Transcendental thinking
Following Aristotle, each human organization is essentially comprised of people, and, so, the propriety of their relationships determines the success or failure of their organization.  Each person possesses both an individual life as well as a life of relationships with others.  Ethics, therefore, has something to say about the improvement of the individual person in addition to issues of social concern. In particular, recognition of the four philosophical transcendentals-truth, beauty, goodness, and unity-helps a social group operate with excellence and its people live happier lives. These transcendentals are helpful guides because each corresponds to a different dimension of human experience;
  • the intellectual dimension aims at truth;
  • the aesthetic dimension at beauty;
  • the moral dimension at goodness;
  • and the spiritual dimension at unity.
At the first dim dawn of reason the new processes of transcendental thought must have appeared strange and inexplicable to the evolving primate. He must have felt bewildered when the new-born faculty began to overrule the instinctive behaviour of the mind.  Entry to another dimension of consciousness, where reason is superseded, must have the same perplexing and mystifying effect on the mind.
These four dimensions of experience, and the corresponding transcendental foundations of excellence, provide us with the key to both satisfaction in personal activity and corporate spirit. They are the key to sustainable social excellence because they are the foundations of group fulfillment, and they have that status because they are the deepest touchstones for ultimate individual fulfillment and happiness.
Saint Thomas and Aristotle, both teach that the beginning of any endeavour starts with the recognition of being, or truth. Truth is the foundation of all human partnerships, and any social enterprise is essentially human partnerships.
But truth, though foundational, is not enough. Human beings must also have something attractive to motivate them; hence, the need for beauty. Environments that reflect beauty are more productive and have happier employees. Further, beauty raises the consciousness of individuals and gives them a sense of being cared about. Providing a beautiful environment, however, is an essentially passive activity, though it will transfer itself into the beauty of performance. In making a contribution to society itself ... there is a kind of beauty that can be experienced only by the contributor, from the kinesthetic sense of her own movement to the inner awareness of artistic 'making' as the ancient Greeks might have said.
The relevance of this to the business world is extremely important.  It is this application of both active and passive beauty to the social world that transforms any human enterprise into a beautiful act. In this sense, the structures of business are, then, some of our most basic tools for the performance art of life. This is the beauty of business.
Doing beautiful things in a beautiful environment, though, is still not sufficient. Human beings must be convinced of the essential goodness of what they are doing.  When people are asked to participate in group activities in conditions of perceived unfairness and unkindness, they fall into a self- protective mode. Like turtles, they crawl into their shells and hide. They are not motivated to take positive risks, to dig deep inside to discover all their talents and bring those talents to bear in creative ways on the challenges of the social enterprise.   Enterprises that pursue goodness build that most essential component of all human relationships- trust. Without trust, relationships collapse into suspicion, which prevents the collaborative partnerships that are the foundation of social activity, and unethical practices prevent activities from working toward any lasting good.
Yet, the true, the beautiful, and the good are still not enough. Human beings must perceive a sense of wholeness and that they are part of some greater thing-in other words, unity, the spiritual dimension of work and play. The heart of spirituality is connectedness, and the aim of connectedness is unity. This concept of unity leads to the idea of the worth and value of the human individual. Uniqueness and union are really the two sides of the same coin:  by respecting and nurturing the twin needs for a sense of uniqueness and a feeling of union among those around us, we help ourselves as well as our associates to attain that form of corporate spirit that is the wellspring of happiness, fulfillment, and quality of the highest order in everything that we do.