solving power as evidenced by its efficacy in generating consistent profits.12 Lean has evolved to become widely used by most companies13 of all sizes in some way as part of their organizational DNA — from start-ups to large corporations — just ask any business person whether his or her organization uses Lean in some way!

Lean, like most business theories, must be approached abstractly but applied concretely through specific actions to determine what delights the most customers for the greatest profit. However, if any criticism has been levelled at Lean, it’s the irony that Lean practitioners overly rely on the plethora of tools, diagrams and instruments that Lean consultants produce without espousing an overriding ethos for their detailed implementation in the chaos of everyday business. Consultants promote these tools because customers prefer to pay for repeatable mechanisms than abstract theories that require deep thought to implement.

However, if you move beyond all of the tools, diagrams and instruments provided by Lean, if you study it carefully enough, you will see that Lean represents a history of thought from the Ancient Greeks, the European Scientific Renaissance and the Far East that extends into all we as producers and consumers think about today. In this amalgamation, Lean articulates a good overriding ideology - a good unified philosophy - because Lean accepts the possibility of, desirability for and progress toward an infinitely optimistic future to reach commercial Nirvana.14

Why Lean Metaphysically?

The intersection of Lean tools along with the sound business philosophy of Lean can generate radical wealth in this domain.15 Yet, despite countless business books falling into the Lean canon, a gap still exists in the Lean literature due to these proponents failing to identify what true-north value businesses lean toward. “Lean Metaphysically: Philosophy for Business,” attempts to fill this void by embodying the intellectual legacy of Lean in a set of high-level steps you can take to make money meaningfully in-line with all consumers’ value streams.

While philosophy is said to “bake no bread,” the metaphysics of Lean helps you analyze what bread you ought to bake and how to bake bread that gets bought and broken. For example, baking either a wedding cake or table bread requires you to satisfy consumers’ very different fundamental needs in Lean fashion. Knowing who consumers are and why and what they most truly value further determines how you will bake bread that helps customers better become who they want to be, whether that is either married or well-nourished. If philosophy is dead, why not put it to practical use within Lean to find the true-north value of life and business and make money meaningfully? Lean metaphysically if for nothing else than to more effectively guide you to consumers’ point of physical, emotional and intuitive satisfaction.16

Leaning metaphysically toward consumers is not about endless speculation, but rather about analyzing data with continuously new metaphysical perspectives in a unified way to make real decisions about how to make money well in all business environments. This isn’t science fiction, but rather the best knowledge available about reality itself. It solves the problem of explaining what true-north value is and how to create it for money. It does that by explaining who and why consumers are in the grandest scheme of things for you to apply specifically to business. Knowing how to analyze business data implies that an organization knows what realistic, true-north value that data reflects and why the data means anything at all to consumers and other stakeholders, which philosophy explains. Thus, organizations lean metaphysically to extend and optimize their businesses through their data about consumers’ lives and existences and what they personally find meaningful.

However, analyzing valuable data without continuously knowing who consumers are and what they find most meaningful prevents an organization from reporting as much money as possible inside its headquarters.17 Getting to this point of profit in the metaphysics of Lean requires both deeply respecting humanity and always improving, such as how Pfizer’s upper management periodically does within so within its global HQ.18

Figure 1.1: Pfizer World Headquarters, New York City (© 2016 Photo Credit: BGS)
Figure 1.1: Pfizer World Headquarters, New York City (© 2016 Photo Credit: BGS)

Thus, the two pillars of any Lean HQ are Sonchō (尊重), which is Japanese for “Respect for People,” and Kaizen (改善), which means good change and has evolved to further mean “Continuous Improvement” in Lean parlance. To help you visualize these concepts, here is a diagram of a corporation’s HQ with a Lean management system up top using profit as its foundation and bottom line:19

Figure 1.2: Diagram of a Lean HQ
Figure 1.2: Diagram of a Lean HQ

Getting Around “Lean Metaphysically”

Lean Metaphysically structures its chapters, which I call “Value Streams,” around the “U/People” (“You lean toward people”) acronym. U/People stands as a meta-heuristic, upper ontology and business model20 for use by an organization to Uniquely/Profitably Extend and Optimize People’s Lives and Existences.21 “Lean” (aka “/”) within this “You lean toward people” acronym stands as an adjective indicating those people and organizations that lean metaphysically toward other people. Lean also acts as a verb implementing the philosophical imperative to make money the right way toward what consumers most truly value. For example, Toyota Motor Corporation leans metaphysically as a fictitious person,22 through its employees and other stakeholders as natural people, and toward its customers’ true-north value in an open-ended universe, which I will explain further as we go along.

Lean Metaphysically runs quickly through each part of its main acronym, from one Value Stream to the next, by synthesizing the essential qualities of each for you to better relate subjects and build a personal “AHA” moment and organizational House of Quality (an HQ (舎)) and ideology from its two pillars - Respect for People23 and Continuous Improvement. This business model and vocabulary - as supplemented by all the work cited within this book - allows an organization to point its own “True-North” value compass leading out from its “House of Quality” toward profitably analyzing data to increase consumers’ standard of existence. “True-North” is the metaphorical direction of all true-value in Lean terminology, and an HQ / House of Quality / Head Quarters is where true-north value is reproduced and a profit is reached.24 As you can see here, “Lean” symbolism gets conveyed in the geographical direction of “True-North,” around which the earth circles while moving forward in time.

Figure 1.3: Geographic True-North
Figure 1.3: Geographic True-North

And “True-North” is where you chart your way to the greatest profit, slightly off-center, up and to the right.

Figure 1.4: Graphical Representation of Lean
Figure 1.4: Graphical Representation of Lean

As you might anticipate, this monograph on the philosophy of Lean could never be exhaustive within a single volume, much less a part, Value Stream, section, paragraph, sentence and/or word as may be devoted to any given aspect of this universal subject of true-north value that defines all problems, which ultimately makes all money meaningful as well. The further analysis and research I could do for this book is necessarily limitless, since like every thing, it could be infinitely improved. My end-goal is to provide you with a fountain of knowledge that always allows you to identify and improve who consumers are by intuiting, inferring and possibly inducing why they buy, and then assumptively deducing what should be reproduced and how you ought to create truly valuable products and/or services for them.

To help with this stretch assignment in plain-language philosophy so you may better understand the genesis of true-north value, this discussion cites the brilliant25 work of those who understand the contents of this book so well. The biblical amount of footnotes and further commentary ought to supplement your own personal discovery and learning while building a Lean HQ and ideology for making money meaningfully. I footnote where I can recognize prior thoughts, but given the breadth of this discussion bridging together diverse disciplines, please forgive inadvertent omissions that I am sure you will surface! I strongly encourage you to use the references and footnotes as best fits your reason to lean philosophically that you have in an HQ. The footnoted references support all that I write by providing you from the ground up with even better explanations that will give your own research further reach.

To be clear, the metaphysics of Lean does not provide a unique ideology, “-ism” or school of thought in the context of the great many others. Rather, the business concept of Lean, as philosophically expanded by this book, is a vector of discovery by which you may synthesize existing, well-regarded Eastern and Western philosophies, ideologies, -isms, and business concepts in an HQ toward the ultimate goal of delighting customers for a profit. If you must call this something, you might call it a “Universal Optimism,” which anticipates the panglossian future value consumers and organizations will receive by your doing the right thing.26

Further Reasons to Lean Metaphysically

If you need some further reason to lean metaphysically toward making money meaningfully, the following six reasons elaborate on why you ought to do so:

1) Consistently Reach Higher Profits. You can help an organization meaningfully differentiate the products and/or services it creates to reach a profit the right way. Ideally, a profit represents the true-north value in customers’ lives and existences created with products and/or services over and above the economic cost deducted in order to produce and provide for them. In a competitive environment, a profit also represents the true-north value provided to consumers in excess of the similar value consumers could have received from competitors.27 However, as you know, you must qualify this idea of true-north value’s association with financial profit since it comes with many caveats, like the “Tragedy of the Commons” where people free-ride on public goods like natural resources.28 Nonetheless, ideally, you profitably uplift customers, employees, investors and society best while avoiding such pitfalls by leaning up toward true-north value. In the end, you must lean metaphysically so you can consistently understand what will be truly profitable for all.

2) Develop a Core Ideology, Purpose and Values: You ought to adapt the U/People acronym and business model to an organization’s core value theory to make money meaningfully by leaning through all business fads/trends/disciplines/paradigms, including Lean itself that will eventually fade away given sufficient time.29 Ray Dalio, founder of the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, writes, “… adopting pre-packaged principles without much thought exposes you to the risk of inconsistency with your true values.”30 Ultimately, an organization must relate customers’ true-north values to what they pay so a business can more effectively serve them products and/or services that expand and optimize the profits that rain down on managers and other stakeholders.

3) Evidence Long-term Efficacy. Beyond zealously producing short-term profits, applying humanities-focused business models like “U/People” and concepts such as “Corporate Social Responsibility,” improves business performance and increases stakeholder returns in the long run.31 Common justifications for humanities-focused value streams flowing within such business models and concepts include reputation management, risk management, employee satisfaction, innovation and learning, access to capital, and financial performance.32 Collins and Porras in “Built to Last” said that they did not find the profit motive to be the dominant explicit motivation of successful companies, but rather found that profits were generated by successful companies as a consequence of their seeking to provide the greatest value to consumers.33 The authors found that organizations pursuing consumers’ greater purposes are better able to motivate employees and other stakeholders while uniquely expanding and optimizing their profits over the long-run as an indirect effect.34 This concept has been reinforced by numerous other studies as you see referenced throughout this book.

In regards to how a business treats internal stakeholders, scholars Jeffery Pfeffer and John Veiga wrote a well-received article in 1999 titled, “Putting People First for Organizational Success.” Pfeffer and Veiga compiled a number of studies correlating the efficacy of well-run people-services programs and organizational profitability.35 A number of subsequent studies confirmed this as well.36 These authors’ research suggests that corporate cultures that self-organize themselves around what people most value perform better overall in the short, medium and long-run.

4) Innovation. Chiat\Day art director Craig Tanimoto asked each of us to “Think Different” in Apple’s same titled 1987 ad campaign.37 By pursuing the philosophy of Lean in the practice of true-north value discovery, you too will think differently about how you may build wealth by upgrading consumers’ lives and existences. Where the metaphysics of Lean really takes off is in pursuing orthogonal innovation because this solution space is where you can become unmoored from organizational constraints.38 As André Gide wrote in, “Les Faux-Monnayeurs,” in 1925, “You can’t discover new lands without losing sight of the shore.” When you lean metaphysically, your business analysis reaches further heights to allow you to experience greater consumer insights. Philosophical, abstract thinking allows you to draw lines between science and the fundamental human needs being addressed, providing a way for you to exchange competitors’ solutions for truly novel ones that are at least ten times better. Philosophy thereby allows you to evaluate Lean and all business theories organically from first principles to reach new outcomes to make money meaningfully at a workplace.

An organization ought to lean toward who consumers are to identify how to improve their basic human condition for a profit. Clearly understanding what consumers believe is phenomenally valuable and allows an organization to pivot flexibly toward what better solves consumers’ problems for the widest margins. As Steve Jobs said to the BBC in 1990, “No market research could have led to the development of the Macintosh or the personal computer in the first place,” However, I believe that Jobs used a combination of his intuitive empathy combined with the Japanese religious philosophy of Zen Buddhism, as evidenced by the correlations between his quotes and the philosophy of Lean espoused within this book.

Innovating requires an organization to find the confluence of what is possible, practical and demanded. Data analyzed through metaphysics toward what consumers most meaningfully value can help you find this intersection. By leaning philosophically, you may iteratively reconfirm that your Lean thinking remains on this side of non-sense (or non-cents) as you develop and market products and/or services. You can then incrementally test whether customers really experience a revelation of true-north value from the products and/or services you reproduce. Through this process, an organization coheres its business ideology with what consumers will actually purchase so they increasingly congregate at its stores.

Figure 1.5: People Waiting to Enter the Apple Store at the Oculus, NYC (© 2016 Photo Credit: BGS, Shot on iPhone 6)
Figure 1.5: People Waiting to Enter the Apple Store at the Oculus, NYC (© 2016 Photo Credit: BGS, Shot on iPhone 6)

5) Increase the Probability of Profitability. The principles described in this book increase the probability that you will make profitable business decisions despite fickle markets. While empirically studying whether you make more money when you lean toward what consumers most meaningfully value is outside the scope of this book, these principles cohere with well-regarded advice from scores of renowned tycoons, scholars, philosophers, theologians and poets who are all liberally quoted here.39 Lean Metaphysically improves the chances of effectively achieving its obvious yet often disregarded main point that an organization ought to fervently seek true-north value to make money meaningfully. This book provides the fundamental structure for you to answer for yourself why and how that occurs.

You may quickly measure how effectively you lean metaphysically by analyzing how consumers respond when you follow this book’s precepts with what they purchase. While predicting human behavior always involves some degree of randomness due to consumers’ rational irrationality, which limits the accuracy of any business projections you make, Lean Metaphysically allows you to better identify the difference between what is tactically correct and what is not for the greatest chance of achieving profitable success. Or, as John McKay the founder of Whole Foods Market says, “Values Matter.”40

Figure 1.6: Values Matter, NYC (© 2015, Whole Foods Market, Inc. (Photo Credit: BGS))
Figure 1.6: Values Matter, NYC (© 2015, Whole Foods Market, Inc. (Photo Credit: BGS))

6) Meaningfully Analyze Data. Most importantly, observing true-north value in life and business allows you to guide your business methods, particularly when clean data is lacking, as increasingly large datasets improve the ability to quantify and understand what consumers most truly value beyond what they purchased. Lean Metaphysically connects metaphysical abstraction to how consumers actually live, exist and confess their deepest needs within whatever blessed consumption data you may obtain.41 Lean is a business philosophy, and business remains the most legible of all the social sciences.

The best, most recent attempts to quantify true-north value outside of economics and marketing have been in the fields of psychology and neurology. Behavioral economics and “marketing neuroscience” increasingly identify what consumers most truly value before they pay a price by quantifying consumers’ systemic biases and responses. However, to complement these studies and balance a dogmatic focus on obtaining data, Lean Metaphysically leverages conjecture through theory to discover what matters most both before it can be counted and when it cannot be counted at all. While the management consultant W. Edwards Deming famously said, “In God we trust; all others must bring data,” Lean Metaphysically helps you get the right data and make sense of the data you receive by asking the right questions in the first place.

This mentality of approaching business through profound interrogatories is similar to what the famous management guru Peter Drucker wrote about the Japanese, the same Asian culture that produced Toyota’s Production System, when he stated that the most important element in decision making to them is defining the questions to be asked.42 Likewise, Jeffrey Leek, Ph.D., professor of data science at Johns Hopkins said, when further quoting Dan Meyer, that answering questions goes to the heart of the philosophy of data science itself. 43 Or, as Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld wrote in their 1938 book, “The Evolution of Physics,” that the formulation of a problem is more essential than its solution, which the philosophy of Lean helps you to do.44

The philosophy of Lean truly excels at asking the best open-ended business questions to discover the highest value. Since all problems are solvable within the universal value stream,45 Lean Metaphysically allows you to properly infer and deductively question the meaning of and correlations within data as it applies to consumers’ lives and existences. Lean Metaphysically bridges gaps in business analysis so you may ask beautiful questions and answer wicked problems with what good data you can obtain.46 To reach the greatest profit, you ask the biggest questions to reach the deepest problems you can find that customers will pay you to resolve. Thus, Lean Metaphysically’s Socratic method represents a form of Design Thinking by leading with empathy and crossing all business disciplines within the U/People business model. This allows an organization to wholly identify why, what and how consumers will buy goods and/or services. You ask “who” to maintain an empathetic customer-centeredness, “why” to define problems, pierce ambiguities and achieve more “AHA” moments, “what” to ideate and produce, and “how” to prototype and test really tangible benefits that may be exchanged for money.47

Thus, by normalizing how you discuss true-north value across an organization through “Design Thinking,” “Systems Thinking,” and altogether “Lean Thinking,” you can better connect all topics and disciplines to holistically identify and quantify how you can meaningfully make the most money by doing good from analyzing the data you have well. For example, of any business fields, finance excels at gathering and synthesizing big data sets, and yet, finance still shows limited (though still highly lucrative) success in accurately predicting true-north value creation.48 As I hope you will see, all financial analysis boils down to philosophical perspectives as well and could be improved through these same Socratic methods.

Every organization must ask beautifully inspired intuitive, inferential, inductive and deductive questions49 to create true-north value with either a lot, little or no data by knowing why and how its business leans toward who consumers truly are.50 Once a business determines who its customers are or who they ought to be mostly by what they do, it then can relate why consumers value those activities to what it can satisfy them with the most. It deduces what metaphysically related products and/or services, functions, features or benefits consumers will actually buy. This allows a business to better hypothesize how to make the most meaningful amounts of money by identifying and relating these metaphysical factors to consumers’ lives and existences to enter, expand or create new markets. This process will naturally transform an organization’s upper-management into chiefly functional, meaningful and innovative officers. Once this is done, its HQ will uniquely/profitably extend and optimize consumers’ lives and existences from analysis to execution.

Why Lean More Specifically?

You lean in business by developing customers to consume products and/or services that you efficiently reproduce in exchange for the money on which every corporation’s very existence and identity depends. Given the basic use of Lean principles in business, let’s look at the common definitions of Lean to understand why the term “Lean” philosophically applies to business. And since the formal use of Lean as a business term is relatively new in the history of the English language, I suggest that you ought to use all of its ancient meaning as a vehicle for a people-oriented, business ideology to pursue the greatest profit.

In the common vernacular of Old English, the Oxford English Dictionary defines “Lean” as “Reward, recompense,” which accords with the modern spelling of “Lien” as meaning a right to a debt to be repaid in exchange for a product and/or service that has been provided. A Lean business owes its customers and society at large true-north value for the money it charged, deducted and now gets to redistribute to shareholders, employees, contractors, vendors, philanthropies and politicians.

The Oxford English Dictionary also defines “Lean” as, “The act or condition of leaning; inclination.” This definition means that whatever or whoever leans, does so against something or someone else, just like how any business organization fundamentally supports itself by leaning on its paying customers, and just like how shareholders do in-turn by leaning on the organizations in which they invest.

Lastly, the Oxford English Dictionary defines Lean as, “Wanting in flesh; not plump or fat; thin.” This definition indicates that whatever or whoever is lean efficiently processes energy, much like any effective organization maximizing stakeholder value; however, this definition of “Lean” does not mean gaunt, but rather athletically tautological as you will see.

With all this intellectual heritage, Lean can be summarized in formal terms as meaning the creation of “value” by removing waste from an organization’s production system on which stakeholders depend. Any waste that does not create true-north value is referred to in Lean as “Muda” (無駄). The other forms of Lean waste are “Mura” (斑), meaning any unproductive variance in reproduction such as those caused by bad performance metrics so often employed by companies, and “Muri” (無理), meaning waste caused by overburdening production systems and not fully respecting people. This Lean legacy of waste avoidance can be traced to the Buddhist and Shinto concept of Mottainai (もったいない), which is a term of Japanese origin meaning to reproduce, re-use, recycle, and reinspect wherever possible. Lean Metaphysically synthesizes these forms of waste by defining Lean waste as activities that do not reduce consumers’ existential pains.

Lean, like most business theories, determines what most profitably satisfies the most customers and how to do that best. Like the formal discipline of “Lean” in quotes, the U/People business model directs you to bow from within an organization’s HQ toward uniquely/profitably extending and optimizing consumers’ lives and existences by solving their greatest problems for a profit.51 The world’s largest companies lean philosophically in this way, since “Lean” is, as we have discussed, also a term-of-art commonly used in business to mean a set of principles organized from studying of what made the Toyota Motor Corporation so successful for so long by being amazingly prophetic about the future of the automobile industry.52

Academics have further developed and defined Lean principles. James Womack and Daniel Jones in their well-regarded 2010 book, “Lean Thinking,” established the five fundamental principals of Lean as:

  1. Identify value: “The critical starting point for lean thinking is value…Value can only be defined by the ultimate customer. And it’s only meaningful when expressed in terms of a specific product (a good or a service, and often both at once) which meets the customer’s needs at a specific price at a specific time”; 53
  2. Identify value stream: “The value stream is the set of all the specific actions required to bring a specific product (whether a good, a service, or, increasingly, a combination of the two) through the three critical management tasks of any business…problem solving…information management…and the physical transformation”;54
  3. Flow: “In short, things work better when you focus on the product and its needs, rather than the organization or the equipment, so that all the activities needed to design, order, and provide a product occur in continuous flow”;55
  4. Pull: “You can let the customer pull the product from you as needed rather than pushing products, often unwanted, onto the customer”; and
  5. Perfection: “As organizations begin to accurately specify value, identify the entire value stream, make the value-creating steps for specific products flow continuously, and let customers pull value from the enterprise, something very odd begins to happen. It dawns on those involved that there is no end to the process of reducing effort, time, space, cost, and mistakes while offering a product which is ever more nearly what the customer actually wants. Suddenly perfection, the fifth and final principle of lean thinking, doesn’t seem like a crazy idea.”56

While Krafcik, Womack, Jones and others established Lean as a business discipline following Krafcik’s coining the term, a lot more has been written about Lean processes and application to making money since then, even if not a lot has been written regarding “Lean Thinking’s” item number (1) Identify Value. For example, the entrepreneur Eric Ries applied Lean to early stage product and/or service development by coining the term, “Lean Startup,” in his same titled book, “The Lean Startup.” Ries described how he built an online avatar business, “Instant Message Virtual Universe” (“IMVU”), through iterative user testing. However, Ries’ para-scientific, “Build-Measure-Learn” methodology focused entirely on people’s revealed preferences without philosophically identifying the meaning of the data being received from end-users. Observing what people do and the how they pay for it follows a process of trial and error correction, but without any guiding insight as to what to ask and how to identify meaningful revelations. This leads to waste and missed commercial opportunities.57

Thus, despite Lean’s various applications to date, very little has been written to fully identify true-north value, other than this iterative process of offering minimally viable products and/or services to see what consumers purchase. This is because people have somewhat ignored the historical and philosophical legacy of Lean that consistently points in the proper direction. By better understanding the history and philosophy of Lean, organizations may quickly apply Lean to all their operations, while improving their insights with market testing. For example, people ought to know the origin of the Lean Japanese term “Jidoka” (自働化) to apply Lean best. Jidoka originated from Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of the Toyota Group, when he installed a device called a “jido” on an automatic textile loom that allowed human operators to make autonomous judgments to improve production.58 Jidoka is thus a historical process of human trial and error correction in the context of the industrial revolution, which Toyota has now modernized to mean automation with a touch of guiding human knowledge.59 True-north value identification through Jidoka comes from the integration of human philosophical insight (in Lean terms, “Genchi Genbutsu” (現地現物)) and error correction (in Lean terms, “Poka-Yoke”) to create the greatest true-north value for consumers. Jidoka is the best measure of quality that any Lean system of management can apply as it iteratively tests whether its products and/or services fit its markets well.

As you extend the iterative process of Jidoka out toward consumers and business in general, you ought to:

  1. Follow the Western philosophical tradition of empathizing who consumers truly are called “Phenomenology” (which is best described in Lean terms again as, “Genchi Genbutsu”);
  2. Conjecture, hypothesize, and theorize what creates the most true-north value for them with your guiding intellect (which is best described in Lean terms again as, “Jidoka”); and
  3. Then criticize through market tests whether a solution provides at least an adequate profit (which is best described in Lean terms again as, “Poka-Yoke”).

Thus, to align value streams toward a horizon of commercial possibility, you must fully lean toward consumers by empathizing with the best evidence you can gather from the start. Then, from this universe of empathy, you relate the unlimited problems consumers have to the price you may charge them for their resolution. The Japanese company Nissan reflects this notion in its implementation of a variety of Lean called, “Nissan Production Way” (“NPW”). NPW pursues the “Two Neverendings” of: (1) “Douki-seisan” (同気生産)) which is a perpetual synchronization with the customer, and (2) the, “never ending quest to identify problems and put in place solutions” for a price.60 You can see where the value streams of problem and price meet at the point of empathy with the customer in the logo for Nissan’s luxury car brand, Infiniti:

Figure 1.8: Nissan® Infiniti® Logo
Figure 1.8: Nissan® Infiniti® Logo

Lean Metaphysically’s four primary interrogatories of who, why, what and how complement the never-ending, iterative development processes of Kaizen and Jidoka by uniquely guiding product and/or service ideation, innovation, design and monetization.61 These lean interrogatories will lead you toward products and/or services that are practically useful, aspirational and profitable. I summarize the Socratic questions of who, why, what and how in the shorthand form of “3WH.” Since these interrogatories are critical to the philosophy of Lean, here are their definitions from the Oxford English Dictionary:

  • Who, pron. (and n.), As the ordinary interrogative pronoun, in the nominative singular or plural, used of a person or persons: corresponding to “what” of things;
  • Why, adv. (n. and int.), In a direct question: For what reason? From what cause or motive? For what purpose?;
  • What, pron., adj., and adv., int., conj., and n.:
    1. As the ordinary interrogative pronoun of neuter gender, orig. sing., in later use also pl., used of a thing or things: corresponding to the demonstrative “that”;
    2. Of a person (or persons), In predicative use: formerly generally, in reference to name or identity, and thus equivalent to “who”; in later use only in reference to nature, character, function, or the like; and
  • How, adv. and n., Qualifying a verb: In what way or manner? By what means?

Notice that the interrogatory “what” flows through all these definitions, and that “who” and “what” are essentially equivalent by their reciprocal references to one another in their above definitions. All of the 3WH interrogatories are interrelated to derive “what” matters most as a whole in ontological, and thus metaphysical terms, much like the four interlocking rings of the Audi automobile logo:

Figure 1.9: Audi® Logo
Figure 1.9: Audi® Logo

By following these interrelated, four-word steps of 3WH, you will consistently reach epiphanies about what you ought to produce to most uniquely, profitably extend and optimize consumers’ lives and existences in all commercial environments.62 However, instead of only reviewing what consumers say or reveal, Lean Metaphysically’s 3WH method of analysis abstracts Lean value theory toward philosophically framing true-north value in life and business within which all consumers’ preferences best fit. 3WH is a reformation of true-north value when you recognize that consumers ultimately seek true-north value beyond what is immediately known. Thus, the power of a Lean business ideology is to apply this abstract knowledge to identify specific solutions across all business problems you may face.

Lean Metaphysically, through the 3WH process, makes Lean applicable to all aspects of business by further intersecting Lean with the Western study of true-north value called “Axiology.” Axiology may be considered the combination of what attracts consumers to buy through aesthetics, and what consumers ought to do through ethics. The Japanese term, Kinobi (機能美) standing for the principle that aesthetics (and by extension ethics) equate with utility, is used in Lean Metaphysically to channel both sides of Axiology through sound Lean value theory within business to help you make money meaningfully.

Philosophically Leaning Your Business Ideology

Those attempting to philosophize like me often paraphrase the famous 20th Century mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead63 as saying that the whole of Western philosophy was, “… a series of footnotes to Plato.”64 Whitehead captured the notion that trying to build a true-north value theory is like attempting to add your own deeply buried footnotes to countless thinkers before. Similarly, you lean metaphysically by collecting ideas together and applying them within your own context. You use Lean as a vessel to navigate through channels of timeless value streams.

By explaining who consumers are, and why and what they most value, Lean Metaphysically enhances the art and para-science of business. Like Eric Ries described with his, “Build-Measure-Learn” methodology in “The Lean Startup,” business as a whole is a para-science because while science tests the causes of various effects, the desired effect of producing a profit in business is plainly obvious.65 The challenge is causing such a financial outcome by universalizing true-north value for consumers as exceptionally complex people. You as a businessperson have the difficult task of optimizing consumers’ standard of existence to the greatest extent in all domains, leaving no markets untapped, while also leaving no money on the table.

Philosopher Kings and Queens

As Jim Collins wrote in “Good to Great”, “The good-to-great leaders… They are more like Lincoln and Socrates than Patton or Caesar.”66 World famous business people today most often describe their own, “business philosophies,” with modern philosophical and scientific principles. For example, the famous entrepreneur Elon Musk advocates for all busy people to reason from first principles when he said during a 2012 interview,

First principles is kind of a physics way of looking at the world. You boil things down to the most fundamental truths and say, ‘What are we sure is true?’ … and then reason up from there.

However, none of these business people seem to provide other people with a way to think effectively from first principles without thoroughly educating themselves in esoteric philosophy and similarly dense subjects – this Lean Metaphysically book is enough! Thus, business philosophy often devolves either into vague aphorisms that do not lend themselves to functional analysis, or into logically weak insights that eventually become entangled in their own reasoning when rigorously applied, leaving other business people frustrated when trying to borrow from these billionaires’ brilliance.67

However, quite a few examples of rigorously philosophical billionaires exist. Billionaire trader George Soros writes with diligence and vigor when describing his philosophical concept of “Reflexivity” in his 1983 book, “The Alchemy of Finance.” You can also see Soros’ concept of reflexivity in Alfred North Whitehead’s and Nicholas Rescher’s, “Process Philosophy.”68 Carl Icahn earned a B.A. in philosophy at Princeton, having written his senior thesis about the definition of meaning from the empiricist tradition.69 These philosophical concepts from Soros and Icahn even play themselves out in the tautological economic models of Revealed Preference Theory proposed by Herbert Simon, which is widely used by mainstream economists today.

For further examples of self-made philosophical billionaires, Dr. Patrick Byrne, founder of Overstock.com, earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from Stanford University. Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn, earned a masters degree in philosophy at Oxford before joining Apple.70 Michael Bloomberg studied philosophy at New School after graduating from Harvard Business School.71 Steve Jobs, CEO and one of the principal founders of Apple Inc., studied, practiced and was influenced by the Eastern religious philosophy of Zen Buddhism.72 Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, described his value theory in his manifesto, “Principles,” where he begins by instructing all to start their business analysis by asking the epistemological and ontological question, “Is it true?” - just as Elon Musk advocates.73 Apple Inc. espoused this epistemological sentiment when the company designed its logo to be a piece of fruit from the tree of all knowledge with a byte taken out of it.74

Figure 1.10: Apple Inc.'s logo (® Apple Inc.)
Figure 1.10: Apple Inc.’s logo (® Apple Inc.)

While each of these business people lean philosophically in some way, try as they might none provides a broadly applicable, logical framework for organizing the first principles of the human condition from which all meaningful true-north value, and thus all consumer demand, ultimately originates. Business people write business books that invoke philosophy, but what may be more helpful in making real progress is a philosophy book about business, particularly one that places the philosophy of science at its core while synthesizing ancient wisdom through the modern business discipline of Lean. I present what I consider to be the philosophy of business within the paradigm of Lean, and hope to channel the thoughts of these great leaders for you to lean an organization’s business philosophy forward in their homage.75

Supporting this approach, Collins and Porras in “Built to Last” stated, “Contrary to popular wisdom, the proper first response to a changing world is not to ask, ‘How should we change?’ but rather to ask, ‘What do we stand for and why do we exist?”’76 Collins and Porras described their pragmatic idealism as one that companies built to last use in the Yin and Yang symbols, adapting while preserving core values and purposes around a figurative fly wheel.77 Steve Jobs said when introducing the “Think Different” advertising campaign to Apple employees:

All these great business leaders propose a Yin/Yang approach to business, mixing oriental with occidental philosophies together as a business ideology to make money consistently. Thus, oriental religious philosophies, like Confucianism, Shintoism and Buddhism, combine in tension in a Yin/Yang with the occidental Philosophy of Science and Western consumerism to great effect. Lean is a philosophy of business grounded in ancient wisdom while always changing in the face of new demands and discoveries. Likewise, Lean is the existential core of every business, and what essentially changes is its implementation. Or, to paraphrase Aristotle from the 4th century B.C.E., “[Lean] philosophy begins in wonder, seeking the most fundamental causes or principles of things, and seems the least necessary but is in fact the most divine of [business] sciences.”79 Or, as Marcus Aurelius more recently said in 167 A.C.E., “No [organizational] role is so well suited for [Lean] philosophy as the one you happen to be in right now.”80 [the bracketed additions are my own of course].

By going beyond what a company certainly knows, the philosophy of Lean can help an organization determine what ought to be its core true-north values whatever it decides best extends and optimizes all people. Alfred North Whitehead, the previously referenced philosopher and mathematician who wrote “Mathematica Principia” with Bertrand Russell, said, “Philosophy is the critic of cosmologies, whose job it is to synthesize, scrutinize and make coherent the divergent intuitions gained through ethical, aesthetic, religious, and scientific experience.”81 I would add that the philosophy of Lean also upends false assumptions and enhances a business’ perspective to guide an organization’s quantitative and qualitative insights into what consumers and all stakeholders find most meaningful.

Going one step further, Greek philosophers such as Cynics, Skeptics, Epicureans and Stoics analyzed: (1) what was truly valuable and what was not, and (2) how one could find true-north value and protect oneself against longing for false, valueless things.82 Further in time, the Roman Cicero said that, “To study philosophy is to prepare oneself for death.” This means that you ought to use the philosophy of Lean to discover what consumers truly value for the most meaningful amounts of money before a business meets that same fate.83 Thus, I hope you agree that the philosophy of Lean is the formal study of true-north value in life and business, and that the exchange of Lean value for money is (or perhaps ought to be) all organizations’ ultimate source of viability.

In the end, Lean Metaphysically does not see philosophy so much as a means toward an independent truth (though philosophy can be a leading indicator for science), but more as an effective way to bridge your understanding of consumers’ personal perspectives with what you know about them from math and science, or otherwise emotionally intuit.84 Philosophy in this way helps guide you toward best satisfying consumers’ basic needs so they will be shattering the doors of stores to become customers!

The Philosophy of Lean in the Grand Design

However, to make clear philosophy’s role in analyzing true-north value, let’s play devil’s advocate with the great, late Stephen Hawking. Stephen Hawking was a famous theoretical physicist, who once derided traditional philosophy as having lost its ability to answer the bigger questions of existence given recent scientific advancements toward that goal.85 He said that philosophy has nothing to say regarding the origin of what consumers most truly value, and thus says nothing about how an organization may make money meaningfully.86

Presuming for argumentative purposes that Stephen Hawking was and still is correct, which he could very well be, and theoretical physics succeeded philosophy (and religion for that matter) as the tool with the greatest explanatory power for consumers’ lives and existences, I propose that philosophy’s rigorously analytical tools developed by tremendous minds over millennia can and ought to be repurposed to frame the analytical questions of what Lean true-north value in business is so it can be most effectively monetized by you. Summarized well, philosophy can structure products and/or service innovation and guide business processes toward profitable and ethical success to make meaningful amounts of money over generations, which is all that truly matters to the ultimate viability of an organization.

In sum, mathematical, scientific, philosophical and intuitive insights into who and why consumers are provide the logical underpinnings of Lean true-north value theory, and thus, the foundation for organic growth. The philosophy of Lean acts both as the middleware between an organization’s scientific and intuitive business analysis, and helps you identify true-north value at the intersection all reason and speculation. By implementing these insights, an organization will make money meaningfully when the currents of science, economics and philosophy intersect at the fjord of satisfaction that products and/or services ought to produce for consumers. Lean Metaphysically thus approaches Lean true-north value from its very inception and streamlines it for business success.87

So while modern philosophy and the rest of the humanities respect mathematics and scientific knowledge as the most widely shared and predictable true-north values, the humanities still function to illuminate and speculate what are the overall ultimate processes leading to consumers’ lives and existences and the associated meaning their lives may have. In the end, the humanities inform the existential limits an organization and consumers inevitably run into, bounded by their ignorance, circularities, infinities and paradoxes.88 No matter how intelligent they are, consumers and organizations are surrounded by marginal event horizons and cosmic censorship, left only to hope for something more. Where neither science nor philosophy fully informs who consumers are and why they buy products and/or services, consumers’ individual agnosticism, intuitive spiritualism or speculative scientism fulfills the third rail in businesses’ value worship. As Steve Jobs famously said,

Part of what made the Macintosh great was that the people working on it were musicians and poets and artists and zoologists and historians who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world.89

From the modern, post-modern, or post-post-modern (sometimes referred to as “pseudo-modern” or “meta-modern”) perspectives, you can see levels of validated, commonly shared beliefs about consumers’ reality in the golden braid of mathematics, science, philosophy and intuition. These domains identify Lean true-north value with decreasing levels of common agreement among all potential customers as you move up the universal value stream:

Mathematics and science provide the most technically validated and commonly agreed forms of information.90 On the other end of this spectrum, religious, spiritual and scientismic intuition fills a void where science and philosophy do not qualify as commonly agreed values. Consumers realize these latter forms of true-north value by what they intuitively/religiously/spiritually/scientismically speculate, even if what they believe is not commonly held by all people. In contrast, philosophical principles function as abstractions that may be used to reach better solutions to business problems by seeing through to the truth (“Is it true?”) underlying all technical detail. The Lean business philosopher thus ought to have a competitive advantage to more effectively reproduce and monetize true-north value for this reason. So, you will walk away from this text with new, Lean philosophical acronyms and analogies that you may use as rules of thumb to monetize meaning regardless of the origin of your ideas.

An excellent question exemplifying a point where science, philosophy and intuition intermix to determine what consumers most truly value is, “What created natural, physical laws, consumers, and the universe in the first place?” This question is represented by the question mark “?” at the beginning and end of the above value stream running through fields of inquiry. I’m sure consumers have some intuitive belief, faith, or agnosticism marking that question, and their attitudes toward it particularly determine why, what, and how they purchase. Let’s look at this question briefly from the respective perspectives of science and religion to see what role the philosophy of Lean plays in mediating between these fields today to identify true-north value and the secret meaning of money as we move along all fields of knowledge to reach the greatest profit.


Physicists generally attempt to describe the origin of consumers’ existences, and thus all true-north value, by statistically analyzing theories, or they theorize classical notions of what the universe is or is not to get to that same point. Scientists generally make these physical explanations for why consumers exist intentionally circular since they base these explanations on physical laws of unknown origin.91

For example, a certain classical theory in vogue is multi-verses specifying that the universe consumers personally know is one of an infinite number of them, and they are but one variation of infinite possibility. The laws in such universes are randomly created with whatever probabilities might exist in such warped domains. Within some variations of this theory, each black hole holds a universe unto itself, each with its own variation of the laws of physics. Another theoretical variation demonstrates the multi-verse by explaining quantum mechanics itself as a consequence of the coherence and discoherence of the subatomic units of parallel universes within the multi-verse. These theories hold that each parallel universe is well designed in its own unique way while remaining fungible at its most basic level, much like the multiple meanings simultaneously arising from the homonyms, symbolism and acronyms.92

Alternatively, consider that if consumers could see past the limit of the speed of light racing toward them from the edges of the known universe, they might find further cosmoses within the same spacetime continuum if only they could lean far enough to see them. Finally, if you project far enough into the future, you might conclude that video games, like Eric Ries’ Instant Message Virtual Universe, or The Sims, would improve to such a degree with each new version that this universe you know so well might itself be a simulation.93 We might be characters within IMVU at this very moment. Who is winning?

While these scientific theories are all grand, consumers must recognize that no such purely physical or computational theory to date conclusively answers in non-circular fashion why the physics (or programs) guiding their lives exists at all- what explains why anything exists at all, and thus why consumers live and buy anything at all other than to subsist. The ongoing faith an organization has that consumers will find the products and/or services it provides truly valuable leaves open all forms of intuitive speculation by upper management.94 Ultimately, consumers’ true religion is hard to define, but Lean Metaphysically diagrams its contours for you as you will see below.


To begin understanding what creates Lean true-north value, you cannot ignore the very personal topic of religion. It must be discussed for this conversation to be complete. To address it head on for your Lean business ideology, look at one of the most widely adopted academic definitions95 of religion that was proposed by the anthropologist Clifford Geertz. Geertz described religion as a system of symbols that acts to:96

  1. Establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in people;
  2. Formulate conceptions of a general order of existence;
  3. Give these conceptions an aura of factuality; and
  4. Make these moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic.

Not coincidentally, Geertz’s definition of religion leans a business metaphysically through the 3WH value creation interrogatories of who, why, what, and how. Like the four parts of Geertz’s definition, consumers’ true-north values determine:

  1. Who consumers are as emotionally motivated people;
  2. Why consumers buy products and/or services to better exist;
  3. What consumers conceive as factually valuable; and
  4. How consumers really get uniquely and emotionally motivated to buy products and/or services with money.

Thus, religion, just like science, also seeks to answer who, why, what, and how, except with intuitive speculation rather than scientific investigation. “Why” in religion speculates a general order of existence from a higher power, while “what” grounds religion in the soil of experience by what people actually believe. “Who” in religion divines who people are by which deities they ultimately follow, while “how” in religion determines the beliefs held, rituals followed, sacrifices made, indulgences paid, or lives lived to reach Nirvana. We will explore further these 3WH interrogatories as you proceed up through the U/People business model with a religious devotion to all consumers whatever they may believe.

Limits to Business Quantification

You as a business person reasonably tend to rely heavily on the quantifiable aspects of true-north value measurement, such as with accounting, finance or econometrics. Monetary or other quantitative measurements provides a fairly uniform way to discuss business processes globally. However, the common expressions, “Not everything that counts can be counted,” and, “Businesses measure everything and understand nothing,” articulate the fact that, significant, unresolved, and often under-appreciated limits exist in money’s ability to quantify and measure what people truly find meaningful in an absolute sense. In the difference between science and religion, you come to the natural limits of what the four-step Lean 3WH value interrogatories can quantify and predict since no one has a firm grasp on what permits or limits open-ended, infinite intuitive, spiritual, scientific and/or religious speculation.97

Lean Metaphysically will clarify and explain those limits more precisely for understanding exactly what money and other metrics do and do not measure and mean. Understanding the difference will not only improve a business for societal profit, but will also improve financial profits by taking you to the edge of what an organization can monetize so you can focus on what you have reason to believe is most profitable.98 The difference between making meaningful amounts of money and making money meaningfully is that while the former immediately satisfices, the latter allows you to achieve greatness and build a company that will carry your legacy onward and upward.

So while money reasonably accurately quantifies people’s preferences, accounting, finance and econometrics cannot entirely direct research, development and marketing toward what best satisfices and optimizes consumers – many things are difficult to measure well, due to incomplete information and knowledge, which are often referred to as business intangibles. In fact, the more knowledge we as people have and apply toward our own ends, the less we can predict the future.99 Thus, despite very well developed financial measures and operational metrics, businesses still pray for epiphanies as to what meaningfully making money means through the Lean value stream, and how such insight might further guide quantitative analysis toward blue oceans of profit in an unchartered universe.

The U/People Business Model

By constructing a comprehensive true-north value theory to apply Lean thinking to an organization, you ought to be able to understand the context in which an organization measures true-north value for all of its stakeholders regardless of their religious beliefs. By all stakeholders, I mean customers, employees, board members, shareholders, and/or society. Thus, a Lean business ideology ought to be a universal system of thought grounded in true-north values, but also related to the apparent paradoxes inherent in all stakeholders’ lives and existences. It ought to bring together a wide range of ideas and disciplines in a unified structure for analyzing and predicting what all stakeholders find most truly valuable and therefore will want to buy.

By way of example of Lean Metaphysically’s flexibility for building a meaningful true-north value theory, references to businesses, corporations, or organizations may likewise be read throughout this book to include governmental or not-for-profit entities. You can replace “customers” with taxpayers, donors, or congregants, since they are all ultimately “consumers” of existential solutions. For example, in the charitable context, charitable recipients and society are the indirect beneficiaries of charitable activities. Charitable beneficiaries are part of the products and/or services actually sold to donors. Donors in-turn indulge in the satisfaction of, possibly receive some prestige for, and certainly universalize their influence as a result of naming buildings and institutions after themselves.100 That is a very real way to look at the business of charity, but making abstract theory really applicable to what consumers most truly value is why you lean philosophically toward people.

Synthesizing Subjects

Hopefully, given this introduction to Lean Metaphysically thus far feeding a Lean analysis of what matters most to stakeholders, you can appreciate how an overarching true-north value theory that philosophically organizes business information ought to be useful to you. Quite commonly, researchers at the highest levels of different fields independently examine the same concepts from different perspectives within their own disciplines. Authors generally write in one discipline or another without interrelating their disciplines to others with which their domain of expertise intersects. However, as you have seen, the philosophy of Lean will help you do just that for remarkable business insights.

For example, as Fred Gluck, the founder of McKinsey’s strategy practice, said that strategic planning is an exercise in continuously evolving the most effective rules of thumb that yield the greatest business results.101 Philosophical metaphysics and strategic metadata create these rules of thumb exceedingly well if brought down to Earth. For example, consider all knowledge from the top down. Philosophy was the intellectual parent of modern physics, which in turn determines chemistry, which informs biology, which affects psychology, which combines chemistry and biology into psychopharmacology that can change who consumers are and their philosophical perspectives on life and existence. At some point, all these fields of knowledge intersect and inform one another in circular fashion, since all academic subjects ultimately reduce themselves toward the goal of best understanding and improving consumers’ lives and existences, which is philosophy’s ultimate domain of inquiry as well.

Steve Jobs consistently said as much, as further evidenced by his interview with the Smithsonian Institution on April 20th, 1995 while he was running NeXT Computer:102

I actually think there’s actually very little distinction between an artist and a scientist or engineer of the highest caliber… They’ve just been to me people who pursue different paths but basically kind of headed to the same goal, which is to express something of what they perceive to be the truth around them so that others can benefit by it.

However, the polymath- a person who could truly excel across multiple disciplines- is increasingly rare if not already extinct due to the fact that the quantity of knowledge needed to enhance any part of the body of knowledge of any given general field of knowledge stands beyond what any one person is currently capable of understanding in a lifetime.103 This has been truly said for some time, and will only become truer as our knowledge exponentially increases, and sub-disciplines of knowledge continually grow.104

Making a genuine contribution of knowledge to any given subject these days consumes a person’s entire intellect and a lifetime of dedication, so seeing beyond existing knowledge and interrelating the collective body of knowledge in general, particularly in business, becomes increasingly difficult even as the information within sub-disciplines becomes more effective at addressing specific problems. This situation is sub-optimal for leaning an entire organization toward all that consumers most truly value because of the difficulty in knowing and synthesizing all this information intelligently.105

Lean Metaphysically thus becomes a type of product and/or service of its own, a philosophical and pragmatic body of knowledge for a corporation, constituting the sum of the expertise that went into creating and aligning it with what consumers truly value, allowing you to lean across multiple disciplines to serve them best. Likewise, think about what consumers truly value when they employ chemical and mechanical engineers the next time they use a toothbrush. Think about the expertise of the aerospace engineers consumers hire the next time they fly. Consider the cumulative medical knowledge gathered through millennia of trial and error in the process of Jidoka and Kaizen that doctors currently lean on and re-transmit when a consumer enters a doctor’s office for a check-up.106

While Lean Metaphysically provides this intellectual leverage, an organization will never make money rotely with the philosophy of Lean and the U/People business model.107 Even though Lean Metaphysically is not a deductive formula for success, I guarantee that you will gain confidence from knowing when you are on the right path if you flow that embodied expertise about customers’ lives and existences through your own business ideology. You will have the confidence that you are providing the products and/or service you ought, which ought to produce for you the greatest profit of all.

For example, if making money meaningfully involves understanding consumers’ lives and existences, then even the financial industry can make more money by following these precepts when they intuitively understand the human condition and why people enter into economic exchanges to live and exist. While financial engineering does not require understanding people’s lives in all the ways described in this book, the negotiations and strategies used to execute financial transactions require understanding the counter-parties engaging in those transactions and all that they truly value, which the money being negotiated reflects.108 As another example, leverage aside, private equity does actually depend to a great extent on effectively operating companies as much as mathematically engineering their acquisition and divestment to produce financial gain.109 This means that even private equity firms and hedge funds must have a business ideology to understand what and how products and/or services get bought and sold to produce satisfactory returns most days.

While the U/People business model and acronym may describe what creates wealth and what you ought to lean toward in greater detail, and describes how wealth gets generated by higher order economic activity, it will fail to identify how to make money meaningfully in mechanical fashion, since money making is of course an open-ended endeavor.110 The philosophy of Lean is about your developing a value theory of continuously improving and pursuing perfection however unattainable it might be. The U/People business model by no means automates economic advancement, but it will provide you with a universal set of true-north values, processes, and methods to guide you to make the money you earn genuinely meaningful for everyone’s benefit.

Quantifying Lean Abstraction and Analogies for Sales Success

In addition to the foregoing benefits to studying Lean, the analogical (or dis-analogical) reasoning that is pervasive throughout the philosophy of Lean allows you to differentiate between partial and impartial truths that drive sales efficiency. Analogies, similes, metaphors, phrases, proverbs and fables all go into telling the sales stories of true-north value that get products and/or services bought and sold. You can in-turn use mathematics to produce precise descriptions, probabilities and measurements of these partial or impartial true-north values to determine the corresponding accuracy of analogies and similes in consumers’ minds. Examples include any time you compare a new business initiative to others and see the differences in how you served people’s true-north values from one period to the next. Once you identify the analogical comparables, you may ask questions like:

The philosophy of Lean provides a business ideology with tools to see the organic essence of any given situation and analogically reason from there to provide a greater return on customers’ investments in a product and/or service. True-north value originates from existential dichotomies in the difference between one period in time to the next, and how you reason analogically between those periods to identify and classify what has Lean value and what does not for consumers. This is especially true when comparing two different points in time from the present state to a future state, which lets you readily communicate and quantify the change in that true-north value to consumers.111 You lean metaphysically through a binary business ideology of what has true-north value and what does not toward an infinite sales potential.

From Zero to One112

Consumers make analogies and use binary computers to improve their human condition and better describe themselves in relation to what is or is not in the universe. In dichotomous fashion, they compute 1 as being not like 0 just like they self-reflexively identify their I as not being like not into infinite, counterfactual detail.113 In fact, consumers do this to determine how best to ontologically realize themselves being in the universe. Through the processes of time, however, the data of life and existence defines consumers and describes their behavior in some of these ways, which allows you to attempt to predict what consumers truly value. Both analogy making and mathematics converge to illuminate the fundamental, binary condition of consumers’ existence in all of its probability of “being” or “not being” to help you determine what might get bought by and sold to people.

Since Lean Metaphysically improves analogical thinking, it also sharpens your business acumen by helping you make more sense out of markets, since abstract concepts in consumers’ minds shape their behavior, to which you can relate. The better you understand the abstractions consumers are thinking, the more fully you will be able to explain who consumers truly are.114 For example, the modern sociological researcher James Flynn, famous for the “Flynn Effect” demonstrating rising IQs across time, presented significant data showing that your own IQ score will increase once you increase your capacity to abstract and analogize between yourself and other people.115

As abstraction increases your own intelligence quotient, it likewise increases your appreciation of consumers’ and all other stakeholders’ IQs as well. Absorbing new true-north value streams grows your mindset116 toward abstracting a metaphysical business ideology to more intelligently serve your markets. Lean Metaphysically is thus like the abstract artwork you pass by everyday in the hallways of an organization, which serves as a palette for your imagining ways to grow your future profits by meaningfully providing true-north value to customers.117

The U/People business model and acronym - Uniquely/Profitably Extending and Optimizing People’s Lives and Existences - and all the acronyms I use throughout this book, are acrobatic rules of thumb for you to use in a metaphysical business ideology to compress and unify widely divergent information together to lean toward consumers more profitably.118 The multiple definitions, word combinations, acronyms and phrases derived from Lean Metaphysically’s meaning demonstrate that the business model’s concepts exceed the individual letters, symbols and words composing it, allowing you to reach across all value streams.119 At its very best, Lean Metaphysically might even be analogized (or dis-analogized) to a long poem, since actual poetry represents the most compressed and extreme example of analogy making between concepts, thereby further abstracting and re-categorizing life, value and meaning for all people.120

You will in-fact find quite a bit of actual poetry interwoven throughout Lean Metaphysically. With this, hopefully, you will see how analogy making is a powerful tool for abstraction that complements quantification to guide an organization’s faith toward better learning, understanding and predicting what really works.

For example, much of the premium you place on an employees’ work experience originates from their generally large set of examples of past problems, failures and solutions so they may efficiently analogize toward an iterative, Lean solution to present business problems. A business ideology will allow you to better see how employees lean their past experiences toward solving consumers’ problems by serving their fundamental true-north values. Think of the last time you were at work or took a test and you recognized familiar problems and were able to more effectively propose solutions or answers – that is how you analogically lean philosophically.

Analogy making from past experiences particularly relates to the details of the industry in which you operate. Look at how an organization asks interview questions of candidates’ past experiences, like the Gallup-style tests for employee selection repeatedly questioning interviewees from different perspectives.121 Look also at the interaction of qualitative and quantitative analysis when employers decide who to hire based on their own past experience within an industry. Analogy making is especially important in day-to-day situations in organizations that seek to continually improve, and a true-north value theory enhances an organization’s ability to analogize when it does not have the ability to quantify every decision.

The Symbols - The Forward Slash, Circumflex, and Sigmas

To facilitate the highly conceptual and artistic nature of this discussion, you will notice some instances where I use homonyms, homographs and homophones, and refine standard English with additional symbolism. For example, I use the forward slash / to mean Lean. I use this symbolism because while I write in American English, you lean philosophically in a sign-language that all consumers comprehend, such as through the trademarks that businesses use.122

I look to reveal the implicit meaning within the words we use in business every day regardless of whether a word’s etymology explicitly supports that meaning. So, using symbols like “/” will likewise help you universally improve the lives of all people for a profit. I also hope to reveal how business vocabulary itself guides the direction of true-north value when you pause for a moment to examine and deconstruct it carefully.123 As the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote in 1953 at paragraph 129 of his, “Philosophical Investigations”:

The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity… — And this means: we fail to be struck by what, once seen, is most striking and most powerful.

Consider for instance the circumflex carrot “^” over the o, like so Ô. In the parlance of Lean, the Ô generally symbolizes a true-north value compass described by the Japanese principle of Hōshin Konri (方針管理). Hōshin Konri is a combination of Hoshin (方針), meaning policy or plan like a guiding compass, with Kanri (管理), meaning management, administration or control. So together the symbolic Ô is generally interpreted as “Compass Guided Management” leading toward true-north value. Ô also happens to be the diacritical pronunciation of the “ah” sound (as in “aha”) carried throughout words like “ôntology.” Furthermore, Ô is also similar to that used in statistics to indicate the necessary, actuarial estimation of reality that a metaphysical business ideology must take. To emphasize all these points from here on, please consider the word “Truth” to be an interchangeable portmanteau of “True” and “North,” with “True-North” being the metaphorical direction of all value and unique usefulness in the Lean vernacular. To make clear what and where Lean value truly is,124 the Ô symbol meaning Hōshin Kanri, or Compass Guided Management in English, is reflected in the logo of the Acura® luxury division of Honda Motor Co., Inc.:

Figure 1.11: Logo for Acura®
Figure 1.11: Logo for Acura®

In fact, here is a single slide from a presentation that Toyota Motor Corporation gives exemplifying this symbolism used in Toyota’s real-world business environment of Toyota’s Production System (a.k.a. “TPS”). This slide fairly presents both TPS and Lean as business ideologies geared toward customer satisfaction and human development, representing a people-focused, true-north value theory:125

Figure 1.12: Toyota® Internal Presentation (© 2002 Toyota Motor Corporation)
Figure 1.12: Toyota® Internal Presentation (© 2002 Toyota Motor Corporation)

Lastly, the capital sigma Σ you may see reflected in various places within this book either in its normal orientation or turned up, represents the paradoxical summation of open-ended value inherent in the human condition. I hope all these symbols will become as clear to you as a natural spring by the time you finish reading this book.

U People / Toward 6σ

For another example of this symbolism, Lean Metaphysically compresses the term Lean Six Sigma, into “/6σ.” The forward slash “/” naturally represents all Lean true-north value theory in addition to a metaphysical focus on what consumers’ most meaningful problems are; the six “6” represents the attempted quantification and measurement of what people value; the sigma “σ” represents the necessary estimation of what true-north value is in the universe. Since the infinity symbol “∞” is the elusive, circular perfection we all pursue, “/6σ” overall represents the pragmatic pursuit of perfection.

The “U” in U/People is partially inspired by the U-shaped work “cells” implemented by Toyota when it developed the Toyota Production System (“Toyota Seisan Houshiki”), and the desks where Toyota’s office workers sit. The U in “U/People” applies to the U-shaped work-cells and office cubicles and offices comprising people’s workspaces worldwide. Beyond Toyota’s U-shaped work cells, the U in U/People also applies figuratively as a universal condition of people either at work as a core concept of /6σ efficiency, or in serving customers, which the U shape facilitates. The “U/People” business model is thus both ego-centric to an organization and allo-centric to consumers at the same time.

Thus, you lean toward people organizationally as a legally fictitious person, toward employees working within an organization in U-shaped cubicles as their manager, and toward consumers that an entire organization ought to lean philosophically toward. All people lean philosophically toward all other real or legally fictitious people by providing them with meaningful true-north value. “U” is thus open-ended organizationally, logically and ethically.

For example, philosophers use “U” to mean abstract concepts like Universal Egoism, economists use it to mean Utility, and academics use it to mean learning at a University. All of these meanings around “U” align and cohere within U/People sitting in cubicles, working in U-shaped cells, and serving as optimistic, upwardly mobile, white- and blue-collar people factoring what matters most to consumers.

U/People in the Lean True-North Value Stream

The application of the philosophical principles embodied by the U/People business model is not new, as you might expect. People-oriented business ideologies have been advocated since the dawn of management science. The entire history of business theory applies notions of true-north value to people’s everyday lives within well-known concepts that you may have studied. For example, IBM’s “Three Basic Beliefs” stated by Thomas Watson Jr. in 1962 are strikingly similar to Lean principles:126

  • Respect for the individual,
  • Superlative customer service, and
  • The pursuit of excellence

And in 2003, IBM employees in a ValueJam revised these Three Basic Beliefs to be:127

  • Dedication to every client’s success;
  • Innovation that matters—for our company and for the world; and
  • Trust and responsibility in all relationships

The philosophy of Lean thus reconstructs old concepts in new ways because businesses like IBM still struggle to learn from and implement them with each new technological change, which is no easy task.128 Furthermore, the field of management science as exemplified by the Lean-oriented books continuously improves on and expands Lean concepts below,129 such as Lean’s intersection with Six Sigma. An extremely small sample of recent business titles focused on “Lean” each year over the last decade includes:

  • “Lean for CEOs” (2024)
  • “The New Lean” (2024)
  • “Lean Project Management” (2023)
  • “The Lean Supply Chain” (2018)
  • “Lean Strategy” (2017)
  • “Lean Six Sigma” (2016)
  • “Lean Enterprise” (2015)
  • “Lean Customer Development” (2014)
  • “Lean Analytics” (2013)
  • “The Lean Mindset” (2013)
  • “Lean for Dummies” (2012)
  • “The Lean Startup” (2011)
  • “Lean Thinking” (2010)

As of 2019, Amazon.com lists an excess of 10,000 business books with “Lean” included somewhere in their titles. Lean Metaphysically adds to this discussion by encompassing all of these domains, moving beyond start-ups or any other single aspect of business to provide the best explanation and goals for all business activity so you may deploy Lean most powerfully in an HQ.

Elaborating on Lean as a philosophy though requires knowing what Lean really is as a business discipline in the context of all this history. While James Womak and Daniel Jones delineated one of the most widely revered descriptions of Lean in the book, “Lean Thinking” in 2010, despite all this time and effort, no universally recognized, internally consistent definition of Lean exists. To provide some symmetry between how Toyota Motor Corporation defines Lean and all the other definitions of Lean generally, I broadly define Lean within Lean Metaphysically as:130

  1. Fairness and respect for people;
  2. Viewing the customer as the “true-north”;
  3. Elimination of waste to add true-north value; and
  4. Creating scientific, knowledge-driven continuous improvement.

Lean Metaphysically’s item (1), “fairness and respect for people,” describes how business workers in Lean processes are as dignified as the organization’s own customers. Lean Metaphysically’s item (2), “viewing the customer as the ‘true-north,’” emphasizes that since an organization exists most fundamentally to serve the interests of customers who pay money, stakeholders receive that money only as a consequence of that service toward what customers ultimately value. For an example of this Lean Metaphysically item (2), “viewing the customer as the ‘true-north’,” in a business context, consider what Tim Cook, who succeeded Steve Jobs as CEO of Apple, Inc. and is one of the world’s foremost experts on Lean manufacturing and supply chains, said in his keynote at the company’s 2016 developers’ conference:

I would like to take a moment to talk about why we do what we do at Apple. Our North Star has always been about improving people’s lives by creating great products that change the world.131

Just as importantly, Lean Metaphysically’s item (3) of its definition of Lean, “elimination of waste to add value,” along the lines of Muda, Mura and Muri, explicitly states that the overall mission of Lean is to eliminate work that does not directly or indirectly create true-north value for the customer. The philosophy of Lean revolves around optimizing opportunities by avoiding misallocating resources. Lean Metaphysically’s item (3) can thus be summarized as optimizing efficiency to enhance profits while avoiding overly exploiting people.132

Lean Metaphysically’s item (4), “creating scientific, knowledge-driven continuous improvement,” emphasizes the empirically iterative nature of Lean arising both from the Buddhist presently experiencing self and the Western Philosophy of Science to discover and reveal what most philosophically leans an organization toward consumers’ highest values and thus leads them to sustain and enhance their being.

Pay Us over the Pay Wall at the Margin of Existence

You must recognize that while all definitions of Lean emphasize maximizing true-north value for consumers, none identifies true-north value beyond what customers actually purchase or use. Lean to date has focused on identifying true-north value by what people purchase at the point of sale. This Lean method of analyzing what consumers reveal they prefer is the most direct and efficient method of understanding their greatest problems, since they are by and large what they do. However, when you lean further philosophically, you reach deeper, beyond what consumers do or say, to more accurately conjecture, hypothesize, theorize and identify who consumers are by better interpreting their data that you receive. This greater insight leads you to why customers truly value a product and/or service beyond what I call this “pay wall,” “pay us wall” or “point of purchase.”133

A pay wall is generally used by online media and information services to indicate the content that consumers must purchase with money. However, even in cases where media companies provide information without charging money, they generally do so in exchange for selling the viewers’ data and attention to advertisers, which forms its own sort of “pay us wall.” As the economist Herbert Simon said, “In an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of… attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.”134 The “pay us” wall gets viewers to spend their attention and personal information viewing the advertisements instead of money as its own form of value to other businesses.

Advertisers in-turn directly charge people for their own products and/or services. The pay us wall represents the often unclear boundary between what people actually do that leads to meaningful monetization, and what organizations provide that creates true-north value for people in exchange. You likewise can use a U/People-oriented business methodology within an HQ to define what pain points consumers pray that you sooth at the pay us wall. A business creates points of purchase by predicting what true-north value customers shall be blessedly given by consuming its products and/or services.

Identifying the Four Steps to Lean

To get out of an HQ and move past consumers’ pay us wall, you must develop an overarching understanding of who consumers are and why they value products and/or services up along the Rubicon135 of their value streams. You must reach toward the firmament of true-north value in its most intangible, abstract sense and work back down to the specific activities, instruments and tools used by an organization to realize the specific details of those true-north values in consumers’ lives and existences through the products and/or services an organization reproduces. Where within this outcome space products and/or services satisfy consumers depends on the intersection of who, why, what, and how they are.

Along this Lean line of thinking, Peter Drucker136 said in, “The Practice of Management,” in 1954:

If we want to know what a business is we have to start with its purpose. And its purpose must lie outside of the business itself. In fact, it must lie in society since a business enterprise is an organ of society. There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer.137 [emphasis added]

This image of creating a customer reminds many of Drucker’s commentators as well as me of an unfinished sculpture Michelangelo created in 1525-30 CE titled, The Awakening Slave.138 This image depicts the body of a slave half-way carved out and created from the stone, as if the sculptor is in the process of bringing the slave to life.

However, I believe that organizations often misapply Drucker’s quote by only considering his statement regarding, “creating a customer.” This implies that organizations can artificially develop who consumers are and push products and/or services to them as if they were somehow slaves to an organization. However, if you read Drucker’s full quote, it says that organizations create a customer by meeting people as they are in front of the pay wall. As Peter Drucker says a paragraph further down in, “The Practice of Management”:

It is the customer who determines what a business is. For it is the customer, and [s/he] alone, who through being willing to pay for a good or for a service, converts economic resources into wealth, things into goods.

The metaphysics of this statement— “[I]t is the customer who determines what a business is.”[emphasis added] — since “is” is a form of “to be,” ought to become apparent as you lean metaphysically through the U/People business model, toward those people who want to buy from you. With this customer-oriented business model, you may reach over the pay us wall to reproduce profits from who, why, what and how customers are as consumers, which is the predicate to all consumption.

You thus metaphysically speculate with every personal and business decision you make as to whether you can improve customers while satisficing them. The only way for you to increase the probability of success is by sufficiently aligning speculative, intuitive beliefs about true-north value with who consumers really are so you know why they value what you offer. You ought to consider consumers less like slavish minds for you to hack and, like yourself, more like Rodin’s, “The Thinker” leaning toward what is and ought to be produced by a corporation.139

The Para-Scientific Business Process

Besides employing radical empathy through the data you gather, the best way to discover consumers as they are is to para-scientifically test them like Eric Ries did for his product, “IMVU” with his “Build-Measure-Learn” process. By doing this iterative testing, you too will surface consumers’ deepest demands that you in-turn philosophically analyze. Because all business value flows up through people, who still exceed anyone’s complete comprehension, business analysis still requires this philosophical synthesis of qualitative and quantitative information. Business cannot yet be managed by numbers alone for this reason. Thus, business is a para-science to which you may apply a scientific process of testing who consumers truly are with philosophically defined degrees of confidence that extend into the unknown.

As a contemporary of Fredrick Taylor, Walter Shewhart was one of the first, modern people to apply scientific empiricism to business to achieve customer success. Walter Shewhart invented the para-scientific, “Specification-Production-Inspection,” Shewhart Cycle140 in the early 1900s. Following Shewhart’s lead, Edward Deming famously modified the Shewhart Cycle into, “Plan-Do-Check-Act” as the “PDCA” or Deming Cycle. Deming introduced his PDCA Cycle to Japan in the 1950s.141 Through Toyota’s initial leaders like Eiji Toyoda and Taiichi Ohno, Toyota most particularly internalized PDCA in the 1950s within its industrial processes to create the foundation of the industrial Kaikaku (改革) that we now call Lean (厘). Kaikaku is the Lean term meaning a revolutionary improvement in a value stream to quickly create more value with less waste by up-ending the status quo. This cross-breading of Western, para-scientific business analysis with the legacy of Japanese theologies and philosophies is the pedigree and evolutionary beginning of the Lean meme.

In 2003, the venture capitalist Steve Blank in his book, “Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Products that Win,”142 refined and applied these Kaikaku cycles toward starting up new businesses. In “Four Steps,” Blank described the four steps necessary to reach a commercial epiphany as a “Customer Development Model.” Blank’s Customer Development Model applies the Shewhart and Deming Cycles, and Drucker’s notions of customer development, toward building viable, new businesses. The Customer Development Model for new businesses follows the four steps of:

  1. Customer Discovery;
  2. Customer Validation;
  3. Customer Creation; and
  4. Company Building.

You can see the cover of Blank’s book here with Michelangelo Buonarroti’s, “The Creation of Adam,” painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Blank notably added a light bulb between God143 and man who has an exclamation mark over his head.

Figure 1.13: Steven Gary Blank, "Four Steps to the Epiphany," with Michelangelo's "The Creation of Adam" on the cover
Figure 1.13: Steven Gary Blank, “Four Steps to the Epiphany,” with Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam” on the cover

Eric Ries further consolidated the Shewhart, Deming and Blank cycles with his, “Build-Measure-Learn” process, and applied it to start up businesses as described by his book, “The Lean Startup.”144. Even though Ries skipped over initially intuiting what he thought ought to be built before he had something to measure and learn from, he applied this line of empirical thinking that reached back not only to Deming, Shewhart and Taylor, but also to the philosopher, Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) and scientist Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) during the European Renaissance. All of these empiricists emphasized testing rather than making deductive assumptions based on an abstract ideal. To emphasize how old this concept is, one of the first people to even think this way was actually the Arab scientist Ibn al-Haytham from 1000 C.E. Thus, Ries’, “Build-Measure-Learn,” methodology heeds the wisdom received from old masters to avoid reinventing wheels.

Nonetheless, Reis was lauded for reintroducing empiricism to product and/or service development since too many business decisions were being made with bad effect based only on mental models of who consumers were and why they would purchase - mental models that were only created by analogy from empathy without any real data. However, true-north value is found at the pragmatic intersection of both conjecture from intuition and criticism from market testing in a virtuously para-scientific business cycle.145 Both are necessary to triangulate and truly know what consumers value.146 All these cycles, methods and models are all part of Lean Metaphysically and the philosophy of Lean.147 They all require deeply empathizing with consumers’ pain points that you abduct from an intuition, infer from the problems they state, induce from their behavioral data, and deduce from the products and/or services they already purchase. Thus, you can reach commercial epiphanies by following the Lean 3WH interrogatories as seen here:

  1. Who: Customer Discovery - Discovering who consumers are;
  2. Why: Customer Validation - Identifying why consumers are;
  3. What: Customer Creation - Constructing what makes consumers become who they want to be; and
  4. How: Company Building - Deducing how consumers become who they consider themselves to be as customers for the greatest profit.

Thus, an organization may pursue this 3WH customer development process by discovering who consumers are, identifying why they value who they are, learning what they want to consume that makes them further be, and understanding how an organization ought to charge for what consumers will actually buy that supports their further becoming who, why and what they are and want to be. Or, as Eric Ries wrote, “If we do not know who the customer is, we do not know what quality is.”148

The ID Kata

Better discovering, identifying and quantifying the money you can make requires that you engage in Hansei (反省) by repeatedly reflecting on who consumers truly are in-line or on-line at stores, why they wish to purchase, and what will delight them most. How you reach your greatest profit through Eastern and Western philosophical traditions gets determined by continually improving your respect for people and revitalizing your competitive advantage through a traditional Lean process called a Kata (型 or 形).149 Kata is a term of Japanese origin describing a repetitive method that links certain thoughts and behaviors together in parallel. In essence, a Kata is a logical system. You will better align the seemingly disconnected portions of consumers’ value streams by creating a mental Kata of the highest order, one that allows you to abduct, infer, induce, and deduce what value you can exchange for the most money.150

For those unfamiliar with logical systems, I will review and explain these terms so you have them in your head. Abduction is the technical term for when you rely on intuition to tell you what creates the most true-north value for consumers.151 To do so, you must critique pure reason and hold it hostage to abduct consumers’ highest values; however, you do that if you have a hunch, lean forward with your best intuition, and deeply empathize with consumers’ lives and existences while bracketing all else you think you know. For the sake of simplifying our Lean lexicon, we will use intuition to simply mean abduction.

Inference and induction, on the other hand, allow you to hypothesize and theorize a general maxim from evident and specific data you have observed, rather than from any gut feeling (abduction) you may have. Rarely, if ever, will you have all possible data to make an true induction - though statistics carries a lot weight here - so you usually are inferring why or how much people value something in order to hypothesize how much money you will make. The best hypothesis to test is the one that not only delineates how you will make money, but also distinguishes between why you will achieve one result rather than another.152 And regardless of whether you conjecture, hypothesize, or induce, you must always test and deduce how you will make money. You may only deduce what consumers will value without making an assumption when you already know what consumers pay for, and you are absolutely confident that a product and/or service will be perceived by them to be a perfect solution, which is the ideal goal you always strive to perfect but will never achieve.

If you look closely at the capstone of a metaphysically HQ as shown below, you will see that beyond twin pillars of, “Respect for People” and “Continuous Improvement,” the Lean Management portion is composed of increasingly plentiful values, systems, processes, methods, techniques, and activities that ultimately result in the products and/or services delivered as you move toward your customer base. Through this process, a metaphysically Lean HQ forms a temple, pyramid and/or steeple-shape above its foundation like the Greek delta symbol (“Δ”). It forms a symbolic, traditional Kata that fundamentally aligns its twin pillars of Respect for People and Continuous Improvement with all the people truly value as seen again here:

Figure 1.14: Lean Management ID Kata with values, systems, processes, methods, techniques, activities, products and/or services
Figure 1.14: Lean Management ID Kata with values, systems, processes, methods, techniques, activities, products and/or services

Following this pyramid principle,153 I likewise graphically represent “Lean Management” as an “ID Kata” in a delta “Δ” shape with “/” representing why, “_” representing the what, and “\” representing how. The sum of this ID Kata represents the entire exchange of who customers were in the present state for who they will become in the future state by purchasing the products and/or services that Lean Management provides. With the ID Kata, a Lean management team in the C-Suite can gain penetrating insight that might help an organization become something special, like a rocket ship or unicorn.

Using this traditional ID Kata, once you discover who consumers are largely by what they do, you intuitively, inferentially and/or inductively theorize through conjecture why consumers’ deepest problems cause them to truly value your goods and/or services. You match up why customers will buy anything at all with how you expect to exchange a solution for the greatest profit of all. Between why and how extending from who customers are around this ID Kata, you identify the solution by determining what products and/or services an organization ought to produce to serve their Freudian ids, egos and super-egos. The difference between why and how is the problem space that you resolve. A solution ultimately represents all of the values, systems, processes, methods, techniques, activities, and ultimately, products and/or services that remove customers’ problems in exchange for the price you charge and deduct from them.

Using the ID Kata, you can triangulate any given side or angle from the other two. You can determine who customers are in the difference between why they actually purchase now and how / how much they will pay for it - e.g. if customers pay a lot of money for potable water, it means they are thirsty. If they pay a lot for a sports car, there is a deeper psychological need. The difference between who customers are and what they want to buy can be extrapolated from the delta of why they want to live and exist and how they currently pay to do so. To begin this process, you must engage in customer discovery and identification with an n number of why’s along the left-side, rightward leaning y axis, as seen here.154

Figure 1.15: Lean Management ID Kata
Figure 1.15: Lean Management ID Kata

Along the y axis, you then proceed with a downward progression of increasing precision by intuiting, inferring and/or inducing what specific products and/or services solve consumers’ utmost problems until you conjecture a value theory. The right-side, leftward leaning line reflects how consumers will value each activity that produces the products and/or services they purchased with the price they paid. In the philosophy of Lean, if any activity reflected in the ID Kata does not support a profit, then it is considered one of the many forms of waste (in Lean terms, Muda, Mura, and Muri) and must be diverted from this organizational structure.

Finally, along the bottom x axis, you specifically determine what products and/or services best support who customers are and why customers will exchange anything for them at all. Since this x axis is a cost base that determines the bottom line, the closer you align why and how in parallel, the leaner an organization will be, the closer to customers you will become, and the greater the profit margins will be as you increasingly make a dent in the universe like the skyscrapers of companies’ HQs.155

To follow the four steps of the ID Kata, you ought to trace them as follows:

  1. Who - From the top of the ID Kata, ask who you have reason to believe potential customers are based both on intuition and data, by empathizing with why, what and how they wish to purchase solutions that solve their problems to further and better be;
  2. Why - Going down to the left, ask why values, systems, processes, methods, techniques, activities and products and/or services provide true-north value to a target market, solving their problems to further and better be, so you may intuitively conjecture, inferentially hypothesize or inductively theorize what you will sell them and how you will make meaningful amounts of money;
  3. What - Rounding out the bottom, ask whether what products and/or services you wish to offer in-fact delights and satisfies consumers with the most narrowly tailored solution possible with sufficient margins for error correction; and
  4. How - Heading back toward potential customers, ask how all the line-items of the products and/or services, activities, techniques, methods, processes, systems and values that you construct and provide lean back toward supporting the greatest profit, in perfect alignment with the human problems they resolve, with the least waste possible.

In between the four steps of 3WH are three acts of empathizing, conjecturing and criticizing tying the ID Kata together:
1. Empathizing with consumers through data;
2. Conjecturing from intuition, hypothesizing from inference, theorizing from induction, and/or legalizing from deduction (whenever possible) what best solves consumers’ problems for the greatest profit; and
3. Criticizing whether products and/or services produce the greatest true-north value by rigorously testing whether they will generate the highest profit.

Here you can see the addition of these three elements around the ID Kata here:

Figure 1.16: Lean Management ID Kata with Empathy, Conjecture and Criticism
Figure 1.16: Lean Management ID Kata with Empathy, Conjecture and Criticism

These degrees of explanation align with the para-scientific methods of analysis you will employ in your business ideology (a.k.a. your ‘ID’eology or ‘IDEO’logy). These explanations follow certain patterns of reasoning with decreasing degrees of confidence, from deductive laws to inductive theories to inferential hypotheses, and finally to intuitive conjectures. These patterns of reasoning originate from the entire tradition and legacy of the Western Philosophy of Science. The correlation between these Methods of Analysis and Degrees of Explanation used in the ID Kata are organized in this table.

Figure 1.17: Chart of Methods of Analysis compared to Degrees of Explanation
Figure 1.17: Chart of Methods of Analysis compared to Degrees of Explanation

As you better learn to apply these Methods of Analysis and Degrees of Explanation around the ID Kata, the more you will engage in the Lean process of Shu-ha-ri (守破離).156 Shu-ha-ri is a Lean term of Japanese origin meaning: (1) learn from tradition, (2) iteratively improve tradition, and (3) transcend tradition in the process of mastering Lean Metaphysically.157 The traditional ID Kata will eventually flow through your practice of Shu-ha-ri, so that you may intuitively apply Lean principles toward making money by creating the truest value.

High Flying Mamas

For a fairly obvious example of using this complete ID Kata and Shu-ha-ri process, presume you own an airline and wish to market services to mothers who often have a large say in how a family’s travel budget gets spent. You have learned that these mothers purchased large, safe, but otherwise unremarkable minivans (in their own opinion) that they use to transport their children in one piece. Your data gives you reason to believe that why these mothers live and exist is in large part for their children as a physical and emotional extension of themselves. Naturally, this is a universal, true-north value, and thus a very powerful one. Given this knowledge, you theorize from this data that these mothers will most value a specific class of airline service that will keep their families seated together, near a bathroom, with diapers and other sanitary items provided in a large seat-pocket in front of them. You believe it will induce them to purchase higher priced seats at the back of the plane than they otherwise would have knowing they will have these conveniences handy. You may now transcend this speculation and test your profit conjecture with a few sample consumers to hypothesize whether this new tier of service increase profits when all is said and done. Based on those test results, you can then iteratively improve your family-oriented flight offer until you confirm that it best extends and optimizes the lives of the mothers who fly, and thereby increase your runaway.

I recommend that you extend this Lean ID Kata technique through the Lean process of Shu-ha-ri to consumers’ much more obscure identities and motivations. By following Shu-ha-ri, you apply the ID Kata by carefully observing and applying it to what consumers physically and virtually say and do in relation to who they are. You always analyze how you can make an effective difference in consumers’ lives and existences for the greatest profit in a semi-circular, U-shaped pattern around the ID Kata, moving first from either why customers have a problem or how they will pay for a solution. Once an organization identifies who customers are in this difference, the ID Kata flows naturally to explain why, what and how that organization intuits, infers, induces and/or deduces what customers most truly value to conjecture, hypothesize, theorize, and in some cases legalize what they want to buy from you.158 The best explanation for how a business will make money is the one that can be tested at each point in the ID Kata’s abstract stream of causes, and the better the explanation for how that business will make money, the more universally profitable the business will become.

In the early stages of explaining who customers are and why and what they most truly value, you may choose to use intuition instead of inference or induction even if it may require more second guessing from you later on. This analytical process will be more fully elaborated as Lean Metaphysically proceeds. Most importantly, how you apply the ID Kata toward making money meaningfully defines the core ideology around which your business interests revolve.

For example, you can see the structure of the ID Kata represented in Toyota’s Lexus division’s, “Relentless Pursuit of Perfection,” advertising campaign made famous in the 1980s and 1990s. The image from the advertisement below shows a temple of champagne glasses standing up on the engine of a Lexus luxury car while it spins its wheels inside Toyota’s HQ.

Figure 1.18: Toyota® Lexus® The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection Ad Campaign (circa 1985)
Figure 1.18: Toyota® Lexus® The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection Ad Campaign (circa 1985)

Once Toyota discovered who its target market of luxury buyers were, it used an inference engine like the ID Kata to abstract why people wanted to buy anything from them at all. Before determining who would become its customers, Toyota first needed to determine who were consumers of transportation and why. With who and why firmly in mind, Toyota then identified what form of transportation to reproduce just in time to make their future customers become more of who they wanted to be. In the process, Toyota deduced how to charge for why and what its customers really wanted to buy in Takt time. Takt time is a Lean term of German origin meaning a perfect pace of production designed to meet customers’ ongoing demand just-in-time to provide their utmost satisfaction.

Figure 1.19: Toyota® Lexus® Division's ID Kata
Figure 1.19: Toyota® Lexus® Division’s ID Kata

Toyota’s competitors and all organizations adhere to these same developmental processes and spacetime constraints for developing products and/or services in Takt time. You can see this measurement of Takt time symbolized broadly by the calipers within the Acura logo for Honda’s luxury division, in the Infiniti logo for Nissan’s luxury division, and the similar, pyramid shape of the ID Kata. As you remove the space and time constraints of organizational processes by eliminating waste, you increasingly make more money with increased margins in Lean fashion by creating narrowly tailored solutions upwardly focused on who, why, what and how consumers ought to be.

Figure 1.20: On Up, from Bottom to Top, ID Kata; Infiniti® Logo; Acura® Logo
Figure 1.20: On Up, from Bottom to Top, ID Kata; Infiniti® Logo; Acura® Logo

Toyota’s Lexus division’s Relentless Pursuit of Perfection advertisement with its champagne glasses stacked upward was made at the same point in time that John Krafcik first coined the term “Lean” to describe Toyota’s own “Production System.” Toyota’s luxury Lexus division demonstrated the concept of Lean in this advertisement by accurately inferring why Lexus’ target customers had a problem with the cars currently in the market, theorizing what to precisely produce and deliver, and then assumptively deducing how to price those benefits in exchange for the greatest profit. That is why this ad made luxury car buyers want to purchase and pay Toyota’s price.

Following the ID Kata around like you see reflected in the Infiniti and Acura logos, your true-north value theory should intuit, infer and/or induce why consumers want to buy from who you discovered they are in the context of their real lives and existences. You abstract and then assume why consumers are from the problems they have to hypothesize what and how to reproduce meaningful goods and/or services that they will buy. You deduce what specific processes, methods, activities, instruments and people that consumers ought to be paying for to serve their highest values, which is how you make money meaningfully, as seen again here in detail for reference.

Figure 1.21: ID Kata
Figure 1.21: ID Kata

Once you transcend the ID Kata through Shu-ha-ri, you will reach even greater commercial heights.

UP in the Air

For example, consider this ID Kata as an analytical process for investigating the provision of business class airplane service to consumers up in the jetstream:

  1. Who are the target customers?: They are age 35-60 professionals who travel frequently and upgrade classes whenever their companies will pay for those seats;
  2. Why do they value travel?: They value safely accomplishing business goals to earn a living to support their lifestyles and families; potentially meeting other business people and experiencing some prestige; possibly experiencing new or favorite places (i.e. fun); and hopefully escape the daily grind a bit - those are their valuable problems;
  3. What do you produce that serves those values?: They consume safe movement from one location to the next; preferred member lines for prestige and convenience; lounges for mingling with other business travelers and working; and travel guides to encourage discovery at destinations;
  4. How do you price these products, services, methods, and systems to align them with why consumers fly so you may reach the greatest profit?: An organization’s value and profit gets built from the mechanics and pilots employed; the schedules kept; the destinations served; and the lounges staffed, which all contributes to the price charged. You ought to align the price you deduct from customers to exchange who they were as a person present in one location, with who they wish to become as the same person delighted to be at the destination of their choice.

Clearly though, airlines could do a lot more to serve who their business-class customers are and why they value business class travel to better monetize their becoming more of who their business-class customers want to be and become. Airlines ought to lean right toward consumers to discover who their customers are and why they value being to most accurately reproduce what their target markets wish to further be and become, which is well-travelled, in a virtuous business cycle.

Leaning up toward people’s true-north values through the ID Kata and Shu-ha-ri considers both the source and satisfaction of consumers’ demands. At this point your perspective dramatically changes, and you circle around and call it a business revolution and change in business paradigm.159 In Lean terms, you call this, “Kaikaku,” which again, is a revolutionary improvement of a value stream to quickly create more value with less waste. Given how meaningfully a Kaikaku business revolution affects consumers’ lives and existences, and an organizations’ prospects for producing profits, take a moment to reconsider and reflect on The Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of Revolution:160

Revolution • (noun) Brit. /ˌrɛvəˈl(j)uːʃn/ , U.S. /ˌrɛvəˈluʃ(ə)n/:
I. A circular movement
II. Change, upheaval
III. Consideration, reflection

Consumers are Always Right

Clearly, you ought to lean an organization toward consumers’ highest values by aligning who customers want to be with what an organization will provide throughout the U/People business model. Taking the U/People business model one step further: If you think of the ID Kata in three dimensions at each level of an organization, you can see below a depiction of this parallel alignment on its side facing rightward, with the flow and pull of the ID Katas running across each division of an organization’s value stream. You can see again Auguste Rodin’s, “The Thinker,” standing in for consumers on the right, who are themselves lean thinking, trying to extend and optimize their own lives and existences, in Figure 1.21:162

<< (1) an organization infers who consumers are<<
>> (2) an organization flows matter and energy represented by products and/or services up U/People’s true-north value stream, which are pulled forward by customers’ demand as a last step>>

Notice that when you focus on how right customers are by testing what they most value, each ID Kata within an organization leans so that its y-axis becomes the hypotenuse of each division. However, when the price charged customers is larger than the problem they perceive a business to be solving, then that organization leans away from customers in the wrong direction, which is not good. As you know, in a Lean HQ, profit is its bottom line, but the aim of Lean Management is always toward customers. In fact, many factory rooftops share this same pattern like you see on these here in New York.

Figure 1.22: Factory Rooftops in New York
Figure 1.22: Factory Rooftops in New York

All organizations ought to likewise lean philosophically not through false profits but rather toward consumers through the U/People business model to, Uniquely/Profitably Extend and Optimize People’s Lives and Existences. A profit arises only as a consequence of keeping U/People in mind, rather than being self-caused by its own pursuit, which is an important point many managers miss.

Thus, an organization’s profit represents an oracle of business, to whom you refer when seeking consumers’, and by extension an organization’s, highest values. Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, in their 1994 book “Built to Last,” agreed with this when they quoted David Packard, one of the founders of the multi-billion dollar information technology company Hewlett Packard (now called “HP”), who said in 1960:163

I want to discuss why [emphasis his] a company exists in the first place. In other words, why are we here? I think many people assume, wrongly, that a company exists simply to make money. While this is an important result of a company’s existence, we have to go deeper and find the real reasons for our being. As we investigate this, we inevitably come to the conclusion that a group of people get together and exist as an institution that we call a company so they are able to accomplish something collectively that they could not accomplish separately—they make a contribution to society, a phrase which sounds trite but is fundamental… You can look around [in the general business world] and still see people who are interested in money and nothing else, but the underlying drives come largely from a desire to do something else—to make a product—to give a service—generally to do something which is of value. So with that in mind, let us discuss why the Hewlett-Packard Company exists…. The real reason for our existence is that we provide something which is unique [that makes a contribution].

Collins and Porras summarize this discussion by David Packard as:

[W]e see David Packard ruminating about what we can best describe as corporate existentialism, pondering about the philosophical, noneconomic ‘reasons for being’ of his company.

You use the U/People business model to better discover a company’s reason for being based on what you already know about how to make money. You may use the U/People acronym to aggregate and unify all the information you have access to beyond the ability of any single person to completely understand it. Yet you may universally apply U/People to decisions because the explanations it provides reach toward Hellenistic levels of abstraction so you may deduce and measure how much something is really worth to the customers you serve. To do this, you must balance the problem you ought to solve with the price consumers will pay to exchange their dissatisfaction for delight.

This form of pragmatic idealism satisfies consumers’ normative and true-north values as well as possible within any given circumstances since intuition, inference and induction are pragmatic, while deduction is ideal for knowing why consumers will pay the price for products and/or services. Pragmatic idealism reflects the tension in the history of thought between rational, logical progress and moral and aesthetic values.

As Collins and Porras wrote in “Built to Last,” “The dual nature—the pragmatic-idealism—of many of the visionary companies in our study. They are not purely idealistic; nor are they purely pragmatic. They are both.”164 Collins and Porras go on to write, “Marriott Corporation, like Motorola and HP, explicitly embraced the paradox of pragmatic idealism,”165 which means they strive to be perfect as far as they can be within the universe even if that perfection is ultimately unattainable. Toyota itself creates this paradox by using Lean within its own organization by requiring cooperation and coordination while encouraging independent thinking and action.166

The business ideologies proposed in “Built to Last” and by Toyota using Lean reconcile what really is with what ought to be. This tension between the pragmatic and the ideal, the Yin of all existential problems and Yang of prices representing perfect solutions, is the same philosophical problem described by the famous philosopher David Hume in the 1700s, which he referred to as the, “Is-Ought” problem. You will use U/People from here on to attempt to reconcile the Is-Ought problem in your business ideology, between intuitive, inferential, inductive and deductive methodologies, to expand and optimize all organizations’ profitability. Ideally the ontology of your business model is what ought to be to most profitably serve customers’ lives and existences. This concept is much like what Stephen G. Simpson, Mathematics Research Professor at Vanderbilt University said regarding certain mathematical proofs, “There’s this ongoing tension between the idealization and the concrete realizations, and we want both.”167

U/People and Michael Porter’s Value Chain

Michael Porter, a Harvard Business School professor and one of the most widely respected business strategists, described the ideal business model ontology with what he called the, “Generic Value Chain.” In a way, you can see the U/People value stream simply as a reformulation of Michael Porter’s Generic Value Chain from his seminal strategy book, “Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance.”168 Here is a diagram of Michael Porter’s Generic Value Chain for reviewing and comparing the departments of the U/People business model to Porter’s own chart:169

Figure 1.23: Michael Porter's "Generic Value Chain"
Figure 1.23: Michael Porter’s “Generic Value Chain”

The U/People business model aligns with the traditional business functions and academic disciplines of Porter’s value chain by similarly providing an overall diagram of these concepts, breaking each out separately throughout this book’s Value Streams. Margin in Porter’s diagram as reflected above gets made by what an organization leans toward in the balance of revenues minus expenses, or in the terms of Lean Metaphysically, the solution to consumers’ complaints over the economic cost to all people.

However, distinct from Porter’s value chain, the U/People business model flows beyond the borders of an organization both to all economic activity and to the source of all true-north value from consumers’ perspectives.170 As you lean metaphysically, you advocate for Lean value streams based on customers’ fundamental human needs at a deeper and more integrated level than even Michael Porter describes. Instead, you lean philosophically at an intuitive, metaphysical and physical level in addition to all else you know about who people really are beyond Porter’s Generic Value Chain. A Lean business ideology more specifically describes how you identify and exchange ideally normative and pragmatically personal true-north values for money.

By extending Porter’s Generic Value Chain to its most extreme, you could instead perceive margin on the right side of the diagram as matter and energy flowing toward customers in the opposite direction as money, from which you would subtract the economic cost of producing the energizing material (i.e. products and/or services) provided from the left. As you learned from elementary physics, matter and energy (or “ME” like in “MEaning”) are equivalent when units of matter are multiplied by the speed of light. Energy is simply matter actually (or with the potential) to move through spacetime due to universal, physical forces. For ease of reference, I may periodically refer to matter / energy just as “energy” moving upward along the crooked arrow of time.

This idea around energy relates to a highly abstract, naturalistic perspective of business applicable to all people-oriented value theories like Lean.171 From this perspective, utility is a direct or indirect satisfier of fundamental human needs like matter and energy, and money is the contractual right to consume that matter and energy based on the social contract to which an organization is soundly bound. Since the term “Lean” also means the efficient use of matter and energy, I propose that is why people intuitively gravitate toward Lean as a universal business principle, which you now know as a business oriented metaphysics.

By uniquely/profitably extending and optimizing people’s lives and existences, you may abstract these concepts within your own business ideology like within Porter’s Generic Value Chain. You may also apply the U/People framework to an organization without over-simplifying or over-complicating its execution. You may understand each word of the U/People business model as an element of a Lean business ideology from which you can reproduce metaphysical profit at each stage of the business cycle that eventually gets realized from the order-to-cash process that a CFO maintains, or as equity gains or dividends promised to stakeholders. Here again is each level of the U/People organizational chart for you to review:

Figure 1.24: U/People Organization Chart
Figure 1.24: U/People Organization Chart

Per the above, you may relate Uniquely to an Information, Innovation and Design Officer, the IDEO; Profitably to the accounting and finance divisions through a Chief Function Officer, the CFO; Extending to the primary manager of all stakeholders through a Chief Energizing Officer, the CEO; Optimizing to a Chief Optimization Officer, the COO; People’s to a meaningful marketing department through a Chief Meaning Officer, the CMO; Lives to consumers as living systems that you support with products and/or services; and Existence to why you, organizations and customers are here and consume anything at all.

Lean Metaphysically first emphasizes that all true-north value starts with who you discover consumers are and why they want to buy as living systems through mathematics, science and intuition. Once you intuit, infer or induce why customers buy based on who they are, an organization must then lean toward and attempt to deduce what increasingly tangible methods, techniques, activities, products and/or services will extend and optimize consumers’ lives and existences for which they spend, buy and invest that will generate the greatest profit. From marketing to accounting and finance, money is the bridge between these activities. Along these lines, understanding consumers allows you to lean an organization up toward what consumers most value beyond everyday matters to create uniquely competitive advantages for a company to get consumers to choose your products and/or services first.172

Like the U/People business model, this corporate hierarchy is not new. In “Built to Last,” Collins and Porras also noted that Johnson & Johnson did the same in 1943 where they said,

J&J has periodically reviewed and slightly revised the wording of the credo since 1943, the essential ideology—the hierarchy of responsibilities descending from customers down to shareholders and the explicit emphasis on fair return rather than maximum return—has remained consistent throughout the history of the credo.[emphasis added]173

Like Johnson & Johnson, you will find that U/People organizational chart provides a people-focused value system identifying what stakeholders find most meaningful in philosophical, scientific, psychological, economic and monetary terms. Lean Metaphysically advances this arrangement by placing the CEO in the middle of the Gemba (現場), which is Lean parlance for the center of an organization, as shown in the U/People organizational chart above.174

L-Shaped Reflection of What U/People Value

If you were to lay the U/People business model out horizontally from left to right again like Porter’s Generic Value Chain as you can see in the chart below, the horizontal alignment of what people truly value across customers’ value streams reflects who customers are and what customers’ demand to support themselves through an organization’s people, functions, and products and/or services in exchange for large amounts of money representing the legal right to direct the consumption of other products and/or services - of other matter and/or energy - procured further up along the economic value stream.

Starting with consumers flowing demand as information to an organization, an organization in-turn reflects that demand in “L” shaped fashion at the bottom of the (rightward facing) “U” by sending products and/or services back to customers. The L-shaped logo of Toyota’s luxury Lexus division as seen below demonstrates how an organization ought to lean toward its customers to reflect their demand, flowing products and/or services back up to them in the pragmatic pursuit of their perfection:

(1) << Information flows from consumers’ highest values from right to left

Figure 1.25: Toyota® Lexus® Division Value Stream
Figure 1.25: Toyota® Lexus® Division Value Stream

(2) >> Around the “L” so customers may pull products and/or services back up their true-north value streams

As an organization provides products and/or services in exchange for money, you might modify the above value stream to something curling into a six “6,” and eventually leaning into something that looks like a sigma “σ,” as seen here in a Lean Six Sigma “/6σ”:

Figure 1.26: /6σ
Figure 1.26: /6σ

As consumers think about your products and/or services, and you receive further feedback, the reproduction cycle begins to form a single figure eight, which when oriented on its side, is the symbol for infinity. This symbolic dynamic will become critical as you proceed to iteratively pursue customers’ perfection “/σ∞”:

Figure 1.27: /σ∞
Figure 1.27: /σ∞

You Lean Metaphysically When Marketing Toward People

Given that Peter Drucker said that marketing as well as innovation are the two primary entrepreneurial functions of business,175 marketing naturally stands as a business discipline explicitly charged with both: (1) measuring consumer demand for products and/or services; and (2) communicating what innovative products and/or services get offered to best provide what customers want and need. Marketing formally executes in both directions of the production cycle like a palindrome informing both what you produce and communicating the true-north value of products and/or services to customers in the end. Marketing may be perceived as just being an advertising and promotion function, or it may be seen as a place of central analysis synthesizing production with demand, matching products and/or services to the appropriate consumers, and engaging in Lean, metaphysical thinking.

For an analogy that helps describe this marketing process through the business functions, consider an organization bowing toward customers based on what you provide them (/), and customers needfully leaning back (\) to hand an organization money based on how those products and/or services further support who they are. The intersection of an organization and consumers through the exchange of products and/or services forms a fulcrum (Δ), or delta, over the point of purchase in the center of the business cycle. This fulcrum stands between the production of products and/or services as structured matter / energy and consumers’ willingness to exchange money176 over this “pay us” axis so it springs forth and trickles down in return.

For companies to most effectively focus on the end-goal of customer satisfaction, each employee in a business ought to at some level understand why customers decide to exchange money for what an organization offers across the point of purchase. Modern, creative employees’ greatest intrinsic motivation depends on their understanding what they contributed toward producing customers’ lean satisfaction, however indirectly, because they identify themselves as good, productive people. Employees’ highest form of motivation will come from caring about improving customers’ and stakeholders’ lives and existences. While this can be highly intellectual, Lean Metaphysically is not dealing in vague aphorisms, but rather real science and philosophy supported by substantial evidence and the intellectual history of humankind.

By understanding employees’ intrinsic motivation, you may in-turn provide them with the resources to understand why customers consume products and/or services as opposed to competitors’.177 Once employees understand their contributions to customers’ lives and existences, an organization as a whole can communicate more effectively throughout the business cycle to achieve business objectives for the short and long-term success of stakeholders and society-at-large.178

Everyone at an organization ought to be able to relate each of his or her daily tasks to the specific wants and needs of customers and think through how they, their departments and/or organization may change to do so more effectively. Everyone ought to better understand what customers truly value, and be able to relate that insight across all organizational functions. While it is a truism that maximally effective businesses execute well on assessing consumers needs and delivering relevant products and/or services, I doubt that even executives at Toyota Motor Corporation would say that their entire organization simultaneously leans forward toward all consumers’ needs and backward in applying that understanding to address those needs most profitably.

Some executives might say that not every employee in his or her organization needs such a heavy intellectual burden. However, to the extent this converged philosophical perspective can be effectively reduced to easy to grasp acronyms, it will benefit every employee’s engagement and efficiency in serving customers. Furthermore, acronyms like U/People can help employees understand the value creation process for their specific products and/or services better, which would increase intrinsic motivation and improve change management. A lean, business ideology ought to provide an organization with a common dialogue about true-north value that focuses everyone on the true end-goal that the best businesses pursue.

While a form of “consumer oriented marketing” has been proposed and used for some time by marketers to measure and iterate the development and purchase of products and/or services based on consumers’ express or implied demand,179 I am proposing for an organization’s business ideology something far more expansive. I am proposing a business model and method for taking that customer centric analysis to the back of an office and forward into consumers’ lives and existences. I want to make it easy for you to go to the furthest reaches of space, time and all intuitive speculation so you may make some sense of it all to apply it universally across all cultures for a profit.

I am asking you to empathetically conjecture who and why customers and stakeholders are down to the first principles of knowledge, and then to test how an organization can reproduce that true-north value throughout the production cycle. I am asking you to use those insights to supplement and guide quantitative and qualitative business measurements to achieve it. From the top of this mountain of knowledge, you will transcend existing knowledge to see true-north value streams manifestly heading into blue oceans, extending toward a universal horizon, reaching a profit you never thought you would meet.180

Products and/or Services > P. and/or S. > PAOS > Pay Us > SOAP.com

The products and/or services (“PAOS”) all organizations reproduce embody the Lean true-north value that floats upward. “PA/OS” sounds like, “pay us,” and represents all problem resolution, and thus all true-north value.181 “PAOS” may be easily remembered as, “soap,” spelled backward.182 The term “PA/OS” thereby abstracts all the structured matter and energy you and customers consider and connote with consuming. You can see the concept of PA/OS synthesized in Amazon.com Inc.’s subsidiary, SOAP.com®, as shown by its logo here:

Figure 1.28: PA/OS sold at SOAP.com (© 2015 Quidsi, Inc.)
Figure 1.28: PA/OS sold at SOAP.com (© 2015 Quidsi, Inc.)

You can also see the concept of PA/OS within the Purity line of philosophy® brand soap:

Figure 1.29: Purity Made Simple™ Philosophy® Soap (© 2016 philosophy, inc.)
Figure 1.29: Purity Made Simple™ Philosophy® Soap (© 2016 philosophy, inc.)

From here on, for the sake of simplicity and ease of reference, I will refer to products and/or services as “product.” People generally use the word “goods” to refer to “product,” but perhaps after reading Lean Metaphysically, you may find that adjective goods presumptive of products’ true-north value. You almost certainly find now many products are in fact bad. This makes the term “goods” a bad one to use since we have so many alternative words available that scrub out value judgments.183

People often use the terms “good” and “best” as nouns, adjectives and value qualifiers, and economists often describe products as goods as well, which tells of their own mind-set in regards to economic value theories. So Lean Metaphysically does not refer to products as goods, so as not to falsely presume that a product is good when in fact it may be not. Referring to goods as PAOS if you so choose helps you launder any preconceived value judgments you may have about how much PAOS ought to cost. It allows you to freshly perceive and measure how truly meaningful products are to people. It forces organizations to analyze whether they consider a product to be better than the status quo, or no good at all. All good product must fundamentally reproduce true-north value within customers regardless of form. When you lean philosophically, you consider what a good actually means to more effectively create truly valuable product that customers really do consider to be and are in fact good, and for which customers willingly exchange their money for over the, “pay us wall.”

Analyzing why customers buy from concrete actions184 to first principles185 in a business ideology requires you to understand what and how product effects them. In a true-north value theory, you must understand the context that product will get used in consumers’ lives down to the scientific, philosophical and irrational levels.186 You must know why in the confusing confluence of consumers’ minds they decide to trade their money for product. You must understand what they value and how product leans toward them with equal or greater potential effect on their lives and existences than what the money spent with you could have otherwise purchased from competitors. Thus, the division over which you reach to get product purchased with money guides all value streams in commerce.

Value Stream 2: Money & Economics as True Value

The following Value Stream 2 will now take a brief tour through money and economics. Value Stream 2 focuses on money as the common medium of value exchange across the Rubicon of all true-north value streams. Money is the basic basis of self-organization for companies, and for the most part, society. Understanding money allows you to best lean into how consumers better live and exist due to who they are and what they truly value. To get this straight, Value Stream 2 will review some theories that will relate the various forms of philosophical, scientific, ethical and personally speculative values to money. Value Stream 2 will put money in the proper academic, historical and economic context for developing a business ideology as you move on up within the philosophy of Lean. It will also guide you through some caveats as to what makes money truly meaningful so you better understand what direction money takes to lead you to true-north value.

Value Stream 2: Money & Economics

Value Stream 2 A3 Report:

  • Monetary value may be measured through the “U2” framework of Usefulness and Uniqueness of any given PAOS
  • Money represents the legal right and economic power to direct the flow of matter and energy in the form of goods and/or services
  • Whether this right and power represents true-north value may be effected by creative financing, cognitive biases, bartering, substitutions, unpaid labor, legal regulations and criminal activity
  • True-north value in business is the intersection of normative value, real value, and monetary value at consumers’ point of purchasing a product and/or service that is uniquely useful to their lives and/or existences
  • Energy is the fundamental element of money’s power, as evidenced by gold and silver being the direct and indirect color of sunlight, and some cryptocurrencies being limited by the amount of energy necessary to produce them. All fiat currencies likewise reflect these fundamental power constraints that include governments’ power to enforce them
  • Consumers optimize their spending choices in neo-Darwinian fashion, constantly adjusting their budgets against their evolving survival needs
  • True-north value measurement will never conform to Pareto-optimal models because of the above effects, and because optimization itself requires a degree of irrationality to stochastically discover what may be most beneficial in an open-ended universe

In Value Stream 2: Money & Economics, I remove the veil covering what makes money meaningful by introducing the categories of truth-value that lean metaphysically. This Value Stream 2 describes how money represents the true-north value that is derived directly from the conditional fact of consumers’ lives and existences, which most fundamentally defines who they are. Going one step further, this Value Stream 2 specifies that money, once received, gives you the contractual and economic power to redirect the flow of matter and energy back to yourself, customers, organizations and/or society through taxes and philanthropy. To manage cash flows well, you must keep in mind that while matter and energy move inversely to money, financial mechanisms like saving, investing and philanthropy can complicate that relationship.

In this Value Stream 2, I further relate the existential and physical value of money to what you commonly consider economics that in turn reflects itself in the money people pass along. Governments, businesses and investors quantitatively measure, model and report real value, but the secret meaning of money is found in truly normative value, which money on its face only partially reveals. This is because we generally monetize the real value that we need to live in order to seek the normative value that we live for. Thus, in the philosophy of Lean, normative economic value relates to customers’ metaphysical existences, and real value relates physically to customers’ real lives. The sales, marketing, operations, product development and strategy departments of organizations must understand these nuances of truly normative and real value to best support the prices they charge for product.

The prices charged to customers support who customers are at the point of purchase by intersecting why they buy and what they most truly value at the other end of the value equation. Since money measures the relative tradeoffs customers make among all available choices for best extending and optimizing their lives and existences, you must analyze these tradeoffs in the context of consumers’ overall real needs and all possible substitutes they have available to extend and optimize themselves. “Economics” as an academic discipline is simply a theoretical slot into which we place our ideas on how to estimate and quantify that true-north value best. Thus, separate and apart from money, real value is relative to a consumer’s wealth, his or her alternative means of consumption and individual preferences – real value is not directly correlated with the price of a product set in the marketplace that business people often confuse as being true-north value to an individual customer. This makes money two steps removed from Lean, true-north value.

So while the philosophy of Lean generally defines “value” by how much money people willingly pay for some product, money is iconic but not wholly representative of the true-north value of life and business.187 As the well-respected Institute for Managerial Accounting recently confirmed, money is only the meta-language of economic activity and not the activity itself.188 But to create satisfactory models, economists tend to equate relative prices wholeheartedly with the relative normative value of all life and business, even though we know that is not always the case. In economic terms, these relatives prices of product at any given point in time are referred to as their monetary values. Start-ups and established companies usually describe the process of exchanging value for money as monetization, which can be seen here:

Figure 2.1: Monetization
Figure 2.1: Monetization

Through this monetization, the transacted value that customers most abstractly experience as the price of product is established in terms of money as follows:

Figure 2.2: The Price of product
Figure 2.2: The Price of product

In this Lean equation, you can determine the money supply, the supply of product, and the price of product in the market to approximate what people find meaningful by analyzing what they bought for the most money within their budgets. Note here that “People’s Real Value” is also a measure of product’ usefulness to people. You can reformulate this equation as the monetary supply over units of utility per product. Since this is a measure of supply (money and product) and demand (utility), this formula may be simplified into a “U2” formula, which is the measure of a product’s Uniqueness (supply) and Usefulness (demand), with the value in money being the final measure. To determine how much products are worth in money, one must simply measure its degree of Uniqueness and Usefuleness with this graph:

Figure 2.3: "U2" Monetary Value Framework for Products
Figure 2.3: “U2” Monetary Value Framework for Products

This makes perfect sense when you consider that there are many Unique things that are not useful, like “bad” art that no one cares to see. At the same time there are many very useful things that are not particularly unique, like the air we breath. The things we spend money on are both to some degree unique and useful to us. It is nonetheless a hard task predicting exactly what people most believe is unique and useful, and thus valuable, before they actually make a purchase. The IDEOs, CEOs and CMOs in all established businesses and start-ups try to do this each and every day when they decide what to produce and how to market their products.

Lasting, true-north value depends on normative value, which is both an economic and philosophical term meaning the true-north value that ought to be. Let’s define true-north value now in real value terms by saying that real value is the degree that consumers believe, rationally or not, that product will be uniquely useful. This means that a product will uniquely improve their lives and existences from their own personal perspectives in some way. On the other hand, truly normative value is that which actually makes a constructive difference in consumers’ lives and existences toward what ought to be within the universe, which businesses attempt to objectively measure via real and monetary value.189

When considering normative true-north value and money, this side of common sense says that while monetization is a para-scientific litmus test and one of the highest forms of value exchange, not everything worth something can be bought and sold with money. Much of economics is actually studying a subset of all normative and/or real value that gets exchanged in the market transactions that use money. It is common sense that not everything that is unique and useful can be exchanged for money, like the emotion of love. Likewise, other things are traded without using money at all. Barter represents the transacted true-north value of product without using money as a medium of exchange. For example, a significant portion of the global economy is in the form of unpaid, domestic labor from family members who freely work at home. Thus, money captures a large but incomplete portion of all transacted value as a lagging indicator of all that people find meaningful.

At the same time, as everyone well knows, not all money exchanged produces lasting, normatively true-north value. The real value for which businesses charge customers may possibly normatively affirm consumers’ lives and existences, but not necessarily. For example, eating may be normatively valuable for consumers to get energy. But eating junk food because it tastes delicious is not necessarily normatively valuable and useful in the long-run because other than the short-term matter and energy it provides, it harms consumers’ bodies and may cause illness. Consumers’ intervening factors like their physiological needs, their psychologies, ignorance or perverse economic incentives often create divergence between truly normative and real value.

Differences between normative and real value result because while normative value serves as the origin of all true-north value, consumers only experience normative value to the extent they really live and continually exist. While consumers only consider real value in the context of their real lives, their lives are only actually sustained by normative value as the only thing that truly matters. Real value just serves that need. Any real value that does not align with normative value will eventually fail on its own accord because it does not positively reaffirm consumers’ lives and existences.

However, consumers can sometimes be deluded by marketing tricksters to produce short-term profits.190 Consumers’ psychology within the context of their lives and who they are mediates - sometimes well and sometimes not - between monetary, real and normative value. Just like the divergence between normative and real value within consumers’ lives and existences, money as the narrative motif of true-north value may diverge symbolically from normative value. For example, do you know of a time when something was paid for when neither normative nor real value was fully received, such as when there was wasteful spending (i.e. Muda)? If you experienced that, then you or your organization transferred its money to the vendor, and along with it a right to direct the flow of a certain amount of matter and energy, but did not receive the normative or even real value bargained for in exchange. The money the vendor received likewise did not represent either the normative or real value it ought to have as determined by the deal you made with the vendor. Thus, ideally, real value is synonymous with normative value, which becomes moments of true-north value realized by organizations and customers at the point of purchase during a meaningful exchange of money - but that does not always happen the way it ought.191

To illustrate these moments of true-north value, here is a chart and equation showing the values as realized by consumers at their points of purchase within the possibly circular nature of their lives and existences:

Figure 2.4: Chart of True-North Value Normative value (non-monetary)
Positive real value (economic supply/demand)
* Money Value (monetary, actual prices)

= Moments of True-North Value at the Point of Purchase

You can actually see these types of value realized in why consumers’ demand for what is uniquely useful flows down into organizations, and how customers pull out what organizations produce to satisfy those needs in return. Inversely, corporations pull their organizational information from consumers, and flow the product customers demand back up to them in Takt time. Organizations do this by comparing what customers demand to what organizations believe customers will value and purchase. They faithfully align their product with what they believe customers normatively and really want to buy now. In exchange, customers hope that the products they pull from an organization matches what they normatively and really value and find most uniquely useful to extend and optimize their lives and existences.

As described in Value Stream 1, you can see again below the pull and flow of these types of value reflected across the ID Katas for all the Value Streams of the U/People business model. In this picture, you can see who consumers are on the right and what they really value emerging from right to left in item (1). An organization ought to reflect what real value customers demand from left to right in how it produces and delivers product to customers in item (2). In item (3), customers return money in exchange for products across the point of purchase from right to left by faithfully believing that the products will give them real (and hopefully normatively) true-north value:

(1) < < An organization observes who consumers are from right to left<<
Figure 2.5: Logo for Moments of True-North Value (2) >> It demonstrates why it understands what consumers truly, normatively value with the product that gets bought from left to right >>
(3) << Customers return money back to the business in exchange from right to left based on their perception of the value generated for them, which is itself largely driven by the products’ normative value <<

Ideally you want products reproduced in (2) to provide the fundamental, long-term, normative value demanded in (1). You want products’ real and hopefully normative value to support the meaningful money you receive in (3), which completes the infinite sigma σ around and through U/People as you can see above.

Since this intersection of normative, real and monetary value has the highest probability of being supported by society and law, an organization will be built to last if it focuses on this fundamental value exchange well before reporting season. When people speak of producing products that customers want, they largely mean providing products that builds people upward toward why people are in a normative sense, as may be adjusted by the circumstances of consumers’ real lives. That is the only legally and environmentally sustainable business value, as is fairly well recognized in this age by enlightened leaders, but is still extremely difficult for these leaders to justify and execute well in the face of short-term cost and competitive pressures from markets.

The Brazilian Real

Brazil’s economy during the 1980s and 1990s serves as a useful story to describe the relationship between normative and real value acting out within the secret life of money. During the last two decades of the 20th century, Brazil experienced hyper-inflation in all six of its currencies it issued during those decades. Prices in those currencies diverged significantly from the growth rates in real value based on the amount of products Brazilians received in exchange for their Brazilian currency. For example, Brazilians during that time might have been able to afford slightly more food for their families with what currency they earned, but that food cost many times as much in the prevailing Brazilian currency than they had on hand to pay for that food.

Inflation in Brazil became so extreme that in 1994 the Brazilian government began the “Real Plan.” Brazil began listing prices for basic commodities, like food, under the Real Plan in a fictitious currency called Units of Real Value, or URV, unlike the actual currency that was then in effect. Brazil invented Units of Real Value so that its citizens could see what monetary value they could use for basic commodities if Brazil had a stable currency like URVs. These fictional Units of Real Value became so powerful in the minds of Brazilians that they eventually named their currency the Real, which is still used today in Brazil. If you wanted to, you can exchange U.S. Dollars (U.S.D. $) for Brazilian Reals (R $). Below is a picture of a Real with the Effigy of the Republic wearing a Roman-style crown of bay leaves and a phrygian liberty cap. Notice that she is leaning toward people while looking back on economic history.

Figure 2.6: Brazilian Real (© 2015 Ministério da Fazenda Brazil)
Figure 2.6: Brazilian Real (© 2015 Ministério da Fazenda Brazil)

Precious Metals and the Locke-Lowndes Debates

Going back farther in time, The Great Recoinage of 1696 in England explains well why money functions mainly as a conduit for normative and positive real value within the channels of consumers’ value streams. The English government in the late 17th century decided to maintain a fixed rate of exchange between silver and gold. The great debates about this decision revolved around the writings of the famous philosopher John Locke, who is the same philosopher that conjectured many of the political theories supporting the American Revolution during the 18th century. To decide this issue, John Locke engaged in the “Locke-Lowndes Debates” with William Lowndes about England’s exchange rate between its pound sterling and gold bouillon.192

The reason for the great debate regarding the silver/gold exchange rate, was that England couldn’t keep people from physically shaving off their silver coins to less than a full “pound” of sterling and passing them forward as if they were. The silver Pound’s physical attributes literally diverged from the exchange value stamped on its face. Thus, the principle arguments of the Locke-Lowndes Debates revolved around two options for money: (1) whether money is best fixed to a specific physical element that people universally valued like silver or gold; or (2) whether money should be denominated in fictional units like the Brazilian Units of Real Value supported only by the government’s willingness to take it for payment and support its true-north value so people can exchange it for things they need to live and continue to exist.

Ultimately, John Locke successfully argued that the government should recoin its silver bullion to its official weight, making it truly represent what it purported to physically be. However, Locke’s arguments for the true-north value of money within the Lowndes-Locke Debates actually settled very little because centuries of similar debates have not resolved this issue. In case you didn’t know, the book, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” originally written in 1900 and filmed in 1939 with its Technicolor yellow brick road is an allegory of this debate. Dorothy’s shoes were silver in the book, rather than ruby colored as they were in the movie, when she went to see the wizard of true-north value to get home to the golden wheat fields of Kansas that produce real food for people to consume.

The currency debates represented in “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” culminated in meetings held in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, United States after World War II. The meetings resulted in channeling the value of the U.S. dollar through gold like the Lowndes-Locke debates. However in 1971, the U.S. government shifted the value of its currency to its own full faith and credit, thereby making the U.S. Dollar a truly “fiat” currency for people to believe in, so that the U.S. government could artificially regulate its monetary supply beyond what was possible with physical commodities like gold.193

Figure 2.7: From Gold to Fiat® (© 2015 U.S. Department of Treasury and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV)
Figure 2.7: From Gold to Fiat® (© 2015 U.S. Department of Treasury and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV)

Despite the U.S.’s and other nations’ currencies becoming “fiat” in modern times so governments can manipulate the money supply, gold and other precious metals still form the standard, physical “thing” that many governments hold in reserve to support the full faith and credit people have in those currencies. Investors likewise still hold precious metals to maintain the value of their investments during times of crises. After centuries of debate from Lock-Lowndes to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, precious metals still stand as the most universal means of exchanging and storing true, economic value, and are what the U.S. Dollar would depend on if necessary. This begs the fundamental question:

They can sell precious metals for use in jewelry and dental fillings. Some electronics and chemical applications use them. However, in regards to the vast majority of the needs for consumers’ lives and existences that they normatively and really value, gold is an odd choice. Gold cannot be eaten other than in some liqueurs and chocolates as far as I know. Unless they were King Midas or Scrooge McDuck, consumers couldn’t possibly own enough gold to clothe or shelter themselves.

So, what is the normative and positive real value of precious metals that generally makes them the most popular basis for money? Consider the not very subtle coincidence that gold is the direct color, and silver the indirect color, of sunlight. Both symbolize consumers’ fundamental source of energy, which consumers subconsciously equate with beauty and ethics, which is technically referred to as, “Axiology.” Consumers’ lives and existences depend on capturing and converting matter and energy to live and exist with real and normative value, and precious metals simultaneously represent both. Energy is the uniquely useful thing any living system needs to exist, and precious metals represent it best.

With Money Comes Great Power

Thus, the very concept of making money is quite strange since it’s generally not used for anything but exchanging value and meaning. Who or what makes money a reliable source of meaningful, lean value for this exchange? Can you can make money simply by digging precious metals out of the ground? Can governments produce money merely because they enforce exchange value? Can a computer programmer make money meaningfully by trading a digital currency whose scarcity is in part dictated by the amount of computational energy required to make it, as is the case with BitCoin?

Since precious metals can only be mined to a limited extent, and only governments can make fiat money literally at will, modern business people clearly do not make money in any real sense, but rather, they make money truly valuable instead. An organization only makes money valuable by exchanging it for products that supports customers’ lives and existences. People only make money meaningfully valuable by transacting with it in this transcendental exchange. This is the classic question discussed by John Locke, John Maynard Keynes, and many other philosopher economists as to whether governments give currency true-north value in commerce.

Generally, these mainstream economists agree that, in the long run, money’s true-north value only gets made from the usefulness of the products exchanged for it – a usefulness measured by the extent it uplifts who and why consumers are toward what they most value and how they live and exist. However, in the short run, because prices coordinate when, where, how and how much people work, buy and trade, the quantity of money and the manipulation of financial instruments like interest rates really affect how consumers perceive the value of the products they consume. Denominations of money attempt to accurately symbolize this perceived value nonetheless.

Customers in an open economy ultimately make currency have meaning by trading, lending and/or investing it in exchange for products to live and exist. This in-turn allows customers to some extent use money to measure the real and normative value that products provides. On the flip-side, organizations make money valuable by solving problems that help people live and exist in normative and real value terms. Outside this customer-producer relationship, society measures an organization’s worth by how much currency customers exchanged for its products. The net volume of this exchange determines how much right an organization has to redistribute power throughout society, which is what society truly adores.

At the highest level of this discussion, not accounting for the many valid qualifiers in how things occur in the “real economy,” customers measure an organization’s normative and real value with the money they give to it. Thus, from a basic business perspective, people largely make money by affirming other people’s lives and existences to a greater and greater degree. The value of money gets “made” in the economy through this process to the extent that each person’s life is in fact improved in normative value terms. Real wealth gets made in the knowledge of the difference between what was, is, and ought to be. This affirmation thereby imbues money with ever increasing normative value because people’s lives and existences become increasingly sophisticated with its exchange.

Cash flowing through the economy makes money meaningful in upward fashion through customers’ specific wants and needs to live and exist. Even financial services create normative value through saving, lending, risk-shifting, and investing by altering the time and division by which people consume energy, thereby helping them become upwardly mobile within the cardinal order of the economic value stream. This economic value stream, which is the ever increasing volume of exchange of money for more products, makes money have true-north value as customers’ lives become improved by consuming more structured matter and energy to further exist in the real world. Thus, customers’ standard of living gets measured in-part by the flood of money exchanged overall.

Evidencing the physical origin of true-north value represented by money, even before John Locke first used “currency” to mean money, currency simply meant “run or flow” in old English.194 Locke applied the term currency to the units of cash or money to further emphasize the flow of Pound sterling silver and gold Bouillon though the economic value stream for the sole purpose of normalizing the standard ratios of exchange.[^122] In this way, money flowed from Locke’s perspective similar to how Toyota Motor Corporation perceives its Lean production processes flowing to Toyota’s customers in response to their pulling demand in Takt time, making Toyota’s customers rain money back down on the company in return. Thus, turning back to the original question, customers make money meaningful by exchanging it for products that makes the biggest positive difference to who they believe they are and wish to be. People refer to this market as the real economy.

Caveats to Measuring Money

Despite money’s surprising effectiveness in measuring the wealth of true-north value captured within all products, the process of making money meaningfully through a lean business ideology within an HQ requires you to consider some caveats to how money making actually works in the real world. I will now outline three major caveats to the ability of prices to semiotically reflect nominal and real value as:

  • Supply and Substitutes;
  • Barter and Self-service; and
  • Other Market Distortions.

(1) Supply, Substitutes and the Warhol Paradox

Money’s ability to measure what consumers truly value in Lean terms depends on:

  • The degree to which all customers believe all products exchanged for money in commerce will expand and optimize their lives and existences, or in other words, will be useful;
  • The relative abundance of all products that can be bought with money to serve customers’ physical, emotional, and spiritual wants and needs, which more fundamentally energizes and optimizes customers’ lives and existences, which measures uniqueness; and
  • The availability of substitutes (like barter or using one’s imagination for entertainment), for the satisfaction that all products bought with money delivers to all customers, which again is a measure of uniqueness.

To the extent customers believe that certain products with limited substitutes will extend and optimize their lives and existences, they must then set their budgets and spending priorities for that product accordingly amongst everything else they need and want to consume. Just like you, consumers estimate how product will affect their lives and existences and will adapt their consumption priorities accordingly.

Consumers adapt their spending priorities to best optimize and extend their lives and existences each time they consume. Thus, consumers behave like the finches on the Galapagos Islands, which optimize their beak sizes through successive generations to reach more food and water and thereby re-energize the lives and existences of their species. Like consumers, Finches on the Galapagos Islands right-size their beaks (i.e. consumers adapt their spending priorities) to consume the right amount of food and water (i.e. consumers adjust their spending budgets) to extend and optimize their species overall.195

Figure 2.8: Darwin's Finches of the Galapagos Islands (1845)
Figure 2.8: Darwin’s Finches of the Galapagos Islands (1845)

However well adapted people might be, while some product may be really necessary for people’s lives and existences, like food and shelter, a critical product may be in such abundance that customers need to exchange very little money in order to obtain sufficient quantities of it, like water. The H20 molecule that is water may itself be unique, but water molecules as a whole exist in such quantity that they are (thankfully) not especially unique to most consumers. Water thus exemplifies well the relationship of transaction prices to normative value given that people need water to live, and nothing can substitute for water, but they must generally still pay for it, at least in the developed world. Consumers must generally exchange something to get drinkable water because unlike air, water usually gets monetized. We might though want to pay the Matsés people of the Amazonian rain forests to maintain its ecology so we all may continue breathing air well in the future. However, people generally assume that water will always be available at low cost, even though each person’s life and existence generally depends on other people to provide it consistently.

Should water become extremely scarce, assuming water was only available on an open market without governmental intervention, consumers would be forced out of necessity to exchange all of their money for it to the extent they needed more of it to live. Water at that point would be far more valuable and useful in normative and real value terms than any money in a person’s possession, as if an alchemist had turned water into gold. Water can thus be considered one of the most disproportionately inexpensive products that consumers purchase relative to its normative and real value to who and why they are.

The famous economist Adam Smith, while chairman of the Moral Philosophy Department at Glasgow University, recognized this dynamic in what has come to be called his, “Paradox of Diamonds and Water.” Adam Smith first described the seemingly contradictory and divergent values between water that people need to live, and diamonds, that consumers do not need in any immediate sense to support their lives and existences. Adam Smith wrote that the prevailing price of water does not reflect the extent that consumers need it to live and would pay for it if really needed.196 Adam Smith used the terms “value in use” and “value in exchange” to differentiate between these differences in normative, real and monetary values.197

In economics terms, the relatively low market price of water tells you nothing about the price elasticity of water, or what consumers would pay for water should they really need it. Consumers’ biological needs in relation to their existences tell you that water would have one of the lowest price elasticities of demand, or in other words, customers would generally consume the same amount of water even when its price changed.198 Water’s price elasticity of demand tells you everything about its true-north value to consumers’ lives and existences in real and normative value terms and what consumers would be willing to pay you for it if necessary. Water is core to consumers’ being, and thus its demand is tremendously inelastic from a true-north value perspective.

In contrast to water, diamonds largely get demanded because they are both extremely reflective of sunlight and are abundant enough to be widely used for ceremonial purposes, such as for weddings and other gifts. And yet diamonds are kept scarce enough by the diamond industry to command high prices, even though artificially manufacture diamonds in laboratories do compete. I speculate that if only one diamond was ever found, its monetary value would be less than the prices for large diamonds today because nobody would be able to relate it to the one they, their loved ones or ancestors had on their fingers, or associate it with the religious ceremony of marriage. Thus, the diamond industry attempts to maintain an optimal level of scarcity for diamonds by providing neither too many nor too few of them, so the De Beers cartel maintains an optimally sloping supply curve in order to maximize the prevailing price of diamonds that you pay to them in exchange for love.

Substitutes, on the other hand, work in tandem with supply to mitigate the extent to which money accurately reflects the normative and positive real value of product to consumers in the context of their real lives.199 Consider this alternative. If water became scarce, its exchange value would exceed diamonds at some point, becoming higher than diamonds ever would as supplies of both diamonds and water reached zero. We can see some hypothetical demand curves for diamonds and water here as available quantities increase or decrease:

Figure 2.9: Diamond and Water's Demand Curves
Figure 2.9: Diamond and Water’s Demand Curves

To illustrate the difference between use and exchange value in the philosophy of Lean, suppose that customers consume a liquid that provided every benefit of water as a perfect substitute.200 The prevailing market price of water and the price elasticity of demand against a changing price of water would be effected by the supply and resulting price of that other liquid in relation to water. Consumers’ demand curve for water would change because they now had a substitute to quench their thirst.

For one other comparison of this diamond-and-water paradox for a business ideology, I ask you to think about the differences in the relative monetary, real and normative true-north value between the Andy Warhol painting, Campbell’s Soup Can (Tomato), Lot 12, Sale 2355 (1962) that sold for $9,042,500 USD recently at a Christie’s auction house,201 and a picture taken by me of a Campbell’s soup can you might find at a local grocery store selling for $1 USD.

Figure 2.10: "Campbell's Soup Can I Bought at the Store" (Photo Credit: BGS)
Figure 2.10: “Campbell’s Soup Can I Bought at the Store” (Photo Credit: BGS)

(2) Barter and Self-service

As a second caveat to the meaningful money making process that you should consider for a Lean business ideology, consumers only serve a certain proportion of their wants and needs in the process of purchasing the products you sell them. In other words, even in well-developed market economies, customers often serve their normative and positively real values by bartering for products with other people without using any money, just like how members of a family constantly renegotiate who does which household chores without paying one another for the favor. Consumers may serve their wants and needs through their own thoughts and labor, and directly exchange their own product with others through barter rather than with money. While neither barter nor consumers’ own thoughts or labor involve financial transactions, these activities that do not involve money effect the price of product consumers will pay you. Barter either substitutes for or displaces the product you sell due to the limited time people have to consume within their day-to-day lives and existences.

Books like, Lean Metaphysically, exemplify this second caveat well by illustrating the limited ability of prices to measure the normative and positively real value, i.e. the full usefulness, of books. Consumers can often trade or lend physical books to other people instead of exchanging money for the same books from sellers. Also, consumers may write their own books, which would take a lot of the time they would have had to buy and read more books. Also, the satisfaction consumers receive from reading - the normative and positively real value received - largely comes from the intersection of their imaginations, knowledge, memories, and intentions with the books’ contents, which can only be truly determined after they buy and read a book.

Books’ prices do not effectively capture all of this true-north value to consumers since they may have a much richer set of experiences related to one book rather than another due to their life experiences, demographics, educations, interests and imaginations - essentially all that affects who and why consumers are. The price of a book may only reflect the normative and positively real value of that book in the aggregate if all the people who read such book then decided that reading experience was worth a specific price to pay among everything else they could have bought with the same amount of money. However, books’ prices, like for nearly all other product, do not adjust themselves in retrospect based on each customer’s individual circumstances and experiences from consuming them.

(3) Market Structural Distortions

The third caveat to measuring normatively and positively real value by prices paid considers factors such as monopolies, governmental interventions, structural market inefficiencies, and crimes. These factors often distort the connection between normative and positively real value, and the money exchanged for business’ product. For example, if you found that to do business someone asked you for a bribe, the “price” of the product you charged would then exceed that which would otherwise be set on balance by the market if you wanted to keep the same profit. On the other side of this analysis, if someone stole product from an organization, it would force the exchange of product for less than what would have otherwise been exchanged in a free market, which may drive up costs for all other customers. Likewise, addictive product like nicotine nearly eliminates customers’ ability to decide whether consuming that product best extends and optimizes their lives and existences once they identify themselves as being a smoker. All these factors keep the markets in which you operate from accurately reflecting consumers’ purely normative and real values.

Structural inefficiencies inherent in certain tax codes, political processes and financial institutions – each hopefully designed to combat other ills – inhibit the free operation of the economy in a way that would allow prices for product to more accurately reflect the normative and positive real value that customers consider product having in their lives and existences. For example, financial institutions and governmental intervention, while possibly useful, can also distort the ability of prices to measure what people truly value accurately. The collusion of government incentives and financial engineering, such as in the most recent global housing bubble, exemplify this point. Further, some industries like utilities tend to structure themselves into monopolies or oligopolies, either naturally from economies of scale, through collusion, or by governmental edict (think public utilities), thereby affecting prices through the monopoly’s or oligopoly’s purchasing power.

While not by any means exhaustive, all three of these major caveats exemplify the limited extent you can say that money’s nominal value exchanged for a product reflects its normative and positive real value to consumers’ lives and existences. You must understand these limitations to the process of making money truly meaningful to reach the greatest profit in the philosophy of Lean, unless you are a crook, which you are not.

Economics throughout history has addressed all of these subjects in some form or another, some of which you could find by procuring any economics textbook. I only mention these caveats to reemphasize how limited money prices are in identifying Lean normative and real value. You must understand what ultimately guides consumers’ consumption of product that indirectly leads to an organization’s functional profitability, making CFOs happy. I will now further explain the secret life of money as follows, due to money’s central importance in the philosophy of Lean, people’s notion of value and how money gets made meaningfully.

People’s Money Veil

Economists call these caveats about prices’ ability to measure true-north value a “Money Veil.” This money veil presents a significant problem with accurately pricing product and optimizing what people will buy. Prices will increase or decrease in the long run in response to changes in supply and substitutes serving consumers’ fundamental human needs, and changes in the supply of money, holding all else constant. Why? Because prices at their best merely reflect the amount of real value you provide that ought to contain the normative value that supports consumers’ lives and existences, and thus who and why consumers are. The money veil never ends because the only way you can measure the units of normative, true-north value you produce is by dividing the infinite universe by the finite number of people you serve, which leaves you endlessly speculating what units of product are truly worth. As our equation earlier in this Value Stream 2 describes, measuring the value of money simply sub-divides the universal demand to live and exist among all people currently buying and selling products to do so, which is the only value that truly matters for making money meaningfully.

Critically, the philosophy of Lean as described in much of this Value Stream 2 and the balance of this book brings this fundamental economic utility back into the business conversation like “The Lean Startup” did with empiricism. Lean Metaphysically aligns true-north value with the rigorous test of normative and real value on their own terms. As demonstrated in the paragraph above, units of true-north value (i.e. universe / people) may not be measured in discrete units, but only through degrees of confidence as to what those units either may be or are not. Thus, however useful neoclassical economic models might be with their presumption of Pareto optimality neatly factoring what all people prefer, they do not explain how the Lean value that those models attempt to measure actually gets made, and thus how the greatest profit gets reached in an infinite universe, because rationality does not entirely contain what matters most.202

Off to See the Wizard

I will now further elaborate on the foundations of money’s use in commerce for you to get more meaning out of it regardless of how difficult it might be to measure money’s true worth. Most plainly, money has both tangible and intangible qualities. Tangibly, money assumes the form of coins, paper, or other commodities like precious metals. Intangibly, money forms accounting entries, and more recently, digital certificates like BitCoin. These digital currencies on their own exemplify money that is disconnected from a tangible commodity like gold. BitCoin takes money to the fictional extreme as a digital asset whose only use and support is its ability to facilitate exchanges of the contractual right to receive energizing product – exchanges that consumers somehow find meaningful to their lives and existences. Whether virtual currencies will succeed in the long-run given that they lack deeply rooted customs, governmental support, widespread acceptance as payment, and carry technological risk, remains to be seen.203

However, the only difference between a digital currency like BitCoin and a governmentally issued fiat currency like the U.S. Dollar at this point in time, is that a government enforces its own currency’s use as legal tender, accepts it as payment for taxes and government fees, has substantial reserves of tangible commodities like gold, and supports it with a military if necessary – most digital currencies have none of these qualities.204 These qualities of governmental fiat currency vastly differ from any privately created digital currency disconnected from any legal or military enforcement or commodity with normative and positive real value like gold, diamonds or water.205

Still, even digital currencies have some normative and positive real value, which they share with fiat currency. First, they create economic flexibility by allowing efficient online storage of true-north value that does not require any intermediaries like governments or private institutions. They provide the same psychological benefit of possessing money by providing a sense of security, opportunity or superiority. They improve on barter by keeping records, facilitating value comparisons, and allowing saving, credit, investment and speculation. But all money, in the form of digital currencies or otherwise, mainly serves as a conduit for normative and real value supporting who, why, what and how consumers are.

In contrast to digital currencies, people trade things that they can feed, shelter or clothe themselves with in exchange for precious metals so they may see the gold, silver and other beautiful colors they present. Precious metals serve people’s need for beauty, and for relating to other people by showing them off as status symbols. Also, the transferability, natural scarcity, and permanence of precious metals supports their longevity and ubiquity as a lean, global medium of normative and real value around the world.206

Funny Money

You can see further how funny money really is by looking at the seemingly counterintuitive relationship between currency, inflation, and productivity. Assume that a generic product costs one Unit of Real Value today, and new technology suddenly allows you to produce twice as much tomorrow with the same matter and energy. Keeping all else constant, the product’s price in URV would decrease in half. With this increase in productivity, holding all else constant, the price of the product has achieved disruptive deflation. People could then use their extra money to consume other product besides that generic product to better fulfill all of their wants and needs supporting who and why they are.

However, in the real world, while organizations constantly increase their productivity with new technology, you generally experience inflation in the product for which there are no substitutes, such as certain commodities like electricity. Despite our constantly reproducing more, you generally exchange more money for commodities like milk, rice, corn and water that does not change in character.207 Why should that be when we are producing most of these things more efficiently with less labor? The answer generally lies in understanding that over the course of history, governments increase the quantity of currency in their economies either by acquiring precious metals or by producing fiat currency in various proportions to the demand for and supply of product in their economies. Countries’ treasuries and central banks attempt to actively make enough money to control inflation in response to changing productivity, populations and demand, among other factors. But again, why?

Nations generally try to create some inflation to incentivize people to spend money sooner rather than later. By creating some inflation in tension with the deflationary forces of technological and business model disruption, people generally get more for the same amount of money today than they would tomorrow, which encourages consumers to spend rather than save. Deflation disincentivizes people from spending, which leads to what economists call the “deflationary spiral” leading to a vicious cycle of reduced spending. Thriving economies must encourage people to trade currency for the product they think will best satisfy who and why they are. The economy overall would decrease if everyone excessively waited to spend. The complete reasons for central banks’ attempts to maintain an inflation rate in the prices of product are beyond the scope of this book, but this illustrates governments’ manipulation of the ratio of currency and normative and real value being provided, and the divergence between prices and productivity.

Traditional, neoclassical economists and their books model in great detail the regulation of the supply of currency in equilibrium, and the tying and decoupling of currency to precious metals such as gold along with rising populations and living standards. In the end though, for purposes of this book and fundamentally understanding what lean meaning money has, you should understand what fiat currency is in relation to those things with material value, like precious metals. In the long run, setting aside any of the relatively minor practical uses of precious metals, the quantity of money really does not matter but for people’s using prices to coordinate the relative trade-offs they must make between their options to consume product to better live and exist within the context of who and why they think they are and want to become. Ultimately, customers don’t care about the cost of products, but rather only what opportunities they can realize or threats they can diminish with all the money they have at any given point in time to extend and optimize their lives and existences in relation to all other consumers in the marketplace. Prices only determine what solutions consumers must trade to best resolve their problems within their given situations, and if a price drops they simply shift that calculus along the slope of their demand curves.

However, as the famous economist John Maynard Keynes pointed out, even if money was just a medium of exchange, meaning very little by itself in the long run, prices affect many consumers’ short-term decisions.208 Further, the neoliberal Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek famously showed that people used the prices of product to coordinate what they bought across the economy, which is how prices change people’s behavior in the short run. Thus, central bankers adjust their short-run policies about money to align money’s value with what consumers really need to better live and exist.

Traditional and Modern Measurements of Money

Mainstream neoclassical economics, which has done as much as any field to try to measure and quantify the true-north value of money as utility209 or revealed preferences,210 has generally abdicated the task of understanding the foundation of money’s value to others. Neoclassical economists reasonably decided that they could not peer into consumers’ minds with any precision given the complexity of people’s thoughts, emotions and actions in the context of their real lives.211 Instead, mainstream, neoclassical economists chose to examine people’s purchase decisions retrospectively, to consider only what they reveal as being truly valuable with the money they spend. These economists do not try to measure what people will buy or pay based on underlying positive real value (or much less normative value) measurements other than what people have bought in the past.

Economist Paul Samuelson introduced Revealed Preference Theory in 1938, which mainstream economists have used ever since to quantify what people truly value through what they buy, rather than peering inside people’s needs, motives, morals and ethics.212 Samuelson mathematically modelled his Revealed Preference Theory as being logically circular or tautological toward customers’ end-goals, since he assumed that people only act to maximize their own utility as expressed by what they reveal they prefer.213 In other words, Samuelson believed that people buy simply to further be without any further objective supposed, which is important philosophically as you will see. Please keep this circular perspective on Revealed Preference Theory firmly in mind as we go through the balance of this book because it is a conundrum that the metaphysics of Lean attempts to delineate.

Not coincidentally, on the cover of Eric Ries’ book, “The Lean Startup,” you can see the Zen symbol of ensō of a near-circle created by a single brush stroke that symbolizes minimalism, strength, elegance, and the universe. This symbol also represents Ries’ “Build-Measure-Learn,” mythology, and the seemingly tautological empiricism of Samuelson’s Revealed Preference Theory:

Figure 2.11: Cover of "The Lean Startup" (© 2011 Eric Ries)
Figure 2.11: Cover of “The Lean Startup” (© 2011 Eric Ries)

Similar to the ensō duality as a near-circle, Revealed Preference Theory and most mathematical economic models fail to completely predict actual economic data since they do not account for consumers’ bounded rationality. For example, economists have shown limited ability to accurately predict countries’ Gross Domestic Product,214 even though a little additional accuracy can be highly profitable.215 The fact that marketing departments and advertising agencies do not widely use these econometric measurements like GDP at the micro-economic level to predict what consumers will want to buy evidences econometrics’ general lack of both accuracy and precision at the micro-economic scale, boiling up to a similar lack of accuracy and precision at the macro-economic level.216

Thus, in practice, neither marketers nor financiers primarily base their decisions on neoclassical economic models like Revealed Preference Theory, though they might use them within a stream of larger analysis. Governments’ central banks rely on neoclassical economics to a much greater degree. Central banks’ use of econometrics leads to the irony that what business people use to measure what people want is largely done under economic policies set by completely different value measurement methodologies.217 Due to these known deficiencies in neoclassical equilibrium models, we are witnessing today a thoughtful, and empirically based reintegration of new forms of true-north value analysis into them. Behavioral economics represents one of these new fields, but other fields such as anthropological, evolutionary and agent-based economics are increasingly employed as well.

The problem with Revealed Preference Theory is that people’s choices in determining how to best be who and why they are, such as choosing a lean diet because they consider themselves to be health nuts, are often contextually influenced by both physiological and psychological factors that exceed simple calculation, which reflects the imperfect relationship between real and normative value discussed earlier. For example, physiological factors may include ones such as varying nutritional needs, such as if you were otherwise deprived of nutrients provided by certain food that your body craved. Psychological factors could include suggestive advertising such as from the orange juice industry that made you associate the color orange with good health due to the vitamins in tropical fruits. The interplay between consumers’ psychological and their physiological processes influences what they decide to purchase and prefer to reveal.

Despite those psychological distortions to measuring normative value, the purchases consumers make still reveal their normative preferences to a large, though imperfect, degree. Normative value originates much further back from the point of purchase than is usually understood as “value” since normative value emerges from consumers’ fundamental living processes. Thus, people’s revealed preferences could be measured in front of the point of purchase if you knew every possible detail regarding consumers’ physiological and psychological processes in choosing, say, between apples and oranges, cashews and almonds. We loose the ability to directly measure normative value in customers’ sheer complexity. In contrast, consider how much simpler insects’ revealed preferences are to model than people’s since you can more easily map the value streams leading to who insects are, and what insects demand.

The problem with measuring and predicting utility through revealed preferences is not only a matter of accurately measuring the pathways of all of consumers’ physiological processes, but also the part of people’s physiological processes that generate psychological meaning and ultimately their preferences. Psychological meaning created by what cannot be proven or readily measured often causes consumers to act irrationally. Hopefully, consumers act predictably irrational218 so as to optimize their lives and existences, but we know they do not always succeed.

In recent decades the field of behavioral economics and increasing amounts of digital information have provided some insight into the pathways leading to human preferences beyond just what people bought with money. Behavioral economics attempts to explain how people value things through the intersection of the fields of psychology and economics to move past traditional, mainstream neoclassical economists’ default position that positive real value can only be measured in any meaningful way through market transactions and equilibrium models. Behavioral economists do not assume that people always make rational decisions when consuming in the confusing confluence of life.

Psychologist Daniel Kahneman and economist Amos Tversky produced some of the best known of this work when they elaborated on the rational biases people have when making decisions.219 Kahneman and Tversky won a Nobel Prize for demonstrating something called “Prospect Theory”220 that people would rather not risk losing more than they would chance gaining when they know the specific probabilities of realizing each of their choices. However, in real life, people very rarely know the specific probabilities of the outcomes of their possible choices, as they would when gambling or playing a lottery. Prospect Theory can only tell you what people would rationally decide to do based on what they prospectively believed or guessed the probability of something was holding all else equal. However, since people are very bad at guessing the true probabilities of events, most of the time consumers must still attempt to measure what best extends and optimizes their lives and existences with limited data and bad guesses. Prospect Theory and other behavioral economic theories can only aid with better decision making by prospectively revealing and helping compensate for these rational biases where information or our capacity to process it is not sufficient. Both you and consumers must estimate probabilities so complex they generally trail off into purely intuitive speculation. Behavioral economics recognizes this boundary on consumers’ ability to pierce through complexity and accurately assess true-north value.221

Irrational, Process-Oriented Value Estimation

You can more logically and scientifically measure the lean meaning of money and economics if you shift your conception of exchanging product for money at customers’ point of purchase. You must exchange what you previously thought of as products and/or services as being objects and/or activities. The existential value of objects and/or activities (i.e. products and/or services) to one another is in many ways abstracted and quantified by the prices people pay for them. Consider instead products’ advancement of the physical and meta-physical processes inherent in people’s lives and existences for which they allocate their budgets and change their spending priorities to improve regardless of how much absolute cash they have available to spend or borrow.

You can measure these allocation processes in well established ways, such as through marginal, game and identity value theories. To truly measure the meaning produced by products though, you must measure all of the constituent processes that aggregate into who, why, what, and how customers need and want to live and exist, which is admittedly very challenging. These processes lead to people’s normative and real values that ultimately make meaningful amounts of money get exchanged for product throughout the real economy.

However, these processes also have an irrational element within the unbounded domain of an open-ended universe.222 For example, consider the study of ants by researchers such as E.O. Wilson, Eleanor Rosch, and Deborah Gordon who have substantially uncovered why, what and how ants consume. These researchers have shown that ants execute a mixed strategy of purely rational and intentionally randomized discovery models at the individual and colony levels, leading to some evidence that the collective activity of ants generates enough information to make and execute mathematically rational decisions without having to be conscious like you and me. Ants do this by incorporating seemingly irrational, randomized search as one of their Modi Operandi (their “MOs”).223 E.O. Wilson was even rumored to have an ant encased in Lucite etched with the phrase, “Onward and Upward!” to emphasize this rational end-goal of living ants despite their sometimes seemingly random behaviors and lack of conscious intent.

Optimal Slack

So is this why people do not likewise conform well to purely rational, Pareto optimal models of spending money when aggregated as a society? I (among others) propose that, yes that is why, because consumers’ adaptive processes produce by necessity a certain degree of statistical anomaly at the genetic and cognitive levels to optimize adaptive discovery. You might call this “optimal slack.” Ultimately, a Lean organization ought not become brittle like a permanently pensive thinker, but rather athletically lean as the Greek soldier Philippides running to Athens during the Battle of Marathon. Like ants in a colony, organizations and consumers ought to flexibly think to optimize who they are through creative and somewhat randomized adaptation to win the battle for survival. As will be seen, the search for meaning in life as the ultimate knowledge in an open-ended existence helps organizations and consumers accomplish that task. Understanding this can help you make meaningful amounts of wealth as well.224

Presuming you measured every human process comprising who consumers are that a given product advanced, you would still need some random variables in your estimations and predictions of true-north value because people are constantly extending and optimizing their lives against what they believe provides meaning as a form of Bayesian rational irrationality and mathematical optimization.225 This is a notion that is constantly shifting for people as they self-define the true-north value of what they find personally meaningful. Contemporary genetic and other evolutionary “best fit” optimization algorithms include random variables as essential components, which you see mimicked in consumers who behave in similarly random ways in order to best extend and optimize their lives against a universe of meaningful opportunities.226

Cash and Credit Flow as Meta-Economic Value Streams

Because the search for meaning within the metaphysics of Lean inevitably takes you into unchartered waters beyond traditional philosophical and economic systems, you ought to peer into meta-economic and meso-economic matters, in the spaces around and between micro-economic and macro-economic ones. Doing so will allow you to see the entire, universal value stream that makes money meaningful overall by transferring matter and energy up and around the production and consumption cycle.

While, micro-economics studies true-north value at the individual, family, corporate and organizational level, and macro-economics studies economic performance and decision-making at the national, regional or global level,227 I define meta-economics as economic analysis that underpins micro- and macro-economic conclusions. Meta-economic value emerges from metaphysics and what consumers personally intuitively believe as to who they are and why they exist. Meta-economics then realizes itself in physics and living systems that ultimately create micro- and macro-economic data. Meta-economics is thus consistent with evolutionary patterns of micro-and macro-economics as demonstrated by market behaviors.228

Like meta-economics, meso-economics is also not a formal academic discipline but rather a term describing the lean economic structures residing between micro- and macro-economics.229 I further define meso-economics as the study of what affect intellectual memes, such as courts, political parties, contracts and other social institutions, have on organizations and people’s consumption and output in ways that are increasingly easy to measure as we improve the digital information about why and how people do what they do.

An organization’s people-focused, Lean ideology will mostly relate to the field of micro-economics at the firm level, but thinking in meta-economic and meso-economic terms should help you identify economic issues around traditional micro-economics to help you make money meaningfully. Here is a chart of these terms outlining these economic differences so you may lean through them:

Figure 2.12: Chart of Economic Terms
Figure 2.12: Chart of Economic Terms

Surprisingly, with the great time and minds dedicated these issues, many of the larger economic issues remain unsettled. For example, people still debate macro-economic issues like the appropriate levels of taxation and monetary policy.230 And they debate micro-economic issues like measuring how valuable something is to people by how much they pay for product. So a Lean ideology must still adapt to the changing micro and macro-economic social and political and academic environment in which an organization operates - all with degrees of uncertainty.231

The meta-economic chains extending through the business process of people serving other people in complex situations where the probabilities are not known in advance with precision, may be analyzed through the range of quantitative and qualitative analysis and micro and macro economic tools that we have discussed. However, this movement to the most fundamental aspects of Lean true-north value leads back to the natural sciences and the humanities to best measure and produce normative, real and money value.

Given all this uncertainty, I ask you at this point to further shift your conception of money as a means of exchange for product, to an even more abstract one whose store of true-north value is really more analogous to that of the real or perceived potential of product to improve who and why consumers are. Consider money to be the means by which you enhance consumers’ living processes by flowing to them the highly structured matter and energy (products and services, things and actions) that an organization produces. Since what consumers pay measures what consumers perceive to be the net benefit to their living processes among all available product, hope that consumers consider a product to be good and worth every cent to make money meaningfully within the metaphysics of Lean that a good business embodies.232

truth-value as Two Sides of the Same Physical Coin

Normative economics are thus equivalent to capturing, structuring and delivering matter and energy, which physically are two sides of the same coin of consumers’ physiological and psychological processes, to produce all normative value. In the prehistoric era, at the very inception of economic trading before the use of money, you generally would have traded an amount of product that took the same amount of matter and energy you used to produce it for other product that took an equivalent amount of matter and energy for that product to be reproduced. The product traded would have had the same marginal cost of effort spent to produce it.

This exchange value of matter and energy aligns with the labor theory of value heavily favored by Karl Marx. That fact does not make this discussion “Marxist” because once trade advanced in any small degree of sophistication, people produced advanced product that solved for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to who, why, what, and how people are, i.e. their real world problems regardless of the effort necessary to solve them. This trade related not just to the energy used to produce products but also to the relative energy efficiencies that product reproduced within those people who consumed them to more effectively support whole societies and nations. Comparative advantage depends on the extent trade extends and optimizes the lives of all people as a species, and not on the labor inputs into an economy, which is at most only an indirect indicator of the extent a nation’s product produces true utility.

The Marxist labor theory of true-north value should have been easily debunked as well on purely common sense grounds given Adam Smith’s “Diamonds and Water Paradox,” as well as the “Warhol Paradox” discussed earlier regarding Campbell soup cans on store shelves and museum canvases. You could sell a cup of water to a very thirsty person for far more than the energy you spent obtaining the water because of that customer’s need to live and exist. Instead of pure labor value, people subjectively decide and then verify whether a product helps their adaptation, regeneration and energization. Water uniquely does this if you or anyone else is thirsty, and owning a Warhol painting of a soup can may infinitely improve a person’s social status.

In modern society, people also contractually pool money, separating labor or energy values from the time the labor value was originally generated. Finance further removes labor from Marxist notions of value, because in addition to labor, time also allows people to better live and exist. Thus, prices reside in the tension between the energy (a.k.a. labor) cost of producing product on the supply side, and the optimization that product subjectively produces to customers’ lives and existences among all available substitutes on the demand side of the economic equation at a universal scale. That modern financial mechanisms imperfectly balance this tension is money and capitalism’s dirty little secret.

Nonetheless, the Marxist labor theory of value erred in two key ways, ultimately making it less desirable than capitalism as a commercial ideology. First, it ignored normative values that dictate what true-north value that products have as to who and why consumers are and personally consider themselves to be; and second, it failed to understand the real values that change the extent money represents normative economic value. Keep in mind though, economic conditions where competition is nearly perfect often drive the exchange value of commodities down to the cost of the matter and energy expended in producing them. Thus, the labor theory of truth-value has some validity as background information within a business ideology, but it should not predominate.

Thus, the only fundamental physical axiom in measuring real economic value is consumers’ tautologically self-regulating purchase history – either consumers are buying a product or they are not – which determines degrees of confidence you may have that a product will continue to be purchased by consumers. While economic formulas may model economic activity with increasing accuracy, you can only reduce economic analysis to mathematical formulas at either the meta, micro, meso or macro levels if they accurately model the fluidity of the systems grounded in natural laws of unknown origin that reproduce consumers’ lives and existences in an open-ended universe. Yet, history thus far quantifiably confirms that no consistent set of axiomatic expressions has been shown to represent and accurately predict all natural systems through economic data. So, we consistently progress onward and upward, eventually increasing our standard of existence, by further explaining what makes life even better in the best economic system we have to date without being totally confident as to whether we will continue to make money meaningfully.

Regardless of what system people may find themselves in along the twisting arrow of economic history, people will iteratively perfect themselves as living systems, however impossible that perfection may be. While the Japanese word, Kaizen, means good change, in Lean terms Kaizen further means a hypothetical, iterative pursuit of perfection.233 By capturing and converting more and more matter and energy overall and applying matter and energy toward universalizing who people are as living systems, an organization iteratively reduces disorder through the process of Kaizen in society.234 Customers’ marginal benefit in economic terms can generally be equated with the iterative, natural benefit an organization reproduces for them. Customers’ increasingly real and perceived need for product in order to try and perfect their adaptive, reproductive and energy gathering processes dictates how much of their budgets they are willing to give to achieve that end-goal. This energy expended to support the normative and real value of customers’ lives and existences makes the true, metaphysical value of money have meaning.

From this meta-economic perspective, money prices really equal a systemic benefit that customers perceive from consuming product that furthers some aspect of their living processes and ultimate existence. product provides structured matter and energy that systemically plugs-in like a hybrid into customers’ living processes, analogously to how software applications do within a computer’s operating system. All product functions like an App on an iPhone. All true-north value likewise systemically extends and/or optimizes some aspect of consumers’ living processes from their normative, real and really personal perspectives.

Inversely, consumers generally get money made by expending energy through their shopping as guided by their knowledge by deciding what works best for them. They decide how to receive matter and energy by allocating their money to various vendors in order to optimize their living processes. They allocate what best optimizes their living processes across who and why they consider themselves to be. Who consumers consider themselves to be includes who they associate with their identities. Consumers’ identities may include their families, friends, communities, nations or otherwise into the whole universe… or they may define themselves by the inverse of what is not or what people speculate may be but not everyone believes to be for sure. People generally engage in this identity crisis on a dynamic basis by balancing over time a very large variety of variables, including their religions. This makes specifically measuring and predicting true-north value, and people’s actions in general, so difficult. Thus, you must at least understand how structured matter and energy enhances consumers’ living processes for which they will pay meaningful amounts of money over the point of purchase for perhaps seemingly irrational reasons within the context of who and why consumers believe they are.

Moving Forward

With the meaning of money defined, now go beyond products, past the point of purchase, to the most fundamental levels of consumers’ lives and existences, to the place you want to go in their hearts and minds so you can most effectively exchange what they highly value in exchange for more meaningful amounts of money. After you move through the next few Value Streams of “Lean Metaphysically: Philosophy for Business,” you will find new channels through the U/People business model to apply your Lean business ideology to your organization.

Value Stream 3: Existence

Value Stream 3 A3 Report:

  • Genchi Genbutsu is a Lean term directing managers to go to the source of all production called the Gimba
  • Lean suggests the Gimba may be reached by asking “why” five times to reach the cause of any given problem
  • Lean Metaphysically takes you well past five “whys” to the problem of existence itself and thus to the cause of all true-north value
  • The three types of true-north value are “Universal,” “Process” and “Personal” (“UPP”), with each having certain commonly agreed degrees of truth-value
  • The payment of money represents a para-scientific test of whether customers perceive what they bought as being worthwhile to their existences, thereby providing a means to measure the converged consensus of what true-north value is
  • The Ontological Medium (the “OM”) is the vehicle through which this converged consensus occurs, gets measured and drives people toward greater heights
  • You can better identify what most consumers will buy by using an Intuition Bracket (the “IB”) to examine the broadly applicable universal and process values, leaving aside ones that are only personal in nature
  • The Ontological Teleology (the “OT” or “Ought”) is the possibly tautological goal of all consumption within the IB and OM
  • Ontologically Prospective Projects (“OPPs”) are those goal directed activities consumers do to advance upward along the OT within the OM and IB

Value Stream 3 now investigates the Lean concept of Genchi Genbutsu, a Japanese term that directs managers to get out of the board room and go to the “Gemba”, which is the source of all production in Lean. To follow Genchi Genbutsu to the Gemba within the metaphysics of Lean, you must seek the source of all Lean value streams to get to the genesis of all original work. You get to the ultimate Gemba by asking “why” at least five times, which is the most important question about the origin of true value you can find since it leads to the first cause or mover. Once you get as close as you can to the source of the ultimate, “why,” you must then follow the true-north value streams you find across blue oceans toward the horizon of who all consumers are. Genchi Genbutsu requires that you get down as close as you can to the source of all knowledge and existence in the Gemba within the the Lean House of Quality from which all profit originates:

Figure 3.1: U/People Organizational Chart
Figure 3.1: U/People Organizational Chart

Since this process of Genchi Genbutsu takes you to the penultimate question of why customers’ deepest problems exist, it explains all that they fundamentally value, find most meaningful, will consume and pay for. Thus, following Genchi Genbutsu to the Gemba universally leads you to the edge what causes all consumption. When you reach the first degree of causation, you then have found the cement on which the foundation of a HQ may lean.235 The causation of consumption and existence is the first brick from which you will build an understanding of the major philosophical, scientific, scientismic, theological and intuitive perspectives. By understanding these perspectives you will construct a well of knowledge from which all consumers’ value streams will spring.236

As stated before, the metaphysics of Lean provides you with the clearest perspective on existing knowledge to reach the greatest profits. I want you to deduce the causal link between who consumers are at their existential limits and what you ought to reproduce for them so that you will make more money.237 When people seek rational answers to these amazing questions, they usually go too far down an intellectual path to communicate back in any sort of concise way, but I anxiously hope to do exactly that here on this side of nonsense.238

Existence and Ontology Defined

Let’s start with a formal definition of “Existence.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines “Existence” as:239

Existence, n. /ɛɡˈzɪstəns/

  1. Actuality, reality.
    1. Being; the fact or state of existing; ‘actual possession of being’. in existence: as predicate = ‘extant’.
    2. Continued being; continuance in being.
    3. Continuance of being as a living creature; life.
  2. A mode or kind of existing
    1. All that exists; the aggregate of being.
    2. Something that exists; a being, an entity.

“Ontology,” however, is the philosophical, scientific and business term for “Existence” and the nature of being. The Oxford English Dictionary uses the word “Existence” to define “Ontology” as:240

Ontology, n. /ɑnˈtɑlədʒi/

    1. The science or study of being; that branch of metaphysics concerned with the nature or essence of being or existence.

The Lean Metaphysically lexicon leans on the term “Ontology” a great deal as a technical reference, so please get used to reading it!241 To emphasize how important “Ontology” is to Lean Metaphysically and estimating true-north value in the Gemba, you could write ontology with a circumflex pronunciation accent “^” over the letter oh, which is officially pronounced with the short oh sound of “ah,” like “ôccupation,” “ôntologically,” or “paôs.” As you may recall, the formal Lean symbol “Ô” also stands for the Japanese term, Hōshin Kanri, meaning, “Compass Guided Management,” representing the direction of all true-north value.242

Thus, understanding normative value through consumers’ ontologies allows you to:

  1. Intuit, infer or induce universal assumptions with some degrees of confidence as to why something matters most to consumers; and
  2. Deductively measure how you create true-north value for consumers necessarily committed to a shared ontology by living together within the open-ended universe.

You could likewise carry this circumflex “^” accent over the letter oh to other, related concepts within Lean Metaphysically, like “ôptimization.” However meaningfully symbolic it may be, I will hold back my use of the circumflex for the sake of legibility.

Many non-philosophical disciplines use the term ontology as well to describe everything from gene expression in biology243 to process ontology in computer science engineering to business models in business.244 Informatively for developing a higher order ontology for your Lean business ideology and metaphysics, the noted Stanford computer scientist Tom Gruber245 who co-created Siri on the iPhone defines ontology in the software context as:

… an explicit specification of a conceptualization. The term [ontology] is borrowed from philosophy, where an Ontology is a systematic account of Existence. For AI [Artificial Intelligence] systems, what exists is that which can be represented… We use common ontologies to describe ontological commitments for a set of agents so that they can communicate about a domain of discourse without necessarily operating on a globally shared theory. We say that an agent commits to an ontology if its observable actions are consistent with the definitions in the ontology.

Tom Gruber, in this quote above says that agents, like consumers, commit to an ontology if the agents (think consumers) act consistent with their own shared ontologies. At the foundational level of the Gemba, are consumers’ observable actions consistent with their shared ontologies by living together within the universe? If so, just like for Paul Samuelson’s Revealed Preference Theory, this definition of ontological commitment is tautologically circular because it means that consumers commit to who, why, what and how they think they are by sharing a common Gemba, a common world, and a common universe - a common ontological medium - by sharing it with all other living, biological systems, and thereby defining their essential natures through their existential actions in common with all others to simply, further be, without any further, external reference.

Beyond an ontology being a simple set of rules reflexively committing consumers to certain actions in support of themselves within the Gemba and the global marketplace, some computer science ontologies define themselves by dynamically and self-reflexively optimizing a given set of information through algorithms, like nearly all those used for artificial intelligence. These ontologies reflect what they model by fitting their results to data. These ontological optimization algorithms best fit data being analyzed to what is Ontologically Realized, and to what becomes revealed as the rules to which the search agents (think consumers or AIs) commit. Such computer ontologies invoke so called genetic algorithms, evolution strategies, evolutionary programming, simulated annealing (from the metalworking context), Gaussian (statistical) adaptation, hill climbing, and swarm intelligence (e.g. ant colony and particle swarm optimization)… each metaphorically alluding to a job to be done that enhances consumers’ biological or economic fitness to better live and exist.

This computer science definition of ontology conforms with everyday economics by describing the common basis by which consumers agree with what they all value in Lean terms, like two people agreeing that a popular product fits their definition of being good. If a product fits the classification of “good” for both people, it must have been perceived as valuable for both people in circular fashion. Since what people perceive as valuable determines who and why they are, the good product defined those customers’ ontologies by furthering who and why they are when they consumed it, just like Tom Gruber saying about agents (again, think consumers) in a software context that, “… an agent commits to an ontology if its observable actions are consistent with the definitions in the ontology.”

Businesses’ inner cores are their ontologies as defined by their business models, or that which ultimately reproduces Lean value for their customers. Since businesses’ commit to those ontologies that realize true-north value for their customers, customers’ Lean values consequentially determine businesses’ own ontologies up along the value stream. Businesses best fit themselves around what their customers want and need to be and become more of who and why they are. Businesses thus act just like how consumers decide what they want and need – consumers’ and businesses’ ontologies become symbiotic and converge by reciprocal definition within the ultimate Gemba.

The Ontological Realization and origin of you, consumers and organizational HQs is that which is, Critical to Ontological Realization (i.e. what is “CORE”). Understanding what is CORE to consumers helps you improve who and why they and organizations are.246 Optimizing profits by enhancing consumers’ lives and existences in-turn improves organizations’ own viability. Such analysis enhances everyone’s ability to ask correct and beautiful questions, measure specific benefits, and optimize an organization’s activity to increase the probability of profiting within any given meta, micro, meso and macro-economic constraints that a Lean corporation faces. Doing so though requires you to go down into the well of all knowledge and come back up, which is no easy task.

Tripartite Perspectives on Existence - Universal, Process and Personal truth-values

To understand consumers’ essence so you may capture the largest portion of their mindshare and wallets, you must expand your own imagination as far as it will go, inducing it to the point of complete abstraction, and then aligning that metaphysical perspective with consumers’ actual existence. From a complete abstraction of consumers’ pure existence, you can then sub-divide consumers’ minds (and the universe itself) into categories and perspectives. There are (generally) three truth-value perspectives of existence, which are: (1) the ideal or “Universal” truth-value perspectives; (2) the outside-in or “Process” truth-value perspectives; and (3) the inside-out or “Personal” truth-value perspectives. I define each of these perspectives on existence here for you to begin building a House of Quality within your Lean business ideology to fully divine who and why consumers truly are for a profit:247

(1) Universal Perspective: The Universal perspective relates roughly to Platonism, idealism or epistemic rationalism. In a modern context, universal truth-value means the perspective of predictable, inviolable concepts such as mathematical and physical axioms that have no proven space or time dependencies.248 The universal perspective also includes certain physical concepts that are predictably unpredictable, like certain aspects of quantum physics – universals simply must have predictive consistency (even if predictably unpredictable) across all dimensions to the nth degree. Their interaction results in consumers’ ultimate physical manifestation. The universal perspective is notable for being unreasonably effective at explaining natural law249 and conforms with the notion that all existence ultimately equates with mathematical coherence.250 Specific examples of universal concepts include prime numbers and the speed of light.251 The universal perspective is the fundamental, immutable structure of the universe that all process true-north values use forward and backward as their common denominator and ultimate ontology.

(2) Process Perspective:252 The Process perspective relates to the perspective that all events sequentially occur in spacetime regardless of whatever consumers may personally believe. If you look out toward the event horizon of spacetime, along the way toward resolving all problems, everything you think of as a person or object eventually becomes a process due to the continual, cosmic dispersion of matter and energy. Thus, the process perspective explains how consumers came to be and how they eventually fade away over time in contrast to the universal mathematical and scientific laws that always seem to have existed since the start of and possibly before the universe came to be.253

The process perspective says that in the ultimate long-run at universal scale, consumers and all things may simply be perceived as a set of temporal relationships always changing at some point in time if you set your horizon out far enough. For example, if you were to dramatically speed up time from your own perspective, you would eventually see mountains change, oceans run dry and the greatest corporations dissolve. For evidence of this creative destruction, the average time for a company to remain on the S&P 500 narrowed from 61 years in 1958 to 25 years in 1980, and 18 years in 2012. From 1955 to 2014, 89% of all Fortune 500 companies were either dissolved or acquired during that time. And 75% of the S&P 500 is expected to be replaced by 2027.254

As another example of long-term processes reaching forward into current events, consider how the process of natural selection led to consumers now considering purchasing product in stores today. The process perspective includes all events occurring from the inception of the physical universe immediately following the creation of natural laws. It specifically includes everything that eventually happened to cause consumers’ subjective, individual beliefs to arise within them today. Thus, processes dynamically originate from the chaotic interaction of universal laws, and end at the point of intuitive, speculative belief.

The process perspective thus also inserts itself into discussions such as in mind-body distinctions, with some arguing that consumers’ minds operate as physical processes reproducing self-awareness,255 and some arguing that consumers’ consciousness is something sitting beyond the physical universe and is only knowable as a personal truth. To this end, Universal and Process true-north values constitute normatively true economic value supporting what consumers really personally value and who they consider themselves to be regardless of where their consciousness originates. From this physical perspective, Process true-north values may be thought of as instrumental rationality, or what consumers consequentially aim to achieve up along the crooked arrow of time.

(3) Personal Perspective:256 The Personal perspective is how consumers, employees, and collectively businesses, find themselves at some point in spacetime within universal processes regardless of how they believe they may have been created.257 Personal true-north value describes the point at which people very personally became aware of their wants, needs and ability to consume in a real and immediate sense. Thus, their Personal perspectives also relate to Descartes’ famous phrase, “I think therefore I am,” that he used to distinguish himself within his profession.

Consumers’ Personal perspectives are the cumulative outcome and function of universal laws and their resulting processes leading to individual intent.258 So, while the Universal and Process perspectives apply to everything that exists, consumers’ emotional, Personal perspectives are only applicable to them as self-reflexive, sensing people who decide to buy product at points of purchase. For example, their very first shopping experiences reflected Personal true-north value as a self-aware intent to further their universal and systemic existences.

Consumers’ personal perspectives are the same as the one you have right now as you read these words and personally consume this book. Consumers’ personal perspectives provide a consistent version of themselves through time and space that is much the same as when you started reading today. Think of consumers’ personal perspectives like a video camera sitting on their foreheads that they turned on to record all that passed by during their lives from the time they became self-aware until now. Consider this perspective as being like the all-seeing, “Eye of Providence,” on the United States one dollar bill, or an omniscient ID Kata having a singular, personal focus:

Figure 3.2: $1 U.S. Dollar Eye of Providence (© 2017 U.S. Department of Treasury, photo credit: me)
Figure 3.2: $1 U.S. Dollar Eye of Providence (© 2017 U.S. Department of Treasury, photo credit: me)

However, while a person may privately consider certain beliefs held from within his or her own Personal perspective to be truly Universal, society as a whole may not be convinced to the same degree. Thus, a person’s beliefs held from within h/er Personal perspective are only universalized to the extent h/er society, environment and/or political system agree, but people are otherwise unlimited when professing their beliefs within their own imaginations.

You, the Plane and the Lottery – On UPP as a Universal, Process, Person

Einstein’s Specific Law of Relativity serves well as a literal and figurative analogy illustrating the differences between the Universal, Process and Personal perspectives to better understand Lean true-north value and existence itself. To illustrate, presume you take an overnight flight on a private, customized business jet like the Embraer Legacy 1000E shown below. Imagine that you board this plane, and given your wealth, you have had the sleep cabin decorated exactly like your bedroom at your home. While your plane flies around the world, you go to sleep in the private jet’s bedroom. Other than very minor turbulence in the jetstream, you hardly know the difference between the bedroom on the plane and the one at your home. You can even reach over and grab a cup of water while the airplane is flying and comfortably take a sip before going to sleep and drifting off to other worlds.

Figure 3.3: Bedroom on an Embraer Lineage 1000E (© 2015, Embraer SA)
Figure 3.3: Bedroom on an Embraer Lineage 1000E (© 2015, Embraer SA)

Albert Einstein explained long ago that no practical difference exists between being in bed at your home and sleeping on the jet while it is travelling at a constant speed and direction. The laws of physics are the same from every philosophical perspective.259 Thus, from outside the airplane, you are engaged in the process of flying through the air at high altitude supported by universal axioms and processual systems, but from inside of the plane, your personal, intuitive self would be the same as if you were on the ground in your bedroom at home. You wouldn’t know the difference unless you looked out the window at whatever went past down below as you flew by.

Andrew Wyeth’s painting “Otherworld” (2002) comes to mind when I think about this concept, which depicts a women riding in a plane and looking out the window at scenes outside her immediate existence. Just like the woman sitting inside the plane in that painting, from consumers’ personal, subjective perspectives, they are largely the same people with their same names held in a constantly present state of consciousness as their internal processes turn over, passing them by while supporting who they are. In an airplane, consumers will arrive as themselves at a new location even though they changed slightly during the trip. Consumers will similarly, self-reflexively identify themselves every new day they wake up by the same, universal name, even though who their persona is slightly changed from time to time.

Figure 3.4: "We are Travellers" Advertisement (©2017 Scandinavian Airlines Systems (SAS))
Figure 3.4: “We are Travellers” Advertisement (©2017 Scandinavian Airlines Systems (SAS))

Analogously, from a doctor’s perspective, consumers’ bodies are like airplanes flying around the Earth. Customers’ bodies are a collection of processual systems constantly changing through time while who they are inside goes along for the ride. Another good analogy to the interrelation of the universal, process and personal perspectives is that of a lottery machine produced by eGameSolutions Inc., a Global Lottery Provider™. eGames’s lotto machine produces winners by randomly spinning, timeless, universal numbers around a wheel for a definite amount of time until its operator releases the numbers upward from the machine. The lottery machine randomly extracts those numbers from the spinning process at a specific point in time. Consumers compare those numbers to the ones that came out of a lotto machine at the point of purchasing a lottery ticket that people bought for a chance at a new life. Further back in time, you can analogize this lottery machine to those same lotto customers spinning out of the womb, looking back out at the apparent apparatus from which they were conceived, with the chance of becoming winners. Like the lottery machine, you can simultaneously conceive of consumers from the universal, process, and personal perspectives. While we may know that eGames created this lottery machine, do not ask who created the one that ultimately produced who all we consumers are!

Figure 3.5: Lottery Machine (© 2016 *Getty Images*)
Figure 3.5: Lottery Machine (© 2016 Getty Images)

You know that from a universal perspective that the world is composed of physical and mathematical laws. Once created, those physical and mathematical laws led to the universe as you know it, and the relations between those universal laws created the bedrock of processes that you think of in-part as time. Over a very long period of time, these processes led to consumers’ personal perspectives within the universe. To the best of science’s understanding, the length of time that passed from the creation of universal laws through natural processes to create consumers’ personal perspectives occurred over many billions of years – over amounts of time that are hard for our minds to consider fully. Look below at this 24 hour clock of Earth’s development located within the Museum of Natural History in New York City. In this clock, humans arose at the top 40,000 years ago, which corresponds to a fraction of a second before midnight:

Figure 3.6: Universal Earth Clock at Museum of Natural History, NYC (Photo Credit: BGS)
Figure 3.6: Universal Earth Clock at Museum of Natural History, NYC (Photo Credit: BGS)

This clock represents well the tension between the teleological (i.e., purposefully goal directed) and seemingly tautological (i.e., unintentionally, logically circular) nature of existence in the Gemba depending on whether the universe is finite or infinite in time and space. To illustrate the tension in these concepts, even this figurative clock unintentionally, yet correctly, tells you what time it is once a day.

You can also see consumers’ subjective existences within this clock from their personal perspectives, from who they think they are, as a result of pre-existing processes such as their mother’s pregnancies and labor. Thus, at business scale, you can also measure the interactions between physical and mathematical axioms that create product along the assembly line of universal existence to enhance consumers’ living processes and personal perspectives. Consumers’ personal perspectives depend on those processes that in-turn depend on physical and mathematical axioms that further depend on a universal cause that people do not yet commonly agree on, even after asking more than five whys. An ultimate cause may or may not exist, or may exist in some way people do not universally agree on due to lack of predictably experiential evidence, but in the meantime you may go onward and upward regardless and as if there were.260 To summarize, here is a chart of these levels of dependent existence as gradations of true-north value perspectives:

Figure 3.7: Levels of Dependent Existence
Figure 3.7: Levels of Dependent Existence

Three Lean Truth Types Aligned with Universal, Process and Personal True-North Value Perspectives

These are the three broad and overlapping, but ultimately dependent, categories of true-north value that align with the Lean value you must uncover as you pursue a profit:261

(1) Axiomatic truth-values262: Axiomatic true-north values are those truth-value propositions from the universal perspective that we have every reason to believe are uniform in nature and based on the seemingly timeless, universal axioms of science and math, like the speed of light and prime numbers, from which you deduce further true-north values. Axiomatic validity is generally assumed due to its coherence and predictability with at least five sigmas (≥5σ) of confidence or ≥ 99.9999426697%. For example, particle physicists generally consider a discovery to be an axiomatic truth if it can frequently be verified within five sigmas (5σ) of confidence.263 The four axiomatic physical forces physicists agree on right now with five sigmas (5σ) of confidence are the electromagnetic, gravitational, and strong and weak atomic forces.264 Axiomatic truth-values qualify as facts for physicists by their very definition as universal, intersubjective truths, and are a sound basis for understanding customers’ physical ontologies. For comparison, a standard of six sigmas (6σ) of confidence, or ≥99.9999998027% of intersubjective agreement, represents the pragmatic idealism we pursue beyond five sigmas (5σ), while an infinite sigma (/σ∞) of confidence can only be hypothetical yet pursued nonetheless in our unending attempt to attain perfection;

(2) Systemic truth-values:265 Systemic true-north values are those truth-value propositions arising from causal, process perspectives within science that you have reason to believe cannot be axiomatically defined. Systemic validity is based on something’s general coherence on an empirical, best fit basis with universal axioms.266 Like axiomatic truths, systemic truth-values also increase their validity in proportion to the number of fully informed people that agree with them and the general failure of our attempts to falsify them. Systemic truths differ from axiomatic truths in that systemic truths are valid due to their general, but not unwavering, coherence with reality, rather than being experienced as axiomatically self-evident.267 Qualitatively, you might also describe systemic truths as being nearly universal, intersubjective truths.

Something may qualify as most likely a fact and systemic truth-value if it leans toward two or more sigmas (/≥2σ) of confidence, or ≥ 95.4499736% of intersubjective agreement among all fully informed people. Under this standard, people would describe the systemic truth as common sense if fully informed of its details. However again, since you can only hypothetically assume that people will be fully informed of all knowledge in the real world, including people’s own biases that affect their understanding, you ought to look for a higher standard of measurement before considering something to be a systemic truth and common sense.

While you ideally want to measure all fully informed people, you may have to rely on the opinions of a consortia of experts to determine systemic truths because fully-informed people simply do not exist. A couple of examples of this form of support include the process of peer-reviewing academic papers, and the associations of journalists who increasingly certify public truths as not being fake news. However, reliance on experts and authority figures can compound those people’s interpersonal subjectivity rather than clarifying what is systemic, true-north value based on the impressions of all people.268 Unfortunately, there is no clear way out of this conundrum, which is why we must view systemic true-north value from different perspectives. So, anything goes when trying to assess systemic truths, so long as you test whether a Lean business process leads customers to a purchase for which you charge them in return.

(3) Intuitive truth-values: Intuitive true-north values are those truth-value propositions arising from consumers’ personal perspectives that they speculate and lean toward based on their scientismic, spiritual and/or theological intuitions with less than two sigmas (<2σ) of confidence, or < 95% of common agreement among all fully informed people. Consumers’ intuition may be called anything from “emotion” to “faith.”269 Strictly personal intuitive truths are those that are truly speculative, for which no known processual or universal truths provide validation up to and beyond a single sigma (≤σ) of confidence, or <68.2689492% of common agreement among well informed people, and yet consumers nonetheless feel are true to an infinite degree. To be clear, intuitive truths are not consumers’ psychological intuitions that they can confirm or deny with known universal or processual truths if they had access to the universe of knowledge. Rather, intuitive truths are limited truths for which greater than two sigmas (>2σ) of informed people have not been convinced that they are not false (i.e. those for which not enough well qualified and experienced people have been convinced to the necessary degree).270 Intuitive truths may be intersubjective assuming more than one person believes the intuitive truth. Examples of intersubjective, intuitive truths include political opinions or a religious faith that requires no degrees of confidence, both of which can still be considered true even if only a single person believes them to be true.271

Like consumers’ perspectives, each of these three truth-value types are arranged in the relational order of supervening dependency, with systemic truth-values and resulting processes dependent on the validity of axiomatic truth-values or “universals.” Intuitive truth-values depend on both axiomatic and systemic truth-values that provide the ontological medium of the Gemba in which people work, and of the universe within which consumers intuitively speculate and purchase.

Keep in mind though that the logical dependency of intuitive truths becomes circular to who consumers are. Once consumers’ intuitive truths lead them to dogmatically believe both what they find personally valuable and what are universal true-north values, like those that may be espoused by a deity or demagogue, consumers then believe in a co-dependency between intuitive, systemic and axiomatic truths arising in their minds’ eyes.

Thus, speculative belief can act like an intuitive tail wagging an axiomatic dog. Problems arise when an intuitive tail fails to lead axiomatic and systemic dogs (or consumers) to food, safety and shelter. In other words, while we cannot directly access Universal and Process truth-values, they ultimately check all consumers’ intuitive speculation since we must follow the true-north values of Lean Metaphysically where they lead. True-north values thereby stop consumers’ intuitive tails from wagging their axiomatic and systemic dogs, as is only common sense.272 Cults of personality can exemplify this with intuitive speculation, such as when a cult’s charismatic leader espouses axiomatic or systemic dogmas that lead people nowhere. And yet, it is the intuitive truths that people repeatedly pursue in the search for some universal meaning.

While keeping this interplay between these forms of true-north value in mind, these truth types are arranged below in descending order of commonly agreed validity, much as the three perspectives on existence were in the preceding chart in this Value Stream.273

Figure 3.8: truth-value Correlations
Figure 3.8: truth-value Correlations

To provide a scientific example of an assertion that is currently being reclassified in some degree from an intuitive, scientismic truth to a systemic, processually scientific truth, and maybe even a universal, axiomatic truth, look to the research for the Higgs Boson or the “God Particle.” The CERN (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire) laboratory in Switzerland has been searching for the presence of the Higgs Boson particle whose existence would help complete the standard physical model that is now agreed on as being at least a processual true-north value within the scientific community.

The Higgs Boson was predicted based on this standard physical model but had not yet been actually experienced by scientists through their instruments. Experiments at the CERN laboratory in-fact reproduced results demonstrating the Higgs Boson leans within at least five sigmas (≥/5σ) of certainty, thereby affirming the Higgs Boson’s existence as a systemic truth. Due to the explanatory power of Higgs Boson and its coherence with the Standard Model of natural laws, this test set the stage for revalidating the existence of the Higgs Boson over time so the God Particle itself might become an axiomatic true-north value like gravity pulling water downstream.274

An example of another intuitive, scientismic truth-value that people are working to convert into at least a systemically processual, scientific true-north value is the stipulation that the universe was created in the Big Bang. Scientists describe the Big Bang as a processual system initiated by cosmic inflation, whereby the universe rapidly expanded from a single point outward over about 14 billion years to what you experience today. In an attempt to make the Big Bang theory a processually systemic truth-value, scientists have been studying whether cosmic inflation created ripples like waves in an ocean in the outer reaches of spacetime by observing the Big Bang’s effect. The scientific validation of the processual truth of these ripples in spacetime is very much in flux at the moment, 275 but some scientists intuitively believe that they exist with increasingly systemic predictability. Scientists personally believe they can empirically validate the process of the Big Bang that eventually produced consumers’ personal existences from this one dimension in the past.

As you might expect, something falling into more than one of these truth-value classifications increases its validity as a Lean true-north value. For example, consumers can say that axiomatic truth-values, such as mathematical proofs, reside supreme and unassailable. On the other hand, all three truth-value categories ontologically realize themselves by what consumers actually experience. Critically, a thing or process falling within all three truth-value types would be the most valid of all since such a thing or process would be the most completely Ontologically Realized by consumers.276 In fact, the only thing fully falling into all three truth types is who consumers are in their totality at personal, process, and scientific levels. Consumers evidence all three truth types, and this allows a House of Quality to lean philosophically toward these three truth-value types in the products it produces for them. That product creates the true-north value and meaning of the money customers give to exchange who they were for something at least ten times better.

While consumers’ lives, existences and buying experiences are temporal processes, from consumers’ personal perspectives, the only time they personally know is the time they have been actually alive, such as when they began shopping. However, consumers only presume that time itself existed before they were born, and will continue after they die. For all consumers know, they became consciously aware at some point and believe they will die because they witness all others doing so over the course of their lives and histories. Consumers feel themselves getting older, but they do not otherwise know for sure that they will die other than by defining their ontologies as being mortal based on all of the evidence they received during their lifetimes.277 Thus, because all consumers experience this evidence directly, they have great confidence that they are the result of natural and biologically processual systems that terminate at some point within the OM due to old age, and that they will eventually become not alive because they witness others doing so unless they interrupt that process in some currently inconceivable way.

Similar to how they view their own mortality, consumers speculate whether or not the physical universe itself was self-causing or caused by something else. Consumers’ speculation though is neither an axiomatic nor a systemic truth-value, unlike consumers’ biological processes, due to insufficient certainty and agreement across the right people. Thus, consumers’ personally intuitive consciousness remains the most valid truth to them, the surest thing they know, since it represents all three types of true-north value. This is why Rene Descartes’ statement, “I think therefore I am,” has held such philosophical, and subsequently scientific, energy for so long due to its true-north validity from the Universal, Process and Personal (UPP) perspectives. Descartes could have also used UPP in his day to pursue objective knowledge with varying degrees of certainty.

The balance of Lean Metaphysically leverages these true-north value perspectives by focusing on what consumers can commonly lean toward with at least two sigmas (≥2σ) of processually systemic truth-value, while recognizing the validity of leaning toward personally intuitive true-north values with less confidence (<2σ). You must bracket and recognize these Lean, personally intuitive truth-values that have no axiomatic or systemic truth-value validity so you can most accurately identify why, what and how consumers will purchase from you based on who they fundamentally are within the common ontological medium of the universe.

To consolidate these matters in a Lean business ideology, you can correlate the forms of truth-value we described, UPP perspectives, degrees of explanation, and the methods of analysis in a single chart:

Figure 3.9: Chart of truth-value Correlations
Figure 3.9: Chart of truth-value Correlations

Consumers’ commonly-shared lives and existences ontologically depend on pragmatic, best-fit, systemic truths relying in-turn on axiomatic truths, and yet consumers are fundamentally motivated by their intuitive truths that create seemingly non-circular end-goals for them to be more than they are. This intuitive boundary outside processual and universal true-north values leaves room for personally intuitive speculation about what is not commonly agreed, or what consumers personally feel is best regardless of any common agreement among all people. When consumers intuitively speculate, they have faith that what they live for is better than what they know is certainly not.

The only condition for businesses to accommodate consumers’ intuitive beliefs is that those beliefs must not interfere with certain processually systemic and universally axiomatic truth-values generally agreed by others. That is true unless consumers willingly agree on who may be considered fully informed and convince those people to lean toward that truth with at least two sigmas (/≥2σ) of common agreement that their intuitive truths qualify as processually systemic or universally axiomatic truths to an amazing degree. Consumers ought not impose their personal beliefs on others unless they meet this standard.278 Moving an opinion from being a personal truth to a process or universal truth is one of convincing others that no better explanation or product can be found, which is the burden of proof an organization must carry when creating a new product category.

While businesses do not have perfect insight into all that influences what consumers decide to purchase, for the most part, you can intuit, infer and/or induce consumers’ Universal, Process and Personal values (i.e. their ontologies), by observing their behaviors and preferences that they reveal to you. As suggested by Samuelson, once you have ascertained consumers’ UPP values from their stated beliefs or behavioral data, you can compare those values against the ones you know with various degrees of certainty. You may then conjecture, hypothesize, theorize (or even lobby to legislate) those universal truths that are in-line with those believed by customers to achieve righteous business results from the satiating product you sell.

For example, suppose you want to sell product to Google, Inc. as a corporate consumer. Like a hermeneutic interpretation of the Ten Commandments, analyze what Google Inc. intuited, inferred, induced and deduced is good based on its stated business ideology, ontology and corporate philosophy of, “Ten Things We Know to Be True.” Consider whether you also intuit, infer and/or induce what Google believes are its Universal, Process and Personal true-north values from these statements. Determine whether Google’s corporate behavior deductively reflects these stated true-north value beliefs as its ontology, which you can see Google has written below as its own commandments.

Google Inc.’s 10 truth-values279

  • You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.
  • Democracy on the web works.
  • The need for information crosses all borders.
  • Great just isn’t good enough.
  • Focus On the user and all else will follow.
  • You can make mOney without doing evil.
  • It’s best to do one thinG really, really well.
  • Fast is better than sLow.
  • There’s always more information out therE.
  • You can be serious without a suit.
Figure 3.10: Image from Google's NYC Office (© 2015 Photo Credit: BGS)
Figure 3.10: Image from Google’s NYC Office (© 2015 Photo Credit: BGS)

Reason, Causation or Nothing

Intuiting, inferring, inducing and deducing human or corporate ontologies to create true north value within the philosophy of Lean requires that you ground an ideology on a presumption of universal reason, and its necessary corollary, causation. Causation itself is a form of formal Lean “Root Cause Analysis” (RCA)280 that originates from an ancient philosophical concept called the “Principle of Sufficient Reason” (PSR). Both RCA and the PSR may also be thought of as an, “Axiom of Causation,” that assumes every reason or cause must have a prior one, back to the start of existence itself. This PSR and Axiom of Causation is the basis for the Lean process of RCA and asking five “Whys” through the Lean process of Genchi Genbutsu.

The PSR, Axiom of Causation, RCA and the “5 Whys” posit that for every fact, there must be an explanation as to why that fact is.281 The PSR most particularly holds that each action resulted from a prior cause down to an ultimate self-causing cause (a Sui Generis in Latin).282 In the PSR, causation is an assumed abstraction of the relations between every series of events. Thus, the PSR underpins most classic explanations for existence, and yet this theory has the earlier stated limitation of not yet being proven as either a processual or axiomatic truth-value itself.283 To date, people have found no common agreement as to even a processual self-causing cause, much less an axiomatic truth, explaining the origin of the universe. Thus, consumers, whether scientist, atheist, theologian or organization, can only intuitively believe in the PSR at a universal scale even if they might only employ RCA and the 5 Whys in a far more limited capacity within their business environments.284

Like the PSR, formal “Lean Thinking” uses the Axiom of Causation in the form of RCA and the 5 Whys to find the root cause of any given business problem by simply asking why five times, which hopefully is enough. However, the conversations within an HQ will benefit from moving beyond a mere five whys toward analyzing who consumers are through an infinite number of whys until a House of Quality is ultimately bounded by infinities, paradoxes and tautologies.285 A Lean business ideology ought to lead you to the edge of axiomatic and systemic explanations of the universe, to the bare existence of an empty, infinite set at the conceptual inception of something rather than nothing at all.

Finally, an empty, infinite set is the last thing consumers ought to consider before moving past reason, beyond spacetime itself to something other-than-reason.286 Since a business ideology cannot now axiomatically or systemically say whatever is beyond reason as its inverse, neither consumers nor organizations can axiomatically or systemically know how many “whys” will reach what is certainly not here without intuitively speculating.287

Reason as Causation from Aristotle’s Perspective, with Modification

In the Western/Occidental tradition, you can trace one of the first definitions of pure reason at the boundary of what may be considered rational to Aristotle’s “Four Causes,” which are the “Formal,” “Material,” “Efficient” and “Final” ones. Like Blank’s, “Four Steps to the Epiphany,” Aristotle’s “Four Causes” may be roughly conceptualized and related to Lean philosophical thinking as follows:

  • Formal ontological causes explain the shape of how consumers and product came to be. Since formal causes generally don’t make sense in the scientific age, in the philosophy of Lean, I somewhat modify the formal cause to be what I consider a self-defining ontological one encapsulating all that consumers, organizations and product are, including all consumers’ personal speculation, emotions, and dreams arising as a course of their personal perspectives. The formal cause simply is as it is because it is in circular fashion; 289
  • Material physical causes define what physical processes led to consumers’ and products’ existence as a subset of the formal, ontological causes. The material cause roughly aligns with modern scientific explanations of how natural law emerged through axiomatic and systemic truth-values. Thus, the material cause relates to how organizations actually produce product for customers;
  • Efficient first causes generally equate with the very first, initial cause whether material or not that initiated existence through the Axiom of Causation and eventually led to who consumers are, what they experience, and how organizations produce product for them; and
  • Final teleological causes explain the end-goal/factor/motives of the universe and why the efficient cause created consumers and product at all. The final cause is also synonymous with the teleological cause, the end purpose of all learning, which is a combination of the Greek τέλος, telos (root: τελε-, end, purpose) and -λογία, logia (a branch of learning).290

In this post-post-modern world, these formally ontological, materially physical, efficiently first and finally teleological causes may seem logically circular or tautological in that they lack unification or an axiomatic origin without another extended self-causing cause standing outside of known axiomatic and systemic truths. Nonetheless, consumers cannot help but experience their generally consistent personal perspectives as the synthesis of all these causes combined into their present state of who they identify themselves as being. Meaning emerges for them through this constant, simultaneous tension between the apparent tautological causation of the universe and consumers’ assumed teleology based on their intuitive beliefs.

Not coincidentally, the religious philosophy of Buddhism widely adopted in Japan where Lean thinking developed into a holistic business philosophy, describes an apparent causal circularity for the universe through a concept called “pratītyasamutpāda,” which Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh explains:291

Pratitya samutpada is sometimes called the teaching of cause and effect, but that can be misleading, because we usually think of cause and effect as separate entities, with cause always preceding effect, and one cause leading to one effect. According to the teaching of Interdependent Co-Arising, cause and effect co-arise (samutpada) and everything is a result of multiple causes and conditions… A cause must, at the same time, be an effect, and every effect must also be the cause of something else. Cause and effect inter-are. The idea of first and only cause, something that does not itself need a cause, cannot be applied.

Relating Aristotle’s Four Causes to Lean Levels of True-North Value

By seeing ultimate causation of consumers’ lives and existences as a possibly circular co-arising through pratītyasamutpāda for business purposes, you can effectively map all four of the Aristotelian causal explanations to consumers’ and organizations’ universally axiomatic, processually systemic and personally intuitive perspectives and truth-values as explained here:

(1) Universally Axiomatic: Aristotle’s four causes may be seen as universally, axiomatically explaining the origin of consumers’ existences in a logically self-defining sense not related to a cause outside of existence itself. Examples include axioms such as the Western Ontological Argument trying to prove God by the very definition of perfection, Eastern philosophical traditions like pratītyasamutpāda, and modern scientific notions of the universe spontaneously co-arising292 under the laws of quantum physics293 through such things as quantum fluctuations.

A universally axiomatic cause is generally based on the logic that nothing exists in the truest sense since nothing cannot be by its own definition.294 Even for efficient first and final teleological causes residing at the existential extremes of all spacetime, the basis of such causes may be seen to be axiomatically self-regenerating in this way. But, I would like to re-emphasize that no philosophical or scientific explanation for consumers’ ultimate existences today may be deemed axiomatic with predictive, universal certainty of infinite confidence (/σ∞). As stated, all people, whether theistic or not, must rely on systemically hypothetical and personally speculative explanations for their own existences and essences.

(2) Processually Systemic: Aristotle’s formal and material causes may be seen as providing processually systemic explanations for consumers’ and organizations’ existence, such that consumers’ and organizations’ existences arise due to natural processes. Consumers emerged from efficient or final causes arising systemically at the extremes of existence cohering with the overall system of the universe in which consumers exist. The Lean value stream of physical or logical processes extends to the boundaries of known causation, creating consumers from an intelligible, systemic reason that may or may not be tautologically self-defining.295 To be clear, no ultimate philosophical or scientific explanation for consumers’ existences today may be deemed a systemic truth such that it coheres sufficiently with people’s commonly shared, predictable experiences to lean toward at least two sigmas (/≥2σ) of confidence.

(3) Personally Intuitive: Aristotle’s efficient first and final causes may be seen like personally intuitive explanations for consumers’ existences when they lead to a spiritualism or theology standing outside consumers’ universally systemic and common experience. For example, consumers seeking Aristotle’s materially physical cause may lead them to a scientismic belief that science will ultimately determine the origin of existence. Like other personally intuitive truths, scientismic true-north values ultimately revert to self-defining speculation because they lack further support in universally axiomatic or processually systemic true-north values of their own, even if they seem intuitively true based on some limited evidence or belief in the consistent explanatory power of science.296 Or as Emerson Sparz, otherwise know as the “Internet Meme Meister” said:297

Rational Agnosticism- Existential Causation in the Eastern Traditions

However, both Western and Eastern perspectives are represented within the philosophy of Lean since Lean originated from a synthesis of both occidental and oriental cultures and concepts.298 In contrast to occidental philosophies’ explanations for existence, with the limited exception of the Buddhist principle of co-arising, oriental philosophies have generally considered questions as to the cause of the universe’s creation to be without purpose, instead choosing to be rationally agnostic. Instead, when they have attempted to discern the ultimate “why,” Eastern philosophies attempt to prove existence from the very fact that consumers perhaps falsely presume that the universe could not exist. Coming from Western culture myself, I like to think about Henri Bergson’s quote below from 1911 when he was considering this conundrum:299

…If I ask myself why bodies or minds exist rather than nothing, I find no answer, but that a logical principle, such as A=A, should have the power of creating itself, triumphing over the nought throughout eternity, seems to me natural…. Suppose, then, that the principle on which all things rest, and which all things manifest, possesses an existence of the same nature as that of the definition of the circle, or as that of the axiom A=A: the mystery ‘o existence vanishes.

Eastern philosophy thus is almost an inverse of the occidental concept of, “From nothing, nothing comes,” being more, “There is because there must be.”300 According to the 14 unanswered questions attributed to Buddha, much of the logical, Axiom of Causation and the Lean “5 Whys” reasoning is ultimately pointless because consumers’ very existence means that consumers or something else must have always existed, which is quite smart. To this end, there have historically been 14 unanswerable questions attributed to Buddha that define what he apparently believes we cannot know and need not ask any further.301 You can see them organized below into four lean, philosophical categories according to their subject matter:

Questions concerning the existence of the world in time:
1. Is the world eternal?
2. …or not?
3. …or both?
4. …or neither?
(Pali texts omit “both” and “neither”)

Questions concerning the existence of the world in space:
5. Is the world finite?
6. …or not?
7. …or both?
8. …or neither?
(Pali texts omit “both” and “neither”)

Questions referring to personal experience:
9. Is the self identical with the body?
10. …or is it different from the body?

Questions referring to life after death:
11. Does the Tathagata (Buddha) exist after death?
12. …or not?
13. …or both?
14. …or neither?

By leaving these questions unanswered, Buddhists take a logically agnostic position in regards to the mind/body duality and the universe’s origin. Buddhists instead address the pratītyasamutpāda/co-arising by deeply pursuing questions of who consumers are today rather than focusing on why they came to be.302

Philosophers, physicists and mathematicians all have something to say about this. The ancient Greek Parmenides who also proposed this, “From nothing, nothing comes” concept, also stated that the last conceivable thing that could be before true nothingness would be an empty set or knowledge that nothing existed. And scientists often step further into this discussion by saying that the very structure of information itself comes from the mere possibility of true nothingness.303 Mathematicians added to this concept by saying that an empty set still has enough information value to be considered more than completely empty.

You likewise may choose to view causation within a Lean business ideology in a modified form resulting in an infinite regression and becoming self-defining since nothing could never be accordingly the very definition of “nothingness,” thereby leading to circular reasoning.304 This leads to the startling conclusion that you may be making a false presumption in business that no profit could be when in fact businesses can always learn something very valuable from their mistakes.305 However, a business of course cannot ever test that theory since it would never be around to experience the result should it go defunct. According to Buddha, his form of reasoning may be the very reason that you and all businesses exist!

Boundaries of Reason – Self-Causing Causes, Gödel’s Second Incompleteness Theorem and Simon’s Bounded Rationality

Unfortunately, as you now see, no one demonstrates why information itself exists within at least two sigmas (≥2σ) of intersubjective, scientific validity, thereby making any ultimate explanation for the origin of business logic a merely speculative story.306 Going even further, the greatest problem for science in proving an intelligible reason for the universe’s existence and ultimately who and why consumers are is that while some scientific evidence exists that the universe originated from a singular event like the Big Bang, science has not been able to describe such origin axiomatically or systemically, and thus scientists themselves still engage in theoretically intuitive speculation as a form of scientismic belief.307

Beyond our own scientific ignorance, many famous philosophers and mathematicians, such as David Hume, Bertrand Russell and Kurt Gödel, provided significant reasons why reason cannot explain itself.308 Even Immanuel Kant, though he intuitively believed that human experience requires reason, famously limited the application of reason to human experience, which forms the basis for the scientific empiricism that allows you to test what a product is worth in a coherent way.309 I provide a brief synopsis of these limits to reason within a Lean business ideology below from a more logically systemic perspective so you may better know where the rational foundation of UPP true-north value begins and ends that you seek to produce and provide to consumers.310 Or as T.S. Eliot better said in 1943 in his, “Four Quartets”:

One well-known circularity to true-north value that is almost always described by authors writing on this subject is Gödel’s Second Incompleteness Theorem (1931).311 Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell, in their book titled “Principia Mathematica” written at the turn of the 20th century, attempted to construct a logical, non-mathematical system starting from universally axiomatic truths, to prove all further truths from these initial postulates.312 While Whitehead and Russell thought they constructed a system for universally deducing all reason from these axioms, Kurt Gödel proved otherwise by demonstrating that some truth-values within Whitehead and Russell’s system, though true, could not be proven within the system itself.

A common, one-phrase synopsis of Gödel’s proof is the expression within Whitehead and Russell’s logic that stands as the mathematical equivalent of, “I cannot be proven.” “I cannot be proven,” creates an immediate, obvious and obnoxious paradox, since if the sentence could be proven, its plain language meaning is false. However, if the statement could be proven that it cannot be proven, then that proof creates a logical contradiction for the system itself that is supposed to deductively prove everything non-tautologically. Thus, while true within the system, this paradox caused a big problem for people who wanted to understand and apply true-north value in a singularly consistent way!

Many mathematicians have validated what Gödel showed, which is that neither a logical nor mathematical system based on real numbers could exclude paradoxes and self-reference. The mathematical, logical conundrum stated by Gödel’s Second Incompleteness Theorem is one that can be easily seen in Bertrand Russell’s “Reference Paradox,” which is something that I refer to often in personal conversations. The Reference Paradox states that the, “list of all lists cannot contain a listing of itself,” by the very definition of a list since the nth item in the list would always need a further list to capture the list’s total meaning.313 This infinite logic creates a paradox to the definition of a list or set, sort of like an index to a library that would have to include itself but never stand outside the library’s own reference collection.314

The full details of Gödel’s proof likewise fall outside the scope of this book, but I encourage you to read further through the footnoted references for you to lean philosophically because this is so important to understand the universe in which consumers and organizations operate.315 You are left with the fact that consumers’ existences cannot be explained entirely through universal and process true-north values, but rather only through personally intuitive speculation at this point in time. You cannot exclude all forms of tautological self-reference for who consumers are or why they buy anything at all at the furthest edges of what life has in store for them.

So why does this matter to the metaphysics of Lean and counting the money that you make? Because one would think that mathematics based on real numbers could be self-contained since it is so widely heralded as the big data elixir to understand all that consumers truly value and will buy. However, Gödel showed that Whitehead and Russell’s Principia Mathematica failed to create a mathematical system without self-reference, and that all mathematical systems based on real numbers invariably break down and fall into strange, logically tautological loops at some points.316 Mathematicians have already seemed to settle the question for their discipline, accepting as an axiomatic truth that they cannot find a single axiom to explain all mathematical theories in light of Gödel’s incompleteness theorems, among many other mathematical paradoxes in existence.

You can find many paradoxes beyond Gödel’s own inside and outside of mathematics.317 Modern concepts beyond Gödel’s Second Incompleteness Theorem, such as quantum physics and relativity theories appear to show that reason has its limits in a general, universal sense - that some truths cannot be logically deduced, some are relative, and some arise from matters of pure chance.

A common example of this provided by physicists and non-physicists is the scientismic debate around Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle318 under the Copenhagen interpretation that states that observing matter and energy at a quantum level actually in some ways determines its existential state and Ontological Realization. The competing Everette/Schrodinger interpretation says that these particles cohere/discohere with many other worlds like homonyms and phrases with parallel meaning.319 Quantum theory is the next great debate - equivalent to that of a flat world or heliocentrism - whether we will sail off the edge of reason we do not yet know, but we nonetheless have a duty to be optimistic.320

Given academic uncertainty even about the Heisenberg Uncertainly Principle, the theories of relativity and other physically scientific true-north values appear to become subjective, personal and require scientismic belief at sufficiently quantum or intergalactic scales - we do not know for sure the source of knowledge at this time on an axiomatic basis. Even if the laws of physics are deterministic, consumers as self-conscious, self-interested, and self-centered agents, freely and willingly optimize toward an infinite, indeterminable, and possibly tautological universe. While this does not mean that knowledge cannot ultimately be explained, it evidences the tension between reason and apparent paradox in matters beyond logic, just as physicists recently did when attempting to demonstrate super-symmetry by discovering the Higgs Boson “God Particle” in the Large Hydron Collider that pushed scientists up against the limits of what makes physical sense.321

You don’t want to misapply these limits to matters of reasonable certainty.322 In fact philosophers make fun of other philosophers who do. However, you ought to understand them in a general way to become aware of the boundaries of what consumers can truly value at this point in time. Bringing this discussion back to Lean organizations, Herbert Simon’s Bounded Rationality demonstrated in any event that customers’, employees’, and organizations’ irrationality stays well within the narrower boundaries of the walls and U-shaped cubicles in which Lean organizations operate.323 Nonetheless, the very act of expanding the boundaries of knowledge is the same as creating wealth, which is what you ought to do regardless of where it might lead.324

20th Century Fragmentation of Unification

Given these limits that 20th century mathematics ran into, science and even philosophy turned away from universal, systemic analysis that tries to induce a single explanation for everything from all that people specifically think they know. Thought leaders stopped trying to connect all details within a universal theory and instead segregated their analysis into discrete, disconnected fields of knowledge for the sake of advancing each domain independently. These more specific insights became much more effective at describing and predicting true-north value than could all the proposed unifying theorems, even if more specific theories could not be used to explain other true-north values.

Contemporary philosophers went so far as to concentrate only on problems they felt stood safely outside of science’s reach.325 While professional philosophers maintain this intellectual posture in this post-post-modern era, rather ironically, leading physicists like Stephen Hawking and David Deutsch among others have recently noodled on overarching physical theories of all true-north value in books like “Grand Design,” and through physical concepts like “String Theory,” while philosophers largely abandoned that explanatory goal.326

Even if both contemporary philosophy and science dislike over-arching, unifying theories, they cannot avoid the fact that all underlying axioms and systems resulted in all consumers’ personal presences and consciousness that are unified for most intents and purposes. On balance, consumers’ unified consciousnesses cause them to buy product, which makes the money organizations earn truly meaningful. Consumers bring together all of the natural laws and their biological processes into their personal presences being who they are as consumers. So to understand what people will buy, you must look at customers in the same way as cohering the three perspectives and truth types within who they are as lean people. To conduct effective business analysis, you must apply all discrete axiomatic and systemic evidence, and all speculatively intuitive notions of true-north value, to who you believe consumers are and why you believe they will buy product in meaningful quantities, which Lean Metaphysically helps you do.

Money as Unified Lean Metaphysics

However, a tension arises between the unification of the universe, the different perspectives consumers bring to how they perceive the universe, and the true-north value of the product within it. You must recognize how consumers’ mutations and adaptations in their underlying physical processes created divergent perceptual and cognitive biases within them, which behavioral economists and marketing neuroscientists increasingly explain. Marketing departments in all businesses analyze consumers’ different personal perspectives on various products on a daily basis in order to sell them more.

And yet, while consumers may have been created by universal axioms and processual systems, they nonetheless stand in a singular, intersubjective universe that yields different personal perspectives on it. Common sense indicates that you ought to be able to discuss the full meaning of market research in largely coherent fashion, even in this post-post-modern, deconstructed world. Since these days deconstructionist scientific and literary theories have largely accomplished their end-goals,327 organizations now operate in the deconstructed aftermath of a post-post-modern world striving (perhaps pointlessly) toward some common sense reunification to make an effective difference in what consumers commonly experience from the product they buy. This unified experience ultimately informs what gets bought in the singular exchange of product for money that the philosophy of Lean represents.

With this intellectual history in mind, I propose a unifying, coherent, Lean business ideology that leans an organization philosophically back into consumers, while simultaneously helping you become completely aware of the intellectual difficulties of creating over-arching, and over-sold, business schemes.

You must keep the scientific, literary and philosophical sophistication of consumers’ underlying, divergent, fundamental processes in mind while you recognize that customers identify themselves as buying product from a singularly unified, lean, personal perspective. Because regardless, consumers inevitably look to explain the coherence of their lean personal identities from that perspective and uplift themselves by buying product. Thus, Lean Metaphysically is a “meta-modernist” or “pseudo-modern” business philosophy optimistically attempting to synthesize this reality while keeping in mind all this post-modern skepticism.328

Beautiful Question Marks??

Keeping this post-modern intellectual legacy in mind along your journey up the true-north value stream, in order to motivate them to purchase something, you ought to find some unifying reason for the origin of who consumers are from universally axiomatic, or processually systemic truth-values that lean with at least two sigmas (/≥2σ) of confidence. Otherwise, you will be selling into a speculative market. However to do so, science must be able to resolve all outstanding philosophical (or theological) questions, which science has not done to date. This counter-poses to Stephen Hawking’s statement in his book “Grand Design” that logical philosophy was a historical relic, and that quantum physics had assumed all of the burden of explaining why consumers exist and buy now.329 Perhaps Hawking stated an axiomatic truth, but then science has not to date explained all outstanding philosophical questions, such as what might be a universally recognized, self-causing cause.330 This leaves businesspeople still pursuing a unifying, scientific explanation for the most valid and predictable consumer insights.

Science has clearly done a remarkable job in explaining discrete facets of the universe and predicting consequences based on such insights. So to provide a high level perspective of the relationship of scientific theories leading back to the gap that science still has to fill about the origin of consumers’ and organizations’ existences, consider this chart created by Professor Max Tegmark at MIT.331

Below in Prof. Tegmark’s chart332 you can see a range of scientific disciplines explaining many discrete aspects of consumers’ existences. In fact, philosophy, physics and math are all degrees of the same “thing” from different perspectives, each informing the other to create a cohesive body of knowledge (BoK) within the great ontological medium of the universe.333 Or as Galileo Galilei said, “Philosophy is written in this grand book, the universe, which stands continually open to our gaze… It is written in the language of mathematics.”334 However, neither mathematics, science nor philosophy conclusively explain the origin of existence as indicated by the question mark ? at the top and bottom of this universal true-north value stream. To complete this chart, I added a question mark at the end of Tegmark’s chart to represent the necessarily unbounded intuitive speculation about what is not. If you imagine seeing this chart in three dimensions, these two question marks are one and the same, folding back on each other to touch and complete the possibly circular ontological teleology of consumers’ value streams within the ontological medium of all known existence:


Figure 3.11: Chart of scientific and humanities fields back to the inception indicted by a question mark ? at the top and bottom of this value stream. Prof. Tegmark’s Chart of Disciplines (© Professor Max Tegmark)

Like Douglas Hofstadter did in his book, “Gödel, Escher, Bach,” I am including a picture by Maurits Cornelis Escher within this discussion of circularity. Here you may compare this image of Escher’s to Tegmark’s chart. Escher’s grand image, “Waterfall,” shows how clearly Escher (and Hofstadter) understood this Lean true-north value stream:

Figure 3.11: Waterfall (All M.C. Escher works © 1961, 2016, The M.C. Escher Company - the Netherlands. All rights reserved. Used with Permission. www.mcescher.com)
Figure 3.11: Waterfall (All M.C. Escher works © 1961, 2016, The M.C. Escher Company - the Netherlands. All rights reserved. Used with Permission. www.mcescher.com)

By turning Prof. Tegmark’s chart upside-down, you can see how it aligns with our earlier delineation of the great fields of knowledge as seen again here:

You may further compress this spectrum of knowledge down to UPP true-north values that are similarly bounded by a question mark at each end:

You may finally extend this fountain of knowledge into a Lean Metaphysically by likewise putting question marks on either end:

“U” stands for universal truth, “Lean” represents a processual truth, while “People” are a personal truth only truly knowable through empathy.

Fecund Universes?

To better understand consumers’ existences from a physical perspective, let’s revisit a little more closely one of the intuitive, scientismic explanations for consumers’ possibly circular existences we discussed earlier called “fecund universes.” One of the most intuitively speculative, scientismic conceptions for existence is that of “parallel” or “fecund universes,” which describes unlimited levels of universes representing all possible universes that could be.335

In the inverse of the concept of, “From nothing, nothing comes,” the term “fecund universes” describes the notion that every possible thing exists, and what you know as the universe simply represents one version of infinite universal variations in infinite regression.336 In this scenario, consumers are a statistical result of the fact that something must exist, and if something exists then everything exists, and if every conceivable universe exists then consumers exist in the one iteration that provides for consumers’ existences as you personally know them now online or in-line in stores. In a way, the argument for fecund universes is reminiscent of the ontological argument for God’s existence since proponents get close to saying that if you could imagine any universe then that universe does exist. However, if you think this notion is completely far-fetched, consider the small irony that you like all people hopefully spend a third of your life each day in fairly random, parallel universes that are very personally real to you every time you go to sleep. Or as John Lennon is attributed as saying, “I believe in everything until it’s disproved… It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now?”337

This concept of infinitely many universes actually originated with Plato and has been brought forward by modern physicists to conform with modern mathematics.338 This adapted scientific concept of many worlds follows from the details of quantum mechanics that fall outside the scope of this book, but this general concept ought to help you gain perspective on what may be in the fullest sense and what may be not at all.339

This concept of fecund universes in one sense may also be seen as the “Anthropic Principle” set into scientific terms, meaning that you should expect that the structure and cause of the universe as consumers have come to know it is consistent with one that intelligibly results in consumers being who they are.340 The fecund universes concept conforming with the Anthropic Principle is thus just another way of stating that a consistent stream of reasoning exists far past “5 Whys” from consumers’ existences back to a sui generis, or self-causing cause, of everything simultaneously being since nothing simply could not be by its own definition.341

Other Scientismic Theories

Aside from parallel or fecund universes, quantum physicists have posited many other theories for the origin of existence and all true-north value over the last several decades as quantum physics has advanced. Each real advance of quantum physics often directly affects the philosophy of Lean when determining the reason for consumers’ existences and source of true-north values. Quantum physicians such as Alex Vilenkin and Steven Weinberg have put forward several explanations for why consumers exist beyond fecund universes, from quantum fluctuations creating a complex universe of net zero energy, to quantum physics experiments showing the possibility of matter appearing out-of-order in time, thus voiding the concept of ultimate causation altogether as a mere mirage.342 Other physicists have examined a real probability that the universe in which consumers exist is merely a simulation just like “The Lean Startup’s” IMVU as discussed in Value Stream 1, even though such answer would not resolve what created our simulated universe in the first place.343

Alternatively, some philosophers have suggested that this universe as you know it exists because it is the best one that could be and still logically cohere. Thus, if something were to exist at all, it must be as you actually know it, which is a strong form of the “Anthropic Principle.”344 Unfortunately, all such theories remain unprovable at the current moment, merely standing as intuitive, scientismic speculation not yet validated as processually systemic or universally axiomatic truths. While physicists and some philosophers continue to conjecture as to why consumers exist, none can yet prove it axiomatically or systematically, which is not to invalidate their speculation but rather to note the degree of speculation.345

Physicists, and some philosophers of science, present all of these conjectures as they do for all scientific and philosophical explanations under a general “best fit” principle, under a presumption that they can only know reality directly to the extent testable data fits to a given theoretical model. This is what fecund universes and other physical theories do to explain the origin of existence within the domain of physics, by fitting current scientific evidence to universal, true-north values. The search for the Higgs Boson “God Particle” most recently reconfirmed this method in some degree by failing to disprove the Standard Model.346 By better fitting evidence to known truth-values, and occasionally changing those truth-values in response to conflicting evidence, physicists continue to better understand how the universe came to be and how physical laws led to consumers’ existences. They also shed more light on the normative true-north value consumers demand when they buy product from their unified, personal perspectives.347

Consumers’ Existences Are As If Self-Defined

To meaningfully monetize consumers’ normative and real true-north values in Lean fashion, you must discover their ignorances, infinities, circularities and paradoxes.348 To physicists, consumers are bounded at the atomic level by the difficulty in detecting particles and anti-particles, and at the cosmological level by the speed of light multiplied by the time light takes to travel from the furthest edges of the known universe.349 To mathematicians, consumers are bounded by infinities and inherent paradoxes that limit their ability to construct a universal, non-self-referential ontology.350

From the universally axiomatic perspective, you can view consumers’ existences as if they themselves were self-defining, as if their existences did not have an initial self-causing cause that gives them an ultimate “why.” From a processually systemic perspective, consumers’ reason to exist may seem logically tautological, as if they exist simply to further and more fully be even though logic suggests they ought to exist due to some finally agreed on, causal reason. And yet, consumers personally intuitively speculate, either as spiritualists, theists, scientismists or other -ists, about an ultimate third-party cause for their lives and existences.

I only restate here the common sense notion that consumers universally and processually experience existence as if they exist simply because they do regardless of creed, but they may also speculate about a theological or scientismic purpose not yet agreed on by at least two sigmas (≥2σ) of informed people.351

Thus, if only for the purpose of leaning metaphysically toward much of the true value that consumers consume, I suggest that you ought to at least recognize the possibility that consumers exist entirely due to mathematical and/or scientific reasons, which is to say, entirely due to universally axiomatic and/or processually systemic truths. Your understanding this perspective strictly for business purposes will allow you to see more clearly consumers’ existences as if they were Ontologically Teleological. Seeing all consumer’s existences as if they were operating up through an Ontological Teleology is different than seeing them as coming from whatever open-ended intuitive speculation you or they may have as to why they exist. An Ontological Teleology recognizes the fact that consumers’ ultimate cause may actually be tautological but may also be not - we don’t know.352 You benefit though from witnessing the upward genesis of their Ontological Teleology by better identifying and creating salable value. You do this by seeing them as if their purpose was possibly Ontologically Teleological in nearly circular form, which I understand is difficult at first to comprehend. For starters, here are a couple of personally intuitive hypotheticals of consumers with different belief systems, from theists to scientismists, to exemplify how you may better identify these consumers’ distinct forms of true-north value by drawing clear lines around them regardless of what they believe:


On the flip-side of scientific axioms, theists assume that an intuitive, theological, or emotional explanation of existence is an axiomatic true-north value. However, no spiritualistic or theistic explanation changes the fact that what theistic customers commonly experience is as if they lived in an Ontological Teleology given that they still live in a rational universe. Their faith simply acts as a personal self-causing cause to move them beyond the apparent circularity of existence that they experience. Thus, theistic customers seek meaning by speculating with personally intuitive, sublime forms of truth that ascend beyond the apparently circular chain of explanation of their commonly shared existence with other people who do not share the same theistic perspective. Theologians most often stipulate that their own personally perceived, intuitive experience and speculation is what they consider actually meaningful and only falsifiable on a mythical or emotional level until certain miracles, Nirvanas or end-of-days arrive. Theologians find Ontological Teleological true-north value by serving their physical needs as a means to find non-tautological true-north value through open-ended, non-falsifiable, religiously dogmatic axioms that will answer all their prayers.


Similar to theists, some consumers generally believe or have faith in reason itself to explain existence, despite the PSR, RCA, Axiom of Causation and 5 Whys not yet having axiomatic validity as I have defined it here.353 People who place their faith in science to answer the biggest questions of their existence are called scientismists.354 Your scientismic customers assume that a rational explanation for their ultimate existence exists. Just like theists who constantly receive spiritual stimulation and emotional validation, scientismists have their faith substantially and commonly reinforced by advances in modern science that empirically prove further consequential reasons for their lives and existences. These scientismic customers push the explanatory boundaries for their existences further and further by pursuing yet unproven, scientismic theories. This scientismic faith leads scientismists to speculate that reason within their existences holds to a physically valid self-causing cause such as might exist under quantum physics. Just like theists, scientismists faithfully find Ontologically Teleological value in serving their physical needs to hopefully find an ultimately self-causing physical axiom as an answer to all their theories, hypotheses, conjectures and prayers.

Intuition Bracketing (“IBing”) Speculation for Money

Now, to accurately measure the salable normative, real and monetary value that Lean organizations ought to be producing for money, I suggest that you carefully identify consumers’ speculative, scientismic and theological notions of intuitive value and differentiate them from known universal and process true-north values. Your product will serve each of those true-north values separately. For an organization to reproduce products that accurately addresses these true-north values, it must ground itself as well as possible in what it can axiomatically and systematically validate within consumers’ lives and existences, while recognizing that what consumers believe transcends the apparent circularity of their existences. This is especially true if starting a risky business venture or operating in a new market with limited historical profits since an organization will be bridging itself philosophically forward across unchartered waters toward true-north value that no one has yet discovered.

Like the money veil over what people monetarily value, a veil exists over what consumers normatively value within who they consider themselves to be, which requires further distinction. Consumers’ intuitive speculation makes identifying truly normative value within the domain of the ID Kata difficult, and therefore requires you to differentiate true-north value types so you can know how to produce meaningful product worth lots of money. To define this value veil for Lean business purposes within an HQ, I recommend developing a U-shaped, conceptual value lens that I call an Intuition Bracket (IB) structuring who consumers are and may be. The IB conceptual lens sees through the veil covering the truly normative value of existence, while what the IB filters out is open-ended, intuitive speculation. The Intuition Bracket is thus the summation of an infinite set within which all Lean true-north value (a.k.a. reason) resides, and is synonymous with understanding consumers’ specific place in the universe.355

Chart of the Intuition Bracket or IB

Figure 3.12: The Intuition Bracket or IB
Figure 3.12: The Intuition Bracket or IB

As prescribed above, the conceptual IB allows a Lean business ideology to separate consumers’ universally axiomatic and processually systematic existences from what they personally, intuitively believe. You simultaneously ought to diverge such perspectives within your Lean business ideology while keeping both in mind. Such an Intuition Bracket allows you to easily exclude consumers’ intuitive speculation, but still allows you to define consumers’ (and corporations’) existences within the limits of the IB.356 As a reminder of what David Packard who founded HP said in 1965 as quoted from Good to Great:

I want to discuss WHY [emphasis his] a company exists in the first place. In other words, why are we here? I think many people assume, wrongly, that a company exists simply to make money. While this is an important result of a company’s existence, we have to go deeper and find the real reasons for our being.

David Packard could have used the IB to identify consumers and companies’ essential reason for being by delineating different true-north value types. The bracket aspect of the IB creates an abstract category between the UP and personal true-north values, and I propose, allows you to more deeply categorize existence itself to analyze, identify and try to measure consumers’ real and monetary value as David Packard suggests.

The interior part of the Intuition Bracket contains that which consumers, and thus all of society, agree on an axiomatic or systemic basis. The IB contains that which belongs to consumers themselves, or by their very natures, that which is inherent, essential, proper, of their own, leaving outside the bracket their and all other people’s speculative, intuitive true-north value perspectives they cannot lean toward axiomatically or systematically with at least two sigmas (/≥2σ) of common agreement.357 Let me reemphasize that what I mean by intuition is not what you might psychologically consider intuitive, but rather what people in general cannot axiomatically or systematically agree on at the moment with available knowledge.

I fully admit that the boundaries between these true-north value types can be unclear at first given the fact that science and perception, like “The Bed of Procrustes,”358 often operate on a best fit basis. However, you can draw reasonably clear lines between that which can be falsified with empirical evidence through data and has some predictive validity through time with a reasonably certain degree of confidence, and those true-north values about which people speculate but have no widely agreed evidence or consensus.359

So within the IB, reason stands as that which you axiomatically and empirically lean toward on its own based on widely agreed data across time, unlike intuitive truths that are not commonly agreed as predictably repeatable within at least two sigmas (≥2σ) of universal confidence. Standing immediately outside of and adjacent to the IB are the true-north value perspectives consumers personally believe, which may be beyond any reason. Let me now provide you with another schematic to represent the IB and the boundary of pure reason that you may use in a business ideology:

Figure 3.13: Intuition Bracket of Reason
Figure 3.13: Intuition Bracket of Reason

Inside the Intuition Bracket resides natural law, axiomatic and systemic truths, and all else that stands in juxtaposition to what is beyond consumers’ widely shared conceptions of existence. Whether by intuitive or scientismic causes, bracketing axiomatic and systemic true-north perspectives within the IB allows you to focus on who consumers are when they find themselves in the world, hemmed in by their ignorances, infinities, circularities and paradoxes.

Let me reemphasize for clarity sake that existence only appears this way for consumers on first impression, and that consumers must scientifically, intuitively or philosophically speculate to determine what caused the purpose of their existences. This matters in business because their purposeful meaning ultimately leans them toward buying product to further exist toward that end-goal, whether such end-goal is within the IB or not.

In the 1900s, the philosopher and psychologist Karl Jaspers was one of the first to define the IB when he created the term, “Existenz.” “Existenz” stands for the proposition that all people recognize these rational limits, and once known, begin to reconstruct personal identities reflecting who they authentically are within those known limits. Jaspers’ Existenz was the intellectual precursor to and inspiration for Existentialism.360 Thus, within Lean Metaphysically, you might even write this notion as, “Σxistenz,” replacing the “E” with the capital sigma “Σ.” The capital sigma Σ indicates that “Σxistenz” sums all of who consumers are, and all that they want to buy, which they at least intuitively believe leans them philosophically toward all meaning. This philosophical process allows you to move beyond the origin of consumers’ existences to lean that much further up their universal value streams to see what originally delights them.

The oriental religious philosophies that contributed to the development of Lean also support this concept of Intuition Bracketing. Since Buddha refused to systematically contemplate ontological arguments by setting those questions aside as moot,361 by following the philosophy of Lean, you may in general for all practical purposes bracket what consumers intuitively believe caused their own existences so you may further lean toward what they need to buy while never underestimating what faith they have. Thus, IB’ing helps you identify consumers’ needs for sustenance, consumers’ intuitive speculation, and ideally the complementary combination of the two to pursue the greatest profit.

Ontological Medium (the OM)

Since the IB includes within itself axiomatic and systemic true-north value perspectives, it captures concepts such as universal spacetime and physical processes that you can refer to as an Ontological Medium, or an “OM” pronounced as, “AUM.” The OM is thick and pregnant with the Ontological Teleology,362 consisting of all that you would expect within the IB, such as spacetime, chemistry, and the biodiversity of all life. Thus, the OM incorporates all of the assets that an organization manages.363

While consumers have some ideas as to the origin of their existence, applying whatever theological or intuitive causes they choose outside the IB, you and consumers can bracket those causes outside the bounds of the physical OM and conceptual IB to advance up along whatever ought to be within those boundaries. You ought to employ the hypothetical concept of the IB in your business philosophy with at least two sigmas (≥2σ) of confidence to better isolate consumers’ Lean true-north values. Doing so allows you to effectively bracket the origin of the OM through which consumers buy product. When the OM is bracketed in this way, purchasing products furthers the consumption of more products to further be for nearly-circular purposes. I hope this concept of the Ontological Medium, a medium through which customers exist in spacetime and within stores, further explains for you the source of normative, real and monetary true-north value that products reproduce and customers consume.

I am now going to provide a modified chart of the IB adding the OM to it:

Figure 3.14: IB with OM
Figure 3.14: IB with OM

While all the forms of matter and energy within the domain of physics and other sciences reside within the Ontological Medium, within the Intuition Bracket, matter and energy self-organizes itself on a cosmological scale. This process occurs on balance within all universally axiomatic, immutable, and predictable physical transformations. The consistency of those transformations though seems to be impacted by the observer, and so the observer has a certain mesmerizing effect within the universal OM. This is why financial prophesy is inevitably heresy to some degree because the very act of planning and observing the results affects the very predictability of results that financial systems most reward. It is also why degrees of confidence increase with the number of people who agree with a truth-value proposition, because they cohere their collective, overlapping consensus as they do.

The Ontological Teleology (the OT)

If you remove any notions of a “grand design” from existence that people have devised or discovered, or any faith that science will ultimately explain why consumers exist at all, and you take existence simply as consumers’ find it right now at this very moment, both within the IB and what stands in juxtaposition to it, you arrive at an apparently self-defining, Ontological Teleology, or in short, the “OT.” The OT determines whether any consumption was nominally valuable, meaningful and thus good, and underlies all true-north value as defined by the fields of economics, psychology, and neuroscience, among all other disciplines. Since “Ontology” means existence, and “Teleology” means end-goal, “Ontological Teleology” simply means, “the end-goal of further existing.” Thus, the concept of the OT within the IB has a possibly circular, self-defined meaning.

Much like how you can see, the word “Toyota,” spelled out in its logo below, you can also see the overlapping O and the T of the Ontological Teleology within it:364

Figure 3.15: ®Toyota Motor Corporation
Figure 3.15: ®Toyota Motor Corporation
Figure 3.16: ®Toyota
Figure 3.16: ®Toyota
Figure 3.17: Ontological Teleology
Figure 3.17: Ontological Teleology

The Oxford English Dictionary further defines “Teleology” as:

The doctrine or study of ends or final causes, esp. as related to the evidences of design or purpose in nature; also transf. such design as exhibited in natural objects or phenomena.

Consumers’ singular objective within the IB through the OT is an apparent end-goal to further exist to find meaning within the boundaries of axiomatic and systemic truths. Generally, people consciously consider only their immediate satisfaction and not their teleological purpose when consuming product within the Ontological Medium as bounded by the Intuition Bracket. Consumers search for meaning through the OT by attempting to spring away from its apparently circular paradox by rational or irrational deed or creed to find linear, goal directed purpose.365

The OT ultimately moves upward in a spiral motion along the curvature of spacetime because the present and future are always similes (though not facsimiles) of the past, so consumers are bound to reinvent history as they reach new heights.366 Or to paraphrase the ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus of Ephesus (c. BCE 535 BCE – BCE 475), “[N]o man ever steps in the same river twice because it is never the same river, and it is never the same man.” All goal-directed activity is teleologically non-circular to consumers within the boundaries of the IB so long as they only consider their beginning and final causes as being within the strict confines of the OM. Consumers can and do often choose to disregard the apparently logical circularity of their existences, or at least choose to believe in another cause not demonstrated through their common senses within axiomatic and systematic truths. For example, customers generally do not consider the apparently circular nature of their existences when consuming products, because shopping does not seem tautological within the bounds of a store or shopping cart and consumers’ everyday lives generally removed from existential extremes.

At the same time, referring back to the earlier discussion of the circular nature of Samuelson’s Revealed Preference Theory and Lean true-north value, that economic model generally fails to accurately map consumers’ activities because it does not incorporate consumers’ seemingly random search for meaning outside the IB. The oscillation between circular and non-circular belief causes people to waver between rational and irrational activity. Consumers’ wavering toward seemingly irrational activity becomes validated when it helps them self-organize more effectively through the OT toward the Ontological Realization of who they wish to be. For example, putting massive resources into churches in the middle ages and space exploration in more modern times with little certain benefits other than achieving a sense of awe demonstrate how people attempt to boldly go where the apparent paradox of the OT is not and actually self-organize around truly teleological meaning. All this represents the collective human will to universalize, which can be immensely profitable if you market this very valid true-north value to move consumers along the upward curvature of the OT.

Ontologically Prospective Projects (the OPPs)

Please find below our universal diagram expanded to include an existentially goal directed Ontological Teleology recognizing Ontologically Prospective367 Projects as “OPPs” or “OPPortunities.” In this chart, OPPs contrast with potential threats people avoid in order to survive as the leanest within the OT. People engage in OPPs to maximize their own lives and existences. OPPs are synonymous with optimizing, and are explicitly related to consumers’ Ontological Realization by engaging in activity that ultimately orients them upward along the Ontological Teleology.368 The chart below shows a twisting, Ontological Teleology that somewhat correlates with the physical arrow of time carving its way through the OM.369

Figure 3.18: Ontological Teleology
Figure 3.18: Ontological Teleology

In this chart, consumers move between the existential extremes of:

  1. Opportunities to pursue a universalized, Lean perfection of instantaneous and seamless problem resolution and satisfaction that consumers seek and yet only know as a hypothetical possibility; and
  2. Threats to consumers’ pursuit of perfection, or more accurately, being “other-than” perfection, which consumers know all too well and must correct for by thinking and behaving differently.

Consumers’ pursuit of perfection is their taking action to move toward real or perceived opportunities to reproduce as well as they can upward along the OT as they self-define it and away from threats to their becoming not. Each of these actions constitutes the resolution of the unique problem of existence. For example, customers optimize toward opportunities and away from threats by purchasing products that they perceive either as providing them with an OPP or removing a threat to their lives and existences. Customers like products with a thumbs up or down on a sliding scale with one to five stars as to whether consuming a product acts as an OPP to in-fact improve their ability to live better within the OM, or toward what they believe is outside the IB, so they may achieve meaningful moments of true-north value370 by resolving their utmost problems, as seen again here in this chart:

Figure 3.19: End-Goal of the Ontological Teleology
Figure 3.19: End-Goal of the Ontological Teleology

Teleology v Teleonomy

Now is an appropriate time to differentiate between the terms “Teleology” and “Teleonomy” for you to best understand which Lean end-goals consumers chose to pursue for their meaningful OPPs. In its historical sense, Teleology describes a system whereby people intuit, infer, and possibly induce from the sophistication and organization of existence that: (1) creation exists to achieve a final end-goal due to its generally intelligible nature; or that (2) an intelligible first cause created a final end-goal that can only be speculated. However, “Teleology” in its modern sense and as used in this philosophy of Lean means that organisms operate in anticipatory fashion to predict their future Ontological Realization according to their reliance on the truth of axiomatic, systemic or intuitive values. In other words, teleology intentionally seeks a specific end-goal.

However, modern behavioral scientists dislike the term “Teleology” because they generally criticize historical teleology as having a time reversal problem in that the future goal of teleology in its historical sense must dictate present events. This entire notion violates natural law because the arrow of time within the context of the OM only moves in one direction as far as we know.371 This time reversal problem arises from the fact that considering physics and biology to be goal directed violates the evolutionary principle held by most scientists with at least five sigmas (≥5σ) of confidence that behavior is unintentionally shaped by natural selection and environmental conditioning. Instead, behavioral scientists state that the evolution occurred “purposeively” as a result of natural laws operating through complex systems, and not guided “purposefully” toward an end-goal that may have been intentionally specified in advance.372

To overcome this time reversal problem of teleology, in 1958 the behavioral scientist C.S. Pittendrigh created the alternative term “Teleonomy” that has since been adopted by a number of behavioral scientists for this same reason.373 Teleonomy is just a biological term for life’s purposive nature. Thus, changing the terminology of “Teleology” to “Teleonomy” emphasizes the fact that natural laws act as the guiding force of the OT concurrently and coincidentally in complex, dynamic systems, resulting in the Ontological Realization and origin of biological creatures, rather than toward any predefined or purposeful goals.374 Teleonomy is generally used to separate biological behavior from its more historically controversial first or final explanations in a universal, Aristotelian sense.375

Behavioral scientists’ jobs are to think about the root causes of behavior in animals in order to better understand, predict and manage them. In that light, “Teleonomy” attempts to overcome these temporal problems and some theological connotations associated with the term “Teleology” based on its historical use to prove an intuitively speculative self-causing cause. Teleonomy is thus a fairly recent term used to describe the appearance of design in nature that does not have any inherent end-goal, but rather appears as if it was designed to achieve a goal due to its being naturally selected for maximum efficiency in regenerating and becoming further Ontologically Realized through time. Or as Timothy Ferriss said in his book, “The 4-Hour Workweek,” “Being efficient without regard to effectiveness is the default mode of the universe.”376

I consider the teleonomic from teleological distinction useful at the beginning of describing consumers’ existences within the OM and IB in that the linear, existential development of life from organic matter prior to the creation of consumers’ independent agency of themselves reflects purposive teleonomic activity regulated by the external dynamics of the complex universe. However, at the point where teleonomic activity results in organisms with degrees of independent agency like consumers, that agency expresses a purposeful, teleological, goal-seeking cognition measured by how it acts to further become Ontologically Realized within the OM, IB and universe. Consumers’ Darwinian fitness gets both teleonomically self-organized and teleologically intentionally shaped upward along the OT.

For example, when bounded by the IB, even Aristotle’s own final cause or end-goal of further existing seems to be for Aristotle himself to simply further exist as a living system in seemingly logically circular fashion. Sadly, Aristotle no longer is, but his thoughts lived on through us. Existence likewise is where the first and final causes of who and why consumers are emerge into their unified personal perspectives to leave behind whatever present and residual effect their lives may have. Consumers exist within a universe that results in an inherent end-goal of their further simultaneously and optimally being both toward and away from what is other than existence. In other words, people live to avoid becoming not in a physical sense while also simultaneously living for what they speculatively believe to be so (i.e. what may be not) at the same time. This is true because at this moment any determination of whether the first or final causes were by grand design or not stands outside the IB as a speculative, intuitive truth.

Thus, the IB nearly equivocates Aristotle’s efficient and final causes, almost connecting them around the teleological bend, so you can measure to some degree those causes’ systemic expression and Ontological Realization along the upward curvature of the OT. The OT thus allows you to define and measure who consumers are within the limits of the IB because the Ontological Teleology is the great simpliciter and regulator of itself without further external reference outside the OM and IB. Either consumers are or they are not within these empirical boundaries.377 For example, natural selection as Ontologically Realized through the OT demonstrates a survival of the fittest, telos, or Lean end-goal of true-north value for genes378 to exist to a greater degree. So, while all consumers optimize themselves against universal possibilities, the OT simpliciter is what gets Ontologically Realized because it is ontologically self-reinforcing, which is what allows you to measure it. Within the IB, the only thing that matters is what certainly is with a fairly high confidence, while keeping in mind what is not, and what may be.

Thus, this measurable, ontologically, teleonomically, purposive aspect of the universe results in consumers who have teleologically, purposefully, and subjectively cognitive faculties with independent agency that furthers their apparently tautological, Ontologically Teleological goal of extending and optimizing their existences by in-part buying and consuming the products you produce for money. Just because the ultimate goal of universalization is hypothetical, that does not invalidate its practical application to the here and now in order to make more money.379 Consumers have a purposefulness that generally conveys a survival advantage and provides a higher standard of existence to them through their ability to spend money and consume energy to the greatest degree of all.

The Open-Ended Paradox of the OT

However, the OT through which consumers exist to a greater and greater degree appears paradoxical in an open-ended sense, since the origin of being and knowledge only seems self-defining when you bracket out intuitive speculation. Said another way, within the bounds of what people commonly experience, scientist, business person and theologian alike must all be collectively, intersubjectively agnostic while personally and professionally speculative about whether or not the OT ultimately self-defines what purpose their existences may have.

This existential condition leaves consumers either:

  1. Personally or publicly declaring irresolvable ignorance as to the ultimate causation of the OM in an agnostic sense;
  2. Attempting to leap beyond the apparently tautological, Ontological Teleology in an otherwise unexplained universe by thinking and acting irrationally;
  3. Engaging in intuitive spiritual, theistic, or scientismic belief and speculation as a rational response to the apparent paradox of the OT by placing faith in:
    1. A spiritualism that may or may not be commonly experienced;
    2. In one or more deities that may or may not be commonly agreed; or
    3. In the Principle of Sufficient Reason, Axiom of Causation, RCA and/or 5 Whys due to science’s consistent explanatory success.

Most people actually seem to live day-to-day by simultaneously engaging in a mix of all three of these strategies. As you know from experience, some people conflate intuition with processual or axiomatic facts. Some people profess and orient their actions toward their intuitive beliefs out of ignorance. Or, some people profess belief in intuitive truths to conform to society but otherwise live like pragmatic agnostics. And others still hold personally intuitive beliefs that go against the OT and what appears to be their self-interest even after being fully educated as to why, what and how they are within the OM and IB to the best of existing knowledge. While all of these responses to the OT allow consumers to exist with the least cognitive dissonance vis-a-vis the apparent tautology of the OM within the IB, very rarely if ever do consumers execute any one of these strategies consistently throughout their entire lives.

Instead, consumers employ a complementary mix of these strategies to uniquely/profitably extend and optimize their existences within the OM. For example, intuitive speculation allows consumers to conceptualize what is hypothetically possible in their hearts and imaginations, but is not (yet) Ontologically Realizable.380 Consumers then test whether such intuitive speculation results in their experiencing a greater Ontological Realization of who they are. Such intuitive speculation also functions as a method for consumers to test their self-organization with passion and meaning to reinforce and validate (or not) their non-circular, personally intuitive true-north values. This passion play gets repeated until consumers switch to agnosticism or scientism, or just act a little crazy to see what happens, to see whether such other strategies more effectively enhance their standard of existence.

Whatever consumers happen to intuitively speculate gets validated to the extent it expands the volume and velocity of those consumers’ Ontological Realizations, which is equivalent to who, why, what and how they are and all Lean value. From a Darwinian, processually systemic perspective, within the bounds of the universe, IB and OM, people’s conscious experience and activity is simply an endeavor to ontologically reinforce their survival as the leanest through offspring, monuments, memoirs, academic theories, charitable foundations, pseudonymous corporations and the like. Even if you assume a logical circularity of purpose within the IB, the increasing organization of nature within the OT leads somewhere, most namely to universalizing people through successive regenerations onward and upward in an Ontologically Teleological fashion. Thus, intuitive beliefs constitute a rational response to the soft paradox of the OT and are effective so long as they facilitate and do not hinder people’s overall expansion and optimization.381

For example, imagine passengers’ journeys if you were an airline serving food to people with religious beliefs. If those religious beliefs forbade eating certain types of food, like spaghetti, then the airline’s food should conform to passengers’ intuitive true-north values for religious purposes as well as their process true-north values by being nutritious. At the same time, the act of serving the nutritious, religiously observant food cannot conflict with the axiomatic or systemic truths applicable to all people, like the ability for other passengers to have nutritious food. The food ought to reciprocally conform to all passengers’ various forms of intuitive speculation as well within a free society. All these true-north values must somehow cohere within the singular, overlapping consensus382 and seemingly open-ended paradox of the universe. You can witness this existential sentiment reflected in the, “COEXIST” stickers commonly adhered to the backs of people’s automobiles:

Figure 3.20: The Coexist Logo (®Coexist, LLP, www.coexistonline.com, produced by www.northernsun.com item #7167)
Figure 3.20: The Coexist Logo (®Coexist, LLP, www.coexistonline.com, produced by www.northernsun.com item #7167)

Even scientismists admit that they do not know precisely how existence originated within several sigmas of confidence, and so they themselves hold personally intuitive, scientismic beliefs when existentially pursuing their work. So, whether you are a scientismist or not, you must recognize the extreme ignorance and the apparent tautologies, circularities and paradoxes in which all researchers and consumers find themselves existing regardless of their speculative persuasion.383 People have no axiomatic or systemic explanation for what originated within the boundaries of the OM. At the same time, you likewise must appreciate that while intuitive true-north values are not axiomatically or systemically valid, they are Ontologically Realized within consumers’ personal perspectives (i.e. within their hearts, memories and imaginations). This may affect what and how customers purchase from you when you orient the production of product toward their true-north values through the philosophy of Lean.

Consider further that the apparently circular nature of the OM within the IB would be shattered if all fully-informed people willingly agreed to at least a Lean two sigmas (≥/2σ) of common agreement that a self-causing intuitive true-north value, like a deity, was one of Aristotle’s efficient or final causes. This may in fact have been the case in ancient times within highly theistic societies. For example, at any religion’s peak, did at least 95% of the informed population truly consider its dogmas to be systemic truth-values if not axiomatic truth-values? Did these theologies bring their dogmatically stated, efficient-first or final-teleological causes from outside of the IB to inside the IB as a universally axiomatic or processually systemic true-north values for their adherents?

Even if so, those theistic truths had to be ontologically validated to hold onto believers and continue to exist over time. Theologies ultimately live and die over time by their true-north viability, which is the Ontological Realization of their professed adherents within the OM.384 Even where one or more people hold an intuitive true-north value, that personally held intuitive truth-value either does or does not obtain by creating Ontological Realization over time when interacting with other axiomatic or systemic truth-values and religions. This is the process by which speculative true-north value gets created and tested for falsification.

Silly Suds

A rather silly example of this dynamic is the “Pastafarian” movement started at the turn of this millennium. In 2005, a small group of people called themselves Pastafarians and satirically agreed that a Flying Spaghetti Monster® both created itself and the known universe. Pastafarians started doing that to protest the Kansas Board of Education’s decision to teach intelligent design in Kansas schools, evoking the famous 1925 “Scopes Monkey Trial”385 challenging the teaching of evolution in Tennessee public schools.386

Pastafarians satirically held that people’s Ontological Teleology would be to serve the wishes and purposes of the Flying Spaghetti Monster®. The Pastafarians’ proposed that the Flying Spaghetti Monster® (the “FSM”), as its greatness is officially called, was either a Universal or Process true-north value, which may also be considered to be an objective fact with large degree of certainty.387

Figure 3.21: Flying Spaghetti Monster®, "Touched by His Noodly Appendage" (Public Domain)
Figure 3.21: Flying Spaghetti Monster®, “Touched by His Noodly Appendage” (Public Domain)

If you want to know why the FSM held such satirical sway, presume for a moment you and all consumers are in-fact Pastafarians. If so, the FSM would be an axiomatic truth, keeping all else you know the same. In that case, Pastafarians’ existential purpose within the OM would still appear as if it was Ontologically Teleological, with the goal still being to become universalized in juxtaposition to what may be not. Keeping all else the same, including a presumption of free markets, you would still ask how the FSM’s new axioms may interact with previously known axioms to increase Pastafarians’ Ontological Realization upward through the OT. Thus, the Pastafarians would become customers and buy a product based on that product’s real or perceived ability to increase their Ontological Realization through the OT in coordination the new, axiomatic fact of the FSM. The Pastafarians would do this by adapting their consumption of product to all the dogmas of the FSM, whatever they may be, to best extend and optimize their existences under this new deity.388

On the flip-side, presume you and all people are not Pastafarians but rather scientismists who believe science has the ultimate explanatory power for what caused the OM beyond the IB. Presume further that a scientismist’s dogma is that existence is fully expressed in string theory, much like Pastafarians believe in pasta. This string theory says that this universe in which consumers now reside is but one possibility of an infinite number of Ontological Realizations, with each string representing infinitely many possible universes. In that case, consumers would accept that fact and continue to shop much the same. Customers would still seek to become further Ontologically Realized as they define themselves by buying product unless a string somehow caused their behavior to change. Whether the Pastafarians or scientismists were correct would not necessarily change people’s consumption patterns without further guiding detail to each of their dogmas.

Thus, the OM contains within itself today teleological, goal seeking customers looking to further their own existences by shopping up along the OT as if this was the only universe that mattered. Thus, we now move along the Ontological Teleology within the universal value stream to Value Stream 4: Lives, to consider the OM generally as teleologically ontological for the sake of clarity and to show some continuity with the history of philosophical thinking about true-north value and all meaning for living things. I will use “Teleonomy” only to the extent I intend to specifically indicate a goal directedness based on the measurable, dynamic confluence of axiomatic and systemic true-north values within the OM as bracketed by the IB with at least two sigmas (≥2σ) of confidence.

Value Stream 4: Lives

Value Stream 4 A3 Report:

  • The self-organization of matter and energy within the OM leads to supervening levels of existence
  • Thinking of life’s emergence in lean terms as a form of adaptation, regeneration and energization provides a philosophical perspective on modern evolutionary theory that may be applied universally to all consumers and organizations
  • By this definition of life, even a stream of water is alive to the smallest degree
  • Basic, biological activity is the first place were knowledge gets transmitted across generations of living systems to improve those systems’ overall existence
  • Cognitive activity further optimizes the storage, transmission and application of knowledge toward improving those living systems’ existences
  • Intentional, cognitive activity adds an element of self-interest to this process, thereby greatly increasing the ability for organisms to adapt, reproduce and energize
  • Increasingly self-conscious organisms like consumers have had an advantage to date of improving their lives by being able to better imagine how their self-interest gets optimized by the different decisions they make – but their advantage is ultimately tested by whether or not they are relatively short-lived
  • Meaning gets created to the degree living systems actually universalize themselves through the above processes

Now go along the universal value stream to lean through what life (or “命” in Kanji) really is. Consider how consumers’ lives and organizations’ viability emerged within the Ontological Medium. Think about how universal truth-values led to the processes by which consumers personally find themselves in the seemingly self-defining paradox of the OT. See how these value streams wound their way through the OM within the IB toward the seemingly limitless ocean of true-north value that all life and conscious existence is. This form of Lean metaphysical thinking about consumers’ lives within an HQ ought to flow from Descartes’, “I think, therefore I am,” being a distinct cause and effect, toward a possibly tautological, “We are, therefore we will be.” Your business ideology within the metaphysics of Lean likewise ought to head in circles, similar to a tornado or whirlpool, to greater and greater effect.

As an organization advances up the universal value stream in this way, you more clearly see consumers explicitly or implicitly finding meaning in their lives in the difference between what is within the IB and what not. Thus, each department of an organization ought to produce products that in-turn attempt to energize and optimize this meaningful difference in consumers’ lives through the processes of the ID Kata at each level, as seen again here:

Figure 4.1: U/People Organizational Chart
Figure 4.1: U/People Organizational Chart

Customers Self-Organize Upward Along the OT

The self-organization of living systems within the OM leads to consumers finding themselves in the open-ended, nearly tautological paradox of the OT running up through this busy universe. These physical and biological theories describing living, natural systems eventually self-organizing into consumers provides another perspective on why customers consciously buy and consume product. To give you a notion of how old this idea of self-organization is, consider the fact that in his 1633 book, ‘‘The World,” Descartes wrote that order tends to arise naturally from the universal laws operating in the chaos of the cosmos. He wrote that the origin and course of the planets and comets in general, “…were so extended and so impeding that, when they collided with one another, it was easier for several to join together.”389 Scientists today simply rephrase this principle of teleonomic physical interactions in terms of modern scientific knowledge.

Science increasingly tests scientismic theories to explain why living consumers emerged from raw matter within the OM in an upward orientation to the OT to become who they are today. These scientismic explanations revolve around exploring the self-organization of complex structures from chaotic, dynamic systems of the universe, like the study of planetary ecology. These theories model processes that ultimately created consumers’ Ontological Realization. Consumers’ OT processes successively depend on each other to become Ontologically Realized in upward, self-organized fashion due to physical, chemical and biological axioms and systems. These processes get driven even further upward when consumers purchase and consume the products you produce.

Life itself constitutes and constructs one of the most sophisticated aspects of existence, the greatest of all, “Strategically Unique Degrees of Sophistication” (SUDS).390 “Strategic,” in SUDS means the teleological end-goal of Ontological Realization, “Unique” means that which strategically succeeds among all neo-Darwinian games, and “Degrees” means the variously differentiated SUDS you experience in the universe. Therefore, “Sophistication” means an organisms’ strategically unique degree of self-organization that allows it to further and better live by adapting, regenerating and energizing. An organism’s SUDS measure its dependence on various axiomatic and systemic true-north values and its ability to downwardly manipulate them in order to improve itself within the OM. Doing that in the universe requires an organism or organization to pursue a specifically lean angle or vector of true-north value while contributing toward greater degrees of systemic sophistication overall. Adding products to the universal value stream creates more SUDS.

If you intuitively believe that life arose from supernatural causes intervening within the OM and disagree with scientismists’ claims that supernatural causes do not, consider these constraints that scientismists propose for their hypotheses about how life began to work physically:

  1. The time over which these processes occurred since the inception of the universe over an estimated 13.7 billion years; and
  2. The size of the universe to the extent we can even detect it due to the limiting factor of the speed of light.

When you think about the universe that way within the IB, these scales make the probability of a single strange physical dynamic called “life” exceptional but not completely outside the possibility of axiomatic and systemic explanation.

Self-Organizing and Supervening Levels of OT Sophistication: From SOOT to SLOTS

If life is considered to have no larger teleological purpose in this way, then a person may say that a simple molecule has no more meaning than a cellular organism within the OM. Along that same line of reasoning, a person may further say that a cellular organism has no more inherent meaning than a mammal, and a mammal than a person within the IB. All this is true within the conceptual lens of the IB but for the fact that different types of life relate within different Strategically Unique Degrees of Sophistication juxtaposed to what is Not Ontologically Teleological (i.e. what is “NOT”).391 What is not NOT in a double negative sense is Self-Organizing Ontological Teleology (SOOT) within the OM, creating all that matters.

Super Supervenience

The process of Self-Organizing Ontological Teleology forms dependencies between one level of existence to the next through what is technically called, “Supervenience.”392 Supervenience is an important concept within the OT for you to understand how to lean an organization philosophically. The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘‘Supervenience” as:

2. Philos. The dependence of one property or quality on another for its existence.

From this perspective, certain properties, qualities, and/or truth-values depend on one another as a hierarchy of living existence. From this view, society depends on psychology, which depends on life, which depends on biology, which depends on chemistry, which depends on physics. Vice-versa, the composition of physics determines chemistry, which eventually through much complexity determines the foundational rules of sociology.

Thus, from the perspective of supervenience, cosmological SOOT further self-organizes into Strategically Unique Degrees of Sophistication (SUDS) that become Supervening Levels of the Ontologically Teleological Systems (a “SLOT” or “SLOTS”).393 These SLOTS emerge as levels of living existence,394 built upon the universal, axiological true-north values of natural laws ascending via processes into living animals with cognition, intention, and eventually a sense of meaning - like consumers.395 SUDS and SLOTS are embodied in everything from genes to memes (i.e. the cultural or behavioral “genes” of coordination, cooperation and imagination396). Thus, the supervenience of SOOT into SUDS, and then SUDS into specific SLOTS, occurs through axioms and systems interacting within the bounds of the Ontological Medium and what knowledge consumers pass on from one generation to the next.397

For example, just think about how Lean Metaphysically supervenes on Lean, and Lean in-turn on the cultural and intellectual legacy of Eastern and Western philosophies. Consider further within Lean how consumers pull the production of product up through these SLOTS as we have described them. For another example, think about how an organization produces washing machines that energize and reproduce chemical reactions with soap. Since consumers need clean clothes to live, consumers’ biological processes in one SLOT require these washing machines to utilize chemical reactions that function within a physical SLOT for which no axiomatic self-causing cause is known. Who or what created the SLOT in which the physics behind soap operates? No one knows with axiomatic certainty, but all supervening SLOTS collectively produce delightfully clean consumers.

To illustrate these different SLOTS whether produced by living systems or not, below are three pictures that relate universal, processual and personal true-north value SLOTS: (1) of a Whirlpool Galaxy self-organizing at a cosmic scale; (2) a whirlpool of water self-organizing in nature; and (3) a manufactured Whirlpool® washing machine existing as an extension of consumers’ need to clean SOOT out with soap.

Figure 4.2: From left to right, 1. Whirlpool Galaxy (Universal True-North Value) © 2005 NASA (Public Domain); 2. Whirlpool of Water (process True-North Value) © 2011 CC BY-SA 3.0; 3. Whirlpool® Washing Machine (Commercial True-North Value) © 2015 Whirlpool Corporation http://www.whirlpool.com/ (NYSE: WHR)
Figure 4.2: From left to right, 1. Whirlpool Galaxy (Universal True-North Value) © 2005 NASA (Public Domain); 2. Whirlpool of Water (process True-North Value) © 2011 CC BY-SA 3.0; 3. Whirlpool® Washing Machine (Commercial True-North Value) © 2015 Whirlpool Corporation http://www.whirlpool.com/ (NYSE: WHR)

The interrelation between these supervening SLOTS means that they get manifested at each level of sophistication. These inter-dependencies also mean that any given star, planet or washing machine could have looked quite different with a slight change in its production process. Slight differences in their formation could have arisen due the notional “butterfly effect,” meaning that small differences across spacetime can have large effects at the largest scales. Given this extreme variability as to what becomes a fact, you must compare what you think ought to be with what you know is NOT by examining the processes of Ontological Realization. For example, compare the creative processes and aesthetic beauty represented in both the image below from the Hubble telescope composited over a nine-year period398 and the image of a kaleidoscope of butterflies next to it. Consider what a small change in certain natural processes might have rendered at these scales and whether you would change a thing:

Figure 4.3: Hubble Telescope, Visible and Near Infra-red Light Spectrum of the universe © 2012 NASA (public domain); "Kaleidoscope of Monarch Butterflies" (© 2016 Dr. Lincoln Brower, Used with Permission)
Figure 4.3: Hubble Telescope, Visible and Near Infra-red Light Spectrum of the universe © 2012 NASA (public domain); “Kaleidoscope of Monarch Butterflies” (© 2016 Dr. Lincoln Brower, Used with Permission)

Supervenience of Weather, Money and Consumers

You witness in everyday business how each of the supervening SLOTS feeds higher levels of living sophistication. Such aggregate, supervening complexity often takes on a life of its own through its own internal sophistication not easily explained by the lower level departments of an organization.

While you as a businessperson may attempt to forecast the viability of an organization to shareholders, no one in an organization could explain every thought or action taken by every employee that will reproduce that annual turnover. Analogously, while consumers perfectly understand the chemical interactions of H2O with the other primary elements in the atmosphere, they cannot predict the weather more than a few days in advance because they cannot model the interactions of every molecule in that system. The weather’s complexity supervenes on particle physics, giving it a secret life of its own, just like the money an organization produces.

For a more sophisticated example of supervenience, here is a fictional application of it in the future. The “transporter” on the television series Star Trek® operated by having people become atomically disassembled, transmitted and reconstructed in another place. These science fiction transporters beam people from one place to the next based on the premise that if people’s atoms get reconstructed properly at a new location, then people’s subjective consciousness and personal perspectives will follow along and supervene on their atoms in the new location as well.399

For a more realistic but sad perspective, people’s physical supervenience may also be seen in emergency rooms or nursing homes where you live. Who people are appears to change as a function of how their brains get damaged as their neurological processes stop or change from disease or injury.400 Any doctor will attest based on first-hand experience alone that people’s minds and thoughts undoubtedly supervene on their patients’ fundamental physical processes.

What Goes UPP Must Come Down

Thus, the notion of supervenience is generally one of upward causation from the less sophisticated systems with less Strategically Unique Degrees of Sophistication to higher SUDS. Generally SUDS are teleonomically purposive from one level upward to the next. However, at a certain point, consumers’ teleologically purposeful intentions push back down to similarly effect their aggregated, lower level systems that created their teleonomically purposeful intentions in the first place. This notion is one of common sense, but it is best to keep in mind that supervenience functions bi-directionally both upward and downward within consumers. Ultimately though, both directions of supervenience within consumers are bound by and get means tested against the Ontological Realization of who and why consumers are overall as living systems across spacetime.

Taking on a deeper, more speculative topic by way of further example, any question as to whether a soul supervenes on consumer’s physical processes (meaning a soul as something that exists beyond the OM and IB or may not be at all), or whether it continues when consumers’ brains no longer function, is only validated from consumer’s personal perspectives, since we cannot test whether a soul is in fact NOT. Whether a soul lives is a matter of intuitive speculation dealt with outside the IB.

The soul is a good example though of an intuitive truth-value that, given sufficient empirical support leaning toward at least two sigmas (/≥2σ) of common agreement among all fully-informed people, could make it a systemic or axiomatic truth-value. Interestingly, a Nielsen poll in 2014 shows that Americans lean right at a single sigma (/σ) on this issue with 68% of the general population agreeing to a soul’s living existence. However, I can only speculate what percentage of Americans may be considered fully informed on these issues.401

How Did People Come to Live? Living SLOTS Emerge

Thus, to intelligently discuss scientific explanations of how consumers’ true-north values supervened and advanced upward through the living SLOTS of the Ontological Teleology, you ought to limit a business ideology to the boundaries of shared universally, axiologically and processually systemic true-north values within the OM as bounded by the IB. To see clearly what is not intuitive within the Yin and Yang of a Lean business ideology, you ought to recognize the abstract notion that axiological and systemic true-north values, or reason itself, is defined in juxtaposition to what is Not Ontologically Teleological. Fortunately, science can help you in this endeavor when used within the metaphysics of Lean since science has continually advanced what is known about what consumers truly value and what is not. Science’s great virtue is that it provides evidence that may be empirically tested and perhaps falsified with a high degree of confidence – even if what is being hypothesized is not yet considered an axiomatic or systemic true-north value.

For example, discoveries in chemical systems show that, under certain conditions, non-living molecules such as proteins compete for resources. RNA teleonomically, purposively “competes” for chemical nucleotides to determine which replicates.402 Small differences in the configuration of these molecules may result in higher or lower reaction efficiency. Since chemical resources in these systems are finite, their variance leads more reactive processes that adapt, reproduce and energize to a greater extent than others. Less regenerative and adaptive chemical processes recede and eventually become NOT due to all the energy resources going to the more reactive processes.

Thus, within a scientismic explanation for life, the process of natural selection begins at the chemical level. In fact, this type of chemical system - unlike the more common chemical reactions you study in beginning chemistry – is more like a tidal wave in that it only achieves a form of stability when it continuously changes. In this conjectured explanation for life, the chemical system maintains its Ontological Realization as a consistent process within the OM upward along the curved arrow of spacetime until it somehow fails to adapt to its environment, reproduce itself through reproduction or find a source of energy. You might think of these constant chemical changes producing a perpetual reaction to be much like an organization’s revenue streams that only appear to be relatively stable, if (hopefully) increasing, while consistently turning over time.

To best understand consumers’ and employees’ systemic origins and to measure and predict what they will normatively and really buy, look further at recent scientismic explanations for how consumers came to live from inert matter. To do this, we will look through the conceptual lens of the IB at the Ontological Realization of these universal, processual and personally scientismic true-north values.

Leaning Toward ARE SLOTS - Becoming Meaningfully Viable

I developed an “ARE” acronym, standing for Adaptation, Regeneration, and Energization, to test the necessary and sufficient processes that living systems like consumers - and organizations as a group of real people organized as a fictional person - must do to remain minimally viable.403 Everything consumers and organizations do is directed toward energizing their adaptation so they may ultimately reproduce.404 Similarly, all product must ultimately optimize all aspects of these ARE processes that we lean toward from a metaphysical and scientismic perspective to help remain minimally viable. Organizations lean toward ARE processes by adapting to market conditions, regenerating product ideas, and gathering the contractual power to further distribute matter and energy as profits throughout society. “ARE” is the organic inception of true-north value and all meaning within the OM when bounded by the IB.

The “Lean toward ARE” acronym ought to reflect how all consumers came to live and what produces their Ontologically Teleological motivation to buy product. Living systems like all consumers adapt to further live through specific Supervening Levels of Ontological Teleological Sophistication. This scientismic perspective then allows you to determine how to best improve consumers’ lives within the OM and IB through a meaningful exchange for money by presuming that the Axiom of Causation applies within the bounds of the IB. If you presume this, you could then logically intuit, infer, possibly induce and then deductively market test the extent to which an organization’s product helps consumers adapt, reproduce, and energize throughout the OM.

Consider the ARE acronym in reverse order; its inverse meaning is, “ERA.” Thus, performing ARE processes determines how long consumers will persist through time. The capital letter R represents “Regeneration,” which stands central to this ARE concept for ontological continuity, which is the Rubicon of all consumers’ value streams. Regeneration is necessarily and sufficiently supported by Adaptation and Energization because a system regenerating like a water fountain must also teleonomically find energy to perpetually adapt and reproduce at the most basic levels within the OM to still be considered a water spout.

As will be elaborated further below in this Value Stream 4, the epic of evolution generally over-emphasizes reproduction by individual organisms. Reproductive concepts often distract people from seeing regeneration by living systems as the higher abstraction better describing the Ontologically Teleological goal that all organisms (and organizations) have over time. Regeneration is what living systems most fundamentally do to maintain their identity against the forces of entropy and competition.

Reproduction in and of itself is not the process ultimately being satisfied. Rather reproduction, along with adaptation and energization, is a subset of the larger, possibly circular goal of extending and optimizing systemic regeneration. For example, consumers reproduce themselves to universalize their personal value streams both during their lifetimes and through their offspring.405 Reproduction is simply one method of regenerating their Ontological Realization further in spacetime once they pass away.

Living organisms like consumers do not intrinsically or necessarily want to reproduce for self-organization, but rather to increase the volume, velocity and effectiveness of their Ontological Realization that their offspring physically extend. Regeneration is the central true-value stream to which the tributaries of adaptation and energization contribute. Consumers’ lean toward ARE processes to adapt and consume energy to maintain or increase their functional structure and identity to the edge of senescence. Lean, living organisms want to reproduce because, as far as is known, biological organisms cannot perpetually regenerate within themselves indefinitely.406 Reproduction is one mechanism that organically arises as a matter of practical necessity to extend and perpetuate consumers’ Ontological Realization through adaptation and regeneration. Organisms must reproduce themselves in order to extend their lives and existences through their offspring.

Here is a diagram showing the start of ARE processes at the beginning of the universal value stream, which I will go ahead and symbolically shorten to “/ARE.” This diagram abstracts the notion that somewhere within the universe, IB and OM, the U/People business model becomes viable. This chart indicates how certain Strategically Unique Degrees of Sophistication arise into their own /ARE Supervening Level of Ontological Teleological Sophistication:

Figure 4.4: Universal Chart of SUDS Leaning Toward ARE SLOTS
Figure 4.4: Universal Chart of SUDS Leaning Toward ARE SLOTS

You / People

To understand what it means to lean toward ARE processes within the philosophy of Lean, you must understand what life truly is. However, the term Life with a capital “L” is difficult to define scientifically because Life is an informal and vague description of the things we consider to be alive because they self-sustain living processes.407 Nonetheless, the term Life has some scientific meaning because scientists commonly refer to the concept of, “Living Systems.” Life for scientists describes the boundaries between scientific fields such as chemistry, biochemistry and biology that ultimately produced consumers. No definition of Life could fully capture its meaning, especially for consumers as conscious beings, but you might find a lean, flexible statement of the qualities of living systems to make money meaningfully by better serving why, what, and how consumers are alive.

One General Definition of Life Proposed by a NASA Working Group

If you research a general definition of Life, you will probably find one created in the 1990s by NASA’s Exobiology Discipline Working Group (a.k.a. the, “Working Group”).408 The molecular biologist Addy Pross referenced this definition of Life in his book, “What is Life? How Chemistry becomes Biology”409 that extended Erwin Schrödinger’s famous 1944 book, “What is Life?”410 The definition of life that NASA developed within the Working Group was, “A self-sustaining chemical system capable of undergoing Darwinian evolution.” This definition is fairly compact and self-explanatory, but I think you would find it more helpful toward better understanding true-north value in the philosophy of Lean to hear from Dr. Gerald Joyce,411 who was a member of that NASA Working Group. Dr. Joyce described the more complex definition of “Darwinian evolution” as follows:

‘Darwinian evolution’ has an associated property list: you can’t have Darwinian evolution without self-replication or reproduction. You can’t have it without mutability, heritability, and variation of form and function. And metabolism is in there too. You can’t have Darwinian evolution without, at some level, a flux of higher-energy starting materials to lower-energy products that drive the processes of replication and whatever is necessary to support replication. And then there are the specialty properties like locomotion, irritability, ecological properties such as compartmentalization, and so on; those are all adaptations. And then things like photosynthesis, chemosynthesis, energy storage, and so on; those are just strategies of adaptation. All of that is subsumed by the ‘Darwinian evolution’ part.

Qualities of Living Qualities

NASA’s Working Group definition is a great start, but by looking at the concept of life in abstractly metaphysical rather than Darwinian chemical terms as you have been doing in much of this Value Stream 4, you could perhaps better philosophically describe Life’s qualities however consumers and organizations exhibit them. If you sufficiently broaden the qualitative description of Life, you might better analogize and relate its necessary and sufficient conditions to the para-sciences of business and economics. You might then perpetually improve consumers’ standards of living through time in the meaningful exchange for more money. If you include these broad, qualitative descriptors of living systems within the business ideology of a Lean HQ, here are a few criteria that I recommend you follow when doing so:

  1. Science recognizes that “Life” is more of a processually systemic true-north value than a thing per the Working Group’s definition, so any description of the qualities of Life ought to be processually systemic;
  2. A description of the qualities of living systems ought to be as efficient as possible under the guiding principle of Occam’s Razor;412
  3. If an organization lists different qualities of Life, they ought to be:
    1. Necessary, such that if one quality was removed, the process of Life would never obtain or would eventually cease; and
    2. Sufficient, such that no further process would be necessary to sustain an overall living system;
  4. An organization ought to want a statement of Life’s qualities abstracted to the highest true-north value possible to cover all physical and metaphysical contexts within the universe and be amenable to analogizing to more specific business fields; and lastly
  5. An organization ought to want a statement of qualities that is easy to apply and remember in an everyday context for all, especially if you analogize from the broad qualities of consumers as living systems and apply them across all organizational functions.

Lean Toward ARE Processes

The /ARE acronym provides the three necessary and sufficient qualities that consumers and organizations must possess to perpetually live. It provides a broad church for all forms of scientismic conjecture, hypothesis and theory about what life is however it may appear, not just when it is organic. /ARE is thus the philosophical abstraction and meta-modern synthesis of evolutionary theory. /ARE measures scientismic conjectures, hypotheses and theories about evolution based on the degree they each explain the Ontological Realization of living systems through Lean adaptation, regeneration and energization. You can lean toward ARE to analyze life as follows:


  • Adaptive (Anticipatory/Aligning):413 Living systems like consumers must systemically adapt to changing environmental factors to maintain and potentially extend their energization and regenerative processes, such as through natural selection. In addition to natural selection and other biological adaptation theories,414 adaptation also applies to consumers’ behavior within their lives in the common sense that consumers decide best how to extend and optimize their lives as living systems. Consumers adapt and align as living systems by leaning their Ontological Realization as that which best energizes and reproduces who they are in response to the information they experience within their demographic and environmental circumstances. Through these feedback mechanisms, consumers adapt according to how they are in fact Ontologically Realized, such as when deciding whether a product provided its anticipated benefits after purchasing and consuming it.415


  • Regenerative (Reproductive/Repairing):416 By definition, consumers as living systems adapt and consume energy417 as a physical axiom to reproduce their living processes within themselves or through their offspring, which generally involves some form of reproduction according to natural selection. To do so, consumers must adapt their energy transforming processes in order to continue to reproduce. The most effective living systems increase the size and/or sophistication of their energy transforming processes by increasing the volume, velocity and/or effectiveness of adaptation through time in order to reproduce even more. Per natural fitness, regeneration stands central to living processes but necessarily requires adaptation and energization within the OM; and


  • Energetic (Entropic/Endergonic):418 To support regeneration,419 consumers’ lives must ultimately increase universal thermodynamic equilibrium through transformational, material processes.420 Since energy is an abstract collective concept,421 the vital question422 for consumers as living systems is how they combine or match energy processes,423 as exemplified literally by the pathway of sun to photosynthesis to food, and figuratively in their motivation to purchase product.424 Ultimately consumers’ must synthesize metabolic energy to better live, exist and shop in ways they believe are best. But for this qualitative definition of life, consumers like all life must constantly seek potential energy in order to further their own adaptive and regenerative activities. All life must do this either through direct consumption, or by matching external energy within their own internalized energy conversion pathways, whether unintentionally (i.e. teleonomically) such as how plant life grows toward energy, or purposefully (i.e. teleologically) like how consumers shop at grocery stores.425

This tripartite, scientific conception of ARE - adaptation, regeneration, and energization - orients itself with the Buddhist concept of pratītyasamutpāda introduced in the last Value Stream. See how Dalai Lama XIV defines “pratītyasamutpāda” as a reliance upon three conditions, which you may apply analogously to the three key elements of the ARE acronym within the philosophy of Lean:

In Sanskrit the word for dependent-arising is pratītyasamutpāda. The word pratitya has three different meanings–meeting, relying, and depending–but all three, in terms of their basic import, mean dependence. Samutpada means arising. Hence, the meaning of pratītyasamutpāda is that which arises in dependence upon conditions, in reliance upon conditions, through the force of conditions.426

According to Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, this Buddhist aphorism provides a physical analogy for this pratītyasamutpāda concept that, “Three cut reeds can stand only by leaning on one another. If you take one away, the other two will fall.”427 Likewise, the Christian concept of the holy trinity dictates that the Christian God is dependent on the three identities as father, son and holy-spirit. Similarly, life is necessarily and sufficiently dependent on all three distinct but interrelated ARE processes in a scientismic, meta-physical and personal sense.

How Far ARE You Leaning Toward Consumers?

I am sure you recognize the three principal ARE qualities of living systems in consumers, by how consumers adapt, reproduce and energize. The duration of any living system’s era can be measured by the time it successfully leans toward ARE processes. These ARE processes are lean (or “/”) because they fundamentally, necessarily and sufficiently define who, why, what and how all consumers are within the IB. Consumers physically energize by eating well, but they also energize metaphorically. For example, consumers figuratively energize themselves through education with information and by developing new relationships in person and online. Thus going forward, energizing means consumers doing so in their lives both literally and figuratively.

Consumers likewise reproduce who they are biologically, personally, financially and socially. They reproduce biologically during their lifetimes against old age and through their descendants by consuming nutritious energy, personally through their psychological maturity, financially with their income used to pay for product, and socially by sustaining relationships. Likewise, consumers adapt to the changing circumstances of their lives directly or indirectly through evolution. As long as consumers, their descendants and their societies successfully lean toward ARE processes to their limits, consumers will all continue upward along the spiraling arrow of time as consistent living systems as long as physically possible, thereby increasing their total lifetime value as customers to organizations.

How Lean ARE an Organization’s Processes?

Given the breadth of this description of consumers as living systems for a Lean business ideology, you may now further apply ARE living processes analogously to any organization. An organization must energize through commodities and human capital by converting those resources into adaptive and regenerative business purposes. An organization must reproduce new product and profits, and it must adapt to changing circumstances by conducting regular Strengths and Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (i.e. “SW/OT”) analyses within its competitive context.

Given that an organization is a group of people, an organization must likewise convert its energizing inputs into greater structure through the product it reproduces. The product must enhance the structure of life because in the long run, perfectly functional societies regulate away organizations that reproduce money with no normative value, and thus no truly meaningful, true-north value. While keeping in mind the significant problems of money’s reflection of the true-north value stream as described in Value Stream 2: Money & Economics, an organization can approximately measure the meaning of the money it produces through the energizing earnings it retains. Since making money meaningfully means extending and optimizing people’s lives and existences for adaptation and regeneration overall, an organization and its product becomes an energetic, physical part of consumers’ ARE processes, supporting their lives from below and within.

Apple of My “i”

You can make more money meaningfully by leaning an organization and its technology by extension toward ARE processes. For example, you can see Apple, Inc. lean toward ARE processes at the micro-economic level with the iPhone product and its related apps, since “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”428 Apple, Inc.’s product exemplifies how apps lean toward ARE processes to determine the era of a specific organization by similarly leaning toward Apple’s customers:429

Figure 4.5: Steve Jobs promoting Apple in 1987
Figure 4.5: Steve Jobs promoting Apple in 1987

Adaptation: Since adaptation relates to how an organization successfully recharges its energization and regenerating processes to better exist in its business environment, you must ask questions such as how is Apple adapting to its changing competitive landscape? What is Apple developing to take advantage of opportunities available to it in the current business environment that might not have existed last year or may in the future? If you review Apple’s risk factors described in its latest annual report, how is Apple adapting to minimize those threats? Given the perpetual introduction of substitutes for its CORE product, what is Apple developing to meet those threats or avoid them altogether?

Regeneration: Since regeneration relates to an organization’s outputs, you must ask questions such as how Apple reproduces highly demanded product through its energization and adaptation? How is Apple structuring its sales & marketing, finance & accounting, people services and operations to ensure it reproduces and grows revenues and profits in the short, medium and long-term to pay operating expenses, debt and dividends? How is it regenerating and growing equity gains to encourage further demand for its stock and ensure the perpetuation of its business? How is it regenerating new lines of product to delight consumers?

Energization: Energization relates to Apple’s figurative or literal inputs. For example, energization requires Apple to manage its human talent acquisition system to ensure it is attracting the most valuable employees it can. Energization requires asking how Apple makes sure that its vendors provide it with the best quality inputs for its products?430 What sort of competitive and marketing intelligence is Apple gathering? What is Apple’s corporate and technological acquisition strategy? What sources of financing is Apple seeking in debt and equity besides the earnings it retains? How is Apple ensuring the health, engagement, and creativity of its workforce to optimize the energy of its human capital? All these inputs energize Apple and are necessary for it to successfully adapt, reproduce and “charge” the best prices for its meaningful product.

Consumers’ Pocket Universe

If living systems’ eras lean on ARE processes, then Apple’s iPhone and its apps serve the discrete needs of Apple’s customers’ living ARE processes by leaning them to a higher degree.431 The information produced by Apple’s product inter-subjectively maps reality, including other people’s perceptions, to other people’s perceived reality in a converged consensus to better lean them toward ARE processes. Thus, the information provided to people by apps metaphorically energizes people’s adaptive and regenerative processes.

Adapting through Apps: Energizing social media and news feeds provide the information necessary for consumers to adapt to the changing circumstances of their lives. Weather apps allow people to adapt to their perpetually changing physical environment. Calendar apps allow Apple’s customers to adapt their schedules as necessary. Customers use fashion news to adapt their wardrobes to the latest clothing trends, or sports news to adapt their fantasy league teams each week.

Regenerating through Apps: In the most literal sense, dating apps allow customers to meet partners for continued vitality and offspring. Customers use health apps and wearable technology in order to optimally reproduce their well-being within their own lifetimes to the limit of their eras. Social media apps allow customers to create multiple, digital personas or avatars to virtually reproduce themselves online. Customers communicate with apps such as those that check into a physical location in order to reproduce friendships. Business apps allow consumers to reproduce their income that in-turn gets spent on product to lean their businesses’ ARE processes further and further upward.

Energizing through Apps: Apple’s customers must energize through new app information as necessary to fuel adaptation and regeneration, whether through algorithmic search suggestions, social media likes or fitness trackers. Customers use social media apps to energize their personal and professional networks. Customers energize through music recommendations, like Siri recommending Johann Sebastian Bach based on feedback they have given. Customers use restaurant, delivery and grocery apps to vitalize themselves with new food. Customers use fitness apps and trackers to energetically stimulate their activity.

All these uses for Apple’s Apps demonstrate the real-world application of the ARE acronym to all life and business. Let’s now look at evidence supporting this tripartite conception of all living systems starting with energization, which funds all adaptation and regeneration.

The Axial Age – Energizing Money and Intuition

The physical, metaphorical, and metaphysical concept of energization as a fundamentally Lean component of life is evident in the book, “The Measure of Civilization,” written by Stanford historian Ian Morris.432 Morris provides significant data showing a statistical correlation between the development of money, vitality, and energy capture by people during a period of history Karl Jaspers termed the “Axial Age.” Karl Jaspers if you recall is the same philosopher who coined the term “Σxistenz” discussed in Value Stream 3.433

In “Measure,” Morris assesses the development of people by their, “…abilities to get things done in this world,” which Lean Metaphysically equates with doing things that lean toward adaptation, regeneration and energization. Morris remarks that one of consumers’ most remarkable attributes is their ability to apply energy for non-food purposes as a measure of usefulness, which the philosophy of Lean describes as increasing adaptive activities in order to reproduce. Morris noted that sociologist Leslie White first championed energy capture as the main driver and measure of social development of all people.434 Morris further concludes in his book “Measure” that, “Energy capture must be the foundation for any usable measure of social development,”435 which social development we know precisely aligns with adaptation and regeneration.

Morris supported this argument with extensive data. The following charts show Morris’ estimated upward curve in the change of energy capture that occurred by people living in the Western world from 14,000 years before the Common Era to the turn of this millennium:436

Figure 4.6: © 2013 Ian Morris, Used with Permission
Figure 4.6: © 2013 Ian Morris, Used with Permission

More recently, you can see a chart from 500 years before the Common Era to the turn of this millennium here with similar effect. You can see an upward, exponential curve in energy consumption as meaningful society advanced:437

Figure 4.7: © 2013 Ian Morris, Used with Permission
Figure 4.7: © 2013 Ian Morris, Used with Permission

Another scholar, Jared Diamond, author of “Guns, Germs & Steel,” supported Morris’ claims by noting that people choose the means of production that yields the highest energizing and nutritional returns.438 More recently, a group of scholars in the journal, “BioScience,” conducted a quantitative study confirming the unsurprisingly powerful correlation between economic growth and energy consumption.439

Spaghetti Suds ARE Processes

Since energization, along with adaptation and regeneration, represents one of the most fundamental components of living systems and consumption, the ARE processes are like the Flying Spaghetti Monster® described in Value Stream 3 brought down to Earth, sitting in a pot of boiling water. Eventually, the combination of water and pasta plus heat creates persistent suds that float on the surface of the water to reach ever greater heights. Consider this process of boiling pasta as the most basic Self-Organizing OT developing a Strategically Unique Degree of Sophistication and emerging into a unique Supervening Level of OT Sophistication.

Figure 4.8: Boiling Water (Photo Credit: BGS)
Figure 4.8: Boiling Water (Photo Credit: BGS)

The chemically axiomatic and processual true-north values of the water and pasta form one SLOT, with the suds from the spaghetti and highly energetic, gaseous water having Strategically Unique Degrees of Sophistication in a higher, supervening SLOT. The suds energize from the interaction of the boiling water and spaghetti, with the bubbles continuously regenerating from that evolving system that consumers eventually strain, cool down and eat to live in the highest living SLOT within the known OM.440

The FSM is Not Dead441

This may be a shocking conclusion, but according to our definition of life from ARE processes, spaghetti suds are “teleonomically” alive. After the suds emerged from within the OM and they formed from the energizing water regenerating them, these suds to some small extent teleonomically adapt to perpetuate themselves by changing shape and size as necessary to the extent they can. These suds unintentionally, only by way of their physical and chemical structure, seek new sources of energy to reproduce with the single Strategically Unique Degree of Sophistication they hold onto. Even though the simple SLOT that these suds occupy is merely a chemical process, it is a living system because the suds to a small degree adapt and reproduce while they have a source of energy. The SUDS systemically, yet unintentionally, seek new sources of energy to perpetuate themselves ontologically in spacetime. And, from another perspective, the rising spaghetti suds are actually an extension of consumers’ own lives because while the suds supervene on spontaneous, teleonomic self-organization within the OM from chemical processes, consumers teleologically created these suds to energize themselves to become more of who they are and want to be as human beings.

Emergence of SUDS through SOOT into SLOTS

Beyond pasta suds, another living ARE process is that of a wave in the ocean. Once a wave begins, it appears to reproduce a single, stable column of water moving across space and time in a dynamic equilibrium. However, a wave is like the regenerating cells within consumers’ bodies, and an organization’s annual revenues, by constantly turning over but generally maintaining a consistent identity. The wave originates and gets Ontologically Realized while traveling through the Ontological Medium by constantly becoming composed of new water molecules and yet remaining defined as a consistent, yet greater, wave from a person’s personal perspective.442 Like suds arising in a pot, a wave teleonomically (i.e. unintentionally) reproduces and optimizes itself as a wave simply by increasing the upward pressure on its column of water. This dynamic is much like shareholders demanding greater share prices and dividends so they may consistently and increasingly identify themselves as awash in money - it’s their way of maintaining who they believe they are and becoming even wealthier people than they ever imagined themselves being.

Figure 4.9: Kanagawa-Oki Nami-Ura, "The Great Wave off Kanagawa" (© ~ 1829-32 (Public Domain))
Figure 4.9: Kanagawa-Oki Nami-Ura, “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” (© ~ 1829-32 (Public Domain))

A wave as a distinct identity systemically adapts to changing environmental circumstances. The wave energizes and becomes Ontologically Realized from the axiomatic and systemic forces operating within the water, and teleonomically reproduces until it is Not Ontologically Teleological. A wave changes its shape and maintains its identity in response to environmental forces as a very limited form of unintentional adaptation. Like suds, a wave is a “living” physical process, though with few Strategically Unique Degrees of Sophistication when compared to biological living systems that are relatively boiling over with them.443 The life of a wave is just much more transitory than most biology, and critically, cannot pass on knowledge from one wave to the next as to how to be and better become Ontologically Realized.

If you find this unbelievable, that a wave could be considered living like an organism at all, in response I say that people generally do not give most biological life much more consideration than waves in the ocean or rivers running into them. And in the inverse, some nations even legally codified this notion as a deductive fact. In March of 2017, New Zealand, at the request of the Māori tribe in its North Island, gave its Whanganui River legal status as a person with the same rights and protections as people.444 When this designation was awarded to the river, Gerrard Albert, the lead negotiator for the Whanganui tribe said:

We can trace our genealogy to the origins of the universe, and therefore rather than us being masters of the natural world, we are part of it… And that is not an anti-development, or anti-economic use of the river but to begin with the view that it is a living being, and then consider its future from that central belief.445

A week after New Zealand took this legal action, the high court in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand in India did the same for the Ganges and Yamuna Rivers, saying that, “The rivers are central to the existence of half of the Indian population and their health and well being. They have provided both physical and spiritual sustenance to all of us from time immemorial.”446 Thus, both New Zealand and India legally declared the lives of their people as supervening on and synonymous with these rivers in a continuous stream of life within the universe.

The Survivor Tree of Life

Now, in your mind, slow down the processes of the suds, waves, rivers and streams that lean toward ARE to witness these same living processes occurring in trees. Trees convert energy through photosynthesis, and increase energy transformation by structuring the biological processes of plant growth. Trees also increase universal entropy by reaching senescence and decomposing into inert matter while their offspring live on. To do this, trees regenerate within their lifetimes and adapt to changing environmental conditions through reproductive biodiversity. The difference between the movement of water and the growth of trees is one merely of complexity of their essential structures and transmission of knowledge between generations. Since trees lean toward ARE processes with the genetic knowledge passed on from one generation to the next, they have more SUDS to intrinsically adapt and energize to self-perpetuate their Ontological Realization. That which people most commonly call “Life” is that which has the power to reproduce itself across generations with knowledge in order to escape systemic senescence and thereby possibly universalize itself. This is what NASA and Dr. Joyce meant by, “…self-sustaining chemical system,” and is what trees and all that is generally considered living distinctly do. Thus, trees lean their ARE processes up into more sophisticated, living SLOTS than fountains, suds, waves rivers or streams in order to try and achieve everlasting salvation.

Of course, consumers take this adaption, regeneration, and energization so much further. Compare for example the “Survivor Tree” that has now regrown next to the One World Trade building in New York City that consumers built to remember where the original World Trade Center twin towers once stood. Both the Survivor Tree and the World Trade buildings have regenerated, with trees doing so teleonomically with consumers’ help and the new World Trade buildings being built teleologically with great purpose.

Figure 4.10: "Survivor Tree" in front of the One World Trade Building during its reconstruction in New York City (© 2012 Getty Images, Used with Permission)
Figure 4.10: “Survivor Tree” in front of the One World Trade Building during its reconstruction in New York City (© 2012 Getty Images, Used with Permission)

The Universal Constructor, Games of Life and Langston’s Ants

Beyond these limited chemical and biological examples, you can also see Supervening Levels of OT Sophistication emerging from human-made systems such as computer programs. While not alive in a natural sense, these human-made systems can help you more fully understand who consumers are as living systems that lean toward ARE processes. Computers do this by demonstrating how different forms of Ontological Realization arise from new, programmatic universes created within the one we live in.447 For example, through certain computer programs and their unique rules and codes, people can create new universes with unexpected results, like “The Lean Startup’s,” “Instant Message Virtual Universe,” even if the IMVU ultimately relies on people to give it life. Computer codes can be thought of by analogy as versions of natural laws creating a unique Ontological Teleology in their own domain. These computer programs may lead otherwise random processes to reproduce into sophisticated patterns of meaningful existence that spontaneously create new forms of Ontological Realization in the real world.

Universal Constructors

One such example of such a human-made programmatic universe was created by the early 20th century polymath John Von Neumann who devised a machine that could regenerate itself infinitely if it was provided sufficient matter and energy within the Ontological Medium. He called this machine a, “Universal Constructor.”448 Computer-scientists call Von Neumann’s hypothetical Universal Constructor a self-regenerating upper ontology that functions as a universal computing machine.449 The famous physicist David Deutsch has gone even further to say that Universal Constructors are not hypothetical at all. Instead Deutsch believes that they sit in U-shaped workspaces, add to shopping carts, and line-up in stores. He believes that employees and consumers, like these hypothetical machines, are themselves Universal Constructors since they already conceptualize and actualize what could be produced and purchased to extend and optimize themselves.450

Conway’s Games of Life

A more limited example of John Von Neumann’s Universal Constructor that Stephen Hawking discussed his book, “Grand Design,” is John Conway’s, “Game of Life.” Like the Universal Constructor, the Game of Life is a zero-player game whose evolution gets determined by its initial set of universal laws and programmatic upper-ontology. It is set in a field of squares like a large Reversi or Othello® board with square pieces, where programmatic rules direct which pieces change color. You can view a version of the Game of Life called “Gosper’s Glider Gun” being played out here:

Figure 4.11: Gosper's Glider Gun (© 2005 CC BY-SA 3.0)
Figure 4.11: Gosper’s Glider Gun (© 2005 CC BY-SA 3.0)

Keep in mind that these are not mere programs executing a predefined set of instructions to produce a specific, teleological result. Rather these are a set of rules governing otherwise chaotic interactions that produce the resulting animation merely as a teleonomic byproduct of laws that apply universally within the game. You can see the Game of Life played out at a larger scale here, with what is referred to as a triangular-shaped, “Puffer-type Breeder,” created teleonomically from pure randomness:

Figure 4.12: Game of Life, Puffer-type Breeder (© 2008 CC BY-SA 3.0)
Figure 4.12: Game of Life, Puffer-type Breeder (© 2008 CC BY-SA 3.0)

Langston’s Ant

Yet another people-made system is, “Langston’s Ant.” Langston’s Ant starts out on the Reversi grid and follows these simple, universal laws:

  1. If the ant is on a black square, it turns right 90 degrees and moves forward one unit;
  2. If the ant is on a white square, it turns left 90 degrees and moves forward one unit; and
  3. When the ant leaves a square, it inverts the color of the square it left.

As a result of these simple rules, the ant begins its randomized, teleonomic journey, that eventually forms a self-organized value stream up and to the right as can be seen here:

Figure 4.13: Langston's Ant Crawling Up and to the Right after 11,000 Cycles (© 2007 (Public Domain))
Figure 4.13: Langston’s Ant Crawling Up and to the Right after 11,000 Cycles (© 2007 (Public Domain))

Starting from a completely blank slate, Langston’s Ant produces the picture on the left after 386 moves, but after 10,647 moves, Langston’s Ant produces the rightward picture. If you look toward the right side of the second picture, you notice a distinct stream being constructed from the seemingly random operation of the rules of the game. The line builds onward and upward to the right, forming a distinctly sophisticated SLOT that altogether appears a bit like the logo for the Volvo Car Group®:

Figure 4.14: Logo for the Volvo Car Group®
Figure 4.14: Logo for the Volvo Car Group®

This reminds me of a passage from Proverbs 6.6 – 6.8:

While Von Neumann’s Universal Constructor, Conway’s Game of Life and Langston’s Ant may all be seen as analogies to how life originated from SOOT, none of these computer simulations are alive - they do not have the same SUDS forming the initial SLOT of life. If you compare the test for whether these programs lean toward ARE processes to the one for naturally self-organizing systems like suds, streams and trees, you can see certain differences. While each computer program can pass on knowledge from one generation to the next in the versions we make, and consumes electrical energy to regenerate its Ontological Realization within a machine, none of these software ontologies has the same Strategically Unique Degrees of Sophistication necessary to be deemed a living system because none can teleonomically or teleologically adapt to maintain its physical source of energy to sustain itself. Instead, while suds, streams, ants and consumers can unintentionally or intentionally best fit themselves to what energy may be available, computer programs cannot at present do so with the capacity of even a wave or stream.

And yet, all of suds, streams, ants and computer programs face a similar, yet distinct limitation. None can universally conceptualize and construct what dynamically adapts and continually energizes themselves so they can at least think about how to become perpetually reproduced. Neither streams, ants nor programs can conceive of their own existences – of being other than what and how they were “programmed” to be – if Langston’s Ant did for example, then it would be living in the machinations of history.451 We entirely control programs’ power switch (for now), which keeps them from truly living with a single degree of sophistication.

While none of these computer simulations lean toward ARE enough to be considered alive because they cannot autonomously energize within the OM and universe, you can see in John Von Neumann’s Universal Constructors, Conway’s Games of Life and Langston’s Ants how sophisticated structures emerge from chaotic interactions occurring within software ontologies. For example, you can analogize the diversity of self-replicating gliders arising within a Game of Life to consumers’ own lives emerging from within the universal and process true-north values of the OM.452 Consumers’ highest teleological SLOT lies well beyond the teleonomic one in the general Game of Life, putting customers in a land where they question everything, including their own lives, existences and ways of consuming.

From self-organizing, non-biological systems, you can see a possible scientismic explanation for how plant and animal life initially emerged from the seemingly arbitrary yet entirely cohesive rules of nature. You can see a process of complex, self-catalyzing chemical interactions supplanting one another through natural selection, and how that chemical system bred living organisms called people. You can even see a scientismic explanation for how consumers developed into the thriving organisms that they are today from universal, axiomatic laws interacting with chaotic processes up and along the twisting history of the OM across all time.453

The Great Chain of Being

In 1935, the American philosopher Arthur Lovejoy gave a lecture at Harvard, in which he noted that the history of scholarship, from the ancient Greeks through the Romantic period, propelled an idea about life and consumers’ position within it called, “The Great Chain of Being,” based on the more philosophical Principle of Sufficient Reason and the Principle of Plenitude.

As you know already, the Principle of Sufficient Reason is synonymous with the Axiom of Causation and Lean Root Cause Analysis, holding that every cause has a prior one leading back to a self-causing cause in the Gemba as the source of all production through the process of Genchi Genbutsu. The self-causing cause in turn determines the purpose of each subsequent cause, including why consumers buy at all. The Principle of Plentitude further states that, within the Principle of Sufficient Reason’s stream of causes, all that could be already in fact is given the constraints present at any point in time. The Principle of Plentitude is thus similar to modern physicists’ conceptions of string theory and fecund universes, in the way those conjectures state that all possible universes that could exist in fact do. The Principle of Plentitude is thus the inverse and logical equivalent of Murphy’s Law, which states that everything that could go wrong in fact will. For ancient thinkers, the principles of sufficient reason and plentitude thus made this world the most perfect of all possible worlds, creating within it, “The Great Chain of Being.”

However, both the Principle of Sufficient Reason and the Principle of Plentitude relied on speculative, intuitive true-north values rather than the quantitatively empirical, axiomatic and systemic validity that we rely on for most new true-north value today. The Great Chain of Being assumed two notions that:454

  1. The world, usually as created by a deity, was perfect and full with all aspects of existence; and
  2. Each part of existence was connected to each other in a stream of life and existence, with one category interlinked with the next.

The Great Chain of Being itself somewhat mirrors modern physicists’ conception that the universe must be consistent with consumers’ existences as they actually are since the world is coherent with universal, true-north values in all ways, both naturally and commercially. As stated by Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater Associates in his manifesto, “Principles”:455

Though how nature works is way beyond man’s ability to comprehend, I have found that observing how nature works offers innumerable lessons that can help us understand the realities that affect us. That is because, though man is unique, he is part of nature and subject to most of the same laws of nature that affect other species.

Here is a 1617 schematic depicting The Great Chain of Being, which not coincidentally happens to look a lot like a slide from a presentation given inside Bridgewater Associates of the financial success they will achieve by following Ray Dalio’s “Principles” in a capitalist system:456

Figure 4.15: Great Chain of Being (circa 1600s (Public Domain))
Figure 4.15: Great Chain of Being (circa 1600s (Public Domain))

As every grade school student knows, the concept of evolution first proposed by Jean Baptiste Lamarck and of natural selection first explained by Charles Darwin dismantled The Great Chain of Being. The often retold “Epic of Evolution” folded intuitive, non-formal explanations for life like The Great Chain of Being into its explanatory grasp.

However, The Great Chain of Being is important to understand because of its intellectual legacy in business. For example, remnants of The Great Chain of Being can be seen carried forward in organizational charts from line workers in U-shaped workspaces up to the CEO walking the Gemba. To date, the Toyota Production System has produced a lineage of approximately 400 different types of Toyota passenger cars, 200 different types of commercial vehicles, and 120 other automotive vehicles. Toyota evolved the shape and function of each vehicle as each best fit its particular market at its given point in time. Like fecund Gods of the auto industry following the Principle of Plentitude, the chart of Toyota’s product line shows this lineage across time:

Figure 4.16: Chart of Toyota Production System's Lineage on Toyota-Global.com (© 2015 Toyota®, The full chart available at: http://www.toyota-global.com (last accessed Jan. 6, 2017))
Figure 4.16: Chart of Toyota Production System’s Lineage on Toyota-Global.com (© 2015 Toyota®, The full chart available at: http://www.toyota-global.com (last accessed Jan. 6, 2017))

Toyota’s® product lineage reflects the emerging viability of these products to leanly adapt, reproduce and energize over time symbiotically with these companies’ customers. These product lines only remain viable by serving customers’ needs for matter and energy as a means for them to adapt, reproduce and energize well by moving from one place to another.

Valuable Energy Streams are The Great Chain of Being

While The Great Chain of Being is a historical relic, each distinct living system, from viruses upward to more complex organisms like consumers, are interconnected through well-documented energy streams, like the connections in an organization’s supply chain.457 As originally described by the energization part of ARE processes, energy flows from sun to photosynthesis, to the matter and energy that consumers’ metabolic processes consume. This value stream flows from plants’ adaptation, regeneration and renewal of energy resources to other organisms’ use of that matter and energy for their own adaptation, regeneration and energization. This processually systemic value stream flows upward until it reaches consumers, resulting in who, why, what, and how they are through the twisting arrow of time. This is the modern version of the Great Chain of Being.

All organisms lean their ARE processes against the lower levels of the food chain in order to lean their own ARE processes in-line with the next level. Each bend in this stream of organisms transforms energy from one SLOT to the next. The sophistication of each SLOT gets measured by the downward supervening dependencies leaning against all other ARE processes within the ecosystem. This supervenience does not strictly correlate with the food chain, but a loose relationship is apparent.

To reflect this valuable energy stream, I show below a diagram of the sun’s energy becoming the U/People business model upward through a basic repetition of each organism’s ARE’s processes.458 Below you can see each lower level organism transformed by the energy originating from the sun “living” in the simplest physical SLOT upwardly energizing the next more sophisticated living system that is likewise leaning toward ARE processes until becoming lean people:

Figure 4.17: Energy from the Sun passed up through each organism's being
Figure 4.17: Energy from the Sun passed up through each organism’s being

You see here in this diagram what might otherwise look like the food chain, or “The Great Chain of Being,” conformed to what you know about how life adapts, reproduces and energizes within the OM and the various SLOTS cataloged throughout the history of science.459

Each living system within a given ecosystem, which really means every natural system, must adapt, reproduce and energize in order to live. But in a living ecosystem, imagine energy streams developing whereby one generally more sophisticated form of life in a SLOT feeds off the next. Each food stream may be seen as one new level of ARE processes as per the diagram above, with energy flowing ever further upward along the universal value stream.460 Each generation (and regeneration) downwardly depends on each next lower level, with each level adapting as necessary in order to live and exist.

To better understand this dynamic of supervenience acting up and down in both directions, think of how a waiter in an Italian restaurant carries a high stack of plates back to the Whirlpool® dishwasher. Imagine the plates being like the backbone of a single, living organism, such as an embodied version of the Flying Spaghetti Monster®. The mind of the embodied FSM would actively, downwardly align all of the lower plates to keep itself upright as a final cause. However in real life, the café waiter actively balances the plates from below like a lean, efficient, initial cause teleonomically directed to the end-goal of getting paid in good faith to h/er occupation.461

Through this analogy, you can see that each level of ARE processes within an ecosystem exerts energy upward and downward in and out of each processual system, such as the energy exerted by organisms converting energy from less sophisticated SLOTS to reach higher ones overall. For example, consumers’ own cells co-opt the energy from mitochondria within them when performing ARE processes, thereby allowing consumers to live and purchase more products from active businesses that produce them. These multiple energy sources may be applied analogously to the vitality of organizations, such as when outside investments inject energizing capital, thereby providing the contractual right to redirect the flow of matter and energy to organically grow a business’ profit and thus its Ontological Realization.462 Each investment is driven by the expectation that an organization will be further fueled by the cash it receives from the paying customers it charges further up the commercial food chain.

An Organization’s (B/ARE) Viability

Since the commercial viability of any organization depends on understanding who, why, what and how consumers are up through these valuable energy streams, you ought to now study what constitutes “Life” in more complex SLOTS that biologically lean toward ARE processes. You ought to extend your understanding of the ancient concept of, The Great Chain of Being, to see life from the perspective of why, what and however life may be Ontologically Realized by leaning toward ARE processes. Viruses exemplify the extreme boundary of what organisms we deem to be living that we can examine for this purpose. Like viral memes getting transmitted across social media, biological viruses exist at the margin of what may be considered cultured. And like viral memes, biological viruses adapt to changing environmental circumstances, reproduce through reproduction, and consume people’s energy to live.463

Like trees, viruses’ intrinsic ability to lean their energization processes across regenerations by passing on knowledge qualifies them as basically, biologically living. Taking the ARE acronym one step further, an ontological phase change occurs within the metaphysics of Lean at this point from teleonomic, Self-Organizing OT to the next, Supervening Level of OT Sophistication. Basic, biological activity becomes what you may refer to as “B/ARE” in Lean Metaphysically. B/ARE thus represents the initial instance where knowledge transmits across living systems. This knowledge improves the degree living systems exist across time. Our universal chart of living systems now shows SUDS conceptually bubbling up into these more sophisticated B/ARE SLOTS:

Figure 4.18: Universal Chart of SUDS Forming B/ARE SLOTS
Figure 4.18: Universal Chart of SUDS Forming B/ARE SLOTS

If you believe this scientismic B/ARE theory, consumers’ existences emerged from the OM, SOOT, and SLOTS to B/ARE existence, to biologically lean toward ARE living processes. That means that consumers as sensing beings adapted through natural selection, mutation, and psychological decision-making; regenerated through cellular repair and procreation; and energized such as through supervening dependencies on the energizing products they bought.

Consumers’ “being” results from their leaning toward biological processes to adapt, reproduce and energize. You may consider the theory of SOOT and B/ARE life as synonymous with neo-Darwinian survival of the fittest (or “leanest”), but with added Strategically Unique Degrees of Sophistication as to what lean “fitness” actually means in the broader metaphysical context of the universe, IB, OM and the business philosophy of Lean.

B/ARE as Modern Evolutionary Synthesis

Life itself in the form of B/ARE viruses evidences the intuitive possibility of more complex organisms like consumers self-organizing from within the dynamic system of the OM. You can understand how the proponents of The Great Chain of Being looked out into nature, reviewed the range of life, and saw how a spectrum of self-organizing, biological systems arrayed themselves with increasing sophistication from trees and viruses all the way up to consumers.

However, now with hindsight, we know the tremendously well documented pathways of adaptation, regeneration and energization in minute detail that evolved upward into more complex, living SLOTS.464 Since all organizations serve who and why consumers are as the most sophisticated living SLOT known within the IB, biological ARE processes most fundamentally determine the ontology and viability of organizations and their products. This is why and how B/ARE serves as a modern, high-level synthesis of the epic of evolution.

To gain further perspective on “B/ARE” as a modern evolutionary synthesis, reconsider the traditional Darwinian over-emphasis on reproduction we discussed earlier in this Value Stream 4. While reproduction accurately assesses the need to reproduce, traditional and even neo-Darwinism otherwise over-emphasizes reproduction over other qualities necessary to support who and why consumers are from B/ARE organisms upward into becoming consumers. Evolutionary theory is at once not abstract enough in describing B/ARE organisms’ and consumers’ three primary ARE activities on a metaphysical basis, and not specific enough in describing the necessary and sufficient qualities of “Life” itself on a scientific basis.

The higher, more abstract goal of all organisms is to perpetually renew through B/ARE processes regardless of the specific means of perpetuating themselves. Consumers need and want to increase the difference between what they are (and who they believe they are) and what is Not-Ontologically Teleological. Consumers’ reproduction is a specific method, technique and process for them to reproduce by further adapting and energizing. Consumers’ (and organizations’ to some extent) absolute need to renew themselves arises due to physical constraints of senescence in order to reproduce and is not an end-goal in itself. Instead, reproduction universalizes biologically leaning ARE processes so as to maximally avoid becoming NOT. Consumers avoiding becoming NOT does not absolutely require reproduction but rather regeneration. Regeneration flows upward along the Rubicon of consumers’ utmost value stream so you may chart a course with it toward the greatest profit by maximizing the difference between what is and what is not.

Survival is thus consumers better leaning up through the Ontological Teleology with their biological and organizational ARE processes in seemingly circular fashion to further be within (and perhaps outside) the boundaries of the IB. While Darwinism over-emphasizes the regenerative aspects of life through natural selection, it inevitably discusses life’s equal contingency on the processes of adaptation and energization.465 The concept of B/ARE level processes when applied to consumers and the decisions they make as human beings simply adds an increased emphasis on adaptation and energy gathering to what is both necessary and sufficient for living systems like consumers to live and further Ontologically Teleologically exist. B/ARE processes are the base layer of biological life that is best fit to lean against, but ultimately create ever more, entropy.

C/ARE Downward

Because consumers’ brains are the most supervening, sophisticated processes they have and use to better exist, consumers estimate the ontological significance of the SLOTs within themselves by the degree their own cognition eventually depends on them. I thus refer to the next most sophisticated SLOT as those organisms that cognitively lean toward ARE (“C/ARE”) processes like consumers do.

People often personally enact, or anthropomorphize, meaning for other thinking organisms that C/ARE to the extent they believe those organisms also constantly think about adapting, reproducing and energizing.466 Science fiction films often exemplify and explore this relationship between people and aliens that C/ARE in determining how much we might care for the extraterrestrials to the extend they might think like us. Just like how organizations pursue money as their end-goal, organisms that C/ARE also have an end-goal in mind, but it is moving up along (and ideally beyond) the Ontological Teleology.467

Once systems that teleonomically lean toward B/ARE processes within the larger dynamic of the universe, cognitive processes take control and supervene on B/ARE processes as a means of more effectively leaning up toward ever more effective ARE processes in a universal spiral, as shown here:

Figure 4.19: Universal Chart of SUDS Forming SLOTS that C/ARE
Figure 4.19: Universal Chart of SUDS Forming SLOTS that C/ARE

Natural selection reproduces cognition as a type of product to manage information for consumers to lean toward ARE processes. Cognition in organisms that C/ARE starts as a means of managing sense data, conceptualizing experiences, analogizing between them, and then abstracting concepts and other phenomena into further categories and classifications. A few organisms that C/ARE, namely consumers, developed the ability to conceptualize, abstract and categorize to such a sophisticated degree that they classified (and eventually articulated) who they are to themselves and each other as a form of humanism. Just like with cognition, imagine how an organization might similarly recreate a product that better optimizes opportunities for consumers to enhance how they self-reflexively, cognitively lean toward ARE processes. For example, consider a tool that might be sold to them that they thought they needed. In fact, some researchers believe that humans developed the ability to speak to and better understand one another as a type of new biological “product feature” within themselves for just this reason.468

Organisms that C/ARE have nervous systems that developed through a process called “cephalization” in order to better adapt and energize to further reproduce.469 Cephalization enhanced organisms’ ability to C/ARE in order to energize and adapt to their competitive environments, thus fueling those organisms’ Ontological Realization. Through the development of more SUDS within organisms that C/ARE, you can see the broad Ontological Teleology through which consumers logically developed in congruence with universal and processual true-north values. You can also see why all organisms that C/ARE, which include consumers, demand to adapt, reproduce and energize in order to better live and exist ad infinitum.

Simple organisms that merely C/ARE with no further thought in no higher SLOT, developed purposively/teleonomically, as opposed to purposefully/teleologically, since they respond with their nervous systems but not necessarily with self-reflexive intent. For example, can the cognitive responses of hydra and ants be all that different from plants leaning in the right direction toward that which energizes them? Fundamentally, hydra, ants, plants and consumers adapt, reproduce, and energize to perpetually live and exist in whatever SLOTS they fulfill. However, while exhibiting non-subjective, purposive characteristics, plants reach a limit in their ability to adapt and thrive without more sophisticated guidance and limbs given their cognitive and physiological constraints. Whole plant species die out perhaps a little more helplessly than caring animals because plants do not have the same cognitive agency and freedom of movement to adapt to their environments and make necessary changes. The SLOT that C/AREs simply provides one more pathway of persistence for living organisms and their organizations.

Up to the point of self awareness, certain organisms that C/ARE, like consumers, broadened their ability to analogize to such an extent that they conceptualized themselves, which gave them an additional degree of sophistication and ability to imagine ways the could better perform ARE processes. This distinction between purposive and purposeful organisms that C/ARE distinguishes all living processes. For example, unlike plants and ants, consumers possess the most purposeful degree of self-reflexive self-conception within the known OM, which improves their ability to leanly adapt, reproduce and energize by better processing and responding to internal and external stimuli.470 Consumers can imagine themselves avoiding past buying mistakes and trying out new products in their minds to make optimal purchase decisions to better lean toward ARE. Consumers’ self-aware self-interest has so far provided them with competitive advantages over becoming NOT with a Strategically Unique Degree of Sophistication. No other living system than people with their self-aware cognition has the capacity to adapt to such a sophisticated degree.

If considered from this process perspective, you can understand the development of teleological processes within consumers’ minds that C/ARE, in that the evolution of self-organizing biological systems reached an ontological limit without some form of sensing, self-interested, imaginative guiding agency to enhance their Strategically Unique Degrees of Sophistication to universalize. Working backward from the highest supervening memes, you can see varying degrees of sophistication in how organisms, organizations, and even nations lean toward ARE processes. For example, The Economist magazine produces a “Social Progress and Economic Development” chart wherein certain Strategically Unique Degrees of Social Sophistication appear as degrees of social progress correlated with per-capita Gross Domestic Product by country.471 Keep in mind as you read further into Value Stream 5 that while this chart does not strictly correlate with political freedom, it does so to a great degree as well.472

Whether or not organisms that C/ARE more fully exist than organisms that only lean toward ARE processes in the most basic sense, simply depends on the extent that C/ARE organisms remain Ontologically Realized through the OT since the OT is the great regulator and simpliciter of everything within the OM. What this means to consumers, who supervene their personal true-north perspectives on mental processes that C/ARE, is that they are not necessarily ontologically superior to B/ARE processes since C/ARE processes may lead them to their own self-destruction through war, environmental damage or excessive consumption. The OT as the great regulator and simpliciter of everything within the OM as bounded by the IB dictates that once destroyed, consumers would then matter less than whatever survived, including those things residing in no higher SLOT along the Ontological Teleology than the one that is B/ARE. Consumers would no longer be Ontologically Realized like whatever survived at the lower levels of ARE processes. However, consumers would still have the distinction of having existed with the greatest known SUDS and in highest known SLOTS within the IB and OM, having had the greatest potential to adapt, reproduce and energize before facing extinction. However, there is little consolation in consumers receiving such a posthumous Darwin Award473 as Edward Young noted so long ago:

Studying Consumers’ Circular Randomness

One of the defining differences between plants biologically leaning toward ARE processes and insects leaning toward teleonomic C/ARE processes is that as insects’ cognitive capacity increases, their behavior becomes slightly less predictable due to the sheer complexity of insects’ teleonomic thinking processes. Likewise, while the ability to predict consumer’s teleological behavior generally improves in correlation to the large datasets you have of what they do and profess, consumers simultaneously seem to behave unpredictably at times regardless of the amount of data and empathizing with them.

Ants and many other, low-level organisms that C/ARE, mathematically operate through relatively simple algorithms or heuristics. But even teleonomic ants search their personal universe by engaging in some degree of random processes to feed sample data into their algorithms, heuristics and mental models, thereby teleonomically optimizing the Ontological Realization of their colonies.474 You can see how ants mathematically orient to the OT in global optimization475 algorithms like anticipatory systems. Theoretical biologist Robert Rosen described anticipatory systems as those containing a predictive model of its environment. Similar to how ants anticipate their environment, plants’ genetics also teleonomically anticipate the plant’s ecological environment it will experience in the next generation. Similarly, consumers’ teleonomically genetic and teleologically conscious anticipation allows them to iteratively, Ontologically Teleologically adapt, reproduce and energize according to their biological and mental predictions to benefit the current generation and the next.476

Organizations in a very similar way also cognitively anticipate the Ontological Realization of their customers’ demand to support their future profits. Amazon.com, Inc. exemplified this form of commercial optimization as a prime directive at the organizational level when it obtained U.S. Patent no. 8,615,473477 for a method and system for anticipatory package shipping. Through anticipatory package shipping, Amazon will ship packages to certain geographies based on orders that its customers have previously demanded and pulled from them. Based on whether Amazon’s customers do in-fact pull those orders from Amazon, Amazon, whose tagline is the, “The Everything Store,” will adapt its anticipatory shipping model to flow what matter and energy its customers will demand in an iteratively circular fashion to further its customers’ Ontological Realization and Amazon’s own commercial viability. Amazon simply follows the law of the jungle by anticipating its customers’ demand. For a broader example of this commercial concept, see this advertisement from the enterprise software company, SAP, which is selling its predictive service on Amazon’s cloud computers:

Figure 4.20: © 2016, SAP SE
Figure 4.20: © 2016, SAP SE

Like the anticipatory systems of hydra, plants and ants, once Amazon or SAP brackets customers’ existences to exclude what they intuitively speculate within the IB, the time reversal problem of customers’ teleology resolves through the logically circular goal of what they ought to have bought to become who they want to be. The systemic conditions of being and becoming get set at the initial event of customers wanting to be more of who and why they are– Amazon, SAP, Apple, Google, Toyota and all other enterprises attempt to predict exactly how and what to get customers to buy now, but they can only do so by answering why consumers truly are since that is who they want to be more of.478

What consumers are and how consumers will become customers gets defined in semi-circular fashion because the OT is both a simpliciter and great regulator of all organizations. All organizations try to predict consumers’ future goal of further being and becoming. However consumers came to be and of which consumers will become through Supervening Levels of Ontological Teleological Sophistication, consumers will attempt to universalize upward toward getting beyond the dictates of the OT. They might attempt to do so, for example, by buying what is in fashion or pleasing to offspring like a green Rexydoodle for Little Max Nathans from Sydney Australia. This Ontological Teleological demand lets Amazon and SAP anticipate what product it ought to ship.

Adding Intention to Organisms that C/ARE (“I/C/ARE”)

Moving on from plants and ants, the next stage of cephalization leads to forms of cognitive organisms that you generally do not consider eatable, such as primates, dogs, cats, certain whales and bottle nose dolphin, among others.479 In fact, many businesses get into ethical problems with their customers over the treatment of such intentionally cognitive creatures.

To see why these more advanced C/ARE organisms evolved, an obvious method is to look at the limits that C/ARE organisms reached in leaning their ARE processes further, and ask, “[W]hat new biological feature advanced the degree that C/ARE organisms adapted, reproduced and energized?” The well-known answer to this question is that a more sophisticated, self-interested mind developed whose improved consciousness functioned to better model how C/ARE organisms’ behavior self-reflexively effected their ability to further adapt, reproduce and energize. The metaphysics of Lean refers to this more sophisticated SLOT as, Intentional/Cognitive/ARE (“I/C/ARE”).

Organisms who intentionally, cognitively lean toward ARE processes like people and intelligent pets may better adapt, reproduce and energize to perpetuate their existences against OT natural selection because of the degree of their self-reflexive self-interest that can actively distinguish between the self, threats to the self, and OPPs to improve their lives and those of their kin, communities and nations. Thus, the biggest difference between organisms that C/ARE and I/C/ARE is the degree of knowledge and the volume of memes each can posses and process in order to better consume.

Think about how cats’ and dogs’ intentional, conscious agency functions to increase their ability to find food, or please their masters to get fed, like employees finding a job or getting paid regularly by employers they please. Organisms with nervous systems and brains can downwardly direct their less sophisticated processes to extend the optimization of their Strategically Unique Degrees of Sophistication. A critical phase change occurs at the I/C/ARE level where what was up to this point unintentional, teleonomic movement spiraling along the OT becomes intentional, downward, teleological pressure on the lower SLOTS to push the organisms that I/C/ARE into even higher SLOTS than had ever before been realized.

To review, the SLOTS of consumers’ lives and existences we have covered so far within the metaphysics of Lean are:

  • Universe: all that is Ontologically Realized, either axiomatically, systemically and/or intuitively.
  • Ontological Medium (OM): All that people know exists on an empirical basis, i.e. the basic physical components of the universe such as spacetime, matter and energy;
  • Intuition Bracket (IB): The conceptual bracket isolating consumers within axiomatic and systemic truths in relation to intuitive truths and what is NOT intersubjectively valid with at least a Lean two sigmas (≥/2σ) of true-north value;
  • B/ARE: Chemical and biological organisms emerging from the Self-Organizing Ontological Teleology (SOOT) to create a new supervening level of the overall OT;
  • C/ARE: Cognitive organisms leaning more effectively toward ARE processes by seizing Opportunities and removing Threats; and
  • I/C/ARE: Intentionally cognitive self-interested organisms self-reflexively leaning toward ARE processes.

To illustrate, here is a chart of SUDS forming the I/C/ARE SLOT:

Figure 4.21: Chart of SUDS Forming the I/C/ARE SLOT
Figure 4.21: Chart of SUDS Forming the I/C/ARE SLOT

Consider this scientismic I/C/ARE SLOT diagram in the context of the epic of evolution and the metaphysics of Lean. Over this period of time, consumers began seeking the commercial philosophy of Lean as follows (with all these dates approximated by scientismists with the best information now known but may be further revised as our knowledge improves in the future):480

  • When our universe of universes began is unknown;
  • For about the last 13.7 billion years, our OM began;
  • For about the last 4.5 billion years, the earth as we know it exists;
  • For about the last 2.8 million years, the genus Homo (human predecessors), within which time there have been about 125,000 regenerations of “People”;
  • For about the last 200,000 years, Homo Sapiens Sapiens (anatomically modern humans), for which there have been about 7,500 regenerations of lean people;
  • For about the last 13,000 years, the last of the non-Homo Sapien Sapien species of hominins, Homo floresiensis, died off, and cooperative civilization began among our species, which has persisted for about 500 regenerations of even leaner people;
  • For about 5,000 years people exchanged money in the form of Cowry shells;
  • For about 2,500 years coinage and universal money has been in circulation starting across Eurasia;
  • For about the last 2580 years, people have been thinking about “philosophy” as the quasi-secular study of all knowledge, meaning and utility since the Greeks (most likely Pythagoras) invented the term;
  • For the last 470 years, people started using a sub-discipline of philosophy called “science” to test and discover the universal and process true-north values of the OM;
  • For about the last 125 years, people have been rereading, “Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is,” by Friedrich Nietzsche; and
  • For about the last few decades, people have been seeking true-north value with the guiding business philosophy of Lean.

Keep in mind that people’s path to the metaphysics of Lean described by this book has not been a straight line. Periodic extinctions have temporarily reduced biological diversity, with each biological failure shaping people to be the lean, upright form of hominins that they are today:481

  • 2.4 billion years ago, many obligate anaerobes, in the oxygen catastrophe;
  • 252 million years ago, the trilobites, in the Permian–Triassic extinction event;
  • 66 million years ago, the pterosaurs and nonavian dinosaurs, in the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event;
  • About 40,000 years ago, Homo Neanderthalensis (Neanderthals) either died off, were massacred by Homo Sapiens, or interbred with Homo Sapiens, to extinction; and
  • 10,000 years ago, the last of the non-Homo Sapien Sapien species of hominins died off.

Now let’s invert this timeline and compare it to the Strategically Unique Degrees of Sophistication in descending order, which you might consider as being a very modern version of the “Great Chain of Being” and evolutionary synthesis as discussed earlier:

Chart: Timeline of Known Universe vs. Degrees of OT Existence

Timeline of the Universe (approximate) Degrees of OT Existence
600 million years ago basic animals developed with enough cognitive capability in order to act with some conceptual intent even if not self-aware; I/C/ARE: Intentional, cognitive organisms self-reflexively leaning toward ARE activities;
Between 1 billion and 600 million years ago life originated and developed cognitive abilities where it could process and respond to sense information; C/ARE: Cognitive organisms more effectively leaning toward ARE activities seizing existential opportunities and further removing the threat of extinction;
3.8 billion years ago basic life began on Earth through the unintentional adaptation, regeneration and energization of chemical processes; B/ARE: Chemical and Biological formations emerging through a new Supervening Level of Ontological Teleology (a SLOT) and leaning toward ARE processes;
4.54 ± 0.05 billion years ago the Earth is formed within the Milky Way Galaxy; This example of Self-Organizing Ontological Teleology (SOOT) led to the eventual formation and structure of existence as consumers now know it;
13.798 ± 0.037 billion, years ago the Big Bang (or something like it) occurred; Ontological Medium (OM): All that you know exists on a phenomenological and empirical basis, i.e., the basic physical components of the universe such as spacetime, matter and energy that is generally composed of qubits, within the Intuition Bracket (IB) you place at the inception of physical existence;482
Our universe of Possible universes. Undefined outside the IB.

Mitochondria, Consumers and their Pets are Co-Determined

One of the most interesting developmental aspects of organisms that I/C/ARE, is that while each identifies individually, including as individual consumers, they are co-created with other organisms and each other, both physically and socially. In other words, the boundary of who I/C/ARE organisms are (or in the context of consumers, consider themselves to be) is nearly limitless in the context of all other living organisms.

Modern, neo-Darwinian evolutionary thinking considers the range of how natural selection, mutation, and for animals, “Eusociality,” contributes to adaptation.484 Thus, the modern evolutionary synthesis conceives of consumers as super-organisms with multiple evolutionary factors arising from everything like genetic codes in the mitochondria in blood cells to the bacterial flora in stomachs. Each such aspect of consumers’ adaptation represents different SUDS falling into particular SLOTS supporting consumers’ mental processes that I/C/ARE overall in the largest sense, perpetually interacting upward through each level of sophistication to support consumers’ consistent, personal perspectives as the lean people who decide to buy product.485 In this way, through the bricolage of evolution, you can think of the SLOTS as if forming a poetically regenerating exquisite corpse, as depicted here:

Figure 4.22: An Exquisite Corpse (© 2009 Agnes de Bethune, Alaine Becker, and Leah K. Tomaino, "Untitled/Untitled/Rooted" (Used with Permission))
Figure 4.22: An Exquisite Corpse (© 2009 Agnes de Bethune, Alaine Becker, and Leah K. Tomaino, “Untitled/Untitled/Rooted” (Used with Permission))

Consistent with the epic of evolution, small competitive advantages between SUDS within the population lead over time to those superior traits winning through successive generations. Thus, organisms with some self-interested agency would quite logically create a competitive advantage for themselves by universally conceptualizing how they might best avoid self-reflexively becoming NOT and better moving upward along the spiral of the Ontological Teleology. At the same time, pure fitness concepts get counterbalanced with the general need for diversity for greater adaptability, which the evolutionary scientist Suzanne Batra introduced in 1966 as, “Eusociality,” or as referred to within the U/People business model, “U/Sociality.” U/Sociality applies within and between distinct organisms and organizations in a business sense.486 E.O. Wilson among other scientists has vigorously applied U/Sociality to all living systems existing within the ecologies of the OM.

As a domesticated example of U/Sociality among organisms that I/C/ARE, consumers often describe dogs as possessing a higher SLOT of those organisms that I/C/ARE than most other animals - perhaps even a teleological one manipulating people to better feed and shelter them. While dogs and non-human animals that I/C/ARE do not conceptualize their place in the OM like people, they do form a sense of intentional purposefulness of being for something, which for dogs is generally being pleasing to people as their feeders who provide them with food and shelter to better serve their own I/C/ARE processes. Or as the American author Robert Bryne is attributed to have said that can be applied to organisms that I/C/ARE, “The purpose of life, is a life of purpose.”

Figure 4.23: My Dog Oscar Waiting for Food
Figure 4.23: My Dog Oscar Waiting for Food

To live U/Socially, psychologically normal dogs adapt to their owner’s wishes to attempt to: (1) obtain energizing food; (2) reproduce with other dogs when their owners allow them to; and (3) adapt their behavior as necessary to facilitate (1), and (2) as best they can. Domesticated dogs serve consumers’ supervening, psycho- and physiological needs for security, stimulation and relation.487 For this reason among others, United States consumers spent approximately $59 billion dollars on their pets in 2014,488 which equals about a month of what U.S. people spent on feeding themselves at home and in restaurants, to get a sense of dog’s ontological significance to all Americans.489

You can see dogs’ highest Strategically Unique Degree of Sophistication, i.e., their intentional, cognitive agency, originating through a combination of natural selection and human intervention. Going back in time and staying within the bounds of the IB, the physical universe teleonomically created wolves with certain Strategically Unique Degrees of Sophistication that made them useful to people. For a variety of reasons outside the scope of this book, people intervened into wolves’ I/C/ARE processes and domesticated them until they became what you know today as dogs.490 Dogs’ Ontological Realization was co-determined by dogs and people’s processes that I/C/ARE together, since people bred dogs to assist them with their own adaptation, regeneration and energization, and dogs adapted their own behavior and Ontological Realization to get humans to do so in-turn. People needed security and companionship to best universalize, and dogs needed human waste for food, and so the evolution of dogs and people U/Socially emerged.

The key factors that differentiate animals that consumers generally consider to be eatable and ones that are not are their levels of domestication, compatibilities with consumers’ lifestyles, and animals’ perceived self-awareness. Generally, consumers assess an animal’s ability to I/C/ARE by its perceived development through natural selection or human intervention to further intentionally, cognitively lean their own ARE processes along with our own. While genuine debate occurs as to what level of intentional cognition animals like dogs experience, most people agree that some division exists whereby they consider an animal as having a sufficient amount of self-reflexive cognition that they would not eat it at a restaurant if served to them unless they were about to die from starvation.491

This division often gets tested by the SLOT the animals’ SUDS arise into even though people can only observe indications of animals’ self-awareness rather than directly assess what animals experience.492 Your organization should understand this not just for what consumers will avoid eating but also in regards to consumers’ perceptions of animal ethics that influence how consumers perceive a business and what product they will buy from it. It also says a lot about who and why consumers are by what and how they leanly adapt, reproduce, and energize through animal-based products.

Consumers’ concern for other animals reflects their own sufficiently complex and universalized cognitive functions that recognize their own place in the universe.493 For example, consumers’ abstractly, self-reflexively anticipate what a product might feel like in ways no other animal could, which is just like how people anticipate how other animals might feel within their given SLOT.494 Like computer scientists’ description of the Game of Life, Langston’s Ant and other universal computing machines, Douglas Hofstadter, the author of “Gödel, Escher, and Bach,” called this anticipatory self-reflection a “strange loop.”495 Hofstadter believes that an organism abstractly recognizes itself as a type of universal conceptualizing machine that must recognize itself by definition in logically circular fashion, and thus can recognize the same function in others by analogy. For example, consumers self-reflexively conceptualize what they like on social media, when they take selfies with their i/Phones.

Consumers’ consciousness from this perspective within the IB simply functions as a natural process of successive self-organization, similar to how more advanced gliders originated from Conway’s Game of Life and other such sims. Consumers’ consciousness may be perceived as the greatest universal strategy to become Ontologically Realized through regenerations, like a Game of Life intersected with Game Theory.

And this game could end for current consumers, which would make room for other SUDS. Consider the possibility that consumers’ lives may fail from a process perspective. That would mean that they either failed to adapt, reproduce and/or energize, which again would be ontologically reinforcing in a negative sense.496 Even if consumers did get destroyed, people will leave an empty stage for the development of the next set of consumers that nature may reproduce, unless the next iteration of living systems similarly fails to adapt, reproduce and/or energize as well.497

Regardless of such hypothetical speculation of consumers’ ability to destroy themselves, no doubt conscious self-awareness represents an effective way for organisms and organizations, in co-determined fashion, to adapt and self-perpetuate in the face of systematic adversity. They do so of course by better living by better intentionally, cognitively leaning toward ARE processes. For all its faults, conscious I/C/ARE processes dramatically increase consumers’ personal investment in and ability to universalize their own survival by supervening upon other living things.

Now that you have reviewed the organic origin of money, existence, and life, you can move up the Lean value stream and U/People business model to consider what consumers most truly value as living people.

Value Stream 5: People

Value Stream 5 A3 Report:

  • You understand consumers best by bracketing the source of their thoughts and senses to look at them just as they are without further judgment
  • Through a lean form of Existentialism, you can explore what consumers value based on how they identify themselves, and what they reveal they prefer to be or become based on what they purchased or “liked”
  • Consumers reaffirm their own self-reflexive identities through the spending decisions and “likes” they make
  • When they consume, people simultaneously reaffirm their identities toward and away from what they speculate does not exist, at least within the IB. This is referred to as “Ought Cognitive Dissonance” in the metaphysics of Lean
  • Ought Cognitive Dissonance creates all meaning in the difference between these extremes of an indefinably infinite number of real or speculated universes, and the possibility of not existing at all
  • You will manufacture the most valuable products that get bought by consumers by specifically solving for these ontological problems within the details of people’s daily lives

As you learned in Value Stream 3 and Value Stream 4, discovering who and why consumers are leads you to the very edge of life and existence. In this Value Stream 5, we return and focus on what consumers find most truly meaningful as real, human people living within the OM. Now follow how their consciousness, psychology, and ethics lean their intuition and cognition toward better energizing, adapting and regenerating themselves, their families and all with which they identify. Up to this point, you have witnessed how the U/People business model follows the Ontological Teleology along the Value Streams of this book toward the genesis of all consumer personas. This business model moved logically from the OM as bracketed by the IB into the Self-Organizing Ontological Teleology you experience every single day. This SOOT eventually formed consumers’ Supervening Levels of Ontological Teleological Sophistication full of Strategically Unique Degrees of Sophistication. Through each stage, this U/People business model progressed from living systems that B/ARE, to those that C/ARE, and those that I/C/ARE to eventually reach who consumers authentically are, and why they now buy products as real, living, human, people.

Consumers, as real people, shop for products and extend their eras by buying that which they believe further intentionally, cognitively leans their ARE processes in-line with the OT, which is itself a little circular. They do so to serve their lower, teleonomic SLOTS to become better Ontologically Realized overall. For example, they eat to gain energy and to repair themselves. They do so to regenerate and further adapt upward along the OT throughout the quantum spacetime of the OM. The uppermost SLOT of their co-determined, conscious existence, i.e. who they consider themselves to be with all other people, buys products to universalize the same ARE processes as their less sophisticated SLOTS. Each SLOT helps them energize, anticipate and react to perpetually live and exist. However, consumers’ development of a consciousness in order to better lean their ARE processes toward survival, caused them to intuitively speculate other reasons to live and exist. This speculation gains adherents to the extent people believe it allows them to better live today, and extend their eras into the afterlife.

OT / NOT as Strategic Degrees of Consumers’ Sophistication

While SOOT upwardly self-organizes into people’s intentionally purposeful consciousness through higher degrees of ARE processes, people consciously care about extending and optimizing their own lives and existences with the products they consciously buy. The greater people’s degrees of sophisticated, self-conscious intentionality are, the more consumers perceive products as providing them with normative true-north value at the point of sale by ontologically reaffirming their lives and existences. Through this dynamic, you can factor consumers’ SLOTS into what fundamentally motivates them to purchase a product by what that product ontologically reaffirms. By performing this factoring, you move from metaphysical abstraction to what really matters to consumers at the point of purchasing a product.

Consumers’ cognition starts as a means of processing sense data, and advances to form a concept that further abstracts the phenomena they experience as themselves. They analogize who they think they are to who they want to be, which is ultimately the most satisfied, delighted and happy people of all. Consumers analogize themselves self-referentially, and thereby conceive of their self-intention to buy now to make themselves happier, which they employ in physical and virtual stores. Thus, their conception of themselves through the ID Kata recursively reflects and reaffirms their own Ontological Realization when shopping. The ID Kata also allows a businessperson to identify who, why, what, and how he or she develops consumers’ egos and super-egos from their personal perspectives for a profit.

Figure 5.1: ID Kata
Figure 5.1: ID Kata

Businesspeople must understand consumers’ motivational psychology, which functions to extend their Ontological Realization. Lean businesspeople must understand that as consumers consciously recognize who they are, they then decide to buy the products that best extends and optimizes their remembering, experiential and anticipated selves for seemingly circular, Ontological Teleological reasons. Thus, what delights consumers most is that which recursively extends and optimizes their lives and existences longer and wider in both perceived and real ways.

However, the more sophisticated consumers’ personal perspectives become, the more they emotionally cry out ever louder into the dark, vast OM for meaning as a means to further become what they care about most, which is who they identify as being. Consumers act in opposition to what they believe is NOT to remain most viable. Mercedes-Benz understands this dynamic well, as evidenced by its slogan, “Das beste oder nichts” (“The Best or Nothing”),498 which reflects this extreme, ontological self-intention. Like the tripartite co-arising of the pratītyasamutpāda as described earlier by the Dalai Lama XIV as three legs of a stool sitting within a House of Quality, you can see this Ontological Realization reflected in the three-sided star of the Mercedes-Benz logo stylistically displaying the ID Kata three times around within the OM:499

Figure 5.2: Mercedes Benz, "The Best or Nothing" (© 2015 Daimler AG)
Figure 5.2: Mercedes Benz, “The Best or Nothing” (© 2015 Daimler AG)

As Consumers Find Themselves - Karl Jaspers’ “Existenz” and Existential Best Fit Models500

Now radically empathize with customers’ lives from their really personal perspectives, from inside the twisting circularity of their subjective consciousness. You may do so by using the ID Kata of who, why, what and how to map what they experience products as being which led them to consume. For example, as a consumer of this book, you might start empathizing with how another consumer would feel right now as they read this sentence.

To best empathize with people and understand why they consume, you ought to understand the concept of, “Phenomenology.” Philosophers first described people’s personal perspectives in phenomenological terms in the early 20th century around the same time as the development of Toyota’s Production System on which Lean is based. In fact, you can see Phenomenology used in the empathy and respect for people that Lean advocates as one of the two key pillars of its House of Quality (or “HQ”).

Phenomenology says that to understand consumers, you ought to empathetically perceive their personal perspectives as they experience them without judgment or limitation – just what is actually experienced by consumers when they consume products with no further distinction, qualification, classification or categorization.501 Phenomenology disregards any difference between what consumers perceive to be real and what they might imagine, what they feel emotionally and what they believe to be an axiomatic or systemic fact.502 As Steve Jobs so rightly explained, “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backward to the technology… As we come up with a strategy for Apple, what incredible [ontological] benefits can we give to the customer?”[“[ontological]” added for effect]503

Consumers’ phenomenology through which they experience products covers all that they see, smell, taste, feel and hear from their senses, thoughts, memories and imagination both before and after a purchase. People often use Phenomenology whether they realize it or not when they create what are called, “Empathy Maps,” in Lean analysis.504 Below is a way for you to deploy a phenomenological Empathy Map to empathize with and map consumers’ phenomenologies. While doing so, you must keep in mind that consumers’ phenomenologies are optimized through successive regenerations, not to actually reflect reality in its fullest as it truly is, but rather to provide the information that best facilitates their Ontological Realization when they lean toward ARE processes.505 Try adding to consumers’ phenomenologies below what you think they will experience when they consider becoming customers once they test-drive products in the context of their daily lives and existences:

Figure 5.3: Phenomenological Empathy Map
Figure 5.3: Phenomenological Empathy Map

The more you empathize with consumers’ phenomenologies by mapping them like so, the further you begin to see that they go through the questions of the ID Kata who, why, what how process when considering whether to purchase products. They follow this ID Kata process by conjecturing what a product is worth from the data they experience when test-driving it, as seen here:

Figure 5.4: Consumers' Phenomenological Empathy Map as an ID Kata
Figure 5.4: Consumers’ Phenomenological Empathy Map as an ID Kata

Critically, Phenomenology led to the further philosophical movement of “Existentialism” in the early to mid-20th century. Both Phenomenology and Existentialism refer to this act of neutrally looking at what true-north value consumers experience from product without judgment as “Epoché.” The Greek skeptics created the term Epoché to mean a suspension of judgment about the world. To engage in Epoché, you bracket and set aside any questions you may have about the objective reality of product. You stop differentiating between consumers’ minds and bodies like the Cartesian assertion of, “I think, therefore I am.” Instead, you emphasize with just what consumers experience when they consume product without considering any further cause and effect.

You use Epoché to analyze what consumers may experience when consuming products in the OM, so you can understand what matters to them most.506 Epoché initially brackets out all judgment or classification of what customers experience by consuming products so you may speak to them most directly about its benefits. Thus, Epoché lets you speak to people as consumers so you can know them as customers.507 Like Zarathustra, a CMO ought to communicate the overriding existential benefits produced by an organization’s product, but can most effectively do so through the specific channel of Epoché.508

Like Epoché, the Intuition Bracket removes any consideration outside the IB of why customers ultimately ought to have bought and consumed product. Thus, just like using Epoché to better understand what customers experience, you ought to bracket the ID Kata within the IB so you may develop true-north value by clearly delineating your analysis in regards to what is mere speculation and what is NOT. Doing so will allow you to maintain utmost clarity as to why consumers lean toward ARE processes to better live within the overall true-north value stream. This will allow you to produce in Takt time, through the conjoint processes of Jidoka and Kaizen, the product that will actually make them be and become the best.509

Phenomenology and Survival of the Persistent

The Western philosopher, Edmund Husserl, first applied this process of Epoché within the philosophy of Existentialism in his 1913 book “Ideas,” where he described Epoché as a philosophical method510 that reduces consumers’ experience to a single dimension. Husserl wanted you to suspend any skepticism and doubt you may have about whether consumers truly lean into their ARE processes so you can focus on how consumers will most truly value the products you provide them with the meaningful money they spend regardless of what they might themselves believe.511 Thus, both Epoché and the IB allow you to see consumers’ intuitive speculation for what it truly is. In this sense, Epoché shows why consumers actually do what they do in their day-to-day lives just due to what they experience and how they experience it, which allows you to see what truly motivates them whatever the source.

While you at this point have deeply considered why consumers progress upward along the spiral of the Ontological Teleology throughout history, consumers’ generally think only about how they can live day-to-day and what their needs and wants are to do so. Consumers rarely get bogged down in intractable questions of who, why, what or how they are at the deepest level such as described in this book. Instead, consumers live as best they can with the least cognitive dissonance possible as they find themselves within the Ontological Medium and swept up in the Ontological Teleology for whatever reason. In other words, consumers unintentionally engage in Epoché by focusing on what impact their present actions and purchases have on their remembering, experiencing and future selves without deeply thinking about why or how they lean toward ARE processes.

Consumers thus habitually engage in Epoché out of sheer necessity – whether due to the demands of children, long commutes, heath issues or jobs. Consumers focus on the objectives of their actions within the context of all they experience upward or downward along the OT within the OM in order to survive, thrive and improve what they phenomenologically experience. They do not want to worry about their ultimate origin unless they:

  1. Are faced with the immediate possibility of becoming NOT within the OM;
  2. Are conditionally predisposed to ask such questions; or
  3. Like you, want to develop a robust business ideology to make money more meaningfully.

Consumers optimize the truth-value of these experiences along with all others by consuming products within their respective, subjective phenomenologies originating from their personal perspectives. For this reason, understanding what and how consumers experience phenomenologically is the ultimate act of radical, commercial empathy that an organization ought to perform. This ultimate, phenomenological act of empathy allows an organization to produce what consumers truly find meaningful, and to deliver that true-north value however they wish to purchase.512 Since consumers intentionally, cognitively lean toward ARE processes that optimize who consumers are, Phenomenology, Epoché and the IB work together to allow organizations to differentiate between what consumers consciously conceive is truly valuable and what they believe is NOT. How organizations create true-north value for consumers will consciously and/or unconsciously reflect itself within what consumers’ actually, phenomenologically experience from their products.

By affecting consumers’ who I/C/ARE, organizations may increasingly extend and/or optimize consumers both toward or against what is phenomenologically realized by them across the existential extremes of Epoché. Organizations may know what ought to be phenomenologically realized by consumers within the bounds of Epoché and the IB by what universal and systemic truth-values people collectively know with at least two sigmas (≥2σ) of common agreement.

For example, presume a pharmaceutical company chemically designed a medicine that cured a disease and was testing it on human subjects in Phase III clinical trials. Each time those trialists phenomenologically experienced that they are alive and fundamentally existing from the drug’s consumption, they would personally lean toward an infinite amount of personal confidence (/σ∞) in its efficacy. When the clinicians’ and trialists’ collective phenomenological experience likewise leans toward at least two sigmas (/≥2σ) of common agreement, whether the medicine ought to be worth prescribing to the general public would no longer be considered speculative.513

Taken further, a doctor might also sell that now healthy customer cosmetic surgery so the customer will phenomenologically feel, even if just for a moment, as if old age will not happen anytime soon with an infinite amount of personal confidence (/σ∞), even if no one else looking at them agreed. Thus, you may also medically extend and/or optimize consumers toward what they personally, intuitively believe outside the IB with absolute confidence, like an evangelical proselytizer providing momentary belief in everlasting salvation in exchange for donations, or a Scientologist clearing someone to become an “Operating Thetan” for a current estimated cost of $128,000 USD. For clinical trials, cosmetic surgery, and Dianetics®, customers ultimately bought each product during their lives to attempt to universalize themselves across all spacetime whether within the IB or not with the greatest confidence possible.

Once you establish an Intuition Bracket as a form of Epoché around what consumers experience, organizations may then classify true-north value by how consumers ought to perceive an organization’s products as being, whether good and/or evil for them, regardless of what they may speculate. Consumers will then determine the degree of good and/or evil present in a product to the extent they perceive the product as extending and/or optimizing them toward or away from what they know or speculate is NOT. When an organization identifies what ought to be good for consumers within the IB, that form of commercial Epoché ideally aligns with what consumers perceive as being “good for them.” However, even if consumers do not perceive a product as good when it is in fact good for them, then at least an organization can identify and resolve the difference using the ID Kata and the 3WH interrogatories with the confidence that perception ought to ultimately align with the OT to some degree.

Thus, by starting to categorize and classify what consumers subjectively experience from a product and its brand within the IB, you may also move beyond consumers’ notions of good and evil. You ought to move beyond the categories of good and evil514 to see consumers instead as simply leaning upward or downward along the OT within the OM toward or away from what is NOT on a universally axiomatic or processually systemic basis leaning toward at least two sigmas (/≥2σ) of true-north validity. Consumers perceive whether a product moves them up or down along the Ontological Teleology based on the qualities (or the “qualia” as philosophers like to call it) a product produces within consumers’ phenomenologies when they consume it. A product’ qualia are like shadows dancing on the edges of all that consumers experience without any judgment about what manufactured them.515 Consumers’ lives and existences are in effect based in part on the qualia a product reproduces within them, regardless of whether that product reproduces qualia of the remembered past, an imaginary reflection, current reality, or a vivid dream about the future – all are Ontologically Realized experiences from consumers’ consistent, personally true-north phenomenologies. You should optimize all such fundamental reverberations when developing products to delight consumers the most.

California Dreaming

If you are dismissive of the importance of the qualia that a product reproduces when extending and optimizing consumers’ lives and existences, consider that about a quarter to a third of consumers’ lives is spent in irrational dream worlds as numerous as any fecund or artificially simulated universes. While consumers act as if they are not actually living when they dream, they are in fact very much consciously alive in each one. The biggest difference is that consumers’ memories of what happens when they dream are not as persistent and consistent as what happens when they are awake. Also, unlike reality, dreams generally do not make sense retrospectively, which is a key purpose for them.516

Irrational dreams improve consumers’ insight and rationality by juxtaposing dreams’ transitory facts with generally cogent reality. Consumers dream about everything that they estimate is not true to better know and remember what has been and anticipate and react to what may be. The sharply rational/irrational distinction allows consumers to understand better the difference between what ought to be and what is NOT. By making this distinction, dreams also influence whether consumers consider a product as being good or evil at their points of purchase and whether they think buying from an organization is a delight or complete nightmare. Or as the Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus said, “Even sleepers are workers and collaborators on what goes on in the universe.”517

How consumers really respond to a product’ dream-like qualities likewise differs in relation to other consumers’ psychologies. Only when consumers’ inter-subjectively agree with others that a product extends and optimizes their Ontological Realization, such as when they buy and consume a product together, do consumers collectively lean toward common agreement with at least two sigmas (/≥2σ) of common agreement amongst themselves that something is genuinely liked and highly rated as a universal good.518

Keep in mind that any overlapping consensus consumers may have that a product is highly rated and a universal good can never be absolute because each consumer experiences phenomenological qualia differently in their dreams and without. Each consumer represents different, naturally occurring, Strategically Unique Degrees of Sophistication within the OM, so each consumer conforms to the OM to a unique degree somewhere along the OT. Objective, Universal Truth is real and matters; however, while the process of consumers converging their personal perspectives is evidence of an objective, universal true-north value, it is not synonymous with it.519 A consensus of reasonably well-informed consumers merely provides degrees of confidence in the available evidence of the objective true-north value of a product. Thus, the ultimate goal of leaning toward six sigmas (/6σ) of common agreement becomes a nuanced pursuit of practical perfection that must pierce through people’s perception of objective reality to all that really matters in a converged consensus.

Consumers’ unique SUDS that may converge toward a consensus result from their varying psychological, physiological, and environmental circumstances. While each consumer has varying degrees of intention, self-awareness and temperament within these circumstances, all consumers converge to some degree because they commonly pursue the same goal of Ontological Realization upward along the OT within the common OM. This leads to very personal judgments about whether or not a product is good or evil while all fundamentally evaluating the same objective thing. All these judgments about a product will ultimately be proved rightly or wrongly by people being either personally extended and optimized, or becoming NOT, within their various social bubbles. These different outcomes depend on whether consuming a product results in consumers’ Ontological Realization upward along the OT as the great simpliciter and regulator of all that consumers are within the OM.

The Rothko Effect

For example, presume a certain type of color blindness resulted in one consumer seeing an abstract painting as orange and another seeing the painting as red. Further presume that a peculiar biological difference led one consumer to judge the painting as beautiful, interesting, or meaningful, while other consumers judge it as not being any of those qualities. Only those consumers who judged the painting’s beauty the same as the most highly worthy people in the marketplace would value the price of the painting correctly (unless the people with poor taste somehow knew how to compensate for their poor judgment). While the consumers whose tastes differed with the majority of the market that spends money on art would get great deals on the paintings that others did not value, those tasteless consumers would choose items whose monetary value would not appreciate from lack of common demand for them. But while those consumers would not become monetarily wealthy, they would at least become rich in their own phenomenologies.

For another example, an internet meme went viral in 2015 when Cecilia Bleasdale took a picture that created two different phenomenologies for different consumers. Some consumers saw a particular woman’s dress depicted as being white and gold, and others saw it as black and blue. Without thinking about why they saw the dress differently, think only about the fact of that color difference, and consumers’ different emotional responses to that dress, to understand the differences in their phenomenologies when you bracket out their intuition as to whether to buy that dress or not.

Test for Qualia: Do People See the Same Color Products?

Because consumers inherently internalize what they experience, you could qualitatively analyze how consumers experience what they find most meaningful within a product. For example, for consumers to think of a product as soap, the product called soap must clean dirt and oil. Beyond that function, the chemicals constituting soap can be quite varied. If the product removed dirt and oil too well by behaving more like a caustic acid, consumers wouldn’t consider that acid to be soap at all. Consumers generally rely on manufacturers to tell them when something constitutes soap or another type of cleanser. They then expect the soap to function within an optimal range critical to leaning their ARE processes toward their further and better being.

For example, people could expect soap do its part in adapting them to new career by cleaning them well for a job interview. People might expect soap to regenerate their good health by scrubbing away dead skin. Or people would expect soap to help re-energize them by cleaning dishes from which they want to safely eat. Thus, the qualia consumers classify as being either good or evil depends on the external stimuli they experience from the real world, such as watching soap optimally improve something of true-north value to them like themselves.

Lifting the Veil to See Reality

Now turn toward who consumers really are in the context of everyday, scientific reality by having the veil of Epoché lifted away. By doing so, you can see that the interaction of consumers within their contextual environment is what actually enacts the true-north value consumers experience.

For example, consumers’ bodies and minds actively regenerate what they experience from actually watching the interaction of a product with the OM, such as watching philosophy, inc.’s, “purity” band of soap remove red lipstick from a person’s skin. The true-north value consumers’ phenomenologically experience from the purity brand soap results from their perceiving the soap as actually renewing themselves by removing the visible red spectrum from their faces, as is well advertised by the soap’s manufacturer, philosophy, inc. on its website:

philosophy: purity is natural. we come into this world with all the right instincts. we are innocent and, therefore, perceive things as they should be, rather than how they are.520

Philosophy, inc. customers’ memories, imaginations and dreams then replicate and analogize that experience of color removal and renewal into further internally regenerated qualia, such as how they remember feeling when they had the color red removed. Those customers thereby associated a particular brand of soap with that sacrosanct feeling. Philosophy, inc.’s customers will also buy that soap to avoid having to wash sheets stained with the lipstick they forgot to take off the night before while leaving their faces unblemished. For those people selling soap, recognizing all of these anticipated qualia is their finest act of true commercial empathy and their best way of finding brand extensions.

If an organization sells soap, its product managers ought to extend and optimize the soap’s critical, scientifically proven, cleaning qualities that consumers indicate best lean their intuition and cognition toward ARE processes that will ultimately be Ontologically Realized by them due to the soap’s good chemistry. Consumers make this assessment based on their internally regenerated, conscious and unconscious qualia they experience from using the soap sold to them. Customer’s qualia results from the soap doing its fundamental job of washing away certain, undesirable SOOT.521

The Scientific Revolution of the OT

Similar to analyzing what qualia consumers experience and determining what a qualia means to them, scientists in general, and physicists in particular, use a scientific, model dependent reality, to analyze how scientific models interpret what true-north value is.522 While phenomenological Epoché specifically disregards any judgments about the outside world, science moves beyond the veil of Epoché to assume that experience originates from the single, objective reality of the OM. However, unlike qualitative analysis, scientific empiricism ought to be a highly measurable and replicable method to count the leagues of true-north value of the products being produced, and thus the true meaning of the money being made by selling the products’ benefits that get consumed. You ought to relate scientific empiricism and phenomenological qualia so that consumers can predictably experience true-north value from product with great confidence.

All the same, since phenomenologists recognize that consumers’ phenomenologies merely model the universe, this notion of model dependent reality effects an organization’s ability to conjecture, hypothesize and theorize the true meaning that consumers will experience from the products they consume. Since the customer data that an organization receives is not a thing in itself,523 but rather a mere reflection of what consumers prefer, an organization can only best fit the meaning it expects a product to reproduce within consumers’ phenomenologies to what consumers physiologically and psychologically experience. Thus, consumers’ phenomenological, model dependent reality affects an organization’s ability to scientifically identify what consumers ought to buy to extend and optimize their own lives and existences to experience the greatest profit at the point of purchase.

Since an organization cannot predict with perfect accuracy what consumers ought to buy, it must best fit what its products phenomenologically reproduce in consumers’ minds to what actually extends and optimizes consumers’ living processes within at least two sigmas (≥2σ) of confidence. For an organization to dominate a market, it must in fact lean as close as possible to at least six sigmas (/≥6σ) of confidence that its product best extends and optimizes the lives and existences of people relative to all other similar products in the marketplace. That is no easy task, but doing so separates good companies from great ones.

Likewise, consumers best fit what they believe about the OM with how they collectively perceive something as being either good or evil from their phenomenological, personal perspectives. Thus, a product must best fit not only all axiomatically and systemically known true-north values, but also consumers’ personally held opinions about the universe.

For example, when comparison shopping, consumers think, “[T]his product X is similar to product Y that I like already, which puts product X in the class of product that I consider to be ‘good.’” Consumers want to buy all that they analogically relate to the class of “goods.” What consumers consider good may likewise be thought of as a single analogy of all that extends and optimizes their supervening psychological and physiological processes. Consumers perceive the good product they actually buy as better Ontologically Realizing their lives and existences, or who they most want to be (or not be) and become, whether they admit that to themselves or not. For example, certain consumers may analogize a product as good at a certain price and others may not because of the relative tradeoffs one consumer estimates he or she must make versus the other to become that customer who owns that product.

For a more specific example, presume a group of teenagers you know collectively likes a new song on their iPhones. They did so because their collective phenomenological qualia analogized the song to things they categorically like. The song and their mental class for what they like overlapped like circles of consensus on a Venn diagram. The teenagers dis-analogized the song to their concept of evil. I say this to emphasize consumers’ shared models of reality, and those model’s intermediary role between an organization’s product and its axiomatic and systemic true-north values being realized by consumers. You ought to best align the objective creation and distribution of a product with what best matches consumers’ subjectively and collectively agreed upon qualia that determines who they are, why they may prefer something, and what they may buy at the largest qualitative intersection spanning your businesses’ target market.

Consumers’ subjective, qualitative impressions matter most to what they truly value and will buy now, while at the same time, quantifiable processes that I/C/ARE ultimately determine what consumers will normatively value and continue to buy in the long-run. Thus, an organization must estimate the extent that its product produces a qualifiably and quantifiably positive experience within the exceedingly complex notion of who consumers are, while simultaneously recognizing the complexities inherent in why and what consumers phenomenologically experience what and how they do. Doing all that best ensures that an organization will effectively deliver products that really get bought and satisfyingly consumed. By better recognizing the relative strengths and weaknesses of qualitatively analogical as well as quantitatively numerical analysis in this metaphysical way, organizations can better reproduce prophetic true-north value for consumers, and reproduce meaningful profits for the shareholders who will crucify any organization that does not.

Phenomenological Categorization to Abstract Analogy Making

Consumers labeling or tagging their phenomenological experiences with words relates categories of those experiences to broader analogies they associate with product. They engage in Analogy Making (AM) from the strange loops of their personal perspectives to optimally lean their ARE processes by further consuming what means most to them. For example, culture, society and political structures are large-scale, collective analogies that lead to large-scale consumption choices about what best extends and optimizes people and what they identify with overall. Consumers form these analogical, mental constructs both automatically and quite consciously, amalgamating facts into categories, and relating those categories critical to who and why they ARE within the universe to better lean Ontologically Teleologically and live as strange loops in-line with the OT.524

Just like how consumers physiologies and psychologies change their phenomenologies, their verbal and mathematical analogies differentiate how they intentionally, cognitively lean their ARE processes. Understanding who and what consumers verbally and mathematically analogize themselves as being allows you to best identify what consumers’ Ontologically Realize as true-north value within their phenomenological, personal perspectives. For an example of analogical, personal value estimation, analogy-based financial traders are called, “Technical Analysts.” People considered, “Technical Analysts,” look at patterns of price changes in securities over time and trade those securities depending on whether they analogize a stock price pattern as being good or bad. A Technical Analyst will buy a stock to the extent he or she analogizes a stock’s price pattern as being good for his or her profits and self-conception of being a “good trader.”

Likewise, if consumers analogized a Mark Rothko painting as being beautiful, then their neurological responses to seeing the Rothko reveals their preference for buying the Rothko as a person who likes beauty. So to more accurately assess the degree to which each consumer considers a security or painting to be worth buying, you might compare their revealed, neurological responses to how they respond to other products that they similarly analogize as being beautiful or valuable, or would classify as being one of x number of seemingly valuable things they categorically demand.525

To fully appreciate the degree to which consumers phenomenologically analogize a product to a specific quality, classification or category, think about when consumers might consider the Rothko painting as being analogically related to the color red or the aesthetic beautiful. To do so, you must somehow get within the context of consumers’ neurological and psychological processes producing that phenomenological categorization from their personal perspectives. You ought to capture the full range of each of their connotations associated with the concept of red or beautiful within their phenomenologies. You ought to relate consumers’ present, qualitative perceptions to their inter-subjective experiences through the power of phenomenological empathy.

You must also always keep in mind that along the OM and from within the IB, consumers’ lower level SLOTS teleonomically created consumers’ personal identities as cohesive analogies of all of the aggregated processes leading to the essence of who and why they are. And each cohesive analogy of a named person (i.e., an individual consumer) represents all of the underlying living processes that together constitute an overall Modus Operandi and way of being. Thus, how products effect living ARE processes likewise affects whether consumers consider a product as being good, better or best for who and why they are.526

How consumers analogize products to different nouns, adjectives, emotions and connotations determines to some extent what Strategically Unique Degrees of Sophistication they possess.527 For example, consumers’ learn to speak by analogously mapping things and processes to their self-conceptions, such as soap being analogous to the class of things that clean their bodies. However, when consumers try to learn a new language, often the words, categories, concepts and connotations significantly vary from one language to the next. The French language has one set of SUDS within it, while Chinese has another. Such similarities or dissimilarities between linguistic concepts create meaningful analogies and dis-analogies between them, leading to different SUDS between languages on which people lean for meaning.528

Likewise, certain languages use gendered articles while others do not. Thus, some consumers think with a gendered language, such as certain Romance languages, shaping their worldview. Those gender connotations differ analogously from the perspective of those consumers speaking one gendered language next to those consumers not using gendered articles at all.529 For example, Spanish speaking markets analogize soap to being masculine (el Jabón). Spanish customers most likely connote masculine qualia, like the feeling of aggressiveness, to the product of soap and the act of becoming clean with it. The categorical connotations for that Spanish demographic changes what a soap company ought to advertise in Spain and how it ought to position its soap within Spanish speaking markets.530

Keep in mind that some categories represent sets of concepts that do have logical boundaries, such as prime numbers in math, while other categories can be quite fluid, like those representing art or “true-north value.” Categories often exceed their associated words because of multiple definitions and the complexities inherent in word combinations and phrases.531 For example, in 1917, the artist Marcel Duchamp anonymously submitted a toilet bowel titled as “Fountain,” signed “R. Mutt 1917,” to the Society of Independent Artists in New York (SIA). Duchamp wanted to see if SIA would reclassify the latrine from its intended function to the category of art. Duchamp wished to make a statement as to whether an organization had any ability to bracket what could or could not be analogized to the class of things we call “art.”

Keep in mind that consumers’ analogies can also be as brittle as a child’s temperament. For example, when explaining division to children, you might say that the division of whole numbers like 9 / 1 = 9 can be directly compared to splitting up a set of nine apples nine different ways. However, once you work with fractions such as .9 / .1 = 9, the product of the equation is a larger number of apples than you originally had. There is less than one apple in the numerator on the left side of the equation, which cannot be analogized to splitting up whole things in real life. You, like children, must rectify good analogies with bad ones, like reading positive or negative customer reviews – consumers make analogies or dis-analogies to what is good or evil to best reflect truth-value in their self-conceptions of reality, but can do so imperfectly and sometimes even fraudulently. You ought to appreciate the nuances when assessing that consumer feedback so you interpret it correctly within that context.533

For an example of analogical shifting from a purely business perspective, consider the false metaphors and negative euphemisms used in common financial discussions:534

  • “Securitization” leads to economic insecurity;
  • “Austerity” hurts those customers most dependent on social services;
  • “Bail-out” means a capital injection;
  • “Credit” means debt to the holders;
  • “Inflation” means less purchasing power;
  • “Synergies” means layoffs;
  • “Risk” means a precisely assumed liability; and
  • “Non-core asset” means an operating liability.

Ultimately, consumers analogize or dis-analogize themselves to “I” with varying degrees of leaning toward introspection as to who exactly they are or are not. Increasingly leaning toward self-awareness allows them to more accurately analogize or dis-analogize what they phenomenologically experience as themselves. This increased accuracy allows them to better determine how they may avoid becoming Not Ontologically Teleological. Consumers articulate and extend their self-analogy among all the things they say, do and consume to better lean their intentional, cognitive ARE processes as well as possible in an infinitely recursive fashion back to extending and optimizing who they believe they are and wish to be.

Organizations ought to likewise fully abstract their self-conceptions as “I” and their very human customers as “Thou.”535 They ought to see consumers as “other” so they may best empathetically conceptualize the ways they may provide products so consumers may avoid becoming dissatisfied or altogether NOT. Organizations may phenomenologically, commercially empathize with consumers to move up and along the Rubicon of consumers’ value streams. Here is a map of the Rubicon River, emerging like a forward slash from the Apennine Mountains heading out to the Adriatic Sea for further guidance:

Figure 5.5: Rubicone River, Italy
Figure 5.5: Rubicone River, Italy


As you can see, “Analogy Making” (AM) is what allows organizations to empathize with consumers and makes consumers as passionately intelligent as Rodin’s, “The Thinker.” AM is also what ultimately leans consumers toward buying organizations’ product. AM makes consumers so self-conscious that they can universally conceptualize what they will do with products once bought.536 Most fundamentally, consumers’ instrumental, analogical reasoning allows them to self-reflexively articulate, “Why AM I?” Or in longer form, “Why do I make analogies to Who, What, and How I ought to be?”

The management consultant and sophist Simon Sinek advises all business people to, “Start with Why,” in his same titled book for this reason.537 Importantly, you now know that why starts with who since why requires an inquisitor when the question is bracketed by the IB, thus leading to the self-conscious question, “‘Y AM I’ now within the OM?” You ought to start with who, not why, because the fact of consumers’ existence, of who they are, is the origin of all true-north value, as Descartes discovered so long ago. Why simply leads back to that seemingly tautological fact of existence but for whatever else consumers may intuitively speculate is outside the IB.

By conceptualizing this question, and articulating it through symbolic language, people at some point leaned their intentional, cognitive thought processes up through the Ontological Teleology within Ontological Medium. Once consumers asked, “Why AM I?,” they then self-reflexively recognized the possible paradox of the OT to remain viable within the OM to the greatest extent possible. Asking, “Why AM I?,” instantiated self-conscious self-awareness within consumers and created the first cognitive paradox within the known universe. The “Why” in this recursive sentence subsumes the further what and how of being that consumers elaborated through each word in this question. You can see consumers’ phenomenological development springing forth from their intentionally, cognitively leaning toward ARE processes along this why axis as follows:

  • Why (or Y): Expresses consumers’ yearning to increase their difference with what is NOT by optimally leaning themselves upward along the OT in-line with their ARE processes that result in their unified, personal perspectives;
  • AM: Stands for consumers’ subsequent Analogy Making that creates their personally known true-north values;
  • I: Indicates the self-reflexive conceptualization of consumers from their personal perspectives within the OM; and
  • ?: Represents consumers’ intentionality, leading them to increase their difference with what they believe is NOT by attempting to fully answer the seemingly open-ended question, “Y AM I?”

“Y AM I?” works backwards as a conceptual leap from the intentional, cognitive query connected to consumers’ self-conception from an indeterminable source. When fully reversed, “Y AM I” becomes consumers’ willful intention of “I MAY,” as in, “I may buy your product to extend and optimize my life and existence if I feel it worthy.” Consumers’ mental conception of, “Y AM I?,” thus represents the recursive cognitive event of general intelligence that set them apart from other animals, on a course beyond I/C/ARE processes. It accelerated their ability to universally conceptualize how to intentionally, cognitively lean their ARE processes for themselves within the whole universe. “Y AM I,” is thus fundamentally why consumers buy today what gets produced from sophisticated, Lean Houses of Quality, and ultimately determines to what degree they lean toward ARE and thus further and better be. There is nothing artificial about it. See, for example, this human imperative in action by looking at this sign I saw outside of a giftshop called the “Muse” in Amsterdam that I came across one day while shopping after a business trip; it says, “To shop or not, what a silly question”:

Figure 5.6: "To Shop or Not to Shop, What a Very Silly Question," Amsterdam (Photo Credit: BGS)
Figure 5.6: “To Shop or Not to Shop, What a Very Silly Question,” Amsterdam (Photo Credit: BGS)

Consumers developed this ability to abstract their self-conception because it provided them with two distinct advantages to better lean toward ARE activities:

  1. Consumers could better cooperate with or compete against others to lean toward ARE activities; and
  2. Consumers could better abstract, understand and predict the results of their own Analogy Making within the OM from an objective, third person, self-reflexive perspective.

These two cognitive benefits of self-reflexive consciousness allows consumers to intentionally, cognitively adapt and reproduce, as well as hunt and gather more matter and energy. These cognitive benefits are also the axiomatic and systemic true-north values that products ought to serve and consumers ought to buy. However, these natural features and benefits of intentional cognition come with a cost - they force consumers to face an apparent paradox that they seem to exist through the OT by leaning toward ARE activities in self-defining, possibly circular fashion. They force self-aware people to recognize this seeming paradox on some level, both in that they may have originated from a cause outside the IB, and that their existences depend on their ability to lean toward ARE processes toward an apparent goal of simply further existing upward along the Ontological Teleology. An organization’s production of products must recognize and try to resolve this conundrum to be most meaningful to consumers.

Moving Beyond the OT to What Gets Bought

Ultimately, some consumers’ (a.k.a. people) analogized themselves to being like themselves self-reflexively, which further allowed them to dis-analogize who they most wanted to be from what they were. Like Descartes’ mind-body duality of, “I think, therefore I AM,” this dis-analogy between their past, present and future selves defined what people considered themselves to be, what they considered themselves to NOT be, what they knew of themselves in the IB, and by definition, what they believed may be outside the IB. Thus, these distinctions created in these consumers’ minds conceptual boundaries between what they knew of themselves, what they knew of the OM, what they knew of the universe, what they knew is NOT, and what they intuitively speculated is “Beyond the Ought” (or what is, “Beyond the OT,” “Bought,” or “BOT”).

To better understand how the OT leans up through and across these conceptual boundaries, you might also want to incorporate a fifth discipline called, “Systems Thinking,”538 into your organization’s Lean business thinking. By doing so, you can understand consumers within all of these boundaries as physically connected to the entire OM and universe from their personal perspectives. So, from this systems perspective, much like the OT curving round-and-round upward through the OM, you may even further analogize consumers as being like strange loops of a perpetually spiraling, recursive fractal flowing upward through these conceptual boundaries.

The first interior boundary in the picture below conceptually represents the difference between consumers’ personal perspectives and what they consider the OM to be based on what they experience from it. The second boundary represents the distinction between what consumers know of the OM and what they consider the unbounded universe to be. The outermost boundary represents all that consumers consider there to be and what they believe is truly Beyond the OT (or they know is in fact NOT):

Figure 5.7: Strange Loops of the Ontological Teleology
Figure 5.7: Strange Loops of the Ontological Teleology

By conceptually bracketing the levels that consumers are, you can see that today they simultaneously engage in the details of daily life and in non-rational speculation of who and why they are within the OM. They do so because they have few strategic options other than orienting themselves with universal and processual true-north values to lean upward along the spiral of the Ontological Teleology to attempt to universalize their personal perspectives. Consumers go about daily life within the OM and speculate about what is NOT to try and point the winding arrow of time back on itself to universalize themselves self-referentially any way they may.

From all of these perspectives, consumers look like eddies in the larger value stream educating themselves as “Lean Thinkers,” learning who, why, what and how they lean.539 While consumers may not immediately appear this way in-line or on-line, the integrated systems of the universe running upstream through who consumers are appear very different, similar or exactly the same depending on which scale you bracket. This is true of fractals at different levels of zoom; The Great Chain of Being running from Whirlpool Galaxies to whirlpools of water, and ultimately, Whirlpool® washing machines; and of the Value Streams flowing through the U/People business model within the philosophy of Lean.

Philosophical Zombies as Straw Men

Thus, for consumers to ask themselves, “Y AM I?,” based on what they believe is truly BOT or is in fact NOT is to make themselves subjectively, self-consciously human at any scale. This creates the truest of all true-north values as the highest known SLOT within the OM and IB. However, if this question guides a corporation toward true meaning, how does it know that consumers who internalize this question do not state it pro-grammatically?540 Could a corporation hack consumers and turn them into zombies who shop for products to optimally lean toward ARE processes without further intuitively speculating who and why they are? Your answering these questions allows you to best understand whether you can completely quantify and predict what consumers will buy - like so many big data vendors advocate - or whether you will be running around in circles.

David Chalmers is a contemporary philosopher who is well known for devising the thought experiment that asks you to presume that all consumers are zombies, and to further presume that you are the only person with conscious, subjective experience. Chalmers refers to such hypothetical customers as, “Philosophical Zombies.”541 Chalmers proposes that you cannot scientifically test whether consumers are conscious like you know you are as you…. read… this.. book, even if you were to perfectly map consumers’ brain activity with a scanner to reveal that it perfectly matches your own. Chalmers believes that you need to explain consumers’ consciousness other than with physical, scientific explanations. In the parlance of Lean Metaphysically, he means that you must understand consumers’ consciousness from a purely personal perspective.542 Chalmers’ argument presumes that having data of behavioral responses alone, such as having perfect records of all of consumers’ shopping history, would still not allow you to predict perfectly whether consumers would willingly buy some product because they are constantly dealing with personal demons.

I believe that analogizing consumers to philosophical zombies is a straw man because consciousness is a gradation of subjectivity. What truly matters for the Turing Test is recognizing how lean and flexible consumers’ intentionally cognitive, adaptive, regenerative and energizing behaviors are that extend and optimize their difference with what is NOT.543 This test could be applied to artificial intelligence as well. Quite conclusively, a zombie that was not conscious could not reflect these qualities with any consistent, universal flexibility because a zombie could not dis-analogize itself to all that may be NOT in order to conceptualize its own survival better than the walking dead.

If you need to convince yourself that consumers are more like Rodin’s passionately pensive, “The Thinker,” than they are like philosophical zombies, you only need to subject consumers to a variety of truly random events, experiences, and personal questions to see if a single, self-reflexive “I” holds together, struggling with the larger questions of who and why they are while ever more creatively leaning toward ARE processes to live and further exist. The only thing you ought to check is whether a corporate puppet master is pulling the strings.

This test cannot be fully quantified, like Turing said, and ultimately requires an intuitive assessment beyond what you see these zombies doing. No bright lines exist, but none could because meaning gets created through a gradation from B/ARE to C/ARE to I/C/ARE to consumers’ highest SLOTS and SUDS to eventually get Beyond the OT. However, you can test life and consciousness with an organism’s adaptability to re-energize and ultimately reproduce with an intuitive sense of personality, passion and feeling.

You see this gradation of degrees of ARE processes tested in the movies dealing with everything from aliens to strange animals and artificially intelligent robots, each of which could potentially be an additional customer seeking true-north value. Given the infinite spectrum of fictional customers, a truly philosophical zombie without any self-reflection could not universally adapt to fight for survival like a self-aware person because it could not universally conceptualize all the ways it could avoid becoming NOT, which by definition requires imagining what may be truly BOT.

However, in return for this ontological benefit of consciousness, consumers require some irrationality to try and evade the apparent paradox of the OT they find themselves in.544 This irrationality can be self-destructive, but it usually functions to optimize consumers’ randomized search for the best way to lean toward I/C/ARE processes within the OM. While philosophical zombies are oxymorons, consumers’ erratic behavior functions as their attempt to resolve the potential paradox of the OT to better live and exist in an open-ended universe, by in part, buying and using products in sometimes unexpected ways.

U/People are NOT in Jeopardy

Look at this consciousness issue from the perspective of modern day computers to fully understand consumers’ decisions to buy the true-north value inherent in products. Compare both consumers and philosophical zombies to IBM’s computer named Watson. Watson won on the game show “Jeopardy” in 2011 against human competitors, which requires its contestants to phrase their answers in the form of a question. Watson won the competition and beat the human contestants by correctly matching the most questions to the most correct answers among a universe of possibilities. While Watson may have won “Jeopardy,” it will not decide to purchase product any time soon since Watson cannot universally optimize itself upward along the Ontological Teleology. Watson, and all artificial intelligence, cannot do so until it analogically equates itself as, I = I, so it can generally imagine how it can adapt, regenerate and energize in all circumstances.”545

For further evidence of the current limits of machines to adapt, consider further that Toyota Motor Corporation has begun replacing some of its robots with human employees to improve efficiency in the Lean process of Jidoka. Toyota calls these employees Gods, and uses them in Toyota’s Production System because these human employees can universally and passionately consider how to optimize production processes in ways non-self-aware machines can not.546 Another principle of TPS’s Lean production is using people to operate many different types of machines because people can more effectively adapt across an infinite variety of systems than any (other) machine can alone, which is why Lean uses U-shapes workspaces to exploit people’s cognitive flexibility.

Thus, neither Watson nor other AI is conscious because they cannot (yet) conceptualize the question, “Y AM I?” to at least attempt to meaningfully dis-analogize between themselves and what is NOT, and thus analogize themselves to what they believe ought to be Bought.547 Since Watson and other models cannot distinguish between themselves and what is NOT, they cannot universally adapt to the apparently self-defining, teleological goal of further being within the OM with passion and meaning.548 Watson too is an artificially intelligent zombie and a straw man, but it is nonetheless a far better “Jeopardy” contestant than we.

Figure 5.8: Philosophical Zombies in a Field (© 2005 FG2 (Public Domain))
Figure 5.8: Philosophical Zombies in a Field (© 2005 FG2 (Public Domain))

Maximally Existential Meaning Defined (/σ∞)

Organizations provide consumers with products to extend and optimize their lives and existences so they can better distinguish themselves from what is NOT, and better become what they believe is BOT. However,

At the other end of the OT spectrum away from NOT, toward what consumers believe is truly BOT, maximal existence is that which self-organizes to the greatest extent to universalize itself within the OM. Consumers’ consciousness leans them toward meaningfully, maximally existing as organisms that lean toward ARE processes like all others (a.k.a. “ME/ARE” organisms). They lean this way even if maximal existence is only hypothetical, since if truly achieved, consumers would finally get themselves BOT. However, given that the OT is apparently a paradox when bounded by the IB, maximal existence aligns next to both what is NOT true-north value and what customers believe is Bought. Just because consumers cannot become universalized in any real sense without getting themselves BOT, that doesn’t mean buying product isn’t still what consumers ought to do to the greatest extent possible.549

Here is the chart with the additional ME/ARE SUDS forming a new SLOT between BOT and NOT:

Figure 5.9: Universal Chart of SUDS Forming ME/ARE SLOTS
Figure 5.9: Universal Chart of SUDS Forming ME/ARE SLOTS

And here is another perspective on this “Chart of SUDS Forming a ME/ARE SLOT” by looking at it from the from the top-down, like looking at the inception of a single fractal:

Figure 5.10: Top Down on a ME/ARE SLOT
Figure 5.10: Top Down on a ME/ARE SLOT

For example, thrill-seekers evidence this dynamic of trying to get BOT without actually becoming NOT by intentionally bringing themselves closest in proximity to becoming NOT as they can. Yet we laud thrill-seekers’ bravery and zest for life for seeking ME/ARE meaning (unless they make the mistake and actually become NOT). Those people who come intentionally closest to death report feeling the most alive, the most meaningful, and closest to getting BOT, when they feel like they nearly became NOT. Inversely, people in a state of optimal performance or flow who are fully part of a value stream feel themselves removed from the restrictions of the OM by hardly noticing what they are doing as if they were NOT at all and yet maximally existing at the same time as if they were transcendentally BOT.

Extrapolating from what people witness in everyday life, I propose that maximal existence is a Shu-ha-ri process toward everlasting universalization, toward consumers seamlessly resolving every problem as soon as it occurs and receiving every satisfaction as soon as desired. Or as the Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius said in ~175 CE, “This is the chief thing: Be not perturbed, for all things are according to the nature of the universal.”550 Maximal existence is consumers being fully aware of the problems they experience while simultaneously conscious of moving toward a hypothetical, immutable perfection of getting themselves BOT. This is like /6σ approaching an infinite sigma of confidence (/σ∞) in an infinite jest,551 which is the universalized pursuit of processes that perfectly lean toward ARE in life and business. This is what happens to Lean when taken to its logical extreme. Notably, the logo for Nissan’s Infiniti luxury division likewise represents a stylized infinity symbol (∞) on its side in addition to problem and price meeting at the utmost point of commercial empathy:552

Figure 5.11: Nissan® Infiniti® Logo
Figure 5.11: Nissan® Infiniti® Logo

Nissan through the “Nissan Production Way,” strives in Lean fashion to reach a state of, “Ideal Manufacturing” (“Douki-seisan” (同気生産))). From the Genba Kanri of Nissan’s shoproom floor, through the Lean concept of “Total Quality Management” (TQM), Nissan pursues an ideal form of manufacturing arising in upward fashion, as seen in this image from an internal slide presentation at Nissan subtitled, “7 Secrets of Nissan Manufacturing Innovation”:553

Figure 5.12: Nissan Production Way: Ideal Manufacturing
Figure 5.12: Nissan Production Way: Ideal Manufacturing

Nonetheless, even if Nissan’s ideal manufacturing created nearly infinite existence such as the Infiniti logo suggests consumers may achieve by buying Nissan’s cars, consumers would only more fully contend with the difference of being maximally universalized within the OM - standing in the greatest degree of juxtaposition to what is NOT in the OM. All of their infinitely strategic, unique degrees of sophistication wouldn’t get them anywhere else other than closer to getting truly BOT.554 Or, as Frederich Nietzsche better said in, “Thus Spake Zarathustra”:

In “Beyond Good and Evil,” Nietzsche earlier wrote, “The discipline of suffering, of great suffering – do you not know that only this discipline has created all enhancements of man so far?”556 If consumers experienced no difference between pain and pleasure, need and satisfaction, life and death, their lives might be phenomenologically indistinguishable from not being at all other than recognizing the resolution of all problems and needs in some way while simultaneously being perfectly resolved. At this event horizon where perfection is just the beginning of infinity,557 the paradox of the OT arises most vividly and is why consumers struggle within it to find meaning outside of the IB. They attempt to find meaning by squaring the apparent circularity of living and existing within the OM, while leaning upward in-line with the OT through the twisting arrow of time toward what they believe is truly Bought. We can see this dynamic expressed by the Old Master in the ancient Chinese book “Tao Te Ching” where he said, “Since before time and space were, the Tao is. It is beyond is and is not. How do I know this is true? I look inside myself and see.”558

OT Cognitive Dissonance (“OCD”) and Meaning

Since consumers are fully conscious, self-reflexive people, consider what is truly meaningful to them phenomenologically when they decide what to buy, whether or not they have bracketed their beliefs about what is truly Bought. At the same time, consumers seem to randomly search for meaning to circumvent the apparent circularity of the OM by orienting themselves along the leaning, upward spiral of the OT, while hopefully avoiding twisting themselves into knots when doing so. This alignment in degrees with the OT through the purchase of products is naturally also a means for consumers to more effectively self-organize themselves upward toward getting Bought. Consumers lean toward ARE processes by self-organizing themselves toward what they believe is BOT, wherever and whatever they believe that is, due to their attempt to find teleological, goal-oriented meaning outside the IB.

Thus, all three of–

  1. The apparently paradoxical circularity of consumers optimizing their lives and existences within the OM for the single end-goal of further living and existing when bounded by the IB;
  2. Consumers’ psychological tension between what seems teleological and may be tautological; and
  3. Consumers dis-analogizing themselves with what is NOT, and analogizing themselves to what they believe is Bought,

– all form a type of Ought Cognitive Dissonance (OCD) within them as conscious beings that motivates customers to buy at the point of sale.

Meaning Means Maximum Existence

Consumers’ OT Cognitive Dissonance caused by their recognition of the potential paradox of the OM within the IB means-tests itself as to whether or not it furthers their Ontological Realization upward along the twisting OT toward what they believe is BOT. Thus, the concept of meaning is synonymous with orienting toward the universal and process values of the OM and leaning upward along the OT as the great simpliciter and regulator of what ought to be Bought. Meaning determines that which best leans consumers’ I/C/ARE processes toward life and existence upward along the Ontological Teleology toward an infinite sigma (/σ∞) that eventually wraps back around. Thus, meaning results from consumers self-reflexively recognizing the normative value inherent in the products and/or services they purchase that is worth the real prices they get charged in exchange. In the parlance of Lean Metaphysically, we call this “Meaning, Value, Price” relationship the “MVP.”

In-line with the MVP, the Ontological Teleology of natural selection also applies to what consumers believe is BOT, or what consumers find most meaningfully true, like their spiritual doctrines, religions and other beliefs like atheism and scientism. For example, the great religions of the world are only deemed to be so to the extent their adherents (whether or not forcibly converted) are viable, which is measured by their “ERAs” and epochs.559 The strongest religions do this by U/Socially leaning consumers toward better self-organizing themselves onward and upward into perpetuity.560

From a process perspective, consumers’ ME/ARE consciousness originates as a physical dynamic to serve that which may only be recursively identified as further systemically being by leaning upward along the OT within the OM toward what is believed by them to be BOT. This is like consumers most literally being a type of universal, Ontologically Teleological product whose function is to disperse energy in the universal value stream into different SUDS forming certain further SLOTS in the cauldron of all living things. This is the fundamental source of the more emotional branches of environmentalism like deep ecology, which is the belief that consumers’ subjective consciousness results from and is contingent on ecological systems.561 An organization may best interact with environmental advocates like these by describing what it does for that scientific and scientismic relationship.

Within the OM as bounded by the IB, consciousness is a culmination of processes that result in consumers’ self-reflective “I” as an identity that catalogs its physical context to maximally exist and lean toward ARE processes. Consumers’ embodiment of maximal existence by best leaning toward ARE processes is most literally a result of more effectively leaning toward I/C/ARE processes with enhanced super-self-conscious agency.

A Buy-Product of Conscious Existence is Meaning

Customers purchase products as a buy-product of conscious awareness intended to further lean their ME/ARE processes. They do so to increasingly get Beyond the Ought in contrast to what they know is NOT.563 This purchase intention arises because consumers attempt to avoid finding out that the generally intelligible universe is logically self-defining and tautological. Since ME/ARE processes seem to be teleological within the IB until they are NOT, consumers develop OCD, randomness and intuitive true-north values outside the IB to try and escape the possible paradox of the OT.

Organizations allow customers to consume what may somehow help them exceed the apparently logically tautological nature of existence within the OM and IB. Products allow consumers to exist further toward a non-tautological teleology with meaning toward what they believe best gets them BOT. Thus, providing provocative products most effectively creates true-north value for consumers to make the most money the right way at consumers’ points of meaningful purchase.

An analogy for this business dynamic might be a circular washer such as might be used to make a Whirlpool® washing machine. Once the circularity of a washer snaps, it creates a spring. Consumers similarly attempt to open the seemingly circular nature of the OM to create a value stream leading to what they believe is truly BOT, beyond the reach of the spring-like OT. To the extent consumers fail to discover that end-goal, the geyser of true-north value collapses, and they fall back down to earth to try again by pursuing further universally axiomatic and processually systemic true-north values to lean their ME/ARE processes within the OM. All product ought to extend and optimize that life cycle.

Figure 5.13: Washer to Spring
Figure 5.13: Washer to Spring

Consumers’ seemingly tautological attempt to leap beyond the OT through their intuitive speculation is also represented by the delta-shaped (“Δ”) point of purchase, which is itself a two-dimensional representation of a Penrose Triangle. A Penrose Triangle is known as an impossible three-dimensional object forever folding back on itself. If you start to turn the delta in one direction, it appears to be a perfect Penrose Triangle. However, if you turn the delta another degree, you may discover that the delta is not connected at all at its northern most point, and much like the ID Kata, its circularity becomes a mere illusion:

Figure 5.14: Penrose Triangle as a Point of Purchase
Figure 5.14: Penrose Triangle as a Point of Purchase
Figure 5.15: Delta ("Δ") Rotating in Three Dimensions
Figure 5.15: Delta (“Δ”) Rotating in Three Dimensions

Lastly, if you recall the spectrum of life from the U.S. Geological Survey, it was not a circle at all, but rather a spring of universal time delineated with organisms further Ontologically Realizing themselves like an arrow in a strange loop, through their various SUDS and SLOTS, as shown again here:

Figure 5.16: Strange Loops of the U.S. Geological Survey's Value Stream (© 2008 U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey (Public Domain))
Figure 5.16: Strange Loops of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Value Stream (© 2008 U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey (Public Domain))

And when you think about it, a spiral is really just a series of forward-slashes (“/”) leaning upward end-over-end infinitely.

Figure 5.17: Upward Spiral Viewed from the Side)
Figure 5.17: Upward Spiral Viewed from the Side)

ME/ARE processes simply conceptually extend this trend further into who, why, what and how consumers are as lean people to the point where they want to purchase meaningful products.

Springing Beyond the OT

Despite people’s intrinsic motivation to lean up outside the OM and IB to find the ultimate meaning, their wish to further exist within the OM by pursuing axiomatic and systemic goals of being inside the IB led people to develop the philosophical concept of Existentialism.564 Existentialism arose in the 19th and 20th centuries by focusing on the concept of a human will as the basis for what fundamentally motivates customers to buy products rather than being defined by nature. Existentialism states that consumers fundamentally define their maximal existence by authentically determining who and why they are rather than assuming a false essence imposed on them by nature, organizations, or society. Or, as the founder of Existentialism, Jean-Paul Sarte, said, consumers, “…first of all exist, encounter themselves, surge up in the world - and define themselves afterward.”565 I believe Sarte means, when translated into the lexicon of the metaphysics of Lean, that consumers teleonomically come into the fact of their being and then self-define their teleology toward best getting BOT regardless of their situation.

One of the best known phrases of Existentialism is, “Existence before Essence.” “Existence” in this phrase is the act of consumers phenomenologically experiencing life, while “Essence” is how they define their teleologies within the circumstances of their being, such as their pursuit of money to become rich. Thus, this phrase, “Existence before Essence,” means that consumers can define their own essences by what they will their actions to be such as what they decide to buy when shopping regardless of how they came to exist.566

Consumers’ conscious autonomy allows them to self-define their essences so long as they lean themselves along the upward slope of the OT within the OM by becoming more of who they will themselves to be. “Existence before Essence” means that consumers ought to define their essences by why, what, and how they ought to be. They in-turn determine who they are by why, what, and how they consciously decide to lean their essences upward along the OT. Thus, consumers existentially determine what their essences - and by extension their existences - will be, in-part, by consuming good products.567 By reversing the “Existence before Essence” process through the Lean concept of Hansei, an organization can also work backwards to identify consumers from how, what, why and ultimately who they are as people. This leads you to the larger point and thesis of this volume, which is that business is a philosophy inhabited with the same degree of experiential empiricism as Existentialism, but with the added benefit of measurement provided through monetizing market exchanges and other key performance indicators.568

Critically, regardless of consumers’ conscious ability to define their essences, their essences will remain aligned with their existences because authentic essence always reverts back to people’s Ontological Realization upward along the OT as the great regulator and simpliciter of everything within the OM, which is everyone’s situation as we know. Consumers can only be who they are within the OM when bracketed by the IB, which ultimately defines their essential natures however they will them to be leaning in-line with the Ontological Teleology or not. However, from the blank slate of consumers’ will to live and exist regardless of what they were born as or become along the OT, their self-determined actions create all identity and meaning for them. The volume of the meaning a product produces in-turn depends on whether customers feel it led their identities toward what they believe is BOT, or whether they feel remorse for buying a product because it did not provide true-north value.569

While you ought to explain the satisfaction customers receive from different scientific perspectives within the OM, their existences still transcend science’s total explanatory power, which is limited to the OM within the IB. Thus, the meaning consumers create for themselves by moving along the upward curve of the OT by purchasing products occurs not only within the OM, but also in relation to what consumers may intuitively speculate is truly “Beyond the OT” and all reason. From the Existentialist perspective, consumers’ existences and ultimate satisfaction can only be fully understood by stepping away from the confines of axiomatic and systemic truths and empathetically experiencing all of the very real opportunities and threats to who, why, what and how consumers are or perceive themselves to be even if the ultimate source of all opportunities and threats is still undefined.570

Consumers’ Hall of Mirrors

You might analogize the concept of “Phenomenology” to a method of navigation where consumers lean forward and feel their way around a room with their eyes closed, experiencing each object simply as it is rather than judging how it got there, what it is, why it is there, or whoever put it there. You might further extend that analogy of Phenomenology to Existentialism, except now, like engaging in the Lean process of Hansei, imagine consumers standing in a hall of mirrors looking at their many reflections. Think of Existentialism as being like infinitely many iPhones shining back at them in an Apple store, showing different versions of themselves without any clear way forward except how they will themselves to authentically be in their own image.571 Your engaging in Hansei by studying each consumer’s personal situation reflected in this hall of mirrors provides you with the knowledge of whether to go in one business direction or another and thereby discover the right path that might lead you to a commercial breakthrough.

Figure 5.18: Apple's Hall of Mirrors on Fifth Avenue, New York City (© Apple Inc.)
Figure 5.18: Apple’s Hall of Mirrors on Fifth Avenue, New York City (© Apple Inc.)

Imagine further that each of these mirrors represents a different academic discipline - such as the natural sciences, psychology, philosophy, the arts, & c. - or some such other Ontologically Realized aspect of consumer’s individual existences, such as their family, occupation, geography, and/or other demographic. No single direct or indirect academic or demographic reflection of consumers as represented by these disciplines or data would ever completely square with what or how consumers actually experience life and existence. Thus, such representations could never completely reflect who and why they are within this hall of -isms, labels and ideologies undulating across these placid mirrors. Consumers’ lives and existences cannot be reduced to any combination of concepts and can only be completely understood from the inside-out. Instead, you must get as close as you can to actually being within consumers’ own phenomenologically experienced Ontological Teleologies in juxtaposition to what is agreed to be NOT with an acceptable degree of certainty and what consumers believe is truly BOT. Doing so is how you engage in the utmost act of commercial empathy possible.

For example, below is a picture of the author looking at himself infinitely reflected in a pair of mirrors inside the Hudson Theatre in New York City. Consider who I am at this moment, why I took this photo, and what I might want to experience in the upcoming performance if you were the actor on the stage:

Figure 5.19: The Author in a Hall of Mirrors Inside the Hudson Theatre, NYC (© 2017 Photo Credit: BGS)
Figure 5.19: The Author in a Hall of Mirrors Inside the Hudson Theatre, NYC (© 2017 Photo Credit: BGS)

Note though that the camera I am holding in this photo has stripped me of some authenticity since I am now in-part defined by what this camera represents me to be. The image the camera produces never completely captures my existential Ontological Teleology because it does not know my aspiration to use the photo I took in this book. The camera’s reflective gaze thus forces me to strive to describe my authentic self here in the face of who you believe I am. Or as George Berkeley said in 1710, sometimes, “To be is to be perceived.”

Nonetheless, my human will in all of its variety is reflected in the hall of mirrors in which I stood. The mirrors accurately reflect the universal and process values of the OM, while I struggled to define myself and how I wished to be perceived along the upward slope of the OT. Thus, my human existential will by taking the photo was in fact expressing the OT in real time in all these ways through my thoughts, actions, deeds and creeds.

On the Shoulders of People Who are NOT

For some intellectual context, this Value Stream 5 will now very briefly review the thoughts of some of the greatest thinkers in the Western philosophical tradition about why consumers willfully purchase products, which thought feeds into the metaphysics of Lean. Value Stream 5 will then contrast their thoughts with a new classification for human motivation based on lean, ontological factors. These great, but dead, philosophers include Arthur Schopenhauer, Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Adler, Sigmund Freud and Victor Frankl. Collectively, they said that because of who and why consumers are, consumers have a will to live, a will to power, a will to pleasure, a will to meaning, and quite possibly a tautological will to will within the OM and IB that ultimately drives consumers to buy now at their most meaningful point of purchase. Here is a summary of what each thought:

“Will to Live” - Shopenhauer

When Arthur Schopenhauer published, “The World as Will and Representation” in 1818, Schopenhauer became one of the first philosophers to describe human will as an irrational act.572 As Robert Wicks writes in the Stanford Encyclopædia of Philosophy:

Schopenhauer’s particular characterization of the world as Will, is nonetheless novel and daring. It is also frightening and pandemonic: he maintains that the world as it is in itself (again, sometimes adding ‘for us’) is an endless striving and blind impulse with no end in view, devoid of knowledge, lawless, absolutely free, entirely self-determining and almighty.573

Schopenhauer thus described the human, “Will to Live,” as the most important aspect of who consumers are and why they buy product.574 The lean Ontological Teleology similarly orients itself with this Will to Live by likewise advancing consumers’ lives and existences with increasing sophistication within the Ontological Medium, IB and universe.

“Will to Power” - Nietzsche / Adler

Inspired by Schopenhauer’s phrase Will to Live, Friedrich Nietzsche and subsequently Alfred Adler advocated that the fundamental basis of consumers’ motivation to go shopping is a, “Will to Power,” as a means to that ends. As noted by philosopher William Barrett, Nietzsche is first understood to have come up with the concept of Will to Power when as a hospital orderly, “[d]uring the Franco-Prussian War…he saw one evening his old regiment ride by, going into battle and perhaps to death, and it came to him then that ‘the strongest and highest will to life does not lie in the puny struggle to exist, but in the Will to War, the Will to Power.”575 But critically, Barrett continues, “[i]t is a mistake to locate the birth of this idea in any single [phenomenological] experience; it was, in fact, fed by a number of tributary streams…”576 The lean bodybuilder, actor and politician, Arnold Schwarzenegger, further expressed this Will to Power when he wrote, “The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer.”577 Notice that to move ahead, Schwarzenegger felt he needed to go up as well.

The Ontological Teleology reflects this Will to Power by recognizing that all people seek more than mere existence, by seeking to universally energize as well. Customers lean along the upward curve of the Ontological Teleology by adapting, regenerating, and significantly, energizing. The Will to Power is thus the will to universalize or become all that people will be, whether that is Franconian, Prussian, or European. For a recent, corporate example of this, the Über car service has energetically expanded in order to dominate the local transportation industries to optimize its own profits so it may have greater power to redirect the flow of matter and energy anywhere it wills.

Figure 5.20: ®Uber Technologies Inc.
Figure 5.20: ®Uber Technologies Inc.

“Will to Pleasure” - Freud

Sigmund Freud, arguing past Nietzsche, said that the basis of life was a “Will to Pleasure.”578 In a famous intellectual split, Alfred Adler adhered to the Nietzschean perspective that the Will to Power was consumers’ primary motivator for living and shopping, while Freud held that sexuality and Eros, or the Will to Pleasure, are what fundamentally drives them to consume. The hedonistic Will to Pleasure is simply the need to lean toward regeneration as well as adaptation and energization to universalize overall.579 So in a way, they are both right according to the metaphysics of Lean.

“Will to Meaning” - Kierkegaard / Frankl

Søren Kierkegaard, by inversely describing levels of despair, distinctly argued that a “Will to Meaning” fundamentally motivates consumers to live, exist and purchase good product to intentionally increase their juxtaposition with what is NOT toward what they speculate is most truly BOT.580 However, Victor Frankl, after surviving as a captive in a Nazi concentration camp, extended this notion to create a school of psychoanalysis based partly on this intuitive belief in Meaning called “Logotherapy.”581 Frankl with his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” advanced the idea that all people ought to self-organize their lives around this quest for meaning.

Like the Will to Live, the Ontological Teleology aligns with the “Will to Meaning” by leaning consumers a further degree along the upward slope of the OT toward what may be BOT. Such movement measures the degrees of difference between who consumers are and what is NOT, and is essential to all meaning within the IB. However, critically, once you remove the IB, the Ontological Teleology becomes non-circular, and the OT then springs forth to allow consumers to find meaning by self-organizing them toward what they intuitively speculate is truly BOT. Such speculation of what may be truly BOT includes deities, spirits, speculative scientific theories, or simply a sense of the unknown.

“Will to Will” - Nietzsche

Nietzsche moved beyond his “Will to Power” to describe it synonymously as the “Will to Will” when he wrote, “There is absolutely no other kind of causality than that of will upon will. Not explained mechanistically.”582 I believe this passage from Nietzsche of, “will upon will,” reflects Nietzsche’s agreement to some extent with the apparently tautological nature of the Ontological Teleology that motivates consumers to further live, exist, adapt, reproduce and energize within the OM.583

Thus, each of these classic wills ultimately orients consumers upward along the OT within the OM in juxtaposition to what is NOT on an axiomatic or systemic basis, which may be truly, intuitively BOT. Meaning for consumers gets made in the effective difference between what is axiomatically or processually NOT, and what consumers intuitively speculate is BOT. The rest is just infinitely greater granular detail toward living and existing between those end-goals. The OT requires an organization to honestly differentiate between axiomatic, systemic and intuitive true-north values to best determine what consumers will find truly meaningful in their lives and existences, and why they may buy right now by leaning toward your point of purchase.

Thus, whether an organization’s leaders believe in scientism, spiritualism or theism, all business organizations must assume a possible “Will to Will,” which is intellectually agnostic toward ultimate meaning by recognizing the possibility of either:

  1. A self-defining cause of the universe and the OM; or
  2. A non-circular cause of the universe and OM currently based on intuitive truth-values with varying degrees of coherence with axiomatic and systemic truth-values.584

Both of these possibilities are truly valuable in their own ways in business. If atheistic business people are publicly agnostic, they thereby recognize other people’s intuitive truths as they experience them. If theistic business people are also publicly agnostic, they thereby recognize the speculation inherent in intuitive truths about deities, spirits or whatever may be BOT. Each type of public agnosticism is valid as long as each is applied within the overlapping consensus that legal systems generally determine for all workplaces in liberal societies. I reemphasize this collective agnosticism not to take a personal position on either atheism, theism or agnosticism (or scientism), but rather to restate this intellectual reality about the nature of meaning within the OT so organizations may learn how to intuit, infer, induce and deduce true-north value at consumers’ points of purchase around the Lean ID Kata.

Opportunities and Threats as Binary SW/OT Analysis

Now that you very briefly reviewed some of the main intellectual concepts identifying what wills consumers to buy from organizations, return now to the universal “Chart of SLOTS” below, with consumers contingently leaning up within the OM between universalized, immutable perfection of what may be BOT and what is NOT. Consumers greedily seize OPPs through their strengths and shore up their weaknesses against their fear of threats. You ought to now perceive consumers as living in a universe delineated by the IB between these existential extremes and within the physical OM, striving each day to more perfectly lean toward ARE processes through constant, very personal SW/OT analysis. Here is a universal chart with opportunities and threats standing in for the emotions of greedy gains and fearful pains leaning along the Ontological Teleology:

Figure 5.21: Chart of Opportunities and Threats
Figure 5.21: Chart of Opportunities and Threats

People in their own existences, however essentially defined, will themselves toward life (Arthur Schopenhauer), power (Friedrich Nietzsche / Alfred Adler), pleasure (Sigmund Freud), meaning (Søren Kierkegaard / Victor Frankl), and possibly tautological, ontologically-focused will (Friedrich Nietzsche). All are in fact correct since people act to perpetuate and extend their existences against these OPPs and Threats in binary opposition between them along the upward, spiraling arrow of the OT toward what may be universally BOT. From this perspective, the might of a person’s purchasing power does make right,585 but only so long as such buying power gets distributed in such a way that it systemically universalizes sophistication overall upward along the OT for all people. Some wealthy individuals do that well, and some do not, and society ought to ensure that that power does not consolidate across successive generations for no good reason.

WE/ARE Supervening Conceptual Structures

I consolidate the various strains of thought mentioned above as a collective, “Will to Exist,” as a, “Wholly Existential,” and possibly tautological movement along the upwardly leaning curvature of the OT within the boundaries of the OM and IB. The wholly existential processes that WE/ARE extend and perpetuate consumers’ existences, and these processes constitute the true-north value consumers find in business each day.586

The critically important point of understanding consumers’ normative true-north value is how one logically discovers the real value consumers actually purchase and for which they trickle their money back down to an organization in exchange. You discover true-north value through the filter of consumers’ individual situations defined by their specific geographies, genders, ages, ethnicities, nationalities, and so on that either provide Ontologically Prospective Projects or Threaten who they wish to will themselves to essentially be. These essential, ontological factors constitute some of the first parameters of true-north value for which people actually buy product. These factors help an HQ become more grounded, less abstract, more specifically focused on how to reproduce true-north value for money.

WE/ARE Existentially Optimizing

At the point where existential logic starts to tautologically fold back on itself, and consumers develop Ought Cognitive Dissonance, they pursue a greater distinction between what is NOT, and what they think is BOT. Consumers thereby create meaning in the collective difference by contrasting who and why they think they are with what is NOT.

While the OM operates within the bounds of the universe and IB at the highest levels of self-organization, society is still faced with the apparent paradox of the OT. It strives to self-define its collective Will to Exist and attempts to leap beyond the OM’s apparent tautology to get beyond the IB. Thus, just like for ME/ARE processes, consumers perpetuate themselves by creating and defining who and why they collectively are through WE/ARE processes in the juxtaposition to what is NOT and toward what they believe is BOT, whatever their applicable cultural, legal, ethical and institutional standards in which they live and exist. Here is the more sophisticated “Universal Chart of SUDS Forming WE/ARE SLOTS” to show this verisimilitude:

Figure 5.22: Universal Chart of SUDS Forming WE/ARE SLOTS
Figure 5.22: Universal Chart of SUDS Forming WE/ARE SLOTS

All of these various forms of will - the will to life, power, pleasure, meaning and will - reflect different aspects of life and existence. For what is a will to life, power, pleasure, meaning, or will than the holistic, “Will to Exist,” which is to exist to an even greater universal extent in the ultimate juxtaposition to what is NOT? Consumers further self-organize around what they intuitively speculate is BOT and how they may upwardly Ontologically Realize themselves by orienting themselves along the OT toward complete universalization. Here again is a diagram of the initial, self-similar fractal of the OT from top down showing the WE/ARE circularity that consumers attempt to circumvent:

Figure 5.23: Seeming WE/ARE Circularity
Figure 5.23: Seeming WE/ARE Circularity

While Nietzsche’s “Will to Power” misses the OM’s apparently circular nature within the IB, his “Will to Will,” hits the tautological mark. That which one has power over incorporates the dominated into his or her own definition of who one is in relation to what one believes is NOT and may be truly BOT. This then logically leads consumers to the apparent paradox and cognitive dissonance of living and existing in alignment with the OM while upwardly moving along the OT toward possibly circular ends. Freud’s, “Will to Pleasure,” identifies how consumers’ hedonistic experiences and remembered memories of those experiences expand both what they experience and what they remember, but again they themselves eventually seem to become self-defining through their ontological titillation as a means to reproduce through offspring.587

Victor Frankl’s, “Will to Meaning” attempts to resolve consumers’ Ought Cognitive Dissonance by helping them intuit some non-circular teleology outside the IB. However, since consumers can only speculatively intuit a non-circular teleology, the more rational among them will still struggle to faithfully believe in any meaning that a product may provide. Still, their collective, “Will to Exist” provides moments of true-north value for them and makes money meaningfully for you as shown again here in this chart of the OT:

Figure 5.24: Chart of the OT and Moments of True-North Value
Figure 5.24: Chart of the OT and Moments of True-North Value

Consumers innately express their Will to Exist by progressing upward along and through the OT. This progression thereby creates the monetary true-north value that an organization makes when consumers buy a product to try and universalize themselves. An organization makes money meaningfully through all that it gets bought and sold that aligns consumers’ processes that WE/ARE with the OM. Organizational meaning comes from helping consumers try to move along the upward slope of the OT toward true universalization. The processes that WE/ARE that product extends and optimizes within consumers get defined to the extent they aligned consumers with the OM, moving them upward along the OT, to try and ultimately universalize their eras, ids, egos and super-egos.

We lean toward ARE processes to synthesize value-based Utilitarianism and rule-based universal ethics by aligning what consumers like with what they ought to have bought, since the OT is the great simpliciter and regulator of all true-north value within the OM.588 Wholly existing by leaning toward ARE business processes creates normatively true and real cash value, as you can see by the application of the business philosophy of Lean within many of the most thriving organizations today: from operating with appropriately lean supply chains, to organic groceries being sold to grow people’s vitality, to corporate social responsibility initiatives selling product by appealing to consumers’ broad need to lean toward ARE processes with all other people.

To lean toward consumers the right way, you ought to increase the true-north value and the volume of the product consumers buy by monetizing their normative and real values elucidated through the 3WH who, why, what, and how value stream. An organization must enhance consumers’ true-north values by optimizing OPPs or reducing threats to the processes that WE/ARE. In a perfectly competitive environment, an organization can make the most meaningful margin in Porter’s Generic Value Chain by providing product that leans consumers’ Will to Exist toward ARE processes, which should resolve their Ought Cognitive Dissonance through meaningful consumption. Companies further capitalize on this dynamic by establishing charitable associations and initiating social good efforts that create further meaning in the products customers purchase.

U/ARE Forming Micro, Meso and Macro Economic, Political and Cultural Structures

To that end, consumers are to some degree already moving from an ethic of individually maximizing their ARE processes (“ME/ARE”) to one of holistically leaning their ARE processes altogether (“WE/ARE”), and eventually back toward a singular “Will to Universalize” ARE processes overall (“U/ARE”). The universal, universalization ethic asks whether universalizing such actions also deontologically universalizes processes that U/ARE overall. Thus, “U/ARE” processes are the next and highest meta-economic SLOT above WE/ARE processes within and in-part outside of the known universe. U/ARE processes is the final transcendental stage of Lean Shu-ha-ri. Critically, U/ARE processes get Bought because they in-part transcend the known OM, extending beyond the IB. Like when consumers create meaning by consuming good product through ME/ARE processes, U/ARE processes essentially self-define consumers’ teleology toward consumption. Here is the inclusion of the most upwardly sophisticated, and yet seemingly hypothetical “Universal Chart of SUDS Forming U/ARE SLOTS” here:

Figure 5.25: Universal Chart of SUDS Forming U/ARE SLOTS
Figure 5.25: Universal Chart of SUDS Forming U/ARE SLOTS

Customers, their families and all humankind self-organize supervening economic and political structures in order to universally lean toward ARE processes through consumption better. The more that consumers form micro, meso, and macro-economic and political SLOTS, the more these SLOTS supervene on and support the lives of consumers, their kin, their species, and all true-north value. Consumers optimize themselves through these conceptual SLOTS to leanly adapt, reproduce and energize in contrast to what they and their societies know is Nought and believe is Bought beyond the curvature of spacetime and its dimensions. These conceptual SLOTS that consumers develop through their personal perspectives get ontologically means-tested to the extent they lean up through the Ontological Medium to move all people and their businesses further along the Ontological Teleology toward universalization. For example, Lean itself as a meme and conceptual SLOT perpetuates and universalizes its existence based on its ability to improve business performance that in-turn supports the economic advancement of the parts of society it effects. These supervening business, economic and/or ideological memes adapt, reproduce and energize just like the organisms on which they supervene, or else they too become altogether NOT.

U/ARE Processes Determining Ontology and Ethics

Consumers’ Will to Universally lean toward ARE processes is that which product ought to be increasing by universalizing the depth and breadth of consumers’ lives and existences, of who, why, what and how they are. However, do processes that U/ARE have any commercial limits? Let’s conduct a thought experiment to ponder this beautiful question in the deepest way possible:

Presume that Earth could not hold any more consumers, and a bioengineering firm could genetically engineer other consumers who could live and breathe on Mars unaided. Presume that since the firm’s government wants to promote economic advancement, it is willing to pay the firm to reproduce those consumers who could live on Mars in order to stake out that new market. If a firm did reproduce these Martian consumers, it would extend the degree to which the government could lean onto that other planet by universalizing consumers’ ability to live and exist somewhere further out in the OM.589

In essence, an organization would define these Martian consumers’ collective ontology prospectively so that future Martian generations would have the very genesis of their Ontological Realizations quite specifically determined. If people as a whole could control the form and shape of their ontology here on Earth as well as reproducing themselves as a form of product to survive on new planets, then people as a whole would assume ontological responsibility for their future selves. They will prospectively create their existences in the image of their own true-north values, which will define their essential meaning within the IB. Doing so would leave far less to chance for people’s Ontological Realization and what people find truly valuable because their being would be pre-defined by themselves.

Would future pre-defined people rather have never lived so long as people today provided them with their existences, the very essence of all their true-north value within the OM and IB? What about machine-based artificial intelligence once it reaches consciousness? This hypothetical is very real since genetic and machine learning experiments occurring right now as I write this book are leading to these results. This science will reverberate across spacetime because this issue is so fundamental to all true-north value and the ability to make meaningful amounts of money in all industries.

Since people will be able to determine their collective Ontological Realization and future selves, in either biological or machine form, an HQ must know what it ought to do to best orient consumers’ self-defined ontologies upward along the OT to reproduce true-north value.590 This future will almost certainly realize itself because the ontological rewards for universally leaning ARE processes into future generations are so ontologically rewarding.

For example, should companies in some rogue nation greatly succeed in leaning ARE processes to a greater degree by engineering people through eugenics (or “U/Genics”), it will force other nations to do so as well due to the optimistic, greedy nature of the OT in contrast to fearful threats of becoming NOT. The OT cares nothing about the non-OT ethical considerations. The OT only rewards that which best progresses people U/Socially upward along the OT to the extent their lean adaptive, regenerative and energetic processes are most meaningfully effective against becoming NOT within their respective social bubbles.

For one constraint on this extreme process of eugenic modification to U/ARE processes, consider the problems people would face if an organization could control consumers’ future ontology to the nth degree. That organization would still need to randomly test what best optimized consumers against a universe of ontological possibilities. It would still need to optimize consumers through randomized natural selection, mutation, and other evolutionary processes to discover how to best fit consumers to their environments in ways it could not possibly predict. The reason why, is because pseudo-random matching of men and women leads to pseudo-random gene interactions, which in-turn may or may not teleonomically discover who is best Ontologically Realized within the OM, but can lead to unexpected greatness. Mating, mutation and natural selection are legitimate, mathematical processes searching for the most persistent Ontological Realizations against an unknown domain of opportunities.

This example of genetically modifying future customers as a form of product illustrates that the OT simpliciter always applies to an organization’s teleological planning to regenerate meaningful amounts of money, even in extreme ways. This also exemplifies an organization’s teleonomic discovery of what best extends and optimizes consumers’ lives and existences through iteratively market testing that which is ontologically reinforcing. Leaning consumers upward into more sophisticated SLOTS within the OM as their own form of product is the only commercial limit to extending and optimizing processes that U/ARE within the IB. However, universally leaning all consumers’ ARE processes through these methods may ultimately not be the most Ontologically Teleologically rewarding since it would most likely not discover who best fits within the universe. True commercial breakthroughs are usually the unanticipated, teleonomic consequences of teleological para-scientific investigation.591 Creating a model consumer usually involves some random variables and is generally not deterministic.

Universalizing Consumers’ Will to Exist

As an organization strives to universalize who its customers are with the product it produces, it must search for and find that which best leans consumers toward what they speculate is BOT and away from what is NOT.592 To truly universalize who consumers are toward this perceived perfection in a state of being Beyond the OT, you must attempt to converge their speculative intuitions and physical processes and make them synonymous with the universe itself, however impossible or undesirable that end-goal may be.

Here is the irony of all business pursuits: while you never want consumers to get fully BOT because you would leave nothing further for them to buy, you must still try to fully lean consumers’ lives and existences toward getting BOT, leaning toward an infinite sigma (/σ∞), such that they become perfected and never need to purchase your products ever again. “U” is thus simultaneously Universal, Systemic and Subversive, like each of the theists, academics and cynics of ancient Greece. You must try to lean consumers toward an infinite sigma in the relentless pursuit of their perfection when you innovate, develop and market product, even if that may ultimately be a fruitless goal in the grandest scheme. You have no choice but to attempt to universally lean them up toward ARE processes, away from the circular constraints of the OM.

What an Organization Ought to D/O

No true-north values lean philosophically with infinite confidence (/σ∞) more than what is considered ethical and moral, about which consumers most deontologically (or “D/Ontologically”) care.593 Only this universal, normative ethics, or what people ought to do, fully leans upward along the curve of the Ontological Teleology to reach what is intuitively true.594 This Value Stream 5 now explores how a corporation can ethically orient its product to lean consumers along the upward slope of the Ought, beyond what organizations can know, toward what consumers find most meaningful in the money they spend.

Any difference between what consumers ought to buy on a normative basis and what they value with the money they spend must be explained through axiomatically structural or processually systemic errors, inefficiencies and/or ignorances that effect consumers’ rationality.595 An organization has a duty to solve these problems by engaging in Ontologically Prospective Projects producing viable products that most profitably reconciles these structural or systemic errors, inefficiencies and/or ignorances toward perfection. Through probabilistic estimates of what most profitability universalizes consumers’ personal perspectives as they lean up through the Ought, you arrive at ethical value judgments as to what products universally, optimally leans ARE processes overall toward universalize perfection.596

The Ontological Teleology, OT or Ought, directly relates the normative Universal/Processual and really Personal true-north values (again, the “UPP,” true-north values) to these deontological, ethical principles such as those espoused by Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives that truly increase enterprise value. The Ontological Teleology in general, and legal systems more specifically, integrate deontological, rule-based ethics that were most famously espoused by Emmanuel Kant into UPP values. Optimally, universally leaning ARE processes through UPP true-north values draws bright lines for what consumers ought to deontologically do.

When an organization’s product leans the processes that U/ARE, that organization in-turn universalizes consumers’ Processual and Personal true-north values as a deontological rule of what they ought to do. This makes that organization’s product a good in itself597 because what is good for consumers is what makes consumers more of who they ought to be, which is what they are ideally. Good product is what they ought to want to buy from an organization to be a better version of themselves, which will lead to good returns. A lot of people discussing Lean value streams seem to miss this circular ripple in the process of taking money in exchange for improving consumers’ sense of self.

Problems do arise when particular customers may want something deemed a vice. Other problems arise when consumers simply need to satisfy their base needs so desperately they cannot afford to consider the overall OT, which can cause them to do criminal and naughty things. Problems like these though are systemic errors, inefficiencies and/or ignorances endemic to that particular customer or group of customers, or they are structural to a particular society. Importantly, such customers’ evil demand would not optimize processes that U/ARE overall, and so if universalized, that demand would collapse U/Socially unto itself.

Ethical product instead facilitates who, why, what and how consumers ought to want to be by allowing consumers to ultimately align their personal perspectives with the upward slant of the Ought inside the IB, leaning them toward what they believe is BOT, while simultaneously contrasting them with what they know is not normatively valuable. Thus, an organization’s objective commercial and ethical end-goal ought to be to correct problems for a profit by entangling distinctions between processes that U/ARE with the nearly infinite (/σ∞), universal perspective.598 Thus, the goal599 of ethically leaning all product toward ARE is to invalidate that ultimate negative of what is NOT for everyone through this entanglement.600

The collective will to universally lean toward ARE processes may be seen as this Kantian categorical imperative, this deontological, universal law, which consumers ought do to create universal coherence and entanglement to the greatest extent they can. The collective “Will to Universalize” aligns with diverse concepts such as “Justice,” “Good Will,” and “True-North” that all customers ought to highly value. As described earlier, these rules of what consumers ought to do are even deontologically realized in legal systems established by Justinian and others to direct what consumers and all businesses ought do to best extend, optimize and lean society toward ARE processes to universalize all that that society identifies with.601 This is how the Ought regulates and simplifies all within the OM, by classifying and measuring what qualifies as best, better, good, neutral, bad, worse, or worst. This simple diagram shows this Ontologically Teleological spectrum:

Figure 5.26: Qualitative Spectrum
Figure 5.26: Qualitative Spectrum

Let me now show this in the context of the Ought.

Figure 5.27: Chart of Qualitative Gradations of Ought
Figure 5.27: Chart of Qualitative Gradations of Ought

Philosophers, sociologists, economists, business people and customers altogether qualify what makes a product the worst or best through their phenomenological assessments and purchase decisions. A product creates the best moments of true-north value by extending and optimizing consumers’ lives and existences through the Ought by creating true UPP value, which thereby takes a product and its organization from being good to great, and maybe even toward being the very best.

Universalization of Ought Ethics (U.) for Fun and Profit

Ought optimization has an objective end-goal of deontological universalization of consumers’ ARE processes and personal perspectives, with a specific philosophical objective of achieving a possibly circular purpose.602 The seemingly paradoxical optimization of processes that U/ARE through the Ought for fun and profit is in fact very similar to notions of an apparently circular Utilitarianism/Consequentialism that ultimately requires people to do a thing for its own benefit. Some circularity must ultimately arise because if consumers were to ever hypothetically universalize, becoming synonymous with the universe to become BOT by resolving every problem with their ARE processes as soon as one arose, time itself would simultaneously seem to stop and become seemingly endless for them from their personal perspectives. The only thing they could buy from you would be whatever might go beyond the apparent tautology of the Ought and provide non-circular meaning to them outside the OM and IB in relation to what is known to be NOT. By being fully BOT, they would already be universalized and synonymous with the OM itself, and would have nothing left to purchase. While true, this destination is so out of reach that it has little practical impact to us today other than keeping us aligned with the end goal.

Thus, moral progress occurs by extending consumers’ rationality by reducing consumers’ errors, inefficiencies and/or ignorances within the sphere of possibility.603 You transform their intuitive speculation into systemic processes that allow them to better estimate what they deontologically ought to do. You allow them to determine better what Ontologically Prospective Projects they ought to pursue to universalize themselves and all society in contrast to what is NOT and toward what they believe is fully BOT.604 On an organic, true-north value basis, this abstract utilitarian, deontological Will to Universalize brings the universe closer to equilibrium through the transformation of potential energy to increase universal entropy, just like how money represents the contractual right to redirect the flow of matter and energy in that process.605 Money is the medium of this meaningfully energetic exchange.

At the same time, the utilitarian deontological Will to Universalize recognizes consumers’ non-scientismic speculation as a rational response to what they perceive to be NOT outside the IB regardless of any physical considerations within the OM. However, non-scientismic speculative issues outside the IB have historically shown little predictive likelihood of becoming systemic or axiomatic truth-north values in comparison to intuitively scientismic speculation. We now know that faith in explanation predictably guides us toward processes that lean towards ARE.606 This is because processes that U/ARE, and all true-north UPP values, primarily facilitate consumers’ being inside the IB as physical, chemical and systemic processes in juxtaposition to what is certainly scientifically NOT. However, you must keep in mind that processes that U/ARE always cause consumers to self-organize around what they wish to be if they got BOT or fear would make them NOT. Or, one might summarize this idea by adapting a line from Shakespeare as follows:

To move this discussion fundamentally forward in a way I hope you now see more clearly, hypothetically presume that you produced the most truly valuable product that ever existed. Thus under this hypothetical, your product now universalizes consumers so that they become synonymous with all that is. Your customers then would be perpetually adapted, reproduced, energized for all situations whatever happened. Again, what you ought to actually hope you do is bring them as close to this event horizon as possible as consistent living systems by leaning toward six sigmas (/6σ) of confidence so they may optimize their total lifetime value to you and your organization.607 If you nearly perfected consumers’ processes that lean toward ARE so that they believe they have a chance at living forever, your product would also be the most highly revered within the OM forever as well.

However, since no product can fully universalize consumers as if they got themselves truly BOT, consumers will inevitably vacillate and focus their Will to Universalize within the OM on what other product most meaningfully juxtaposes them to what is NOT. Since consumers cannot be truly BOT unless they are NOT as far as we know, the OM creates a conceptually circular limit to consumers’ Ontological Teleology and the share of their wallets that businesses may control. Customers’ Ought Cognitive Dissonance arises from that fact and leads consumers to seek hopefully constructive non-circular meaning toward what they believe is BOT outside the Intuition Bracket. However, even if ultimately impossible to reach within the OM, consumers’ attempt to get BOT is simply who they are and what they will do until they become NOT. If you recall Figure 1.4, we now know that consumers bought the product of businesses reaching toward true-north value and the highest profit because consumers are pursuing that same end-goal.

Figure 5.29: End-Goal of Lean
Figure 5.29: End-Goal of Lean

This turning back to the Ought for meaning is also why employees work for money, so they can perpetuate themselves in the present and leave an Ontologically Realized legacy that matters.608 From the moment employees leave home to when they return, they engage in OPPs at work from their personal perspectives as informed by their past remembered, presently experiencing and anticipated future selves to better universalize what they personally identify as themselves in a workplace through the product they reproduce and the customers that product serves.609 The best employees may further identify their presently experiencing and anticipated future selves as high-achievers and good providers. Outside of work, those employees may drive to gyms because they identify their presently experiencing or anticipated future selves as fit and healthy.

You can likewise trace consumers’ motives for purchasing any product as discrete OPPs in regards to what consumers believe will facilitate their Ontological Realization toward getting themselves tautologically BOT. Consumers optimize processes that U/ARE to best juxtapose their personal perspectives with what they know is NOT and personally believe is BOT. This universally Utilitarian, Bought/Nought binary tension is ultimately what turns consumers onto products, and is what the marketing budget within an HQ ought to directly or indirectly serve.

However, consumers’ ego-centric self-conceptions often conflict with outward, allo-centric, deontologically universalized ethics. For example, consumers may want to steal to better adapt, reproduce and energize rather than fairly pay for products, but that would violate societal norms gamified between all people for everyone’s benefit. Just as existence itself seems paradoxically self-defined, the Ought, as the great simpliciter, generates deontological categorical imperatives into which universalized egoism must ultimately lean, however imperfectly along the upwardly warped slope of the OT because humans themselves are imperfect.

I suggest for any business ideology that some combined Consequentialism or Utilitarianism be perceived as a means of optimally, universally leaning toward customers’ ARE processes toward this hybrid “D/Ontology” of universalized utility.610 This is a form of secular universalism within the Intuition Bracket, leaving speculative religious dogmas legitimized from consumers’ personal perspectives but bracketed outside the IB for purposes of determining true-north values for a business. It functions as a means for consumers to physically and mentally self-organize toward what may be BOT in contrast to what they know is NOT inside the IB. This is the objective philosophical and ethical basis on which an organization may meaningfully make more money the right way. Universally axiomatic, processually systemic, and personally intuitive true-north values equate with universalized virtues, which in-turn align with the normative and real values that support consumers’ lives and all businesses.

Universalizing is maximizing an organization’s Will to Universalize its customers for a profit. Universalizing is maximizing the distinction between consumers and what is NOT. Universalizing is improving the conditional, ontological fact of customers’ existences within the OM, which is how businesses improve the world. Universalizing is minimizing Threats while engaging in Ontologically Prospective Projects to get BOT. Universalizing is having a clear and personal vision of what universally leans toward consumers’ ARE processes against what is NOT.

Universalization universally optimizes and orients ARE process and consumers’ Personal perspectives toward what they believe is BOT so long as consumers’ intuitive speculation allows all other people to cohere to society’s commonly agreed Universal and Process values. So, the universalization of any given set of customers must also reciprocally allow all other consumers to believe in their own Personal true-north values in a converged consensus so long as those Personal values do not likewise conflict with society’s consensually agreed UP values.

People need not agree at their lowest common denominators of true-north values though. Universalization does not mean asking consumers to give up intuitive, speculative beliefs like spiritualism, religion and scientism at the pearly gates of secularism. For any foreseeable future, no one can determine what is truly BOT unless U/People become NOT. Nor does an objective ethic of universalization mean giving up governing a business with data because data is an intrinsic element of the geometric OM that itself resides in an unbounded universe. Universalization only requires that speculative, intuitive true-north values be kept in perspective and debated as complements to inter-subjective, falsifiable axiomatic and systemic truths measured with real, lean data. For a real-world example of this business ethic, here is a picture of the entrance to Universal/Studios in Singapore where everyone gets counted equally as they pass through the turnstiles to enjoy the rides while maintaining their specific, Personal perspectives on true-north value:

Figure 5.30: Globe at Universal/Studios Singapore (© 2010 Unattributed (CC BY-SA 2.0))
Figure 5.30: Globe at Universal/Studios Singapore (© 2010 Unattributed (CC BY-SA 2.0))

Importantly, and perhaps ironically, the ethic of Universalization for consumers actually defines what they consider to NOT be inside the IB. The better the business, the larger that organization’s impact on enhancing the depth and/or breadth of consumers’ UPP values through the Ought, thereby reducing the universe of what could be NOT. For example, consider further the Ontological Realization that Universal Studios created in its 44,884,000 customers in 2015, thereby reducing the possibility of those customers being not happy.611 Likewise, consumers similarly judge the leaders of nations, businesses, or philanthropies by the degrees that they enhance the depth and/or breadth of all people’s UPP values in alignment with the Ontological Medium along the Ought, and inversely the degree to which they assist consumers with becoming not NOT.

Since ethical problems are ultimately Ontologically Prospective Projects, organizations enact forward looking estimates of the best means of universally optimizing customers’ ARE processes in a dynamic market. Like any ethic with a consequentialist component, this is a large burden to place on profitable, ethical decision making at the individual and corporate level. But as well explained by Herbert Simon and later economists, organizations continue to improve their methods of satisficing612 their customers despite their bounded rationality.613 Businesses in-fact get rewarded by striving for an omniscient Personal perspective to universally lean their customers’ ARE processes through Ontologically Prospective Projects. In other words, businesses make meaningful amounts of money by deeply empathizing with people, doing good work by universalizing their customers’ Personal perspectives despite imperfect markets, and doing so in balance with society’s needs, just like Universal Studios.

Universalizing Consumers’ Universal Egoism

Your organization thus ought to pursue an ethic of universally optimizing ARE processes to the greatest extent, while recognizing that the contingency of consumers’ existences vis-a-vis what is NOT is a form of Universal Egoism. Consumers personally define what’s meaningful to them by how they orient their ids, egos and super-egos with what they intuitively speculate is Beyond the Ought as opposed to what they know is NOT. Consumers constantly work to reconcile their personal estimates of what is outside the IB with standards for such speculation set by their family, community, science, religion and all people.

An organization may also choose to not speculate what may be BOT by simply focusing on perfectly universalizing ARE processes and creating a greater distinction with what it and consumers know is Nought. Knowledge of what consumers most value is based as much on what is known is not valuable as much as what is. This is why an organization ought to optimize meaning by reproducing what consumers speculate is Ontologically Teleological, as opposed to what is NOT at all agreed is valuable by at least two sigmas (≥2σ) of a target market. Corporations may align what they reproduce with what consumers intuitively speculate just up to and until the point that all meaning twists back around to lean toward an infinite sigma of confidence (/σ∞). This means that organizations ought to never stop pursuing perfection as long as they believe in the philosophy of Lean. Or as Elie Wiesel said:

So to create the highest profit, you ought to engage in OPPs and lean consumers toward what they believe is BOT so long as those beliefs do not conflict with all other people’s UPP values. As I indicated before, speculating what is BOT is a perfectly rational reaction to consumers’ Ought Cognitive Dissonance. However, a problem arises ethically when customers’ intuitive speculation about what is BOT interferes with widely recognized axiomatic and systemic truths, to such a degree that consumers’ speculative beliefs hinder their or society’s universally leaning toward ARE processes overall. Thus, an organization ought to mediate between the generally valid axiomatic and systemic truths and personally valid beliefs when designing its product to extend and optimize U/ARE processes.

Organizations operating in conformance with the Ought can regulate consumers’ knowledge and speculation as to what is NOT and may be BOT for better or worse. For example, religions, like any other supervening SLOTS orienting themselves along the upward curvature of the Ought, rise and fall based on their facilitating congregants’ Ontological Realization and helping them thrive as a population of believers over time. As already stated, to the extent religions in fact define what is BOT, like money, they operate as a great self-organizing force leading to consumer’s Ontological Realization that they personally experience within the OM and IB. Any organization can likewise leverage this dynamic to make mana. For example, like a fundamentalist pastor, shaman, imam or rabbi, many sales organizations likewise create fear, uncertainty and doubt within their customers’ personal perspectives to drive new sales and lean their companies’ revenue trajectory upward toward the sublime. This is ethical so long as the end-result is consumer’s greater Ontological Realization overall for the ultimate, systemic benefit of society in its converged consensus of UP true-north values from people’s Personal perspectives.

So like fraudulent salespeople, religions can be destructive too if they prescribe dogmatic, D/O rules that lead to systemically destructive results that people experience. This is often the basis for a religion being labelled a cult. From an ethical perspective, an organization can justify personal and business ethics on the sole basis of whether or not it universally leans toward ARE processes as society or science may estimate, which is what consumers will buy with religious fervor.

Universalizing Your Organizations’ Perfectionist Consequentialism

Thus, ethical, religious and corporate contributions will ultimately be measured against how they optimize and lean consumers through the Ought since the Ought is the great regulator and simpliciter of everything within the OM. Governments, religions and corporations get measured to the extent they facilitate successful OPPs that lean consumers’ ARE processes to the greatest degree over time. By leaning philosophically through universalization, an organization pursues a “Perfectionist Consequentialism” within the bounds of the IB, which includes a form of quasi-realistic speculation once you include what consumers believe is outside the IB. Consequential perfection gets measured in terms of what it universally leans toward against the threat of NOT being overall, and by how it maximizes consumers’ mix of perfectly rational and optimally irrational behavior to achieve that end-goal.615

Look now at the Consequentialist ethics of optimizing the processes that U/ARE in relation to universal truth-value, such as justice, human dignity, and the true-north values that bind the legality and public relations of business decisions. These deontological concepts cannot be touched, but are Ontologically Realized by how they are perceived to be uniformly universalized altogether by consumers. We thus strive for these deontological concepts because they orient people’s personal wills toward Universalization. For example, legal systems and theologies set deontological laws and rules deductively universalizing the processes that U/ARE by establishing edicts to not murder, steal, perjure, etc. Likewise, the deontological concept of justice may be viewed as the ultimate culmination and application of game theory, a rule-based tit-for-tat that gets scored by how it universally leans toward ARE processes overall.616

The philosopher R.M. Hare best represents this thinking around universal, deontological ethics in a concept he calls “U.” Hare says that “U.” is the requirement,

…of finding some action to which one is prepared to commit oneself, and which at the same time one is prepared to accept as exemplifying a principle of action binding on anyone in like circumstances.617

That action is that which leads consumers toward universally leaning toward ARE processes overall, even if they must sacrifice themselves individually for the greater universalization of who and what they consider themselves to be overall beyond their own, individual person.

Altruism and Optimizing Being

Inversely, when organizations exhibit what you would consider to be altruistic behavior, like the foundations of high-net-worth people engaging in philanthropy and businesses engaging in social-purpose and Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, they distribute money received by them or their predecessors. But all that money distributed philanthropically was earned at some point in history in a way that was not philanthropical, by companies that were “In Search of Excellence”618, choosing to go from “Good to Great”619, and being “Built to Last.”620

Setting aside the obvious caveats mentioned earlier in this book regarding measuring true-north value with money, in order to get that manna, philanthropists, their foundations or their predecessors, directly or through the enterprises in which they invested, provided some product or other asset that people considered worthy of its price to universally lean toward ARE processes in monetary value terms.

Consumers directly or indirectly provided their money to philanthropists (or did so to their ancestors) by purchasing their product, which in-turn makes philanthropists and their foundations virtuous through their philanthropy. Industrialists’ philanthropy in-turn may lead consumers to buy more product from them. Most societies allow philanthropists to universalize themselves by naming buildings, branding stadiums, and establishing foundations. These philanthropists have had books ghost-written in their names and have become well-known by socializing with celebrities at charity or political events. For example, the fashion designer Michael Kors named the new “God’s Love We Deliver” building in New York City as the, “Michael Kors Building,” in exchange for his charitable donation at the building’s dedication along with celebrities:

Figure 5.31: God's Love We Deliver Michael Kors Building (Photo Credit: BGS)
Figure 5.31: God’s Love We Deliver Michael Kors Building (Photo Credit: BGS)

This Universalization principle applies to politicians too. While politicians receive a combination of votes, donations, and tax dollars in lieu of business profits, they universalize themselves by naming bridges, roadways, airports and institutions for themselves with taxpayer acquiescence to support politicians’ existential legacies. We also notably put politicians’ faces leaning on our money with looks of authority, creating another “‘I’-Thou” relationship between us and governmental leaders judging if we are worthy of the currency’s benefits to redirect the flow of matter and energy in exchange.621 Society legitimizes this exchange to the extent people perceive those leaders as universally leaning people’s ARE processes overall, which ultimately gets tested against whether those leaders really do, or whether their rein leads to a coup.622

To strip this veil of altruism completely away, consider how the concept of mercy aligns with natural selection within the OT. Mercy in the form of altruism has been shown to have ontologically U/Social utility by benefiting all through reciprocal support.623 When mercy is a universal ethic, you are as likely to receive mercy as give it. Thus all organizations may consider U/Social utility, or corporate philanthropy, to be the highest form of self-organization they can achieve when their businesses as fictional people cooperate with society to optimally lean toward ARE processes. By performing these acts of kindness, they create the most true-north value for the highest profit over all, like incorporated Übermensch.624

The Problem of Evil Google Can’t Escape

When Larry Page and Sergey Brin first started Google, they adopted the phrase, “Don’t be evil,” as Google’s corporate motto. Perhaps Page and Brin often wrestle with the philosophically famous, “Problem of Evil,” which speaks to the question of what evil is and why evil exists at all. You thus might wonder what evil Google was attempting to avoid that would make its product more meaningful to the consumers whose data it sells.

Within the IB, evil is error, inefficiency and/or ignorance, like grotesque imperfection, degenerative, abnormal psychology, neurological disease and psychological trauma.625 All of this is the opposite of ontologically reinforcing true-north value. Evil sadly arises as a consequence of the ontological contingency of the OT, which is a spectrum of what is other-than-existence outside the IB, and what may be hypothetically optimized for universalization in contrast to evil.626 Google’s motto then was to refrain from being that which undermines consumers’ Ontological Realization upward along the Ontological Teleology.

Figure 5.32: In the Garden of Google® and Evil (© and ® Alphabet, Inc. with my modifications)
Figure 5.32: In the Garden of Google® and Evil (© and ® Alphabet, Inc. with my modifications)

The question of what evil is largely relates to the logical coherence of a systemic world where consumers’ existences get Ontologically Realized through structured processes that happen to allow them to define their essences. Evil occurs where those structured processes fail to allow consumers to universalize their Ontological Realization into higher SLOTS. Economic “goods” as structured SLOTS can only be deemed so in juxtaposition to what they are not, or what good things they do not allow consumers to do, which is the evil Google wanted to avoid.

You might blame this contravention on the fact that consumers’ intuitive truths they believe as to what may be BOT stand outside society’s commonly held UP values within the OM. In other words, since consumers’ must believe in what they think is BOT while remaining in the OM that operates as if it was logically self-defining, evil necessarily threatens and in fact often does sadly realize itself regardless of what organizations and consumers desire. This problem of necessary imperfection is due to the OM being between what is NOT and may be BOT, and is the root of all the evil Brin and Page wanted to avoid.

However, in 2015, Google decided that it couldn’t avoid being evil in an imperfect universe for the above stated reasons, however much it tried. Thus, Google literally changed its name to “Alphabet” and its slogan to, “Do the Right Thing,” to lean the corporation further in the direction of consumers. Finally in 2018, Google removed, “Don’t be evil” entirely from its mission statement, becoming driven purely profit seeking.

Ethical Prospects – OPPs for the Captain, Prisoner and Transplant

Like Google applying a goodness simpliciter with its slogans, “Don’t be evil” and “Do the right thing,” to this notion of altruism through U/ARE processes, you ought to analyze the consequences of what an organization ought to deontologically do to engage in ethical OPPs toward universalizing who and why consumers’ are for a profit. Utilitarian ethics have often been criticized because of built-in contradictions favoring the group over the individual, such as leaning consumers toward killing one person to save many others. However, if an organization uses Universalization as a form of Utilitarian ethics in its Lean business ideology to create the most true-north value for consumers, it can generally overcome Utilitarianism’s analytical problems. By synthesizing traditional Consequentialist and deontological ethics, you form Universal Optimism, which is the duty of all people to understand and uphold since hope springs eternal.627 In other words, you must stay open minded in an unbounded universe regardless of the value system employed.628

When engaging in OPPs to extend and optimize who consumers are, you must keep in mind that constraints will always remain due to an organization’s errors, inefficiencies, paradoxes and ignorances within the system in which it operates. This is exactly why Google suffered from Ought Cognitive Dissonance when it had the motto, “Don’t be evil.” Google had to settle for the aspirational end-goal of simply doing the right thing. Neither you nor Google will ever know all the factors necessary to make the correct ethical decisions as OPPs. All a company can do is fully recognize and try to overcome its own psychological biases toward preserving itself ontologically within the OM above all else.

Tversky and Kahneman’s Prospect Theory has a large role to play in ethical OPPs for this reason. On a game theory basis, organizations, just like consumers, must favor the probability of persisting over gaining in order to repeat their goal of being Ontologically Realized perpetually upward in Strategically Unique Degrees of Sophistication. In the systematic reality of universal true-north value, making ethical decisions for a particular OPP requires estimating probabilities on a prospective basis and ensuring that even if you lose, you can try and create meaningful true-north value again as best you can given these constraints inherent in any given situation within the OM. This is what makes business so risky and often conservative.

Consider the earlier economic discussion in how Prospect Theory reflects aversion toward losing when conducting Ontologically Teleological OPPs. Quite simply, the preference to avoid loss rather than creating another OPP is perfectly rational when you weigh the systematic costs and benefits of processes that U/ARE. Through the optimization of life processes that lean toward ARE, you would expect consumers to be slightly biased in their ethical decision making toward continuing to exist over essentially and existentially gaining, in that their ultimate end-goal is to reproduce for persistent survival. This is why consumers seek justice and “fairness” so they may repeat the game of life, test fate and ultimately extend their eras.

Since consumers are biased toward not risking being out of the game of life altogether over trying new product, that creates hazards for any company introducing innovative product. This bias against potential new methods of satisfaction and delight can often be overcome with well-known brands and marks. Consumers favor well-known brands that in their minds have the highest statistical chance of yielding delightful satisfaction and avoiding bitter disappointment. Brands create efficiency for consumers by increasing their chances of avoiding loss and gaining both ethically and ontologically, even at the possible cost of the marginal benefit they could receive by switching to newly branded, innovative products.629

This brand risk in large part raises the point of purchase higher between an organization and consumers since consumers conduct OPPs by betting with their money when buying product. They bet whether or not buying a product extends, optimizes, and thus universalizes, their ARE processes. Only by creating moments of true-north value within consumers when they buy products can an organization increase consumers’ probability of reaching Universal and Process true-north values from their Personal perspectives. By doing so, an organization may more effectively lean over the point of purchase to uniquely/profitably extend and optimize consumers’ lives and existences.

The Captain

A commercial challenge resides in the uncertainty of the effectiveness of OPPs in relation to the distance from the problem a company is trying to resolve. Limitations from a process perspective arise in an organization’s difficulty with understanding new markets that seem less systemically important to existence, or less evidently so, due to what psychologists term, “Availability Bias.”630

There is a famous scene in the movie, “Star Trek II: Wrath of Kahn,” evidencing this availability bias. In the scene called, Kobayashi Maru,631 Captain Kirk and his hyper-logical assistant Spock discuss whether Spock should sacrifice himself to save the crew of the ship and its overall mission to universally explore and gain scientific knowledge that will optimize who people are. The basic logic Spock proposes for his decision, which is hard to argue with, is that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few if every person is to count equally.

This scene exemplifies a situation where Spock engaged in an OPP resulting in the self-sacrifice of his life because it costs less systemically in people’s ability to universalize themselves than if he had not sacrificed himself for countless yet unknown people. This, at least to me and I believe many others, feels somewhat correct on a logical basis so long as the decision comes from Spock’s free will.632

Captain Kirk, who is the more emotionally driven character, closely identifies with Spock and feels that the loss of his life would greatly reduce who he considers himself to be, which is Spock’s friend, and so Kirk initially disagrees with Spock’s estimate for universally optimizing the degree of ARE processes as the organizational mission of the Starfleet. Captain Kirk and all of the other crew members would die as well in this hypothetical, so even Kirk in his personal loss of Spock realizes that Spock’s self-sacrifice is the correct decision for universalizing the degree of ARE processes overall. Thus, Kirk ultimately agrees, at least an intellectual basis, with Spock’s estimate for enhancing the true-north value of universalizing all people. Nonetheless, this is an ethical problem for operating all enterprises.

As the philosopher and ethicist Peter Singer wrote:

No doubt we do instinctively prefer to help those who are close to us. Few could stand by and watch a child drown; many can ignore the avoidable deaths of children in Africa or India. The question, however, is not what we usually do, but what we ought to do, and it is difficult to see any sound moral justification for the view that distance, or community membership, makes a crucial difference to our obligations.633

To overcome this ethical problem raised by Spoke and Singer, an organization ought to view itself as universalizing consumers’ ARE processes as a form of Lean, Systems Thinking as best it can given an organization’s bounded rationality. An organization, when determining how to most profitably serve its markets, should closely analyze its availability biases and see how it can uniquely/profitably extend and optimize the lives and existences of markets near and far to create the most money meaningfully wherever a profit may be found.

The Prisoner

The flip-side of the commercial problems presented by The Captain scenario is the justice of lawsuits for the torts and crimes organizations commit. Society must decide whether or not it is better off systemically punishing organizations that commit bad acts. Remember that justice, as a deontological ethic and overlapping consensus, can in certain ways be perceived as an application of game theory to optimally lean ARE processes toward universalization. The decision to punish organizations at the cost of their profits almost always revolves around whether retribution enhances society through deterrence.

When governments decide to impose financial punishments on companies, they ought to generally consider people’s psychological and emotional sense of deterrence, their empathy for the individual victims, and whether data supports the contention that the punishment is an effective deterrent. An organization likewise ought to consider whether its actions universalize people’s ARE processes to the highest degree within society, thereby creating true-north meaning to avoid regulatory fines, bad publicity and possible jail time for its executives.634

The Transplant

Against this ethical backdrop, let’s now take a very common hypothetical used in philosophy classes to determine how an organization ought to optimize who consumers are and create lean, true-north value for them. Presume you run a hospital where eighteen patients require immediate blood transfusions of a specific blood type. Your hospital happens to have an employee on staff who is the one person with the blood type that could certainly make those eighteen patients well. Should your organization kill the healthy employee with the correct blood type as an Ontologically Prospective Project, thereby turning him or her into a form of product, to save the lives of the eighteen sick people with immediate blood transfusions, presuming no other alternatives exist?

This hypothetical often diverges ethical systems in that the Consequentialists/Utilitarians (generally) say “yes” because an organization will ultimately save more lives by turning its employee into product, while deontologists (generally) say no because that organization would have to murder its employee to save the eighteen lives, which deontologists would say is categorically bad. For the deontologists, murder in this circumstance would be a “D/Ontological” concept your organization would have to universalize under the exact same circumstance in all cases if you chose to perform this OPP.

An ethical system using Universal Optimization as its standard to properly lean up along the Ontological Teleology requires you to ask, “[a]s a hospital administrator, what D/Ontological actions optimize my patients’ personal perspectives and thus create the most meaningful true-north value?” While your hospital may wish to save the eighteen lives that apparently resulted from biological defects for a tremendous profit per surgery, you likewise would not want to commit murder and unnecessarily reduce your staff’s headcount. The question then becomes,

Would murdering one employee for the sake of the eighteen high-profit patients in all such similar circumstances systemically optimize people’s personal perspectives within the IB through processes that U/ARE and create meaningful true-north value overall when considered in totality?

When universally optimizing processes that ARE for fun and profit, it would be hard to see how murdering an otherwise healthy employee for the sake of eighteen sick patients would further lean ARE processes overall because in real life, the risks inherent in surgery itself make the OPP just as risky, thereby discounting the potential benefits and profits of the OPP. A universalized axiom must lean toward ARE processes overall given the further systemic consequences of such an action. Creating an ethic of murdering a non-violent person for money would be too costly on a systemic basis (not to mention an emotional one, and the unintended consequences such a policy would have on hospital admissions). For example, people would never work at a hospital for fear they might suffer a similar fate and become a certain form of product for sick patients under similar circumstances. That would cause many more lives than the eighteen sick patients to be lost.

Thus, an organization ought to pursue an ethic of universally leaning toward ARE processes to improve the depth, breadth, quality and continuity of consumers’ personal perspectives within society, in addition to expanding the population of people. For example, China once chose as its formal policy to limit the number children people may have in exchange for a higher quality of life and greater sustainability of all, but it now faces demographic challenges with that decision. People in increasingly wealthy societies, including China, often voluntarily decide to have no or fewer children in order to have better quality lives for themselves overall, which also creates demographic challenges.

So the goal is to balance these factors to achieve optimal results overall by leaning toward ARE processes the most. In that vein, many non-profit organizations work to increase the voluntary participation rates in blood and organ donation programs to overcome the above ethical problem for operating a hospital and improving the lives of its patients.635 Most cultures decide that people’s ability to freely choose exceeds any increased ontological benefit achieved by forcefully taking organs from healthy people, thereby creating a universal ethic for all in order to best adapt, energize and regenerate the lives of their people.636

Emotions as Personal Analogies

Beyond ethical optimization, its natural to wonder at this point how an organization ought to optimally lean toward consumers’ ARE processes in this way. You may begin to understand this by asking,

Unless consumers are actors, they generally enact emotions such as joy, grief, love, and pain without any prior, self-aware intent to do so. Critically, ethical, emotional, and monetary values are one and the same because consumers buy things that make them happy, which generally orients them along the Ought by creating new SUDS and forming higher SLOTS.

Survival of a Systemic Utilitarianism Inside the IB

Within this chain of reasoning, you may see the evolution of Utilitarianism and its leaning from a modern perspective for commercial purposes.637 Utilitarianism, as first described by philosophers like Jeremy Bentham and John Stewart Mill, is generally held to be, “…the view that the morally right action is the action that produces the most good,”638 or in some versions, the one that produces the most happiness. In what seems to be a promotion of classic Utilitarianism, the Coca-Cola Company, owner of one of the world’s most successful brands in history, recently defined happiness through its “Open Happiness” and “Coke Side of Life” campaigns. Coca-Cola Company started this discussion at its interactive website once located at this URL http://us.coca-cola.com/happiness/ by including quotes about happiness from esteemed individuals repeated here:

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
– Buddha

Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.
– Aristotle

Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.
– Franklin F. Roosevelt

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
– Mahatma Gandhi

The primary cause of unhappiness [and happiness] is never the situation but your thoughts about it.
– Eckhart Tolle

The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions, and not on our circumstances. We carry the seeds of the one or the other about with us in our minds wherever we go.
– Martha Washington639

The Coke-Cola Company then says on its website:

Like Coca-Cola, these great men and women each asked themselves the same core question – what is happiness? While each of their own definitions differ, each touches on a similar cord that we must all come to realize. The quest for true happiness is not really a quest at all, but a decision and a choice. So don’t wait another moment. Open an ice cold Coca-Cola and choose happiness!
- Coca-Cola Company Open Happiness Ad Campaign640

According to the Coca-Cola Company, consumers can consciously choose to downwardly direct their body to drink Coke, which consumption then upwardly directs their physiological and psychological responses to make them feel a certain way in-turn, just like any other drug. According to the Coca-Cola Company, by its customers consuming its product of ice cold Coke, it determines what happiness its customers experience in their lives and existences. So, consumers’ downwardly conscious decision to consume a Coke will upwardly and teleonomically bubble up happiness within them like SUDS in a U-shaped utility curve. That is the real thing the Coca-Cola Company D/Ontologically produces. This U-shaped utility function works upwardly along with the psychological relation that Coca-Cola Company wants consumers to have between its brand and whatever else really causes them happiness by extending and optimizing their lives and existences.

Setting aside Coca-Cola Company’s philosophical analysis of happiness for a moment, in describing Utilitarianism, Jeremy Bentham phrased its primary question as, “What use is it?” The U/People business model translates that question to mean the extent a product like Coke universally leans toward ARE processes, toward this abstract ethic of Universalization by creating opportunities or removing threats to consumers’ lives and existences within the OM, beyond the IB, and toward what ought to be BOT.

Since notions of good, better, and best, describe what product leans consumers up along the Ought better than any other product they could buy, Utilitarian Universalization can be restated as, “[t]he view that the morally right action is the action that optimally leans consumers in the highest SLOT toward ARE processes overall.” So optimizing ARE processes toward universalizing people overall as the most sophisticated SLOT known, helps you consider what is the most virtuous product an organization ought to reproduce. Consider this notion in the context of what Apple Inc. said is its mission statement during its 2013 developers’ conference:

This is it.
This is what matters.
The Experience of a Product.
How it makes someone feel?
Will it make life better?
Does it deserve to exist?
We spend a lot of time on a few great things, until every idea we touch, enhances each life it touches. You may rarely look at it, but you will always feel it. This is our signature, and it means everything.
- Apple Inc.’s Mission Statement Video at its 2013 World Wide Developers’ Conference in Cupertino, California

Apple’s mission statement aligns with Utilitarian Universalization. Contemporary philosophers generally define Utilitarianism not with happiness as its measure of value, but as a form of Consequentialism through universalizing a person’s ego so that it enhances each life it touches. Like R.M. Hare, modern philosophers now write this type of Utilitarianism as shorthand, “U.” They view “U.” as starting from consumers’ self-conceptions, moving outward to their kin and demographic categories such as family, community, nation, environment, politics, culture and peer-group, to eventually touch the entire world.

Classic Utilitarianism on the other hand evidences Apple’s notion of emotional enactment when it says, “…but you will always feel it,” by using emotion such as happiness as its value system. Classic Utilitarianism holds that you ought to maximize that emotion within consumers to the extent it orients them within the OM toward their true-north and leans them along the Ought.641 Emotions, like happiness, represent a sensory concept or an emergent class aggregating the extent consumers optimize themselves along the Ought.642 Consumers’ emotions thus ultimately get back-stopped and means-tested against truly normative UP values rather than more subjective Personal values.

As demonstrated by substantial empirical evidence and common sense leaning toward more than five sigmas of agreement, emotion is grounded in psychology and is conceptually related to physics and chemistry even if fairly removed from those physical forces due to the sheer complexity of higher mental SLOTS. Emotion thus represents an aggregate of consumers’ sensory phenomena reflecting what they experience for better or worse through the existential factors of processes that U/ARE. This dynamic shows itself in the following dialogue between a Trainer and New Hire at the Walt Disney Company as described in “Built to Last”:

TRAINER: What business are we in? Everybody knows McDonald’s makes hamburgers. What does Disney make?
NEW HIRE: It makes people happy.
TRAINER: Yes, exactly! It makes people happy. It doesn’t matter who they are, what language they speak, what they do, where they come from, what color they are, or anything else. We’re here to make ‘em happy.643

Like Universal Studios and Coca-Cola Company, Disney causes happiness, but how does Disney make itself the happiest place on Earth? Because it universally increases the degree of ARE processes upward into its guests’ personal perspectives. Disney enhances its guests’ remembered and experienced selves from childhood through adulthood.644 Disney’s fantasy land removes constraints of the OT that consumers otherwise experience in their day-to-day lives and thrusts its guests forward like an amusement park ride, toward a pragmatic, universalized perfection, into what they believe is BOT, even if only for a few days’ time during their vacations, which is highly valuable all the same.

As Collins and Porras said in “Built to Last”:645

A visionary company continually pursues but never fully achieves or completes its purpose— like chasing the earth’s horizon or pursuing a guiding star. Walt Disney captured the enduring, never-completed nature of purpose when he commented: ‘Disneyland will never be completed, as long as there is imagination left in the world.”

The happiness Disney reproduces over generations of its guests indicates changes in ARE processes from its guests’ personal perspectives. Disney experiences provide consumers’ remembering selves with the optimism to adapt, reproduce and energize to create a better world when they return to school or work. Disney increases its guests’ perceived juxtaposition with what they know is Nought to become more of what they believe is Bought by stimulating them and relating them to Disney characters and a magical kingdom. Once they leave Disney, consumers then aspire to reproduce that magical feeling within what the OM really is in their ordinary lives to the extent they can by buying Disney media and merchandise to make themselves happy once more, and hopefully forever after. As the journalist and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel said in his article, “A Visit to the Wonderful Disneyland”:

I don’t know if a Garden of Eden awaits adults in the hereafter. I do know, though, that there is a Garden of Eden for children here in this life. I know because I myself visited this paradise. I have just returned from there, just passed through its gates, just left the magical kingdom known as Disneyland. And as I bid that kingdom farewell, I understood for the first time the true meaning of the French saying ‘to leave is to die a little’ [partir, c’est mourir un peu]646

Thus, the BOT/NOT existential dichotomy repeats itself up through the SLOTS to become an emotional dichotomy for Elie Wiesel and all other consumers visiting Disney as well. For example, the happiness of love is a natural component and extension of consumers’ relation to other people. Loneliness is its inverse. Fear on the other hand indicates changes in consumers’ sense of physical or psychological integrity and safety. Happiness results from the changes in the factors and degrees in which consumers live and exist.647

Thus, happiness results from changes in consumers’ real or perceived ability to universally lean toward ARE processes along the Ought. Just like how philosophy is the middleware between science and intuition, consumers’ emotions are the middleware between the Ought and who they personally are. Thus, by focusing on the perpetual process of extending and optimizing consumers’ universalization of ARE processes and personal true-north values, and thus on who, why, what and how they are, you will continue make them very happy, just like Walt Disney did.

Emotions thus function bi-directionally from physical cognition to experienced emotion and vice versa because of a concept called “enactivism” described further below. Without emotion, consumers cannot otherwise anticipate, recognize and measure changes in ARE processes from their personal perspectives.649 Positive changes in consumers’ Ought factors (“OFs”) that create positive, systemic improvements for them generally result in positive changes in their emotions, such as their becoming happier by getting over an illness. Positive emotions correlate with improvements in the factors of consumers’ Ontological Teleology when you solve their deepest existential problems. Solving problems with Ought Factors should be the ethical and commercial end-goal of all organizations.

Customers’ Upward, Downward, Inward, Outward Demand - Supervenience and Enactivism

Like other great leaders, Walt Disney intuitively understood what within the OM made customers happy. The latest psychological theory today calls this dynamic, “Embodied Cognition,” which describes how consumers’ physical responses under normal conditions change their thoughts, behaviors and emotions. Embodied cognitive studies have demonstrated that consumers’ opinions of product can change depending on whether they are shaking their heads up-and-down or side-to-side in a “yes” or “no” gesture.650 Just think about the effects of subliminal messages at Disney, and the way its marketing department frames the tangible benefits of its product to consumers so they feel emotionally touched. This concept of embodied cognition should come naturally if considered from the perspective of physical persuasion on what and how consumers think.

Just as consumers’ act of biologically leaning toward ARE processes upwardly developed their personal perspectives from one SLOT to the next, the decisions consumers make also downwardly effect their biological processes as well and vice versa. A symmetric dependency exists between the environmental cause of who consumers are and what consumers really think of a product. The reason for this dynamic is supervenience as we discussed earlier, and again, this process overall is called “Enactivism.”

Through the related concepts of enactivism and embodied cognition, consumers’ interaction with the OM, when moving toward what they believe is BOT and away from what they know is NOT, creates emotional meaning for them. For example, a child gives meaning to an inanimate toy when that toy becomes the child’s new friend and enacts a feeling of comfort in the child by removing threats from what the child most fears. The toy also enactivates the child’s imagination, thereby providing the child with an opportunity to visit parallel universes with the toy inside the child’s mind’s “I.”651 Thus, the child enacts meaning with the toy through the interaction of the toy’s objective, Ontological Realization coupled with the child’s emotional relation to it.652

As consumers realize as adults, toys mean far more within the limited sphere of who children consider themselves to be than when their worldview expands as they get older. This makes meaning a pliable, contextual truth-value within the extreme boundaries of the OM and IB. For example, adult customers fully recognize the Lean manufacturing processes that went into making the toy they so loved, which changes their Personal prospective on it. Thus, consumers’ knowledge of the construction and commercialization of the toy changes the meaning they assign to the toy as adults. Ultimately though, all this emotional meaning at whatever stage of life gets back-stopped and means-tested by what they believe ought to be Bought and know is Nought.

Just as a child enacts a meaning for the toy, psychologist Antonio Damasio demonstrated that adult consumers’ environments and emotions inextricably influence what they reason. A well cited experiment653 showed how consumers change their answers to questions simply by holding a pencil in their mouths, forcing them to smile whether or not they actually felt happy. A forced smile artificially and subconsciously modifies how consumers reason because of supervenience, forming another boundary to their rationality and Utilitarianism.654

For another example of bounded rationality within who consumers really are, mood-modifying drugs have been shown to reduce mental performance, which ought not be a surprise.655 The cause for this among other factors is that emotions are inextricably linked to how consumers reason due to their need to heuristically classify something with an Ought quality such as good or bad, or happy or sad. If consumers can’t feel well whether an answer is good or bad, they are less able to reason well as well. For an example of the effect of naturally produced chemicals, Cambridge researchers recently found a relationship between the level of financial traders’ stress-related hormones and their assessment of risk, which obviously affects their objective trading performance within the market-place.656 On the other hand, some researchers have found that a certain level of stress, called “Eustress,” enhances cognition.657 The connection between emotional truth-value and logical reason is explicit in guiding consumers to ethical OPPs and away from threats to becoming NOT.

Further consider the relation between emotion and facts within the well regarded implicit association test.658 The implicit association test measures the strength of consumers’ subconscious associations between their mental concepts like “product” and their Ought-oriented qualitative assessments like “bad,” “good” and “better,” or sentiments like “joy” and “terrible.”

In one implicit association test for fashion clothing, the color red was shown on a screen, requiring the test taker to then pair it with one of the qualitative words, “bad,” “good,” “joy” or “terrible” shown in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. Test takers were then shown a picture in the middle of the screen, such as the latest clothing fashions, in colors such as pink or red. The computer then asked the test takers to click on a qualitative emotion or sentiment in the other corner of the screen that they felt matched the picture in the middle of the screen and the word in the other corner. The test then cross-matches the qualities displayed in the corners of the screen with the picture shown in the middle. How quickly and accurately consumers associate the qualitative emotions or sentiments for each category, color or class of product depicted in the middle of the screen tests consumers’ sentiments and bias toward the product depicted in the middle by interrupting the mental filters consumers have in place.

How consumers consciously or unconsciously think about the value of what the word or picture represents to their lives and existences emerges from what they phenomenologically feel about that word or picture. Consumers base this estimate on whether they consider the product as extending and optimizing who and why they think they are. Consumers unconsciously best fit their emotions to the product presented to them, such as whether they considered a product in an advertisement to be inferior or superior to competitors’ product that might extend and/or optimize them as well, better or best.

All of these studies support the notion that, rightly or wrongly, what consumers think closely relates to what they feel, similar to how consumers reason coheres to logic. By transitive logic (modus ponens), consumers emote to better lean themselves with the Ought, to passionately thrust themselves forward toward their ontological perpetuation. Happiness is synonymous with advancing Ought Factors, while sadness is their negation. Emotional influences on cognition, and vice-versa, developed so consumers could more universally Lean toward ARE processes. Just as Prospect Theory showed how consumers discount gains in favor of avoiding losses, emotions guide consumers in knowing when such movement up or down the Ontological Teleology may occur, and when to pursue or avoid it as an OPP or a Threat.

Hierarchy of Needs - Maslow Inc.

If emotions roughly indicate what ethically optimizes consumers’ lives and existences along the upward curve of the Ought, then consumers’ motivational psychology ought to Lean that way as well. Well-known models of human needs developed by motivational psychologists reflect consumers’ normatively processual and really personal true-north values. All these need theorists describe what motivates consumers outside of any concept of an Ontological Teleology, or any other philosophical concept described by this book, other than generally, Pragmatic Idealism.659 They all speak to employees’ and consumers’ internally intrinsic and externally extrinsic motivations. By applying the Ought to motivational psychology, an organization can ethically align its ARE processes with the Ought to motivate employees to perform good work and consumers to buy its good product. Motivational psychology can extend and optimize the efforts of people that produce and deliver product in a Lean House of Quality, and leans consumers toward making a purchase.

One of the best known of all need theorists is Abraham Maslow who described a hierarchy of needs within his generally dynamic theory. Like our review of competing philosophical theories about forms of human will, I would like to review briefly Maslow’s work along with some of the other motivational psychologists who have classified what an organization ought to do within the U/People business model for some intellectual context. I will briefly review a synopsis of some of these need hierarchies to factor them into the true-north value that a product may reproduce within consumers.

To begin, you can see below the well-known pyramid summarizing Maslow’s concept of human needs arising, much like an ID Kata or Charts of SUDS, toward new, supervening levels of human motivation:

Figure 5.33: Hierarchical Depiction of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Figure 5.33: Hierarchical Depiction of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Self-Actualizing Peak Experiences, Flow and Getting Bought

In his book titled, “Hierarchy of Needs: Toward a Psychology of Being,” Maslow begins his hierarchy with the need for self-actualization. Maslow defines this need as:660

… the desire for self-fulfillment, namely, the tendency for him to become actualized in what he is potentially. This tendency might be phrased as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming.

Does what Maslow write above sound familiar at this point? Notice Maslow defining self-actualization by repeating the verb “is” as a form of to be or becoming, which of course is a form of Ontological Realization oriented along the upward slope of the Ought. Maslow stated that self-actualizing people may be or become a variety of Ontologically Realized identities, such as a mother, athlete or painter, and that once people are or become those “things” they achieve fulfillment.661

Consumers likewise identify who they are along the upward slope of the Ought with their self-conscious analogies, such as the subconscious notion, “I am like me.” Maslow further says that consumers become aware of, “…what [they are] potentially.”662 This means that consumers recognize that even the very best mothers, athletes and painters are constantly seeking such self-reflexive identities. Consumers strive every day to exist as their self-selected identities because they believe it optimizes the essence of their remembered, experienced and anticipated selves. They seek to cohere all three selves into a seamless personal narrative that universally leans their ARE processes upward along the Ought toward a relentless pursuit of a universalized perfection.

Every one of consumers’ self-identified careers provides a product to other consumers, regardless of how good or bad they are. Even a trickster, fraudster or gangster serves him or herself as his or her own customer. In contrast, good customers validate their own identities by self-assessing what effect the product they produce has extrinsically on others. Collectively, the mother, athlete, painter or trickster each assesses whether he or she is good at what he or she does by the results of their efforts. A mother assesses how she served the life and existence of another, an athlete assesses how he or she extended the range of human physical potential within the OM, and an artist assesses the degree he or she inspired a sense of what seems sublimely outside the IB and may be truly BOT. Tricksters in comparison assess the extent they serve themselves, which is usually an indirect and congruent measure of the extent they move society as a whole U/Socially closer to becoming NOT.

Society measures consumers by the extent each of these career identities, and those who aspire to them, leans other people along the upward curve of the Ought as well. Society decides whether consumers achieve these identities by serving their own customers, by increasing the human population with similarly reproductive people, by motivating others to perform beyond known limits through athletics, or by inspiring others through aesthetics. Self-actualization of an identity results from a perceived and desired ontological effect, which people deem optimizing by universally leaning society’s ARE processes through specific OPPs within these professions to advance who and why people are overall.

For example, consider what the nine-time gold medalist sprinter Usain Bolt said in preparation for his final Olympics, “[I]f I win these three gold medals, I will be immortal… So I’m going to run with that: immortal.”663 Universalization through the OT is always the objective function for everyone, especially peak performers.

Peak Experiences

Maslow’s self-actualization relates the positive aspects of what Maslow called “B-values,” or “being values,” which Lean Metaphysically calls being Ontologically Realized and closer to getting Bought. Maslow delineated B-values in his writing as the ontological factors of “wholeness, perfection, completion, justice, aliveness… truth, self-sufficiency, etc.”664 All these B-values relate to what Maslow describes as peak experiences that he says optimize the emotion of happiness.665

You might describe consumers’ peak experiences as the seeming instantaneous resolution of all problems without division, thereby reproducing happiness as a B-value. Of course, no peak experience lasts for consumers because it is an illusory production of emotion from U/ARE processes – consumers necessarily live and exist in an imperfect world while hopefully moving somewhere along the upward slope of the Ought while they remain far away from getting truly Bought. Consumers can only perpetually experience peak experiences by in-part consuming product to perfect processes that U/ARE toward the event horizon of where the Ought becomes NOT and goes gently into that good night.


For a related notion, the well-known psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi proposed a concept called “flow” that can be seen as analogous to both Maslow’s peak experiences and the perception of universally leaning ARE processes from people’s Personal perspectives. Csikszentmihalyi describes flow as a psychological state that seems like a simulated perfection, facilitating, “… concentration and involvement by making the activity as distinct as possible from the so-called ‘paramount reality’ of everyday existence.”666 People experience flow when they are at work, performing activities that adapt, reproduce or energize their companies, customers or clients without much friction along the upward slope of the OT.

Csikszentmihalyi’s work and that of subsequent psychologists suggests that an organization ought to likewise create products that provide a sense of flow as a peak experience to customers when they consume them. This is what it means to ethically delight consumers to lean them further upward along the Ought. Thus, I further define “flow” in the Lean sense as the universalization of consumers’ ARE processes upward along the Ought as a result of an organization’s specific OPPs to reproduce the best product experiences for its customers.


Maslow listed self-esteem just below self-actualization in his hierarchy of needs. Maslow said that consumers need self-esteem in two primary ways:

  1. … for strength, for achievement, for adequacy, for confidence in the face of the world, and for independence and freedom, and
  2. …the desire for reputation or prestige (defining it as respect or esteem from other people), recognition, attention, importance or appreciation.667

The first need (1) is largely based on consumers’ internal estimation of their own self-worth, and the second need (2) is externally reflected inward from other people’s estimations. The self-esteem need for adequacy thus relates to consumers’ need to be further and positively Ontologically Realized from their own and others’ estimations of their self-worth.

The second, external self-esteem need (2) of reputation and prestige also relates to society’s attempted universalized leaning of its ARE processes to a greater degree by assessing individual consumers’ contributions to it. Organizations can develop product that better optimizes people’s internal and external self-reflections that help them align with the OM upward along the Ought the way they, and the society to which they relate, perceives the OM as being. This leads to the next lower level of Maslow’s hierarchy, which is the need for love and belonging.

Love & Belonging

The need for love and belonging identified by Maslow relates to both sexual and asexual affection, which Lean Metaphysically calls “Relation” and “Stimulation.” Love and belonging also promote consumers’ physiological and psychological “Vitality” as a specific ontological factor of consumers’ lives and existences within the OM. Consumers likewise aspire to irrationally love as a form of “Meaning.” “Relating” with someone or something improves the perceived difference between who and why they think they are and what they know is Nought, while aligning them toward getting what they believe is truly Bought.

To feel a sense of love and belonging, consumers ought to feel that the object of their affection makes them safer in some way by helping them avoid physiological or psychological insecurity, such as being and feeling unattractive. This leads to Maslow’s safety needs, which Lean Metaphysically identifies as an Ought factor of being “Integral” and not “Insecure.”


Safety needs largely align with an “Integral” Ought factor covering all physical and psychological contexts, though Maslow also includes notions of “Illness” within his need for safety. Lean Metaphysically addresses notions of “Illness” in the Ought factor of “Vitality.” Lean Metaphysically distinguishes the need for safety as a threat specific to consumers’ leaning their ARE processes as living systems within the OM at large as opposed to consumers’ need to maintain their internal vitality for the same reason. Maslow states that consumers’ psychological perception of safety can affect many other aspects of their demand for product. Their ability to relate and discover meaning from safety results from their contingently needing physical and psychological vitality and integrity.668


The last range of Maslow’s needs delineates physiological needs. Maslow’s physiological needs may be most closely aligned with the Ought factor of “Vitality” and not being “Ill,” on which the universal leaning of ARE processes depends. Maslow rightfully included thirst and hunger in this category, which of course relates to customers’ energy and regeneration activity as living systems, since “Vitality” requires food for energy and water for regeneration.

Maslow describes physiological needs as the most, “… pre-potent of all needs.”669 I propose that by describing the supervening potency of needs, Maslow leans toward a sense of minimum vitality in his philosophical analysis. I believe though that Maslow could have said this better by articulating that consumers’ very existence is contingent on the fulfillment of physiological needs through universalized, leanly adaptive, regenerative and energizing processes.670

No Need Hierarchy

Significant research has shown that consumers do not necessarily respond to Maslow’s above stated needs in any particular hierarchy or order.671 Consumers do not necessarily build their lives and existences from one need to the next – all needs contribute to consumers’ Ontological Realization through different SUDS forming organic vectors of value and distinct SLOTS. Many other needs theorists thus improve on Maslow’s motivational theory by leaning out Maslow’s needs and removing any specific hierarchy.672

While consumers may intrinsically want to satisfy more basic needs like food and shelter before more complex ones like love and meaning, this assumption does not hold when tested because consumers pursue Strategically Unique Degrees of Sophistication to solve their greatest ontological problems, whatever they happen to be at that moment. The only base conditions for existence are Lean adaptation, regeneration and energization, and all other factors simply contribute to those goals when pursued either teleonomically or teleologically.

However, some people subjectively define their priorities so that they lean against the Ontological Teleology and away from ARE processes. These bad people believe they are optimizing their lives and existences in some strategic way that is self-destructive or destructive of others as ultimately judged by whether or not the bad people reduced the Ontological Realization of themselves and others within the OM through their actions. Since the OT is nearly circular, consider too that, in the inverse, the most celebrated leaders sometimes disregard one or more of their Ought Factors and needs, like Spock in the Star Trek, “Kobayashi Maru” scene. Such esteemed leaders disregard their physical integrity and/or vitality for larger ideological goals to universalize themselves through the ontological advancement of all other consumers.

Maslow’s needs though are heuristically potent because they are fairly congruent with the problems of universally leaning toward ARE processes that prevent people from leaning themselves upward along the slope of the Ought. Solving each of Maslow’s needs further supports consumers’ perpetual existence by orienting them toward higher SLOTS. However, we know from research that the only existential hierarchy resides in the extent customers’ ARE processes leverage a specific Ought factor to extend and optimize their lives and existences to solve their greatest problems. Consumers will always buy what they perceive may help them to either:

  1. Engage in OPPs to universally lean each of their ARE processes toward what they believe is truly Bought, or
  2. Remove threats to one or more of processes that U/ARE so as to most avoid becoming Nought.

Alternatively, negative Ought Factors, such as deprivation, isolation, illness, insecurity or despondency, may each end who and why consumers are, which is a big problem. The positive inverse of each of these negative factors - stimulation, relation, vitality, integrity and meaning - optimizes who and why consumers are in their ability to leanly adapt, reproduce, and energize to universalize their lives and existences however they think best, which is a great solution. Thus, consumers’ Ought Factors ought to be stated as modifying the verb, “to be” to emphasize each as a parameter of consumers’ Ontological Realization, such as being “Stimulated,” “Related,” “Vital,” “Integral” and/or “Meaningful.”

Maslow, as insightful as he was, also coined the term “meta-motivation” to describe the motivation of those consumers who go beyond simply perpetuating themselves within the OM, to describe those who strive for constant betterment and problem resolution upward along the Ought.673 Maslow’s meta-motivation can be analogized to those consumers’ Will to Universalize ARE processes upward along the Ought. Those consumers consciously define who and why they essentially are and spend the energy necessary to ontologically become it by solving their greatest problems with true-north values within the metaphysics of Lean. Every organization ought to do the same by providing product that reproduces that true-north value within consumers to charge them meaningful amounts of money in exchange.

Other Need Theorists

For comparison, a number of need theorists have proposed models of human motivation other than Maslow’s.674 A small range of the best known of these models classifying consumers’ needs, drivers, end-goals and/or motivations are summarized below to provide a sense of the intellectual history in this area to further an understanding of all people’s “Ought Factors,” and thus what leans consumers toward spending time and money at stores.

Henry Murray

In 1938, Murray predated Maslow to propose a taxonomy of needs that extended to extremely long and seemingly never ending lists; however, based on the earlier discussion regarding Russell’s Paradox, you know Murray’s lists of needs could never universally capture life and existence itself, and his trying to do so was pointless.675 I will not list Murray’s needs because there are so many, but they run from “achievement” to “order” to “acquisition” to “sex” to “infavoidance” to “contrariance” to “play” to “exposition” to “succorance” to “sentience”… you get the idea.

Clayton Alderfer

In 1968, Clayton Alderfer followed and rearranged Maslow’s traditional hierarchy. Alderfer suggested that human needs were made up of three relatively independent factors, whose order of priority may vary between consumers:

  • Existence: Alderfer correlated Existence to Maslow’s physiological and safety needs;
  • Relatedness: Alderfer correlated Relatedness to Maslow’s esteem needs as judged by others; and
  • Growth: Alderfer correlated Growth to the need for internal self-esteem and self-actualization.

Since each of Alderfer’s needs correlate to Maslow’s, they therefore further relate to consumers’ universalization through the factors of the Ought as described above.

David McClelland

In 1985, David McClelland proposed the need for affiliation, achievement, and power similar to Maslow, Alderfer and Nietzsche.676

Manfred Max-Neef

In 1989, the economist Manfred Max-Neef classified consumers’ ontological needs as:677

  • Subsistence
  • Protection
  • Affection
  • Understanding
  • Participation
  • Leisure
  • Creation
  • Identity
  • Freedom

Max-Neef considers these needs as being independent, but I personally would not recommend that you commit to that position in a Lean business ideology for a list of consumers’ ontological needs because of the semantic vagueness of each word and Russell’s Paradox that no list of needs could completely describe who or why consumers are.678 However, all of these physical and psychological needs relate in various ways to universally leaning ARE processes without discerning which ones would compel consumers to buy at their points of purchase.

Paul Lawrence

Another such drive theory based more on the epic of evolution and modern theories of natural selection was proposed by Paul Lawrence, a professor at Harvard Business School:679

Lawrence’s four drives are:680

  • Acquire: “The drive to acquire what one needs for one’s survival at the conception and survival of one’s offspring” - which is the purchase of product to support and universally lean ARE processes to a greater degree;
  • Defend: “The drive to defend oneself and, as needed, one’s offspring from threats” - which is ensuring that consumers maintain their and their offspring’s Integrity and Vitality in lean, philosophical terms;
  • Bond: “The drive to bond; that is, to form long-term, mutually caring and trusting relationships with other people” - which is Maslow’s love/belonging, and Lean Metaphysically’s and others’ Relation need; and
  • Comprehend: “The drive to comprehend; that is, to learn, to create, to innovate, and make sense of the world and of oneself” - which is how consumers mentally map the universe to who and why they are and how they better lean toward ARE processes with what they produce.

Paul Lawrence did admirable work in applying evolutionary concepts to human drives, but as discussed before, the Neo-Darwinian theory he used over-emphasizes regeneration without fully recognizing the paradox of the Ought that causes consumers to experience Ought Cognitive Dissonance in that process, which is the biggest problem, and thus motivation, people have. Ought Cognitive Dissonance causes consumers to recursively search for meaning, which in-turn leans them toward “meaningfully” adapting, regenerating and consuming, so this dynamic spiral must be considered when developing and marketing products to people.

To strip away indirect, secondary drivers of human motivation, one must build logically from the seemingly circular OM as bounded by the IB, which is the ontological fact of existence experienced by consumers through Lean processes and Universal, Process, and Personal true-north values. Deconstructing Paul Lawrence’s model, consumers acquire, defend, bond and comprehend in order to optimally lean toward ARE processes to attempt to become axiomatically universalized over all and finally get themselves BOT as the ultimate end-goal and problem-solution.

Deci and Ryan

More recently, Deci and Ryan’s “Self-Determination Theory” (“SDT”) proposed that consumers’ three fundamental true-north values are “Competence,” “Relatedness” and “Autonomy.” Deci and Ryan’s Competence relates to Maslow’s internal version of “self-esteem.” Relatedness perfectly aligns with what I also call “Related” as a factor Critical to Ontologically Realization (again, what is “CORE”) to consumers along the upward angle of the Ought. Autonomy means the Strategically Unique Degrees of Sophistication that consumers use to discover how to best universally lean their ARE processes over all possible domains.

Thus, each one of these SDT factors aligns with how consumers optimally strive to ontologically realize themselves within the OM along the angular Ought in their attempt to universalize who, why, what, and how they consider themselves to be through problem-resolution. Each Ought factor contributes at some level toward allowing consumers to universally adapt, reproduce, and/or energize – i.e. to find meaning through universalization toward what they believe is Bought and against what they know is Nought.681 Deci defined motivation itself as, “energy for action,”682 thus aligning SDT motivational theory with universally leaning people toward ARE processes.

However, again, categories or lists of factors such as SDT can never fully-capture existence according to Russell’s Paradox, that the list of all lists that does not contain itself. No one can produce a finite list of all aspects of human existence that does not also reflexively describe itself like consumers do when they consciously say things like, “Y AM I buying X,” or, “I MAY buy Y.” This conundrum of unbounded exploration to universalize overall to try and get Bought is how consumers shop among a seemingly endless array of choices available to them and is what causes them to defy simple segmentation and personification.

Attachment Theory

Complementing individual need theories of true-north value and all meaning based on categorical lists, one of the latest need theories is called “Attachment Theory.” Attachment Theory states that human attachment is an adaptive process.683 However, quite obviously, human relationships directly lead to regeneration of the species, and so I summarize all attachment under the general Self-Determination Theory and the Lean Metaphysically concept of “Relatedness.” The distinction is largely semantic, which emphasizes how fluid words can be.

Factors of the Ought

Specific need categories sometimes succeed in identifying one factor of the Ought as a true-north value, such as Self-Determination Theory’s version of “Relatedness.” More often than not though, the specific need categories described by others identify true-north values that are actually derived by others as an after-thought from more fundamentally affirmative Ought Factors. These primary Ought Factors are the ones that best explain who and why consumers are, and what and how the processes that U/ARE create consumers’ existences. None of this is meant to invalidate such other need theories, but rather to put them in the context of the true origin of normatively Universal, Process and Personal true-north values that arise due to consumers’ existential contingency within the OM.

Today, scholars studying human need drivers tend to shy away from describing specific need categories for this reason. Instead, they favor constructing scientific, empirically verifiable experiments within the OM to try to quantifiably predict human preferences. Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky’s Prospect Theory again stands as a good example of such an insight by demonstrating with reasonable certainty that people universally exhibit a bias favoring reducing loss over achieving gains when they have a choice between the two. This loss aversion clearly demonstrates a behavioral driver that does not fall neatly within one of Maslow’s or other need theorists’ motivational categories. However, behavioral economic theories also align with the problem consumers have of perpetually regenerating processes that U/ARE throughout the OM, just like all need theories do.

Zero to One Again- Binary Oppositions of Bought and Nought

So if you are going construct all-encompassing Ought Factors of psychological motivation aligning with the Lean principle of Hōshin Kanri and the Ontological Teleology, you must recognize that the contingency of consumers’ existences within the OM creates binary oppositions. These binary oppositions reside in all HQs between positive and negative Ought Factors aligning with what may be Bought and what is Nought. Organizations can factor consumers’ binary oppositions and deepest problems within these extremes of life and existence in order to identify what products consumers find most truly meaningful. These extremes along the value stream form the terra firma of the money making process because there you find people’s hardest problems to solve.

If you form an ID Kata with champagne glasses on top of a luxury vehicle just like how Toyota’s Lexus division did in its famous commercial in the 1980s, you will notice that this impossible Penrose Triangle forms a point of purchase over the Lexus. An intentional, unresolved paradox exists because while the glasses are stacked in upward fashion, their bottoms point downward. This is not a coincidence.

Figure 5.34: Toyota® Lexus®, "The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection," Ad Campaign (© 1985 Toyota Motor Corporation)
Figure 5.34: Toyota® Lexus®, “The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection,” Ad Campaign (© 1985 Toyota Motor Corporation)
Figure 5.35: ID Kata (© 1985 Toyota Motor Corporation)
Figure 5.35: ID Kata (© 1985 Toyota Motor Corporation)

Toyota’s advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi created this image to draw your attention to the fact that Toyota’s customers’ lives and existences have two explicit, maximal conditions, which are either to get Bought or become Nought. Like Buddha, Hume, Derrida, and an infinite number of other philosophers, Toyota sees these conditions as mutually dependent on one another because nothing could rationally exist without a logical inverse, or some logical distinction to itself, thereby creating all existence, essence, meaning and true-north value in the difference between the two conditions. It’s the difference that motivates employees to pursue perfection and customers to purchase to perpetually try and resolve their deepest problems.

An organization likewise does not need to concern itself with the specific range of possibilities of what may be Bought for business purposes within the metaphysics of Lean other than to know what motivates its stakeholders, employees and customers to think, believe and do. An organization for its own purposes ought to bracket that speculation outside the IB – an organization cannot rationally know either what may be Bought or what is Nought by their own definitions. An organization only needs to be mindful of the potential for consumers to become Nought and what they really personally and intuitively believe is Bought to determine who they believe consumers truly are and thus why they may buy the organization’s product. The ultimate, pragmatic point is to build a logical, coherent, lean ideology of Universal, Process and Personal true-north values for an organization to more accurately analyze, deduce, and thereby predict what are the greatest problems consumers have, and thus what product consumers are most highly motivated to consume in return for paying meaningful amounts of money.

Like bubbles floating up in champagne glasses, Coke-Cola enacting people’s happiness, or SUDS rising up to new SLOTS, an organization ought to inform, innovate and design its product so that it surfaces what consumers essentially,684 universally value, and thus what psychologically motivates them through the Ought to extend and optimize consumers’ universal demand. Between the extremes of Bought and Nought, organizations’ product ought to “OPPtimize” consumers toward universalization and away from real or perceived threats by furthering their energization, adaptation and ultimate regeneration.

Ought Factors (OFs) of Psychological Motivation

Since the processes that U/ARE represent consumers’ sufficient and necessary true-north values by solving their existential problems, you must understand which Ontologically Teleological factors psychologically motivate them by either:

  1. Optimally leaning consumers’ processes that ARE so they may capitalize on OPPs to strive to get what they believe is Bought; or
  2. Threatening consumers’ processes that universally lean toward ARE such that they might strive to avoid becoming Nought.

I would never propose to exhaustively list all possible Ought Factors that universally lean toward ARE processes (i.e. “U/ARE OFs”), thereby summarizing all psychological motivation and problem resolution into a mere list. However, I do try below to best fit some Ought Factors to consumers’ real lives and existences with a certain amount of Pragmatic Idealism. Remember that all lists of specific OPPs or threats to consumers’ processes that U/ARE are necessarily incomplete due to Russell’s Paradox, and all categories are analogically fluid within consumers’ value streams unless you can quantify them in some respect, so I propose what Ought Factors I can with words until business people better quantify their true-north value and effect within an HQ.685

Thus, Ought Factors may be objectively, physically real or may be subjectively, psychologically perceived by consumers. Ought Factors are gradations through B/ARE, C/ARE, I/C/ARE, ME/ARE, WE/ARE and eventually U/ARE processes. I do not propose Ought Factors as being unchangeably categorical, but rather to re-purpose the historically proposed motivational factors, needs, drivers, and/or end-goals all people have into ontologically-based problem/solutions that you may use to lean philosophically in a modern way and thereby make more meaningful amounts of money.

Ought Factors are not intended to be formal categories but merely labels of intentions with soft, round edges rather than bright lines. Ought Factors are simply what I perceive to be the most efficient parameters of problem-solutions organized around the overall Ought universally leaning ARE processes that best isolate normative Universal/Process and really Personal true-north values for identifying what consumers find most meaningful to their being as reflected by the money they spend.

I believe it would be helpful for you to take the existential extremes within which consumers extend and optimize themselves, and factor the Ought into the most mutually exclusive, orthogonal categories of problem/solutions to consumers’ being that you can within what makes the most sense to you. Though you must keep in mind that these factors are necessarily interdependent to support consumers’ singular personas, you might use them to better identify consumers’ various true-north values that product extends and optimizes to increase consumers’ Strategically Unique Degrees of Sophistication into higher and higher hierarchical SLOTS.686 Just be careful when leaning up along the value stream in this way because you can easily twist your mind into knots.

A good method an organization can use to factor the Ought is through the ID Kata like Toyota did for Lexis using a stack of champagne glasses as its model. You factor the Ought either positively or negatively depending on which products’ features and benefits upwardly extend and optimize consumers’ lives and existences along the Ought by solving their existential problems. You naturally ought to build products’ Ought Factors toward what consumers believe is Bought in a positive sense. However, because the Ought through which all customers live and exist is an apparent paradox for all practical purposes, you can also build Ought Factors in the negative sense from what may make consumers become not Nought. All ways lead up. You build upward from these positive or negative Ought Factors by leaning ARE processes toward an infinite sigma (/σ∞), which is the relentless pursuit of a Perfectionist Consequentialism and Universal Optimism of what may get Bought and against what is Nought. However, since there is no apparent difference between getting BOT and becoming NOT, you ought to truly lean toward the Pragmatic Idealism of Six Sigma (/6σ) methodologies.

Thus, you may construct the Ought Factors of psychological motivation by asking either:

  1. What is required for consumers’ to universally lean their ARE processes toward getting Bought; or
  2. What may cause consumers to stop universally leaning any one of their ARE processes and become Nought?

You can design a market strategy from either existential extreme since the Ought appears to be possibly circular within the IB. As Maslow said in paragraph nine of, “A Theory of Human Motivation,” “Classification of motives must be based on goals.” And the truest end-goals ought to be based on nothing less than consumers’ existential extremes on either side of their life-cycles. When you produce these existential parameters for consumers’ OFs, they should also meet the same criteria that you established for leaning ARE processes. I adapt the ARE criteria to Ought Factors as follows:

  1. While consumers’ lives and existences may be viewed as a systemic process that attempts to perpetually optimize processes that U/ARE through problem resolution, any description of their Ought Factors ought to be universal and persistent for broad application and analogizing. An organization’s description of the qualities of Ought Factors also ought to be as efficient as possible under the guiding principle of Occam’s Razor and in-line with the Second Law of Thermodynamics;
  2. Different Ought Factors ought to be:
    1. Necessary, such that if any one factor was removed, U/ARE living processes would never reach the necessary degree or would eventually cease; and
    2. Sufficient, such that within the limitations of making finite lists due to paradoxes and categorical semantics, no further Ought Factors would at least seem to be necessary to further U/ARE living processes;
  3. Consumers’ lives and existentially literal and figurative qualities ought to be abstracted to the most generic terms to cover all contexts within the universe. They should be amenable to analogizing and relating across Supervening Levels of OT Sophistication and include all indirect but still supervening Ought Factors as described below; and lastly
  4. Ought Factors ought to be easy to apply and remember in an everyday business contexts, especially if an organization analogizes OFs across increasingly sophisticated SLOTS to reproduce customers’ most truly valuable SUDS.

The most fundamental components of organisms and organizations that U/ARE are these categories supporting Ought Factors:

  • Ontological Medium (OM), regards all physics as a literal, conditional prerequisite for all life and existence. Again, the “Ontological Medium,” or “OM,” is a bit of shorthand for all of the scientific elements that compose consumers’ physical existences such as the many dimensions, all forms of matter and energy, and the movement of matter and energy across those dimensions upward along the spring-like arrow of spacetime that allows consumers to be. The Ontological Medium regards the inviolable, physical contingency of existence as consumers know it within the IB. The OM, when considered within the IB, says nothing about the intuitive beliefs some consumers may hold about what may be truly Bought outside the IB, such as an intuitive belief in the concept of souls. Common examples of customers seeking to extend their lives and existences through the Ontological Medium include everything from saving time at work by multitasking to buying increasingly better houses as a form of product to shelter themselves from the elements and social disdain;
  • Stimulated / Deprived, regards consumers’ inherent need for exploration and discovery to universally lean toward higher levels of the Ought through adaptation, regeneration and energy hunting/gathering. Beyond chemical needs, consumers cannot psychologically develop without sensory stimulation, and proven psychological (and possibly genetic687) harm occurs from extended sensory deprivation.688 Stimulation can also be the basic physical energy injected into adaptive and regenerative living processes at life’s inception, and may be figuratively applied to consumers’ psychological needs in the highest SLOTS by perpetuating better life and existence through SUDS;
  • Related / Isolated, regards consumers’ proven need to relate to others under Attachment Theory as bounded by Dunbar’s Number689 in response to consumers’ need to adapt, reproduce and energize to ultimately universalize themselves upward along the Ought. Related / Isolated is simply the fact of consumers universally leaning toward ARE processes U/Socially with all people. Any sensory component of Related / Isolated is handled in Stimulated / Deprived as described above. At the most basic level, Related / Isolated may also apply to related combinations of chemical processes occurring within consumers through B/ARE SLOTS in order for them to optimize U/ARE processes. Relation may also have mathematical support in co-evolutionary free-lunch theorems that show that consumers can increase their optimization overall by specializing and cooperating rather than trying to be jacks-of-all trades. Finally Relation addresses the problem that people need memes as much as genes in order to survive - people now require the legacy of knowledge handed down from our ancestors to now live and exist as much as they do their own genetic heritage;
  • Vital / Ill, regards consumers’ real or perceived problems with sustaining internal vitality as living systems in response to real or perceived illnesses. Vitality relates to consumers’ basic biological functions and general psychology. For example, you may label consumers’ psychology as abnormal when it limits their ability to universally lean toward ARE processes at a level expected within their highest SLOT as human beings. Vitality also relates to consumers’ need to perpetually metabolize energy and reproduce as much as possible by optimizing the degree of ARE processes;
  • Integral / Insecure, regards consumers’ real or perceived problems with maintaining their integrity in response to external threats to their lives and existences. Like other OFs, the terms “Integral” and “Insecure” can have further figuratively psychological meanings for consumers as conscious beings. As with other Ought Factors, you must differentiate between what UP true-north values are and what consumers personally, phenomenologically experience. Consumers’ psychological perception from their Personal perspectives may not perfectly align with UP true-north values due to boundaries on consumers’ rationality and imperfections within the OM, thus making them feel secure when they are in fact not or vice versa; and lastly
  • Meaningful / Despondent, regards recognizing the problems consumers have as fundamentally rational, self-aware organisms who personally experience the “Paradox of the Ought.” Consumers attempt to meaningfully go beyond the seemingly paradoxical Ought to find a certain non-tautological teleology within their bounded rationality. To feel “Despondent” is to not realize a difference between what ought to be BOT and what is not living and existing. Consumers respond to the apparent paradox of the Ought either by engaging in theological, spiritual or atheistic belief, or by simply bracketing existential questions and reflexively focusing only on extending the era of processes that U/ARE within the OM with blinders on. Teleological or teleonomic “Meaning” is the monster of consumers’ souls that products must ultimately speak to in order to make the most money through the normative value they generate. As Maurice Merleau-Ponty said:

Model of U/ARE Ought Factors

This chart of Ought Factors of psychological motivation isolates what extends and optimizes consumers’ lives and existences the most to best identify what makes consumers feel Stimulated, Related, Vital, Integral and Meaningful within the OM. The Chart of OFs classifies who and why consumers are as self-aware living organisms trying to optimally lean toward ARE processes to the extent they can become wholly existing through their Will to Universalize. When factoring the Ought, an organization must empathize with each binary opposition that consumers experience from their self-conscious, really personal phenomenologies that drives them to buy at their points of purchase to solve their greatest existential problems.

Consumers teleologically purposeful consciousness articulates and deals with the apparent paradox of trying to universalize ARE processes infinitely through these Ought Factors:

Figure 5.36: U/ARE Ought Factors Within the OM
Figure 5.36: U/ARE Ought Factors Within the OM

The above Ought Factors act as Ontologically Teleological wants/needs/end-goals/motivations/parameters that in-turn resolve who and why consumers are as living systems. Consumers extend and optimize their ability to leanly adapt, reproduce and energize through these OFs to attempt to universalize across all dimensions. Naturally, these Ought Factors are not the only ones through which consumers could optimize their lives and existences, such as so many others listed by need theorists. However, I ask you to consider these OFs to be generally the most instrumental toward serving consumers’ processes that U/ARE because they factor who and why they ARE ontologically. Thus, I consider these OFs to be more motivating than any others because they address what matters most, but please feel free to put your own spin on them.

Higher Order Meta-OFs (MOs)

All other parameters beyond these primary OFs supervene and resolve themselves as Meta-Ought Factors (MOs). MOs indirectly serve processes that U/ARE, and thus consumers’ lives and existences overall via OFs. For example, consumers’ psychologically “Stimulated,” emotional need for love is an indirect solver of the more fundamental need to be “Related” to more leanly adapt, reproduce and energize. Love in-turn often resolves consumers’ need for “Meaning” by flowing them past the Ought toward an irrational end-goal outside the IB. Likewise, consumers’ need for “Safety” indirectly resolves their more fundamental need to be “Integral,” or in the double negative sense, not “Insecure,” which in-turn provides them with the ability to love freely.

For an example of an even higher-order Meta-OF, consumers’ broad need for information and knowledge may be viewed as a Meta-Ought factor creating coherence between consumers’ personally inter-subjective and objective Universal/Process perspectives on true-north value with all other people. Knowledge reflects actionable Universal and Process true-north values that consumers’ can use to further exist by solving problems to enhance their Ought Factors and U/ARE processes. Knowledge is the power that allows consumers to better lean themselves into the OM by letting them seize OPPs or reduce threats to their lives and existences. Knowledge also allows consumers to more meaningfully avoid becoming Nought by buying products to better perform processes that U/ARE so consumers may at least try to get themselves BOT.

Industrial Classification of MOs

To better categorize larger Meta-OFs, consider two further industrial classifications of consumers’ means to better live, through transportation and telecommunication.

Transportation MOs

For transportation as a Meta-Ought factor, consider that when consumers move from one place to another, such as with the Uber car service, they pursue one or more core Ought Factors and processes that U/ARE. Even if a customer buys a Toyota automobile to go on a road trip only for the sake of exploration, such exploration would naturally fit within the Stimulated / Deprived CORE Ought factor. In other words, consumers’ seek Stimulation to achieve unbounded exploration in order to solve their existential optimization problem through random discovery and play. Transportation for these purposes relates to consumers’ need to seek the best sources of energy and meaning to fund adaptation and regeneration through these lines of reasoning.690

Alternatively, employees might travel for an organization to earn money that lets them buy products to serve all of their CORE OFs. They give money to transportation businesses so the employees can in-turn become more Stimulated, Related, Vital, Integral and/or Meaningful. Transportation could also be used by them to adapt by moving to a new city to get a new job, to regenerate by taking them to a health club or by sending their offspring to get knowledge in school, or to energize them by letting them buy food at a restaurant. Consumers might even purchase a Tesla sports car to transport their self-esteem to a better place.

All of these motives and end-goals are intertwined, existential problem/resolutions, but they can be Ontologically Teleologically factored and identified with the ID Kata. For example, consider employees earning money through a bake sale just to donate to charity. Employees do so to reproduce personal Meaning for themselves and Relate to others in need of charity to ontologically universalize who, why, what, and how they think they are. Or, as David Foster Wallace said:

Telecommunication MOs

For telecommunications as a meta-Ought factor, think through consumers’ end-goals each time they speak with a personal relative as a physical extension of their self-conceptions.691 They also telecommunicate to get job training to adapt to the workforce. They telecommunicate with a doctor’s office to schedule an appointment to reproduce their Vitality in order to continue to live and exist. They telecommunicate to set a date with someone to energize their social life through Relation in order to Stimulate their personal Meaning. Each of these OFs ought to be used as an independent parameter when analyzing who and why consumers are through their lives and existences. Thus, they are each what intrinsically and extrinsically motivates consumers to buy product now, while recognizing that all these parameters cumulatively add up to consumers’ Ontological Realization and fundamental motivation to purchase.

U/ARE processes up through all of the various SLOTS and SUDS reflect different skews, like stock keeping units of real value, to be purchased in each of the above CORE-OFs and Meta-OFs. For example, consumers’ need for anticipation and adaptation gets reflected in their need for Integrity and Vitality just like how consumers’ need to optimize their adaptive processes gets reflected in their need to be Stimulated. Consumers’ need to adapt and reproduce through natural selection gets reflected in their need to Relate, just like how their need to Universalize their lives and existences gets reflected in their need for Meaning. Consumers reflexively conceptualize their universal existences to optimally lean toward adaptive processes by resolving problems toward what they believe is Bought and to better contrast themselves to what they consider to be Nought.

You now Ought to be able to see how consumers’ processes that U/ARE get factored into their true need for Stimulation, Relation, Vitality, Integrity and Meaning. For example, energization requires Stimulating inputs to obtain energy itself and the information to find energy in the first place. Energization requires Relation with others to cooperatively pursue and produce shared energy sources, just like a large chemical reaction, which ultimately results in Vitality. Energization also requires the Integrity of the processes and character creating Vitality. U/ARE processes result in Meaning to more reflexively conceptualize how an organization may gather the energy (aka capital) necessary to fund greater adaptation, regeneration and ultimately “Universalization,” which is the manifest destiny of all organizations, just like it is for the consumers on which they depend.

By now, you can see all this leaning upward along the ultimate value stream toward channels of universal Ontological Realization. All organizational analysis ought to go on and on like this as it investigates how a company’s products serve consumers’ Ought Factors and Meta-OFs as they move along true-north value streams toward universalization. This analysis would apply to any other Ought factor or Meta-OF an organization considers, which is why I think this model best benefits who consumers are and why they really buy what they purchase. How you make that money meaningfully with this information by aligning with the Ought is up to you.

Factoring Meta-Ought Factors

For all these Ought Factors that in-turn optimize processes that U/ARE to find meaning outside the IB, their structure as binary opposites reflects the contingent nature of consumers’ lives and existences.692 Like the Ought Factors diagram shown above and repeated below, an organization ought to factor the Meta-OFs its product serves by building from the existential extremes of universalization on the one hand and what may lead consumers to become NOT on the other. Once an organization has these fundamental end-goals in mind, it can more logically connect them to what problems fall in between. These Meta-Ought Factors provide a framework to guide you and any organization through the general, existential motivational categories of consumers’ lives and existences.693 They will lean you upward along the Ontological Teleology through which consumers extend and optimize their will to consciously and unconsciously universalize.

Emotional Meta-OFs (EMOs)

Consumers’ psychological and physiological feelings, their delights and pain-points, also reflect these Meta-Ought Factors. Emotions are motivational Meta-OFs of their own kind. Feelings are phenomenological events that measure the extent that a consumer’s OFs change up or down along the Ontological Teleology. Feelings are a subjective (and to some extent objective) function and sentiment of how consumers are doing within the OM. Thus, these Emotional Meta-OFs (a.k.a. “EMOs”) emerge from consumers’ real or perceived changes in processes that U/ARE.694 As described earlier, EMOs may be perceived as the middleware between CORE OFs and what consumers personally experience. While they are middleware, they cognitively surround what is CORE to who and why consumers lean toward ARE processes since they are so essential to consumers’ Lean Thinking and being. “EMOs” often get mistaken for CORE OFs for this reason.

While consumers’ and employees’ EMOs consume lots of organizational energy, emotions and gut feelings produce a very powerful computational heuristic for consumers and organizations to efficiently and accurately decide what uniquely/profitably extends and optimizes consumers’ lives and existences. Daniel Kahneman, one of the creators of Prospect Theory, refers to EMOs as “Type 1” thinking, as opposed the more analytical Ought factoring we have been discussing, which Kahneman describes as “Type 2” thinking.695 EMOs thus function as a type of signal, “Andon” (行灯), “Kanban” (看板), or emoticon inside an HQ and within consumers. Andon and Kanban are Lean terms of Japanese origin for tools that centralize information to indicate when operations are good or bad, when things are going well or not. EMOs likewise signal when an HQ or consumers believe that some thing or event resolves problems to facilitate adaptation, regeneration or energization, or not, up or down the Ought. I believe Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States and a true leader, may have recognized this dynamic in this quote attributed to him with some authority:

At the same time, oscillating EMOs directing how consumers think and act may lead an HQ and consumers to perceive and do things that are not rationally aligned with normative processes of true-north value that U/ARE.697 For example, consumers’ EMOs may diverge from normative Universal and Process true-north values, so an organization must empirically market test with the ID Kata. You can factor EMOs like all other OFs, but you must be careful to identify their possible irrationality and deviation from the OT.

Notice too that CORE OFs critical to consumers’ Ontological Realization simultaneously serve as both Ontological true-north values, such as being Stimulated, Related, Vital, Integral and Meaningful, as well as consumers’ emotional states of well-being. For example, consumers can both be and feel Stimulated, they can both be and feel Related, they can both be and feel Vital, etc. This linguistic fact evidences the emotional and Ontological connection between the two sides of the ontological / emotional coin.

You may extrapolate consumers’ Lean ontological/emotional true-north values further and further, higher and higher into instrumental goals and Meta-Ought Factors above the primary, intrinsic CORE OFs, particularly within the context of human psychology.698 All these ontological/emotional needs relate back in one way or another to the more fundamental CORE OFs, which means back to the problematic contingency of consumers’ lives and existences within the OM and the open-ended universe. Thus, resolving Emotional Meta-Ought Factors, Meta-Ought Factors and CORE OFs is the fundamental job to be done by a product each time it gets consumed.

Irrational Exuberance

All good EMOs though eventually lean toward Meaning, which is toward what may be Bought to resolve the existential problem of leaning ARE processes toward universalization and away from what is Nought. Problem resolution in the form of existential Meaning in-turn may physiologically and psychologically enact what consumers feel on the rightward, upward slope of consumers’ U-shaped utility curves. Meaning is thus perhaps the most generalized and abstract of the CORE OFs critical to consumers’ Ontological Realization. Thus, the Meaningful Will to Universalize is composed of:

  1. Rational action taken by consumers to resolve the existential problems in-line with universally axiomatic and processually systemic true-north values to universalize themselves within the bounds of the Intuition Bracket; and
  2. Irrational, intuitive action responding to what consumers know is Nought inside the Intuition Bracket to optimize their search for what they believe is Bought outside the IB.

Consumers’ search for Meaning and a Will to Universalize keeps them in a state of emotional and physical criticality, balancing between (1) rational order and (2) irrational disorder, seeking to optimally universalize ARE processes overall. Corporations as fictional legal people work this way too,699 balancing order and disorder in a perpetual state of rational/irrational criticality toward optimizing their Ontological Realization. I am sure you experience this state of criticality every time you enter an HQ of an organization. While arguments exist against it,700 this concept of self-organized criticality being how consumers optimize emotion and meaning is reasonable, intuitive speculation to consider in a Lean House of Quality. I hope this speculation gets more thorough testing though.

Much as consumers’ Personal perspectives supervene on and assume their Universal and Processual true-north values, you can also see randomness within each of these values that operate inside each of them. Some systemic instability leads to their greater overall stability due to small variations that lead to tremendous changes over time. The author Nassim Taleb created a term for this, “Anti-Fragile.”701 In a series of experiments led by physicist Per Bak and his colleagues in 1999, they determined that these seemingly random changes to consumers’ neurological processes resulted from systemic phase changes whereby randomness is structured as an actual process in consumers’ minds. Per Bak determined that a single, small change led to many smaller changes cascading into what appears to be a much larger cumulative change, resulting in greater systemic and/or structural stability overall. This is a deceptively simple idea until you see how broadly it applies.

Per Bak’s phase changes follow the mathematical distribution of the “Power Law”702 as popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in his book, “The Tipping Point.”703 The Power Law states that one variable is often exponentially related to another in its degree of variance. As Gladwell and others across science and economics have well described, many rare events naturally follow this pattern of the Power Law. For example, a genetic mutation leading to the birth of a black swan could lead to an overwhelmingly large population of black swans if black swans were able to adapt, energize and ultimately reproduce better than birds of a different feather.704 The Power Law reflects the magnitude of what occurs during such critical phase changes, like how a mere kaleidoscope of butterflies could eventually cause a twister further up along the OT by further changing global weather patterns.

Within universal, axiomatic truths, randomness seems to demonstrate itself. At the quantum level this behavior is reported in atomic particles by physicists.705 From a process perspective, scientists report that random genetic mutations are critical to consumers’ adaptation through natural selection even though many other mutations have bad results. From consumers’ personal perspectives, they behave in seemingly random and irrational ways to meaningfully determine what they ought to do in relation to what they believe is Bought and universally and processually know is Nought.706

This apparent instability at each SLOT creates beneficial randomness that reproduces what is critical to ontological well-being by shaking out, stochastically testing and settling what is Ontologically Teleological and what is Nought.707 Randomness (or at least perceived randomness to the best of our senses) thus seems to reflect itself from the ground up within all consumers’ UP and really Personal true-north values. I speculate that even consumers’ random search for emotional meaning is most often instrumental to their optimizing the physical and cognitive processes that best universalize their ARE processes overall.708

Thus, organizations’ and consumers’ criticality can simply be considered rational, structural randomness. This randomness is beneficial to the extent it optimizes processes that U/ARE. Effectively structuring randomness in consumers’ minds and in organizations must be done with processes that C/ARE because true randomness by definition must be closely watched. You must keep in mind that working with randomness, like studying all true-north value, is like harnessing the sun - it is both very powerful but painful and disorienting to see, and only Lean value streams can constructively channel it.

I want to convince you if you need convincing that structural irrationality is a part of leaning consumers’ lives and existences toward further and better being. An organization can make money meaningfully by channeling consumers’ irrationality upward along the Lean value stream so they may best purchase perfecting product, even if when and how such consumption will occur is hard to predict.

Extending Personas through U/ARE Processes

Importantly, irrationality reproduces itself in how consumers feel about products’ meaning when they dream.709 For example, irrationality reflects itself in some of what consumers daydream about buying. And dreams themselves may be plausibly described as unrestricted moments of free-form analogizing and dis-analogizing that aligns and juxtaposes what they phenomenologically experience within their largely rational lives and existences. They dream to define what does and does not align them with the OT, by helping them envision what they believe is Bought and are afraid will make them Nought.710 Hopefully, all paid advertising places product within how consumers’ define their dreamy personas, i.e. who they want to be and become along the OT, in this way.

The Harder They Fall

While an organization produces products that perfect consumers’ Ought Factors in a positive sense toward what they believe may get Bought, whether that belief is rational or not, ironically, consumers feel most alive when they are reaching higher degrees of Ought by increasing their perceived risk of becoming somehow Nought. You can see again the nearly tautological proximity of Ought and Nought in this diagram looking down into the initial twisting fractal of the OT:

Figure 5.37: OT as a Fractal
Figure 5.37: OT as a Fractal

Each of consumers’ Ought Factors grows proportionately in both directions between what they do positively experience and what they can but don’t experience as well in the negative sense. The better and more deeply an organization extends and optimizes consumers’ Personal perspectives by advancing them upward along the Ought, the more acutely consumers rationally perceive a potential loss in their Ought Factors, MOs and EMOs, that would result in greater sadness.

On the one hand, wealth represents advancement in consumers’ Ontological Realization. On the other, wealth does not correlate in a straight line with happiness because people who are highly worthy on a net basis must worry to a greater degree about losing their self-worth.711 Wealth can magnify EMOs and a perceived risk of social and/or material loss in everything wealthy people do. An organization can capitalize on this tendency and consume the money of worthy people by selling them products that wealthy people purchase to help them (or any person or thing they perceive to be an extension of them) avoid losing over gaining in relation to their peers.

The Only Way is UPP through Meaning

Consumers find themselves attempting to find “Meaning” either by extending who and why they are within the bounds of OM and IB, or by attempting to irrationally circumvent the rationality of the Ought with their intuitive speculation or risky behavior. As discussed in the Value Stream 3: Existence, since consumers’ Ought Cognitive Dissonance arises as a rational mechanism to their conscious awareness, consumers attempt to rationalize the Ought paradox itself to no end. This is the only way forward in an unbounded universe.

Consumers need for Meaning as the resolution of their existential problems was famously addressed by Victor Frankl with his development of “Logotherapy,” but I now connect its contents to CORE OFs to explain why Logotherapy is effective within the metaphysics of Lean.712 I of course recommend addressing the balance of the CORE OFs in conjunction with Logotherapy to best optimize processes that U/ARE under the overall function of self-organizing criticality. Meaning is inherently a composite of the CORE OFs since they all increase the distinction between what is known to be Nought and what may be Bought.

If consumers bought a hypothetical product that allowed them to live forever, consumers would perpetually contrast themselves between what ought to be and what is Nought. Nonetheless, most science fiction films show very advanced, adaptive, regenerative and energizing alien species living very violent existences against a universe of possibilities of becoming Nought. Despite having the capacity to live forever, they risk ever more to really live at all.713

Critically, as an organization perfects consumers’ processes that U/ARE toward a fully universalized event horizon of complete problem resolution, its product will serve less Strategically Unique Degrees of Sophistication to extend and optimize consumers’ lives and existences. This paradox results because should customers consume product that fully removed the contingent possibility of their becoming Nought, they would likewise remove the lower portion of their binary Ought Factors. While they would perpetually exist without that contingency, they would remove certain meaning their lives would have within the OM since meaning is defined by the BOT/NOT duality, tension and paradox.

However, given the distance we all are from such hypothetical perfection, an organization fortunately only needs to focus on resolving problems to move along value streams flowing upward toward consumers’ universal horizon of complete satisfaction, toward what they all believe is truly Bought. For an organization to make the most value, it needs to focus only on discovering what best extends and optimizes who and why people are within their lives and existences in the OM, and ultimately help them in their quest to get BOT to the extent that pursuit leans them along the OT.

Extending and optimizing who and why people are means solving their problems to increase their juxtaposition between what they ought to buy with what they know is Nought and tantalizing them with the possibility of getting Bought, even if only to feel that way for a brief moment. Ironically, by doing so, consumers will become ever more acutely aware of what is Nought, and what they have to lose by not buying product from you at all. You will do this by providing them with the most meaningful, delightful purchasing experiences and products possible within each of their individual phenomenologies.

Bringing it All Together

This concludes “Lean Metaphysically: Philosophy for Business,” which investigated who, why, what and how consumers are, and what leads them to purchase value from you. With this knowledge, you now know how to follow the value streams that lead to the greatest profit. You also have a solid foundation for your Lean HQ to dent the universe. This Value Stream 5: People’s will conclude by showing the U/People organizational chart together with the universal chart of Ought Factors. In this combination, you can see the delta-shaped ID Kata unfolding like a lotus plant, becoming an upward summation of who people ontologically are, bracketing the Zen we all pursue to reach perfection:

Figure 5.38: Chart of U/People's Value Stream
Figure 5.38: Chart of U/People’s Value Stream

Prologue: Channels

You now know why an organization ought to lean metaphysically toward who people are. This business model should help any organization think well about how to set up a House of Quality. Lean Metaphysically concludes by better describing management’s upper-ontology and what and how it ought to be reproduced. You must proceed downward through the divisions of the U/People business model toward in-fact uniquely/profitably extending and optimizing people’s lives and existences for the highest profit. Lean Metaphysically channels all businesses’ upper-management/ontology in the following way:

Value Stream 6: People’s, Chief Meaning Officer (CMO)

– Marketing

The Chief Meaning Officer addresses Lean marketing as the business discipline investigating who customers are and why they want to consume products and/or services. The CMO is charged with describing how the Lean true-north value discussed in “Existence,” “Lives” and “People’s” value streams generates money meaningfully through the normative value that products and/or services produce by solving problems in exchange for the prices that people pay.

Marketers inconsistently define value in Lean business contexts, with some defining value as what people like and do, and others defining value as what people will pay—with Lean true-north value generally being the vaguest concept of all.714 I hope this matter is perfectly clear at this point of the U/People business model, while you think about what Lean, true-north value truly means. Organizational leaders, if not all employees, really need to understand Lean value to lead their organizations toward producing desirable products and/or services, i.e. the structured matter and energy pulled from and flowed to consumers to solve their deepest problems. Thus, a CMO applies people’s previously defined normative, real and personal values to become a marketer who better identifies and measures true-north value and leans more meaningfully toward all people.

Value Stream 7: Optimizing, Chief Optimization Officer (COO)

– Operations, G.C., People Services

The Chief Optimization Officer functions to operate Lean business processes, guiding how a business reproduces salable products and/or services. The COO avoids all forms of waste by optimizing procurement, production, and human resources with the support of other guiding functions like the General Counsel that place systemic boundaries on what is possible. The COO optimizes the meaning that Lean products and/or services produce overall. The COO examines how an organization’s internal stakeholders’ normatively true and real values may be aligned with what customers truly value for greater business effect across all supporting departments. The COO’s optimization thus focuses true-north human value streams within the Lean business processes of energizing stakeholders, functioning finance, and uniquely innovating products and/or services.

Value Stream 8: Extending, Chief Energization Officer (CEO)

– Stakeholder Management

The Chief Energization Officer sits in the middle of the organizational Gemba, right where s/he reproduces Lean true-north value for customers, while always thinking about how to charge customers more effectively. With the guiding support and alignment of the CMO, COO, CFO, and IDEO, the latter two functions being further described below, the CEO leans toward people by energizing and extending their lives and meaning by solving their existential problems. The CEO does this by aligning sales and marketing, talent recruitment, employee motivation, legal operations, accounting, financial investment, research and development, design, innovation and strategy toward a business’ end-goal of making money meaningfully. The CEO is thus the most energy-centric of all employees by aligning the energy of all others toward expanding the volume and velocity of what customers and other stakeholders most truly value. CEOs do this by best understanding why and how all people do what they do.

Just as marketing assesses and measures customers’ normatively true and subjectively real values upward and through these activities, the CEO in-turn identifies, measures and aligns his or her organization’s lean energy with what the IDEO, CFO, COO, and CMO determine creates the most Lean true-north value for customers. This insight allows the CEO to produce the most optimized, unique and profitable products and/or services that customers want to buy to expand the company’s bottom line.

Value Stream 9: Profitably, Chief Function Officer (CFO)

– Finance, Accounting, Treasury

The Chief Function Officer guides the CEO by equating what customers truly value to money or other objective Lean performance metrics. This gives the CFO a haloed rôle in any organization. Accounting and finance measure the monetary value generated within customers’ lives and existences as developed through meaningful marketing, optimized operations, and expansive procurement of new products, investments and people. The CFO measures an organization’s net value and how that organization may best lean toward what customers most meaningfully value in exchange for what price you charge them.

People’s profitability explains how an organization can more effectively skew customers’ existential reality and fundamental needs with the concept of profit as a relative change in customers’ standard of existence. The CFO functions as a natural construct of the realities revolving around the monetary measurement of customers’ true-north value streams within a Lean business ideology.

Value Stream 10: Uniquely, Chief Information, Innovation & Design Officer (IDEO)

– IT, Strategy, R&D, Creatives

Finally, the Zen-like Chief information, Innovation, Design Officer uniquely optimizes customers’ lives and existences over all customer segments by meaningfully marketing, optimizing operations, and functionally analyzing product strategies. The IDEO is an organization’s turning point and reflection of its true-north knowledge and power.715

The information function of the IDEO coheres what people value with what form of Lean products an organization reproduces for profit. Information also directs what whole organizations ought to lean toward within their business ideologies. The IDEO fully recognizes that all products are fundamentally phenomenological information to customers however they experience when they consume. Customers interpret this information received from Lean products as either good or bad. This perception informs how a business ideology leans its organization toward innovation and profitable success.

The innovation an IDEO produces replaces what products consumers used with what more leanly extends and optimizes consumers’ lives and existences. Consumers’ quintessential problem of existence never changes, while innovation entirely improves what makes customers’ lives upwardly mobile. Design, on the other hand, symbolically describes the form, function and consumption of Lean products in ways that extend and optimize consumers’ highest values, particularly in regards to how money semiotically represents those values. The IDEO thus bridges Lean Thinking and Systems Thinking with Design Thinking across the 3WH Socratic value identification interrogatories.

The “Uniquely” part of what IDEOs do in the U/People business model thus analyzes all of an organization’s Lean channels in SUDS leading to specific SLOTS so a business ideology may most meaningfully increase the degree of consumers’ standard of existing, which causes them to push money back down in exchange. The IDEO is charged with leaning organizations toward an evolved method of business strategic analysis by applying the U/People business model for the greatest business results and competitive advantage while serving stakeholders’ normative, monetary and really personal true-north values.

For each of these positions within the U/People value stream leaning toward all other people, I finally ask you to consider the following questions:

Lexicon to Lean Metaphysically716

Symbol/Term/Acronym Meaning
A3 Report A one-page report providing the information needed to make decisions and progress
Abduction Optimistic process of believing that a reasonable hypothesis best fits limited data while holding skepticism hostage
Andon (行灯) A system of signals that in-from when to stop and correct the reproduction process
AM Analogy Making
B/ARE Biologically leaning toward adaptation, regeneration and energization
BOT or Bought Being beyond what is Ontologically Teleological, which is leaning toward a state of universalized perfection
C/ARE Cognitively leaning toward adaptation, regeneration and energization
CEO Chief Extension Officer
CFO Chief Function Officer
CMO Chief Meaning Officer
COO Chief Optimization Officer
CORE Critical to Ontological Realization
Customers People who bought or may purchase goods and/or services
Deduction Process of reaching specific conclusions from general theories about how much money you will make
Douki-seisan (同気生産) Perpetual synchronization with the customer
EMOs Emotional Meta-Ought Factors functioning as a type of mental Andon or Kanban
FSM Flying Spaghetti Monster®
Gemba (現場) or Genba Kanri The Lean term of Japanese origin meaning the center of the organization where the CEO resides
Genchi Genbutsu (現地現物) The Lean term of Japanese origin directing managers away from the board room toward the source of all production
Hansei (反省) Lean term of Japanese origin meaning self-reflection, is part of the Kaizen practice of continuous improvement done by looking back and thinking about how a process or personal shortcoming can be improved
HQ Head Quarters and/or House of Quality
House of Quality (舎) Place where meaning gets reproduced
Hōshin Kanri (方針管理) A Lean term of Japanese origin meaning Strategy Deployment, or more colloquially “Compass-Guided Management,” and is further symbolized by the oh-hat Ô
I/C/ARE Intentionally, cognitively leaning toward adaptation, regeneration and energization
IB or { } Intuition Bracket
ID Kata Inference - Deduction Kata using the 3WH interrogatories
IDEO Information, Innovation and Design Officer
Ideology A system of ideas and ideals, especially one formulated by the IDEO as the basis of an organization’s true-north value theory
Induction Process of creating a general theory from specific, robust data
Jidoka (自働化) The Lean term of Japanese origin meaning the process of error correction within certain degrees of significance with a human touch of knowledge and intelligence, which is the measure of quality for any Lean system of management
Kaikaku (改革) Lean term of Japanese origin meaning radical, revolutionary improvement of a value stream to quickly create more value with less waste; sometimes called kakushin
Kaizen (改善) Lean term of Japanese origin meaning processually systemic continual improvement across an organization’s entire true-north value stream
Kanban (看板) Lean term of Japanese origin for a centralized source of information, such as EMOs inside an HQ
Kata (型 or 形) Lean term of Japanese origin for the four-step 3WH routine by which an organization leanly adapts, reproduces and energizes to continuously increase its Ontological Realization
Kinobi (機能美) Term of Japanese origin used in Lean Metaphysically meaning that aesthetics equate with utility and true-north value
Lean or “/” (厘) Formal business subject derived from studying the Toyota Production System; that which is best tuned for fitness; the geographical direction of “True-North Value” and all profit
/ARE Leaning toward adaptation, regeneration and energization activities to perform living processes
/6σ Lean Six Sigma, or Pragmatic Idealism
/σ∞ The Pursuit of Perfection in Lean Business Philosophy
Life (命) A process performing /ARE activities; or more commonly, one having the power to intrinsically reproduce its ontology across generations in some way, shape or form by either teleologically or teleonomically adapting and energizing itself within the OM
ME Matter and Energy, Money & Economics, and/or Maximally Existing
ME/ARE Maximally Existing by leaning toward adaptation, regeneration and energization
Meme A human behavior caused by conceptual SUDS forming cultural, economic, legal and commercial SLOTS that pass from one regeneration to the next
MO Meta-Ontological factor (or a Modus Operandi), which is a higher order Of
Mottainai (もったいない) Buddhist and Shinto term meaning regret for any form of waste
Muda (無駄) Lean term of Japanese origin meaning waste that adds no true-north value
Mura (斑) Lean term of Japanese origin meaning waste from unproductive variance
Muri (無理) Lean term of Japanese origin meaning waste from overburdening
MVP Lean philosophical initialism for, “Meaning, Value, Price,” explaining how people find personal “Meaning” in the normative “Value” of products and/or services that results in the real “Prices” that people pay for what they want to purchase
NOT or Nought Not Ontologically Teleological
NPW “Nissan Production Way,” which is a form of Lean deployed by the Nissan Motor Group
Ô Lean symbol for Hōshin Kanri meaning, “Compass-Guided Management,” or more formally “Strategy Deployment”
OCD Ought Cognitive Dissonance, which is the conundrum created by the apparent paradox of the OT
OFs Ontologically Teleological factors of customers’ lives and existences
OM Ontological Medium
Ontology The study or definition of what is versus what is not
OR Ontological Realization, which is the binary either/or proposition of further being
OT or Ought The Ontological Teleology, or the seemingly circular goal of being bought in an infinite universe
PAOS Initialism for “Products And/Or Services,” (sounds like “pay us,” as in what business ultimately want in exchange); “Paos” is also an ancient city in central Greece (37°51′N, 21°59′E) with a triangular perimeter and natural spring in its north-east quadrant
People Charismatic megafauna, otherwise known as human beings
Poka-Yoke (ポカヨケ) Lean term of Japanese origin meaning that which helps avoid inadvertent mistakes
Problem Either an Opportunity for or Threat to people’s standard of existence, which requires a set of values, methods, techniques, activities, products and/or services to achieve or resolve
PSR Principle of Sufficient Reason states that everything has another cause to an ultimate self-causing cause, or sui generis
R Regeneration, or the Rubicon across adaptation and energization leading to who customers are
RCA Root Cause Analysis, which is equivalent to the PSR when taken to its logical extreme, is generally limited to five whys within Lean
Shu-ha-ri (守破離) Lean term of Japanese origin meaning: (1) learn, (2) detach, and (3) transcend in the process of mastering Lean Business Philosophy
Σ or σ Sigma, sum or standard deviation
Six Sigma
SLOTS Supervening Levels of Ontological Teleological Sophistication
SOOT Self-Organizing Ontological Teleology
Sonchō (尊重) Lean term of Japanese origin meaning “Respect for People”
SUDS Strategically Unique Degrees of Sophistication
Supervenience Reciprocally dependent levels of self-organized sophistication
SW/OT Binary business analysis of Strengths and Weaknesses, OPPs and Threats as taught in business school
Takt Time Lean term of German origin meaning the pace of demand for true-north value
Teleology Intentional, goal-oriented purpose directed by an organization and consumers
Teleonomy Unintentional, goal-oriented purpose directed by the OT
Three WH or 3WH The who, why, what and how of meaningfully making money, which is a four word analysis of true-north value
TPS Toyota Production System (Toyota Seisan Houshiki), also referred to as Total Quality Management (TQM)
True-North Lean terminology for the metaphorical direction and source of all true value and reasonable explanations; the geographical point around which the earth circles while moving forward in time
Truth Portmanteau of True and North; a factual assertion combined with an explanation for it that has the highest degree of informed agreement among all possible alternatives
WE/ARE Wholly Existing (or Will to Exist) by leaning toward adaptation, regeneration and energization
U2 Monetary Value Framework Measures all monetary value by the degree of Uniqueness and Usefulness of any given PAOS
U/ARE Universally leaning toward adaptation, regeneration and energization
U/P The metaphorical direction of universal and process truth-values; the universe and utility divided by people as units of true-north value; and the foundation for the U/People acronym
U/People Pronounced, “You lean toward people,” this business acronym stands for, “Uniquely/Profitably, Extending and Optimizing People’s Lives and Existences,” which is the ideal business activity
UPP values Universal, Process and Personal degrees of true-north value
Universe Everything that is, or may be and you just don’t know it yet
U/Sociality The theory of Eusociality regarding the co-dependent Ontological Realization of all beings
Value Stream Lean terminology for the flow of true-north value through all universal processes toward who, why, what, and how customers are; A chapter of Lean Metaphysically


1In philosophical terms, axiology is metaphysics.

2Edwin Land as quoted in, The Vindication of Edwin Land, Forbes magazine, Vol. 139, p. 83 (May 4, 1987).

3See e.g., Tad Crawford, The Secret Life of Money: How Money Can Be Food for the Soul, Allworth Press (1994).

4Such as Heuristics (Kahnman), Ockman’s Razor, Principle of Sufficient Reason (Leibniz), Cosomological argument, causa sui, a priori, and why there is something rather than nothing [i.e. teleological (Leibniz) versus ontological (Anselm) arguments].

5See generally, Karl Popper, The Open Universe: An Argument for Indeterminism, W.W. Bartley III (ed.) (1982).

6Yes, this is Hume’s Is-Ought problem; see, the Stanford Encyclopædia of Philosophy entry on, “Hume’s Moral Philosophy” (Rev. Aug. 27, 2010).

7You might even call it an Americana “middlebrow” bricolage that mixes up high-end philosophy and art with money and power.

8Such as the consensus forging described by John Rawls in, A Theory of Justice, Harvard University Press (1971).

9John Krafcik is now an executive at Alphabet (aka Google, whose automotive division is now spun off as Waymo) leading its autonomous car development; See generally, Jim Womack, Deconstructing the Tower of Babel (accessed Oct. 7, 2004 at www.lean.org).

10Antoine de Saint Exupéry, p. 60, Ch. III L’Avion, Terre des Hommes (1939).

11In re, the different sort of thinking Lean requires, Natalie J. Sayer and Bruce Williams state, “Involving people is what has to be done if organizations are to be truly effective, but, like so many of the Lean Six Sigma principles, it requires different thinking if it’s to happen,” in Lean For Dummies, Kindle Loc. 669-670, Wiley (2008).

12See, Peter Godfrey-Smith, Theory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science, Kindle Loc. 1650, Chicago Press (2003) and Larry Laudan Progress and its Problems: Toward a Theory of Scientific Growth, Part III, Berkley Press (1977).

13The 2011 Compensation Data Manufacturing & Distribution results found 71.6 percent of companies currently use lean manufacturing practices, found at http://www.compdatasurveys.com/2011/09/01/lean-practices-aid-manufacturers-in-recovery/ (accessed Mar. 2, 2015).

14According to S. Shapiro in Mathematics and Reality, p. 525 (1983), “for nearly every field of study there is a branch of philosophy called the philosophy of that field… Since the main purpose of a given field of study is to contribute to knowledge, the philosophy of X is, at least in part, a branch of epistemology. Its purpose is to provide an account of the goals, methodology, and subject matter of X”; what I intend to do here by describing the philosophy of Lean and our ontology is reach an epistemology of knowing how to produce pure profit; see also David Deutsch, The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations that Transform the World, p. 324, Penguin Books (2011).

15David Deutsch, The Beginning of Infinity, p. 202, Penguin Books (2011).

16For an entertaining essay and some background on this perspective, see Mike Alder, Newton’s Flaming Laser Sword Or: Why Mathematicians and Scientists Don’t like Philosophy but Do it Anyway, Philosophy Now (May/June 2004) http://philosophynow.org/issues/46/Newtons_Flaming_Laser_Sword; in this way, the philosophy of Lean is in many ways synonymous with the Philosophy of Science primarily arising from the late European Renaissance as well.

17Sid Shah, Surprise! There’s More To The Future Of Marketing Than Just Big Data: Creativity matters, readwrite.com (Dec. 23, 2015).

18Lorcan Mannion and Ciarán Crosbie, Pfizer Reinvents Lean in the Lab, Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Magazine (May 04, 2011).

19Jeffrey Liker, The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer, p. 2, McGraw-Hill Education (2003).

20See, Alexander Osterwalder, The Business Model Ontology: A Proposition in a Design Science Approach, (Ph.D. Diss.) Universite De Lausanne, Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (2004).

21The U/People business model is why, beyond social justification, corporate diversity initiatives matter; companies cannot produce products and/or services that serve the broadest markets unless their corporate ontologies (i.e. the corpus of their employees) reflect the general population of intended consumers.

22Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, p. 30, Harper (2014), where he writes, “In the US, the technical term for a limited liability company is a ‘corporation’, which is ironic, because the term derives from ‘corpus’ (‘ body’ in Latin)… Despite their having no real bodies, the American legal system treats corporations as legal persons, as if they were flesh-and-blood human beings.”

23“Respect for people” in the philosophy of Lean is a form of the philosophy of “Personalism.”

24When reading Lean Metaphysically, you must keep in mind the critical distinction between geographic, magnetic and metaphorical true-norths or else you will get completely lost when seeking consumers’ highest values.

25See generally, David Kord Murray, Borrowing Brilliance: The Six Steps to Business Innovation by Building on the Ideas of Others, Gotham (2009).

26Here I mean Optimism in both the classical sense of this being the best of all possible worlds given existing constraints, and in the anticipatory sense of estimating what could be better based on that which ought to be optimized and adjusting variables accordingly to changes future results; for background on classical philosophical optimism, see, Nicholas Rescher, On Leibniz Expanded Edition, University of Pittsburgh Press (July 2013); Panglossian of course refers to Dr. Pangloss in Voltaire’s Candide, ou l’Optimisme (1759) who Voltaire used to misrepresent the misunderstood ideas of Leibniz; interestingly, in the inverse and despite Voltaire’s mocking, optimism does in fact appear to be universal, see, MW Gallagher, SJ Lopez and SD Pressman, Optimism is universal: exploring the presence and benefits of optimism in a representative sample of the world, J Pers.; 81(5):429-40. doi: 10.1111/jopy.12026 (Apr. 12, 2013); see also David Deutsch, The Beginning of Infinity, p. 199 (2011).

27Much of this discussion in business ethics relates to how responsive a business ought to be to the fundamental needs of consumers and society at large. Fortunately in capitalism, by and large, business’ must specifically serve consumers’ needs in order to induce consumption and payment. Thus, with capitalism in place, the question then becomes one of business’ obligation towards society at large, which is often more of a matter of long-term societal support for a business’ or industry’s operation.

28Such as Garrett Hardin’s theory of the Tragedy of the Commons, pp. 1243-1248, Science #13, Vol. 162 no. 3859 DOI: 10.1126/science.162.3859.1243 (Dec. 1968).

29See, Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, University of Chicago Press (1962); for a direct example, consider how all of the hyperlinks referenced in this book will rot away over sufficiently long periods of time.

30See http://www.bwater.com/uploads/filemanager/principles/bridgewater-associates-ray-dalio-principles.pdf (accessed May 6, 2015).

31Margarita Tsoutsoura, Corporate Social Responsibility and Financial Performance, Berkley Haas School of Business (2004); Chin-Huang Lina, Ho-Li Yanga, Dian-Yan Liouc, The impact of corporate social responsibility on financial performance: Evidence from business in Taiwan, 56–63 Technology in Society 31 (2009); Michael A. Pirson, Paul R. Lawrence, Humanism in Business – Towards a Paradigm Shift?, pp 553-565, Journal of Business Ethics, Volume 93, Issue 4 (Jun. 2010).

32Arthur D. Little, The Business Case for Corporate Responsibility (Dec. 2003).

33Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras, “Built to Last,” Kindle Loc. 1318-1319 (2011).

34Ibid, Kindle Loc. 65 (2011).

35Jeffrey Pfeffer and John F. Veiga, Putting People First for Organizational Success, The Academy of Management Executive (1993-2005), Vol. 13, No. 2, Themes: Technology, Rewards, and Commitment (May, 1999), pp. 37-48; see also, Pfeffer’s earlier book, The Human Equation: Building Profits by Putting People First, Harvard Business Review Press; 1 edition (1998).

36See generally, Wayne F. Cascio and John W. Boudreau, Investing in People: Financial Impact of Human Resource Initiatives, 2nd Edition, Pearson FT Press (2008).

37Forbes, The Real Story Behind Apples Think Different Campaign (Dec. 14, 2011).

38Kenneth O Stanley, Joel Lehman, Why Greatness Cannot Be Planned: The Myth of the Objective, p. 94, Springer International Publishing (2015).

39See e.g., Matthew Stewart, The Management Myth, The Atlantic (Jun. 2006).

40For example, in Value Stream 3 I discuss the implications of work such as J. Reiskamp, J.R. Busemeyer, and B.A. Mellers, Extending the Bounds of Rationality: Evidence and Theories in Preferential Choice, Journal of Economic Literature, 44(3), 631-661 (2006); and S. Pironio et al, Random numbers certified by Bell’s theorem, Nature 464, 1021-1024 (15 April 2010) | doi:10.1038/nature09008 (Received 25 November 2009, Accepted 18 February 2010) Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, Harper Perennial, 1 Exp Rev edition (Apr. 27, 2010).

41David Deutsch, The Beginning of Infinity, p. 10 (2011).

42Peter F. Drucker, What We Can Learn from Japanese Management, Harvard Business Review (Mar.-Apr. 1971).

43Jeffrey Leek, First Lecture to the Data Science Track, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (March 15, 2015); the quote from Dan Meyer comes from his 2010 TEDx talk regarding making over the mathematics curriculum http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_meyer_math_curriculum_makeover (accessed Mar. 20, 2015).

44Albert Einstein and Leopold Infield, The Evolution of Physics: The Growth of Ideas From Early Concepts to Relativity and Quanta, p. 92, Cambridge University Press (1938); fascinatingly, Einstein describes new scientific theories as ‘incommensurable’ with prior ones in 1949, more than a decade before Thomas Kuhn and Paul Feyerabend, see, E. Oberheim, Rediscovering Einstein’s legacy: How Einstein anticipates Kuhn and Feyerabend on the nature of science, Stud. Hist. Philos. Sci. (2016).

45David Deutsch, The Beginning of Infinity, pp. 65 (2011), and where on p. 192 he notes, “if the question is interesting, then the problem is soluble.”

46Jon Gertner, The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation, p. ix, Penguin Books (2012); and the 70,000 member of the Institute of Managerial Accountants said recently that, “the first objection we commonly encounter on the topic of truth in managerial costing is consistently obtaining an absolutely truthful number in managerial costing is cost-prohibitive, if not impossible,” in, Conceptual Framework for Managerial Costing, p. 82, Report of the IMA© Managerial Costing Conceptual Framework Task Force (2014).

47See generally, Hasso Plattner (Editor), Christoph Meinel (Editor), Larry Leifer (Editor), Design Thinking: Understand - Improve - Apply (Understanding Innovation), 2011 Edition, Springer (December 13, 2010); and see generally, An Introduction to Design Thinking: Process Guide, Hasso-Plattner Institute of Design Thinking, Stanford University (retrieved Jan. 24, 2016).

48See, Eugene F. Fama, Random Walks In Stock Market Prices, Financial Analysts Journal 21 (5): 55–59. doi:10.2469/faj.v21.n5.55. (2008-03-21); much of this is due to widely-criticized equilibrium theories, and as Nick Gogerty said, “A cow that achieves equilibrium is called a steak, and the economy closest to achieving equilibrium today is probably North Korea circa 2013,” in, The Nature of Value: How to Invest in the Adaptive Economy, Kindle Loc. 447-448, Columbia University Press (2014).

49Warren Berger, A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas, Bloomsbury (2014).

50For further discussion of problems understanding economics with pure data, see generally, the discussion of economics problems in Nate Silver, Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don’t, Penguin Press HC, 1st edition (2012); see further Ron Miller, Lies, Damn Lies And The Myth Of Following The Data, techcrunch.com (Dec. 6, 2014).

51See generally, John R. Hauser and Don Clausing, The House of Quality, Harvard Business Review, The Magazine (1988); see also Kevin Meyer, The Simple Leader: Personal and Professional Leadership at the Nexus of Lean and Zen, Gemba Academy LLC (2016).

52This includes most recently navigating consumer’s rate of adoption of EV vehicles, while also noting, per David Deutsch, that all prophesy is inherently biased; see The Beginning of Infinity, p. 435 (2011).

53As James P. Womack, Daniel T. Jones said, “The critical starting point for lean thinking is value,” in, Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation, p. 16, Free Press (1996).

54Ibid, p. 19.

55Ibid, p. 22.

56Ibid, p. 25.

57See, Alex Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, Gregory Bernarda, and Alan Smith, Value Proposition Design: How to Create Products and Services Customers Want, Wiley (2015), whose recommendations you will see reflected in Lean Metaphysically simply in a more analytical fashion; the “Build-Measure-Learn” process is a popularization of Bayesian confidence building and some Popperian falsification.

58Jidoka-Manufacturing high-quality products: Automation with a human touch, at Toyota-Global.com/company/vision_philosophy/toyota_production_system/jidoka.html (last accessed Feb. 24, 2017).


60Tadao Takahashi, EVP, Globalization of NPW (Nissan Production Way): Introduction of Global Training Center, Slide 3, Nissan Motor Co. (Nov. 19, 2006) (accessed at http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/DOCUMENT/PDF/IREVENT/PRESEN/2006/061205-1129PDF-e.pdf).

61Each iteration is a hierarchy in Bayesian analysis, that simultaneously increases confidence in the result by falsifying possible alternative market solutions through an infinite process of elimination against shifting market conditions - that is the hard thing about hard things; see, particularly Chapter 7 of Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There are No Easy Answers, HarperBusiness (2014).

62This is in allusion to Steve Blank, The Four Steps to the Epiphany, K&S Ranch, 2nd edition (2013).

63See generally, the Stanford Encyclopædia of Philosophy’s entry on, “Alfred North Whitehead.”

64Arthur Oncken Lovejoy, The Great Chain of Being, op. cit. (ref 1), 24 and 326 (1933).

65Business as a para-science is at least on better ground than economics as a dismal science, as Thomas Carlyle famously noted.

66Jim Collins, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t, Kindle Loc. 233-235, HarperCollins (2001).

67Many good books have been under-written by billionaires, which touch upon their business philosophies. I most recommend Charlie Munger’s, Poor Charlie’s Almanac, Donning Company Publishers (2005); Ricardo Semler’s, The Seven-Day Weekend: Changing the Way Work Works, Penguin Group (2003); and Michael Bloomberg’s, Bloomberg by Bloomberg, Wiley (2009); some famous business people though go so far as to extend their pecuniary greatness into theological allusion, such as Andrew Carnegie and his, Gospel of Wealth.

68This “reflexivity” or “circularity” is exemplified by Douglas Hofstadter’s theories of consciousness in Gödel, Escher, Bach, which significantly inspired the word-play this book.

69Carl Celian Icahn, The Problem of Formulating an Adequate Explication of the Empiricist Criterion of Meaning, Princeton University Senior Theses (1957) (found at http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp015d86p129h).

70And yet, for even more well-known executives who either majored in undergraduate programs or completed graduate degrees in philosophy include Flickr.com and Slack.com founder Stewart Butterfield (B.A. and M.A. degrees in philosophy at University of Victoria and Cambridge), former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (B.A., Stanford), FDIC Chair Sheila Blair (B.A., University of Kansas), Fannie Mae CEO Herbert Allison Jr. (B.A., Yale), Time Warner CEO Gerald Levin (B.A., Haverford), and PayPal co-founder, Peter Thiel (B.A., Stanford).

71Sam Roberts, Michael Bloomberg on How to Succeed in Business, New York Times (Feb. 1, 2017).

72See, Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs, pp. 15, 34-36, 41, 48-50, 128, 262, 564, 570, Simon & Schuster (Oct. 24, 2011); Steve Jobs founded Apple, Inc. shortly after discovering Buddhism during a spiritual journey in India; according to Isaacson, during the peak of his career, Jobs met with and discussed Zen Buddhism every day with the Zen Master, Kōbun Chino Otogawa.

73See generally, http://www.bwater.com/uploads/filemanager/principles/bridgewater-associates-ray-dalio-principles.pdf (accessed May 6, 2015).

74This association of the Apple Inc. logo with the story of Adam and Even in Genesis and the basic units of digital information as proposed by Claude Shannon, along with the stories of Sir Isaac Newton and Alan Turing, are unverified urban legend, but I find them uncanny and like referring to them for this purpose.

75I would like to note here with great humility that according to Daniel Dennet and Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen’s Philosophical Lexicon, a Benjamin is a philosopher who is not yet a bachelard, and a bachelard is a philosopher who has not yet attained a master level; I am sure to be guilty of any one of the pronouns or verbs defined within the Philosophical Lexicon; as Wittgenstein also said, “The difficulty in philosophy is to say no more than we know,” p. 45, The Blue Book (written between 1931-1935).

76See generally, Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras, “Built to Last” (1994).


78Internal Video of Steve Jobs speaking with employees at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California (Sep. 23, 1997).

79Aristotle, Theaetetus 155d; and, Aristotle, Metaphysics, 980-985, Book Alpha (both 4th Century B.C.E.).

80Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations of Marcus arelius Antonius (167 A.C.E.).

81Alfred North Whitehead, Science and the Modern World (1925).

82Marcus arelius, The Meditations of Marcus arelius Antonius, Book Ten (167 A.C.E.).


84See e.g., Wilfrid Sellars, Philosophy and the Scientific Image of Man, Frontiers of Science and Philosophy, pp. 35–78, University of Pittsburgh Press (1962), who said, “The aim of philosophy, abstractly formulated, is to understand how things in the broadest possible sense of the term hang together in the broadest possible sense of the term”; and Rebecca Goldstein, How Philosophy Makes Progress, in Chronicle of Higher Education (Apr. 14, 2014), where she said, “And this is progress, progress in increasing our coherence, which is philosophy’s special domain.”

85Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design, Bantam (2012); for further discussion, see Robert Pasnau, Why Not Just Weigh the Fish?, New York Times (Jun. 29, 2014); see also, in A Brief History of Time (1988), where Hawking wrote at p. 175, “Philosophers reduced the scope of their inquiries so much that Wittgenstein, the most famous philosopher of this century, said, ‘The sole remaining task for philosophy is the analysis of language.’ What a comedown from the great tradition of philosophy from Aristotle to Kant!” However, no known written record confirms Ludwig Wittgenstein as saying that.


87From one perspective, this book may be viewed as an exercise in philosophical pragmatism, which means that it is not intended to be rigorously empirical in nature as a technical economic study would, but rather descriptive to provide the reader with a way to organize his or her thinking more accurately to produce better business results. Like Decision Theory itself, Lean Metaphysically combines information from many different disciplines to provide a big picture perspective of reality that can be applied to individual decision making and action.

88Gödel’s Second Incompleteness Theorem naturally applies here; for false boundaries, see, David Deutsch, The Beginning of Infinity, p. 446 (2011).

89Interview with Steve Jobs (1994) about the creation of the Apple Macintosh, Did Steve Jobs steal from Xerox PARC? http://www.mac-history.net/computer-history/2012-03-22/apple-and-xerox-parc (retrieved June 28, 2015).

90See generally, Karl Popper, Objective Knowledge: An Evolutionary Approach, Oxford: Clarendon Press (1972).

91Cf, Lee Smolin, Time Reborn: From the crisis in physics to the future of the universe, Mariner Books (2013).

92David Deutsch, The Beginning of Infinity, p. 265 (2011).

93I.e. you might find yourself in an Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation (an OASIS) such as described by Ernest Cline in, Ready Player One, Random House (2011); David Deutsch, The Beginning of Infinity, p. 192 (2011); one of the proponents and popularizers of this simulation concept is Nick Bostrum, a philosopher in residence at the University of Oxford; see, Nick Bostrom, Are You Living In a Computer Simulation?, pp. 243-255, Vol. 53, No. 211, Philosophical Quarterly (2003); Bank of America/Merrill Lynch in an investor report on the future of reality, citing Nick Bostrom, wrote, “Many scientists, philosophers, and business leaders believe that there is a 20-50% probability that humans are already living in a computer-simulated virtual world… It is conceivable that with advancements in artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and computing power, members of future civilizations could have decided to run a simulation of their ancestors,” as further noted by Myles Udland in, Business Insider (Sep. 8, 2016).

94See, Gary Gutting’s interview with Michael Ruse in, Does Evolution Explain Religious Beliefs, The Stone, New York Times (Jul. 8, 2014).

95Geertz definition of religion is the most widely used to day in religious studies courses in the United States; this definition was first provided in, Clifford Geertz, Religion as a Cultural System loc. in, The interpretation of cultures: selected essays, pp. 87-125, Fontana Press (1993).

96Ibid, pp. 87-125.

97Sean Carroll, From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time, Kindle Loc. 978, Penguin Group US (2009).

98E.g. see Jim Stengel’s research found at, Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World’s Greatest Companies, Crown Business (2011).

99David Deutsch, TEDx Brussels (2011).

100E.g., Hey Cynics, Hold That Cold Water: Why The Ice Bucket Challenge Worked, Forbes (Aug. 15, 2014).

101See generally, Fred Gluck, The Essence of Strategic Management, Synthesis, Capabilities and Overlooked Insights: Next Frontiers for Strategists, McKinsey Quarterly (Sep. 2014).

102Accessed at the Smithsonian Institution’s website, http://americanhistory.si.edu/comphist/sj1.html, (accessed on Feb. 2, 2015).

103Though fairly recent examples do exist, such as the incredible John von Neumann and Marilyn vos Savant; however see any list of recent prodigies with the highest IQs, none of whom dominate any single field of knowledge.

104Ahmed Alkhateeb, Corey S. Powell (Ed.), Science has outgrown the human mind and its limited capacities, aeon (Apr. 24, 2017).

105For further motivation, some good evidence exists from a study conducted by Guy Berger, Ph.D. at LinkedIn, Inc. demonstrating that thinking cross-departmentally greatly increases your chances of becoming CEO (found at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-become-executive-guy-berger-ph-d-, with article co-authored by Link Gan and Alan Fritzler and published on linkedin.com on Sep. 9, 2016).

106See e.g., Mark Schrope, Medicine’s Hidden Roots in an Ancient Manuscript, New York Times (Jun. 1, 2015); in a certain sense, much of the content of this book may be seen as, old wine in a new a new bottle, but it has been a robust vessel, and I think anybody would find something new here to at least consider it a blend, or an effective decanter for old ideas to pour into your value streams.

107Kenneth Stanley, Joel Lehman, Why Greatness Cannot Be Planned: The Myth of the Objective, p. 136, Springer International Publishing (2015).

108See e.g., “Geeks Venture Into Goldman Sachs’ World of Big Deals and Egos,” Reuters (Feb. 14, 2017).

109See generally, Danielle Ivory, Josh Williams, Ben Protess and Kitty Bennett, This is Your Life, Brought to You by Private Equity, New York Times (Aug. 1, 2016).

110In terms of the philosophy of science, making money can never be deterministic.

111Douglas Hofstadter, Surfaces & Essences, p. 485 (2013).

112See generally, Peter Thiel, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future, Crown Business, 1st edition (2014).

113Which may be considered both a Hegelian, Heideggerian and Sartian thesis of being, and the anti-thesis of nothingness.

114David Deutsch, The Beginning of Infinity, p. 114 (2011).

115IQs appear to now be decreasing; see e.g., Bernt Bratsberg and Ole Rogeberg, Flynn effect and its reversal are both environmentally caused, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Jun 2018, 115 (26) 6674-6678; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1718793115; I speculate that is due to the reduced emphasis on the humanities in education, but I do not believe any evidence exists for this conjecture.

116Carol Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Random House (2006).

117See James Flynn discuss the Flynn effect at, James Flynn, *Why our IQ levels are higher than our grandparents”, TED2013 (Mar. 2013).

118Such as those proposed by Alan Hájek in, Philosophy tool kit: with heuristics anybody can think like a philosopher, aeon (Apr. 3, 2017).

119As Wittgenstein said, “My difficulty is only an — enormous — difficulty of expression,” at p. 40 in, Wittgenstein’s Personal Journal (May 8, 1915), and further at p. 48 of the same text, “Language is a part of our organism and no less complicated than it.”

120Since people generally loath both philosophy and poetry, you dear reader are very ardent indeed; people do like making money though, which may draw some fellows to the flame.

121See e.g., Gallup, Inc. where they discuss their own selection process, which they also sell as a service to other corporations, at http://www.gallup.com/careers/108163/selection-process.aspx (last accessed on Dec. 4, 2016).

122As Wittgenstein said, “The limit of my language is the limit of my world” (“Die Grenzen meiner Sprache bedeuten die Grenzen meiner Welt”), (5.6) Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1922); and further, “There are things that cannot be said with words. They manifest themselves instead as the mystical.” (“Es gibt allerdings Unaussprechliches. Dies zeigt sich, es ist das Mystische.”), (6.522) Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1922).

123This line of Lean Thinking owes tremendous debt to ordinary language philosophers such as Ludwig Wittgenstein and his, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921) as noted from his quote below.

124The actual etymology of Truth does not support this, but I think it is a useful fiction for these purposes.

125Slide from AME 2002 conference, Hajime Ohba, Cindy Kuhlman-Voss, Leadership and the Toyota Production System, TSSC, Inc.

126Fond on IBM.com, A Business and Its Beliefs, for its IBM at 100 campaign http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/ibm100/us/en/icons/bizbeliefs/) (accessed on Nov. 5, 2015).


128Besides Lean, other similar business ideologies have originated out of the East, such as Jugaad in Hindi cultures, see, Navi Radjou, Jaideep Prabhu, Simone Ahuja, Jugaad Innovation: Think Frugal, Be Flexible, Generate Breakthrough Growth, Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (Apr. 1, 2012); and in the Latin-American South, such as the open-book, bottom-up management implemented by Ricardo Semler at Semco of Brazil, see, Recardo Semler, Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World’s Most Unusual Workplace, Grand Central Publishing; Reprint edition (Apr. 1, 1995).

129John Krafcik, Triumph of the Lean Production System, pp. 41– 52, Sloan Management Review 30 (1), (Fall 1988).

130Toyota Production System and what it means for business, Toyota Material Handling Europe, Toyota (2010); Samuel Obara and Darril Wilburn, Toyota by Toyota: Reflections from the Inside Leaders on the Techniques That Revolutionized the Industry, CRC Press (2012).

131See, Tim Cook speak this at Apple Inc.’s 2016 Worldwide Developers’ Conference https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5jXg_NNiCA (accessed last on Dec. 4 2016).

132See also, The Four Rules for TPS described by Steven Spear and H. Kent Bowen, Decoding the DNA of the Toyota Production System, Harvard Business Review (2006), which may be collapsed under items (3) waste and (4) scientific improvement.

133Edith Penrose was one of the first to accurately delineate the boundary between internal, administrative nature of an organization and the free market through which natural demand emerges in her book, The Theory of the Growth of the Firm, New York, John Wiley and Sons (1959). This allows us to alternatively call it the, “Penrose Pay Wall,” which we will later connect to the, “Penrose Triangle” as you will see.

134Herbert A. Simon, Administrative Behavior, 4th Edition: A Study of Decision-making Processes in Administrative Organisations, p. 22, Free Press (2013 (originally published in 1947)).

135See generally, Amitai Etzioni, Crossing the Rubicon: Including Preference Formation in Theories of Choice Behavior, George Washington University, pp. 65–79, Challenge, vol. 57, no. 2 (Mar./Apr. 2014).

136John A. Byrne and Lindsey Gerdes, The Man Who Invented Management, Businessweek (Nov. 27, 2005).

137Peter Drucker, The Practice of Management, pp. 39-40, HarperCollins (1954).

138This unfinished work by Michelangelo, The Awakening Slave, is a 2.67m high marble statue dated to 1525-30 CE. This work is part of the Prisoners, the series of unfinished sculptures for the tomb of Pope Julius II that is now held in the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence.

139August Rodin (French, 1840–1917), The Thinker, ca. 1880, cast ca. 1904, Bronze. Height: 6ft. 6in., Signed: A Rodin; stamped: Alexis Rudier / Fondeur. Paris., Gift of Alma de Bretteville Spreckels, 1924.18.1.

140Walter Andrew Shewhart, Statistical Method from the Viewpoint of Quality Control, New York: Dover (1939).

141Ronald Moen, Foundation and History of the PDCA Cycle, Associates in Process Improvement-Detroit (date unknown); for deeper insight into the connection of Deming’s work and its relation to Lean Metaphysically, I recommend studying the, Deming System of Profound Knowledge (SoPK) produced by the W. Edwards Deming Institute.

142Steve Blank, The Four Steps to the Epiphany, K&S Ranch, 2nd edition (2013).

143This depiction of God and his angels, particularly when you see the image in full, has been interpreted as a subversive depiction of the human brain, see, Frank Lynn Meshberger, MD, An Interpretation of Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam Based on Neuroanatomy, Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 264, No. 14 (Oct. 10, 1990); notably, Steve Blank cropped the image to just show the cerebral cortex.

144Eric Ries, The Lean Startup, How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses, Crown Business, First Edition edition (2011).

145This point was further emphasized by the American pragmatists, such as William James, Charles Pierce and John Dewey. Notably, Pierce and James formed their “Metaphysical Club” in 1872 to study this problem related to consumer insight; see for background, Louis Menand, The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2001).

146For some criticism of relying too much on The Lean Startup methodologies alone, see, Tomer Sharon, Validating Product Ideas Through Lean User Research, p. 75, Rosenfeld Media (2016), in regards to how it might lead you to miss true-north value by not abstracting to unobservable problems enough up front in the open problem space.

147At least within the Philosophy of Science.

148Eric Ries, The Lean Startup, p. 107 (2011).

149For a thorough definition of Kata, see, Mike Rother, Toyota Kata: Managing People for Improvement, Adaptiveness and Superior Results: Managing People for Improvement, Adaptiveness and Superior Results, p. 15, McGraw-Hill Education (2009); Competitive Advantage being a term introduced by Michael Porter in his same-named book, Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance (1985); I intend the term competitive advantage in this book to include all current notions of evolutionary game theory and its applications as proposed by others.

150See, the entry for Kata in the, Lean Lexicon: A Graphical Glossary for Lean Thinkers, 5th Ed., Lean Enterprise Institute, Inc. (2006).

151Charles Sanders Pierce, the principle inventor and proponent of the term, believed it to be a form of inference and guessing; see, Collected Papers of Charles S. Peirce, Vol. 7, p. 219, Charles Hartshorne, Paul Weiss, and Arthur W. Burks (eds.) Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press (1901); Charles S. Peirce, The New Elements of Mathematics, Vol. 4, 319-320, Carolyn Eisele (ed.). The Hague: Mouton Publishers, (c. 1906).

152David Deutsch, The Beginning of Infinity, p. 16 (2011).

153For another form of this analysis, see e.g., Barbara Minto, The Minto Pyramid Principle: Logic in Writing, Thinking, & Problem Solving, Minto Intl, Expanded edition (1996).

154See e.g., Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, Portfolio (Oct. 29, 2009).

155Is it any wonder that this building is adjacent to, “Evil Corp,” as seen in Sam Esmail’s, Mr. Robot (2015)?

156Ipsita Priyadarshini, Code of Shu-Ha-Ri in Lean - Agile Adoption, VisionTemenos.com/blog/ (Apr 19, 2016).

157E.g. see, Greg Cohen, Lean Product Mangement, 280 Group (Jun 2017).

158Deductively legalizing value happens through the legislative process. For example, consider the movement to legalize, sell and tax cannabis/marijuana in the U.S.A., and pharmaceutical companies’ lobbying to sell other drugs without prescription. The demand for these drugs is certain; only the legality of delivery is in question.

159As best explained by Thomas Kuhn in, Structure (1962); this relates to every customer-centric business framework that has ever been presented. Simply search for customer focus business revolution online at any point in time to learn more.

160the Oxford English Dictionary, Entry 164970 (accessed on Apr. 4, 2014).

161Sam Grobart, Apple Chiefs Discuss Strategy, Market Share—and the New iPhones, Bloomberg Businessweek (Sep. 19, 2013).

162This is a bit inspired by Modig, Niklas; Åhlström, Pär, This is Lean: Resolving the Efficiency Paradox, Kindle Loc. 1059, Rheologica Publishing (2014).

163David Packard, speech given to HP’s training group on 8 March 1960, courtesy of Hewlett-Packard Company archives; Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras, p. 56, “Built to Last” (2011).

164Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras, “Built to Last,” p. 62 (2011).


166See generally, Hirotaka Takeuchi, Emi Osono, Norihiko Shimizu, The Contradictions That Drive Toyota’s Success, Harvard Business Review (Jun. 2008).

167Natalie Wolchover, Mathematicians Bridge Finite-Infinite Divide, Quanta Magazine (May 24, 2016).

168Michael Porter, Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance, Free Press (1985).

169See generally, Michael Porter, Competitive Advantage (1985).


171For further background, see, Nick Gogerty, The Nature of Value, Kindle Loc. 611-612 (2014); Eric D. Schneider, Dorion Sagan, Into the Cool: Energy Flow, Thermodynamics, and Life, p. 60, University Of Chicago Press (2006); and A.J. Lotka, Contribution to the Energetics of Evolution, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 8: 147–151 (1922); and originally Boltzmann in 1886.

172This being a combination of Edith Penrose’s work and Michael Porter’s Generic Value Chain.

173Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras, “Built to Last,” p. 58 (2011).

174M. Imai, Gemba Kaizen: A Commonsense Low-Cost Approach to Management, McGraw-Hill (1997).

175Peter F. Drucker, The Practice of Management, p. 34, HarperCollins (2010).

176As will be seen later, this point of purchase may also be analogized to a Penrose Triangle, a purely hypothetical shape popularized by Lionel and Roger Penrose, due to the fact that people’s demand has both tautological as well as non-tautological characteristics.

177See e.g., Kenneth Thomas, Intrinsic Motivation at Work: What Really Drives Employee Engagement, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Second Edition edition (2009).

178The above fully recognizes that some goods and services may be considered anti-social, such as addictive products, but they act as exceptions to the general principle.

179Read most any marketing book for this point, but as a suggestion, Philip Kotler, Marketing Insights from A to Z: 80 Concepts Every Manager Needs to Know, Wiley (2003).

180W. Chan Kim, Renee Mauborgne, Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant, Harvard Business Review Press; 1 edition (Feb. 3, 2005).

181I.e. product perfectly matches up with the formal use of money, per Yuval Noah Harari, “Money is thus a universal medium of exchange that enables people to convert almost everything into almost anything else,” in, Sapiens, p. 179 (2014).

182product is the name of an ancient city in central Greece (37°51′N, 21°59′E) whose boundary and perimeter wall was triangle-shaped with a natural spring located north-east of it.

183Specifically, we wish to avoid the naturalistic fallacy described in Moore, G.E. Principia Ethica § 10 to the extent that just because we think something is good does not automatically make it so; see also Arthur N. Prior, Chapter 1 of Logic And The Basis Of Ethics, Oxford University Press (1949).

184I.e. Instrumental Rationality.

185I.e. Epistemic Rationality.

186For some background on the context of customers’ intentional ignorance and irrationality, see, Brian Caplan, Rational Ignorance versus Rational Irrationality, KYKLOS, Vol. 54-2001-Fasc. 1, 3-26.

187Madhavan Ramanujam, Georg Tacke, Monetizing Innovation: How Smart Companies Design the Product Around the Price, Loc. 407, Wiley (2016).

188Conceptual Framework for Managerial Costing, Report of the IMA© Managerial Costing Conceptual Framework Task Force, loc. at http://www.imanet.org/PDFs/Public/Research/MCCF_2014.pdf (accessed on Dec. 20, 2014).

189Economists generally make a distinction here between Normative Economics or what is economically valuable without other structural constraint, and Positive Economics, or what is in fact deemed value in the context of real life; Nick Gogerty framed this notion as the “Nature of Value” perspective in, The Nature of Value: How to Invest in the Adaptive Economy, Kindle Loc. 212, Columbia Business School Publishing (2014).

190This is (to sociologists) an allusion to Claude Lévi-Strauss and his identification of the Trickster persona mediating between life and death.

191This notion is inspired by Jan Carlzon, Moments of Truth, HarperBusiness (1987).

192John Locke, Some Considerations of the Consequences of the Lowering of Interest and the Raising the Value of Money (1691); John Locke, Further Considerations Concerning Raising the Value of Money (1697), wherein Mr. Lowndes’s Arguments for it in his late Report Concerning An Essay for the Amendment of Silver Coins, are particularly examined; William Lowndes, Report Containing an Essay for the Amendment of the Silver Coins (1695); see also, J.R. McCulloch, Classical Writings on Economics. Volume II. A Select Collection of Scarce and Valuable Tracts on Money, Pickering and Chatto, London (1995).

193See again, John Locke, Some Considerations… (1691); and also John Maynard Keynes, 1. The Classification of Money in A Treatise on Money, New York, Harcourt, Brace and company (1930).

194“Currency (n.) 1650s, ‘condition of flowing,’ from Latin currens, present participle of currere ‘to run’ (see current (adj.))”; in 1699 John Locke added a sense of flow to the circulation of money; the word “money” comes from the Roman god “Juno Moneta,” in whose temple coins were minted; Online Etymology Dictionary (2015) http://www.etymonline.com/ (accessed Mar. 12, 2015).

195The finches of Galapogos Islands are also known as Darwin’s Finches in reference to his notation of such birds in, Charles Darwin, Journal of Researchers into the Natural History and Geology of the countries visited during the voyage round the world of H.M.S. Beagle, revised edition, p. 403-420, Henry Colburn (1845).

196In 1776, Adam Smith wrote, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, wherein he discusses the concepts of value in use and value in exchange, and notices how they tend to differ: “What are the rules which men naturally observe in exchanging them [goods] for money or for one another, I shall now proceed to examine. These rules determine what may be called the relative or exchangeable value of goods. The word VALUE, it is to be observed, has two different meanings, and sometimes expresses the utility of some particular object, and sometimes the power of purchasing other goods which the possession of that object conveys. The one may be called ‘value in use;’ the other, ‘value in exchange.’ The things which have the greatest value in use have frequently little or no value in exchange; on the contrary, those which have the greatest value in exchange have frequently little or no value in use. Nothing is more useful than water: but it will purchase scarcely anything; scarcely anything can be had in exchange for it. A diamond, on the contrary, has scarcely any use-value; but a very great quantity of other goods may frequently be had in exchange for it.”


198Technically, price elasticity of demand is a measure used in economics to show the responsiveness, or elasticity, of the quantity demanded of a product or service to a change in its price, ceteris paribus.

199The paradox of water and diamonds may be found in, Adam Smith: An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Chapter IV. Of the Origin and Use of Money, (1776); see also Scott Gordon, The Scottish Enlightenment of the eighteenth century, History and Philosophy of Social Science: An Introduction, Routledge (1991).

200Alludes to Hilary Putnam’s 1973 “Twin Earth” thought experiment in his paper, Meaning and Reference, in, Philosophical Papers, Vol. 2: Mind, Language and Reality, Cambridge University Press (1973).

201http://www.christies.com/features/2010-october-andy-warhol-campbells-soup-can-tomato-1022-1.aspx (accessed Jun. 2, 2011).

202E.g. for the genesis of this line of thinking, see, How Vienna produced ideas that shaped the West, The Economist (Dec. 24th, 2016).

203Digital Currencies: The BitCoin Debate, BusinessInsider.com (Dec. 2013).

204Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, p. 105, Harvard University Press (2014).

205Ibid, p. 47.

206Denis Dutton, The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution (2009); see also Denis Dutton, A Darwinian Theory of Beauty, TED Talks (Feb 2010); and Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens, p. 173 (2014).

207See, Jesse McKinley, With Farm Robotics, the Cows Decide When It’s Milking Time, New York Times (Apr. 22, 2014).

208Keynes, General Theory, p. 36.

209Such as how philosophers like Jeremy Bentham described value as utility and how economists model utility through indifference curves. As a wise man once tautologically said, all utility models are wrong, but some are useful.

210As per the economic concept first introduced by Paul Samuelson through revealed preference substitution in P. Samuelson, A Note on the Pure Theory of Consumers’ Behaviour, Economica 5 (17): 61–71. JSTOR 2548836 (1938); see also, Stanley Wong, Foundations of Paul Samuelson’s Revealed Preference Theory: A Study by the Method of Rational Reconstruction, Routledge (1978).

211Lansana Keita, Revealed Preference Theory, Rationality, and Neoclassical Economics: Science or Ideology, Africa Development, pp. 73 - 116, Vol. XXXVII, No. 4 (2012).

212Hal R. Varian, Samuelsonian Economics and the 21st Century: Revealed Preference, Oxford University Press (Jan. 2005, Rev. Sep. 20, 2006).

213Christopher P. Chambers, Federico Echenique, and Eran Shmaya, General Revealed Preference Theory, Theoretical Economics (2016); Don Ross, *Game Theory, The Stanford Encyclopædia of Philosophy, Edward N. Zalta (ed.) (Winter 2012 Edition).

214Nate Silver, The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don’t, Kindle Loc. 604-605, Penguin Group US (2012), see, note 63, Survey of Professional Forecasters (November 2007); See also table 5, in which the economists give a probabilistic forecast range for gross domestic product growth during 2008. The chance of a decline in GDP of 2 percent or more is listed at 0.22 percent, or about 1 chance in 500. In fact, GDP declined by 3.3 percent in 2008, found at http://www.phil.frb.org/research-and-data/real-time-center/survey-of-professional-forecasters/2007/spfq407.pdf; see also J. Bradford DeLong, Estimating World GDP, One Million B.C.—Present, Berkeley, CA, University of California Press, (1988) at http:// econ161. berkeley.edu/ TCEH/ 1998_Draft/ World_GDP/ Estimating_World_GDP.html (accessed Jun. 14, 2016).

215See e.g. regarding the problem of even using GDP as an accurate guage of economic activity at all in the writing of the current World Bank president, Paul Romer, The Trouble with Macroeconomics, Forthcoming in The American Economist (Jan. 5, 2016).

216Amartya Sen, On Ethics and Economics, New York, NY, Basil Blackwell (1987); e.g. John Lanchester, The Major Blind Spots in Macroeconomics, New York Times (Feb. 7, 2017).

217See again, Lansana Keita, Revealed Preference Theory…, pp. 73 – 116 (2012).

218See generally, Dan Ariely, Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, HarperCollins (2009).

219See, Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, Judgment Under Uncertainty Heuristics and Biases, pp. 1124– 31, Science 185 (1974); Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2011).

220See, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk, Econometrica, Vol. 47, No. 2, pp. 263-292, The Econometric Society (March 1979) DOI: 10.2307/1914185 http://www.jstor.org/stable/1914185; for the intellectual precursors to Prospect Theory, see generally, Milton Friedman and Leonard J. Savage, Utility Analysis of Choices Involving Risk (1948) and Harry Markowitz, The Utility of Wealth (1952).

221See also, Game Theory and John Von Neumann and John Nash minimax theory or Nash Equilibrium where players find a strategy where each minimizes their own maximum losses discussed in Value Stream 4: Lives. Von Neumann proved that equilibrium is only possible in an expanding economy; otherwise, in a static economy or zero sum game, all players will constantly jockey for gain.

222E.g. see,fs Paul Feyeraband, Against Method: Outline of an Anarchist Theory of Knowledge, Verso Books (1975) wherein Paul said on p. 27, “… there is only one principle that can be defended under all circumstances and in all stages of human development. It is the principle: anything goes,” to which he said on p. 32, “… The best way to show this is to demonstrate the limits and even the irrationality of some rules which she, or he, is likely to regard as basic.”

223Susan C. Edwards and Stephen C. Pratt, Rationality in Collective Decision-Making by Ant Colonies, Proc. R. Soc. B (Jul. 22, 2009); Balaji Prabhakar, Katherine N. Dektar, Deborah M. Gordon, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002670, The Regulation of Ant Colony Foraging Activity without Spatial Information (Aug. 23, 2012); Deborah M. Gordon, The Rewards of Restraint in the Collective Regulation of Foraging by Harvester Ant Colonies, 498, 91–93, doi:10.1038/nature12137, Nature (May 15, 2013).

224James C. Spall, Introduction to Stochastic Search and Optimization: Estimation, Simulation, and Control, Wiley Press (2003).

225This optimization may be compared to the notion of satisficing as described by Herbert A. Simon in, A Behavioral Model of Rational Choice, pp, 99–118, Quarterly Journal of Economics 69 (Feb. 1955); Reiskamp J., J. R. Busemeyer, and B.A. Mellers (2006), Extending the Bounds of Rationality: Evidence and Theories in Preferential Choice, Journal of Economic Literature, 44(3), 631-661; and S. Pironio et al, Random Numbers Certified by Bell’s Theorem, Nature 464, 1021-1024 (15 April 2010) | doi:10.1038/nature09008 (Received 25 November 2009, Accepted Feb. 18, 2010).

226See e.g., Xiaomin Zhong and Eugene Santos Jr., Probabilistic Reasoning Through Genetic Algorithms and Reinforcement Learning, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Connecticut (1999); Pierre-Andre´ Noe¨l, Charles D. Brummitt, and Raissa M. D’Souza, Controlling Self-Organizing Dynamics on Networks Using Models that Self-Organize; Quanta Magazine, Toward a Theory of Self-Organized Criticality in the Brain, Simons Foundation (Apr. 43, 2014).

227Andrew Sheng and Xiao Geng, Micro, Macro, Meso, and Meta Economics, Project Syndicate (October 9, 2012).

228See e.g., Journal of Evolutionary Economics, ISSN: 1432-1386.

229See, Kurt Dopfer, University of St. Gallen - SEPS: Economics and Political Sciences, John Foster, University of Queensland - School of Economics, Jason Potts, University of Queensland - School of Economics, Micro-Meso-Macro, Journal of Evolutionary Economics, (May 17, 2005).

230Such as the challenge economists have in predicting the GDP and labor market statistics every quarter, as discussed by J. Bradford DeLong, Estimating World GDP, One Million B.C.—Present, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, (1988).

231See generally, Gregory C. Chow, Usefulness of Adaptive and Rational Expectations in Economics, Princeton University, CEPS Working Paper No. 221 (September 2011).

232These concepts touch on marginal value theory along with the labor theory of value.

233Lean Lexicon, 5th Edition, by Lean Enterprise Institute, Inc. (2014).

234These notions align with current, quantum information theory and increasing quantum entanglement through equalibralization of the universe into a stable state; for references to the scientific background, see Natalie Wolchover, Time’s Arrow Traced to Quantum Source, Quanta Magazine (Apr. 16, 2014); Artur S.L. Malabarba, Luis Pedro García-Pintos, Noah Linden, Terence C. Farrelly, Anthony J. Short, Quantum Systems Equilibrate Rapidly for Most Observables, arXiv:1402.1093 [quant-ph] http://arxiv.org/abs/1402.1093 (Submitted on Feb. 5, 2014); Anthony J Short and Terence C Farrelly, Quantum equilibration in finite time, New J. Phys. 14 013063 doi:10.1088/1367-2630/14/1/013063 (2012); Noah Linden, Sandu Popescu, Anthony J. Short, and Andreas Winter, Quantum Mechanical Evolution Towards Thermal Equilibrium, Phys. Rev. E 79, 061103 (Published 4 June 2009); Seth Lloyd, Black Holes, Demons and the Loss of Coherence: How Complex Systems Get Information, and What They Do With It, Ph.D. Thesis, Theoretical Physics, The Rockefeller University (Apr. 1, 1988); and generally Sean Carroll, From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time, Plume (2010).

235The formal term for this study is, Etiology (alternatively aetiology, aitiology), which is the study of causation. The word is derived from the Greek word αἰτιολογία, aitiologia, giving a reason for (αἰτία, aitia, cause; and -λογία, [-logia].

236As David Hume said at the end of, An Abstract of A Treatise of Human Nature, (1740), “These principles of association… are the only ties of our thoughts, they are really to us the cement of the universe….”

237Unfortunately, I am not Arthur Dent, and you will not find a “number 42” here as an, “Answer to Answer to The Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything,” as referenced in, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Pan Books (1979).

238Nicholas Rescher, Axiogenises: An Essay in Metaphysical Optimalism, p. 18, Lexington Books (2010).

239The Oxford English Dictionary (accessed on May 24, 2014).

240Ibid; see also the Stanford Encyclopædia of Philosophy entry on, “Ontology.”

241The philosophical concept of Ontology used here tends to conform with Quine’s and thus to the notion of “universals” as described in this book merely as being that which is empirically predictable – though I do not disregard it, I generally care less about strict ontological commitment because the answer to those questions ultimately means very little to consumers since they cause meaning (and thus your profits) through their observation and wonder at your amazing product; see generally, W.V. Quine, On what there is, (1948) Review of Metaphysics, vol. 2. pp. 21–38, (reprinted in 1980); I also use the concept of Ontological Realization along with Lean synonymously with the concept of fitness through natural selection as will become more important further on in this text.

242As earlier stated, in statistics, the circumflex is inserted to indicate and estimator, with such meaning to be seen later on in this book. For philosophy majors, the circumflex is also the same pronunciation accent used over the u as in Noûs for the title of the premier philosophy journal of that name (ISSN: 1468-0068), and is the Greek word nous, generally meaning sense or intellect, which in French means we or us, and when used twice as in nous nous, the word assumes a further, self-reflexive meaning.

243http://www.geneontology.org/ (accessed Nov. 15, 2015).

244See e.g., Catherine Roussey, Francios Pinet, Myong Ah Kang, Oscar Corcho, An Introduction to Ontologies and Ontology Engineering, Springer (Jun. 17, 2011); see again, Alexander Osterwalder, The Business Model Ontology: A Proposition in a Design Science Approach (2004).

245For more information about Tom Gruber and Siri, see, http://tomgruber.org/technology/siri.htm (accessed Jul. 28, 2014).

246Thus, I take a positivist approach to these matters.

247For further discussion of “truth-value” in philosophy, please see the Stanford Encyclopædia of Philosophy entry accessible at https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/truth-values.

248Scientists usually discuss the notion of predictability in the inverse, as a positive assertion they prove as false.

249Eugene Wigner, The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences, Communications in Pure and Applied Mathematics, vol. 13, No. I, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (Feb. 1960).

250See e.g., Max Tegmark, Our Mathematical universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group (2014).

251To read a good article on the four universal physical forces, the electromagnetic, gravitational, and strong and weak atomic forces, and your current manipulation of them, see, I Was Promised Flying Cars, New York Times (Jun. 8, 2014).

252The process perspective takes much of its intellectual heritage from Alfred North Whitehead’s Process Philosophy such as he described in, Process and Reality (1929c); Alfred North Whitehead’s description of Process Philosophy in Process and Reality reminds me of David Deutsch’s in Constructor Theory, arXiv:1210.7439 [physics.hist-ph] (Jan. 13, 2013), wherein he somewhat similarly says that all laws may be described in terms of possible transformations.

253While so commonly applied to discussions like this as to be trite, I do not know if the expression, “standing on the shoulders of intellectual giants,” could apply more than to the content of this Value Stream describing the work of those who examined these issues in depth over millennia, as well as Lean Metaphysically as a whole given its overly ambitious breadth.

254Richard Foster, Creative Destruction Whips through Corporate America, INNOSIGHT/Standard & Poor’s (2014).

255A good quote about this regarding the work of philosopher of Peter Carruthers is, “Self-consciousness is just mind reading turned inward,” as stated by Alex Rosenberg in, Why You Don’t Know Your Own Mind, (July 18, 2016); see, Peter Carruthers, The Opacity of Mind: An Integrative Theory of Self-Knowledge, Oxford University Press (2011).

256See e.g., Derrida’s metaphysics of presence; see also, Thomas Nagel’s essay, What is it Like to Be a Bat?, The Philosophical Review (1974), which describes this presence conception well but was written before more modern developments in cognitive science and your better understanding, universal, recursive mental conceptions through AI studies; cf, the balance of essays in which Nagel’s essay is contained in Douglas Hofstadter and Daniel Dennett The Mind’s I and other more recent work on these same subject; see also, Alva Noë, Varieties of Presence, Harvard University Press (2012).

257To read about people’s personal perspectives being start-up businesses in and of themselves, see, Reid Hoffman, The Start-up of You, Crown Business (2012).

258For an interesting perspective on the Personal perspective and its relation with structure, see Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction, Oxford University Press (1977); and the four volume set by Christopher Alexander, The Nature of Order, including, The Nature of Order: An Essay on the Art of Building and the Nature of the universe, Book 1 - The Phenomenon of Life (2004) (Center for Environmental Structure, Vol. 9); Book 2 - The Process of Creating Life (2006); Book 3 - A Vision of a Living World (2004); and Book 4 - The Luminous Ground, Routledge (2003).

259See e.g. Richard P. Feynman in the Twin Paradox at, Six Not-So-Easy Pieces: Einstein’s Relativity, Symmetry, and Space-Time, Kindle Loc. 1520, Basic Books (1961-1963).

260I relate physical and mathematical laws based on the principle that math has been demonstrated as having an uncanny ability to predict the operation on physics and vice versa (such as said by E.P. Wigner), such that one might seriously consider all of physics to be the empirical embodiment of mathematical relation and mathematical coherence as being the conceptual expression of physics.

261This list of true-north types, and much of my process oriented thinking, is greatly inspired by the work of Nicholas Rescher with his process Metaphysics and other philosophers like Hillary Putnam, What is Mathmatical Truth? Lecture at Harvard University (1975).

262Can be related to Buddhist absolute truth or paramartha satya; Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching p. 121, Broadway Books (1997).

263CERN | Accelerating science. public.web.cern.ch (Retrieved Aug. 10, 2013).

264See again, I Was Promised Flying Cars, New York Times (Jun. 8, 2014).

265For a discussion of systems thinking in a business context, see W. Edwards Deming, Out of the Crisis, MIT Press, (2000); and Peter M. Senge, The Fifth Discipline, Doubleday (1990); this can also be related to Buddhist worldly truth or samvriti satya, Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, p. 121 (1997).

266“Best fit” basis being congruent to Karl Popper’s scientific methods of empiricism; see e.g., Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery, p. 17, Routledge / Taylor & Francis e-Library (2005).

267But see, Keith DeRose, The Case for Contextualism: Knowledge, Skepticism, and Context, Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (Jun. 24, 2011).

268See e.g., Nate Silver, The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don’t, p. 198, Penguin Publishing Group (2012), where he discusses the element of bias in experts’ economic models, and more particularly his research into the Survey of Professional Forecasters showing persistent bias even at the group level; see also as referenced by Silver, Stephen K. McNees, The Role of Judgment in Macroeconomic Forecasting Accuracy, pp. 287– 99, 6, no. 3, International Journal of Forecasting (Oct. 1990).

269By intuition, I do not mean psychological intuition, such as that described by Daniel Kahneman as System 1 thinking in his book Thinking: Fast and Slow, but rather intuitively speculative knowledge on an absolute basis for which we do not have axiomatic or systemic answers on a Universal basis. Thus, the distinction between axiomatic and systemic propositions and intuitive propositions represents the analytic/continental philosophical divide.

270In fact, the scientific standard by which the efficacy of pharmaceutical drugs is demonstrated and moved beyond being an intuitive truth is by its attaining a 5% level of statistical significance (i.e. p < 0.05) from inferential hypothesis testing with a double-sided Confidence Interval (See Eye); see e.g. Dr. Rick Turner and Dr. Russell Reeve, Basic Biostats for Clinical Research - Confidence Intervals in Drug Development - An Overview of their Use and Interpretation, p. 42, International Pharmaceutical Industry (Spring 2010).

271See e.g., Daniel Dennett, Intuition Pumps And Other Tools for Thinking, W. W. Norton & Company (2013); c.f. truths that are held to be self-evident such as those stipulated in the second paragraph of the U.S., Declaration of Independence (Jul. 4, 1776).

272This notion is inspired by George Soros’ discussion of the concept of reflexivity in The Alchemy of Finance, Wiley (1987).

273In this way, one ought to view the degrees of truth-value like Latourian truth actor-networks arising from a “practical metaphysics”; see e.g., Bruno Latour, Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor–Network Theory, Oxford, United Kingdom (2005).

274CERN topic page on Higgs-Boson found at, http://home.web.cern.ch/topics/higgs-boson (accessed Mar. 12, 2016).

275Dennis Overbye, Astronomers Hedge on Big Bang Detection Claim, New York Times (Jun. 19, 2014).

276By the way, with the term, “Ontologically Realized,” you often see this same sentiment or meaning reflected in Abrahamic religious texts that say something to the effect that this is the, “Word of the Lord,” with the spoken “Word” metaphorically standing for Ontological Realization in the sense of the biblical expression of, “Breathing Life,” into something.

277This is due to having a healthy Humean and even Popperian skepticism of induction.

278For an interesting study demonstrating how people’s intuitive belief may dominate their Universal and Process knowledge, see, Dan M. Kahan, Climate Science Communication and the Measurement Problem, Advances Pol. Psych., Forthcoming, Yale University - Law School; Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics (Jun. 25, 2014); see also Public’s Views on Human Evolution, Pew Research (Dec. 30, 2013).

279Google’s Ten things we know to be true https://www.google.com/about/company/philosophy/ (accessed Sep. 12, 2014).

280The Lean method of Root Cause Analysis, referred to as RCA, is commonly employed in business and government agencies such as NASA to identify the source of a problem; see, Root Cause Analysis Overview, NASA, Office of Safety & Mission Assurance Chief Engineers Office (Jul. 2003).

281See, Stanford Encyclopædia of Philosophy entry on, “Sufficient Reason”; the PSR was so named by Leibniz but its concept extends back to antiquity, see, Nicolas Rescher, On Leibniz (2013).

282Sui generis per the Oxford English Dictionary, lit. Of one’s or its own kind; peculiar. Also used attrib. †Also illiterately as n., a thing apart, an isolated specimen.

283For example the philosopher David Hume believed that meaningful statements about the universe are always qualified by some degree of doubt in, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748); see also David Deutsch, The Beginning of Infinity, p. 96 (2011).

284For a recent survey of American beliefs in religious intuitive true-norths regarding the origin of human existence, see http://www.gallup.com/poll/170822/believe-creationist-view-human-origins.aspx (accessed May 11, 2016).

285David Deutsch, The Beginning of Infinity, pp. 166, 172, 192 (2011).

286See, Sean Carroll, From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time, Kindle Loc. 978-980, Penguin Group US (2010), where he writes, “So if someone asks you what really happened at the moment of the purported Big Bang, the only honest answer would be: ‘I don’t know.’ Once we have a reliable theoretical framework in which we can ask questions about what happens in the extreme conditions characteristic of the early universe, we should be able to figure out the answer, but we don’t yet have such a theory.”

287Thomas Henry Huxley wrote, “Agnosticism, in fact, is not a creed, but a method, the essence of which lies in the rigorous application of a single principle … positively the principle may be expressed: In matters of the intellect, follow your reason as far as it will take you, without regard to any other consideration. And negatively: In matters of the intellect do not pretend that conclusions are certain which are not demonstrated or demonstrable.”, in Huxley, Thomas Henry, Agnosticism, The Popular Science Monthly, 34 (46): 768, D. Appleton & Company, (April 1889); see also, Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, pp. 72 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2008).

288May Sarton, I Knew a Phoenix, pp. 40-41, W. W. Norton (1959).

289See e.g. Stanford Encyclopædia of Philosophy, “Aristotle on Causality.”

290Per the Oxford English Dictionary, Teleology is, “The doctrine or study of ends or final causes, esp. as related to the evidences of design or purpose in nature; also transf. such design as exhibited in natural objects or phenomena,” which leaves out, and yet alludes to, religious connotation in the use of “design.”

291Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, p. 221-222, Broadway Books (1973).

292This relates to speculation from physicists such as those of Alex Vilenkin and his theories about cosmic inflation in, Many Worlds in One: The Search for Other universes, Hill and Wang; 1st edition (2007).

293Stephen W. Hawking, Quantum Cosmology, M-theory and the Anthropic Principle, Lecture published at http://www.hawking.org.uk/quantum-cosmology-m-theory-and-the-anthropic-principle.html (no date for lecture given at his website, but last accessed May 2016).

294Following Greek notions of this concept.

295See, the Stanford Encyclopædia of Philosophy entry on the, “Cosmological Argument.”

296If you doubt whether there is a speculative, scientismic edge to science, especially when studying human beings, consider a large, recent study published in the highly respected journal, Science, that could not replicate over half of the psychological studies it retested; see, Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science, Vol. 349, Issue 6251, DOI: 10.1126/science.aac4716, Science (Aug. 28, 2015).

297Emerson Spartz as quoted by Andrew Marantz in The Virologist, The New Yorker, p. 26 (Jan. 5, 2015).