دوران روشنگری و رهایی: بازتاب در پژوهش های انتقادی حسابداری
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|10363||2011||6 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Critical Perspectives on Accounting, Volume 22, Issue 5, July 2011, Pages 510–515
Molisa (2011) offers a presentation of the work of Eckhart Tolle, 1997 and Tolle, 2005 and a critique of critical and social accounting research, particularly the notion of emancipation. While taking issue with some of both Molisa (2011) and Tolle, 1997 and Tolle, 2005 arguments, I contend that their conclusions have some interesting implications. The religious traditions referenced by Tolle, 1997 and Tolle, 2005 recognise a distinction between positive and negative theology. In effect our notions of what is real (and what is God) get in our way of understanding ‘what is’. A similar theme can be found in the ‘Transactional Analysis’ school of psychology and in the sociology of Pierre Bourdieu. Bourdieu argues that institutions or fields (in his terminology) reflect the interests and values of the powerful and elite. Passive acceptance of these structures leads to repressive processes of symbolic violence. Emancipation requires both recognition of the taken-for-granted nature of values (habitus) and a willingness to change external structures and institutions (fields). In concluding, I argue that internal value change and external institutional change cannot be separated in a process of emancipation. However, in seeking ‘accounting and emancipation’ we must question our own values, assumptions and motives.
Molisa (2011) acknowledges that his paper is far from a usual research presentation in both content and style and is written in a way that ‘speaks from the heart’. In my response to his paper I attempt to retain a connection to notions of argument and rational dialogue, while acknowledging that a paper which connects spirituality and emancipation in the realm of accounting is not necessarily appealing to the rational. Molisa (2011) presents an exposition of Eckhart Tolle's teachings found in his books – ‘The Power of Now’ (1997) and ‘A New Earth: Create a Better Life’ (2005) and an application of this teaching to the area of critical and social accounting research, particularly to the issue of emancipation. In effect, Molisa (2011) challenges critical and environmental researchers to shift away from a legalistic or contractual approach to issues of accountability to one based on love. While recognising the value in Tolle, 1997 and Tolle, 2005, it is important to understand where these ideas come from and what they reflect. Tolle is quick to announce that what he teaches is not his own but is a re-presentation of the teachings of others. First, in dropping his name Ulrich and adopting the name Eckhart, Tolle signalled his link with the 14th century German writer, mystic and theologian Meister Eckhart. Teachers such as Meister Eckhart firmly defended their orthodoxy in the context of Christianity (over and against challenges by the inquisition) and similar defences of orthodoxy are made by mystics in other religious traditions such as Sufi's tradition in (Islam) and the Cabbalists (Judaism). However, elements of Tolle's interpretation of religious writings and teachings would not be accepted as orthodox in any of these traditions as they reflect the teachings and interpretations of esoteric groups such as Theosophy, the new-age prophet Alice Bailey and ‘the Course in Miracles’ channelled by the psychic Helen Schucman. Examples of core Theosophy teachings in Tolle, 1997 and Tolle, 2005 are ‘the Christ essence’ the ‘law of attraction’ and ‘awakened teachers’, while the term ‘energy frequencies’ reflect Alice Bailey's new-age ideas. Tolle's quotations and interpretations of the writings of Christianity and other religious traditions are filtered through the lens of these esoteric and new-age writers and therefore are dangerously insufficient as a primary source to understand issues of theology and spirituality. Having noted these concerns, I would argue that Tolle's contribution is not his theological exposition but his account of his own experience of the negative consequence of compulsive thinking and the steps he took to break away from this thinking, which he labelled successively as ‘the ego’ and ‘the pain body’. Care needs to be taken with Molisa's (2011) appropriation of theological material. In addition some of the arguments Molisa (2011) makes are based on highly debatable interpretations of particular religious texts. However, despite these issues Molisa (2011) makes some interesting and valuable points which I want to discuss and extend. Central to Tolle, 1997 and Tolle, 2005 and to the arguments presented by Molisa (2011) is idea of ‘not knowing’ which is associated with the negative or apophatic approach. Many religious traditions teach that acknowledgement of ‘not knowing’ is the critical first step on the path to enlightenment. Key to the tradition reflected by Christian authors such as Meister Eckhart and the 14th century English work ‘The Cloud of Unknowing’ were the writings of a 5th century author who called himself Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius, 1987) the Areopagite. Central to Dionysius’ approach is the view that that God cannot be understood but only experienced. To use the theological terms, positive statements about God are affirmative or kataphatic while denial or negation is negative or apophatic theology (also called via negative). So the statement that God is love needs to be followed by the statement that God is not love in any sense that we have understood or experienced love. However, Dionysius’ writings were not so much the creation of this notion, but reflected an idea expressed in many Jewish and early Christian sources; that it was impossible to adequately describe or represent God. Therefore what we think we know [about God] gets in the way of really knowing [God]. Tolle, 1997 and Tolle, 2005 drew on this negative or apophatic tradition with his perception that the process of enlightenment involves moving beyond the ego, letting go of our patterns of pain and moving beyond the chatter of the mind. In effect our ideas, expectations and experiences get in the way of experiencing what Tolle (2005) calls ‘Being’. However, the notion that we need to move beyond the internal dialogue and self-criticism is not restricted to theology and it is also evident in traditions of psychology and sociology. Berne (1964) argues that the experiences or ‘scripts’ from childhood constrain and govern action in what came to be called ‘Transactional Analysis’ psychology. As a consequence, the experience of an individual and their perspective on the future is understood through the lens of these scripts and past experience rather than reflecting an authentic response to the present lived-experience (see Stewart and Joines (1987) for a more recent review of Transactional Analysis). Freedom can be achieved through becoming aware and changing these scripts. Pierre Bourdieu's notion of symbolic violence shows that similar ideas are present in the sociology literature. Bourdieu and Passeron (1977) argue that the social construction of taken-for-granted values and attitudes reflect the interests of the dominant and powerful in a given field. However, as individuals do not understand this but see the values as innate (which Bourdieu calls doxia) they disadvantage and damage themselves (Bourdieu and Passeron, 1977), a process which he calls symbolic violence. In effect the scripts, values and internal dialogue which we take to be ourselves are not ourselves, but reflect socialisation, family experience and the value-frames of the dominant and powerful. Both emancipation and enlightenment involve a re-evaluation and possible rejection of these taken-for-granted notions. Tolle, 1997 and Tolle, 2005 idea that dis-identification from the mind allows us to be present in ‘the Now’ can be interpreted as a rejection of personally damaging scripts and patterns and taken-for-granted doxia, which advantage others but damage the self. In the same sense, forward-projection or worry is also based on the scripts and patterns, as any projection forward is based on past experience. The present, or ‘the Now’ as Tolle (and Molisa, 2011) call it, is the only point of true freedom and therefore constitutes the path to enlightenment and emancipation.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Molisa (2011) presents a stimulating and provocative position, which draws on the new-age teaching of Eckhart Tolle, which challenges the identification with the mind, to provide a basis for a critique of social, critical and environmental accounting literature. Molisa (2011) argues that social, critical and environmental accounting literature has become over-focused on metaphysical ideas and on conflict and that what is required is a refocus and reorientation around the notion of love. A focus on love would overcome the limits of existing theoretical approaches, engage more appropriately with the world by shifting from the focus on outward change and towards inward change, and bypass our tendency towards academic conflict and point scoring. Molisa (2011) is an enjoyable and challenging paper. It has forced me beyond my academic comfort-zone in style and in content and yet has provided an opportunity to synthesise different streams from my academic and personal readings and reflections. I must admit that I found the tendency to use the work of some authors uncritically and to dismiss others unreflectively annoying. However, while objecting to some arguments I also found myself agreeing with many of his conclusions. I challenge Molisa's (2011) uncritical use of Tolle, 1997 and Tolle, 2005 as the theological literature used by Tolle needs to be understood within the context of the traditions in which it arose. However, Tolle, 1997 and Tolle, 2005 grasps the point presented by these religious traditions that our notions (particularly notions of God) get in the way of our experiences (of God). Tolle, 1997 and Tolle, 2005 contribution is to extend this idea by challenging his personal processes of obsessive thinking and thereby recognising that his sense of self and therefore his ‘thoughts’ were socially constructed. The position adopted by Tolle can also be presented from the perspective of psychology and sociology. Transactional Analysis psychology would suggest that what we regard as ‘the self’ is a collection of scripts or programming primarily derived from our upbringing. Therefore these scripts and programming can be changed and modified even though they are normally subconscious. Pierre Bourdieu extends the psychological notion of script or programming to argue that taken-for-granted attitudes and practices can serve to benefit the powerful and elite and disadvantage the weak in processes of symbolic violence. As a consequence emancipation must involve both a change to physical conditions or resource arrangements and also changes to fundamental taken-for granted attitudes or values. However, the paradox is that in recognising that values or attitudes are socially constructed, the values of those wishing to ‘emancipate’ others are also subject to suspicion. An offer to ‘emancipate’ raises the question of who will actually benefit from the ‘act of emancipation’. Even the response of asking those who are to be emancipated ‘what they want’ does not resolve this issue as the answer will be clouded by symbolic violence. While this does have the danger of lapsing into a postmodern funk, Molisa's (2011) suggestion of moving beyond metaphysical values (which must also be treated with suspicion) to an active ethic of love has value. While arguing for an active questioning of our own values and assumptions (and incidentally the stated values of those we wish to emancipate), I argue that a process ethic of compassion is more grounded in the religious tradition Molisa (2011) presents, is more comprehensible to modern society and is reflected in contemporary moral and ethical challenges by thinkers such as Karen Armstrong. In effect compassion provides a basis for an emancipatory praxis which calls the powerful to release power and to place themselves in the shoes of the weaker party. Without someone letting go of positions of influence, power, status and resources emancipation is impossible. However, the danger is that our own disciplinary frameworks may be part of the problem rather than part of the solution. In the end, rather than calling for an emancipatory accounting, emancipation may have little or nothing to do with our notions of accounting.