Friday, 28th April 2017
DR. MICHAEL TOBIAS - A BORDERLESS MIND
Dr. Atul Shah and Dr. Michael Tobias outside the National Gallery in London, June 2010
Author of 50 books, award winning documentary film-maker, ecologist, activist, and a rare and multi-dimensional soul Dr. Michael Tobias was recently in London in June 2010. Diverse Ethics promotes the idea of a 'borderless mind' as a genuine way of coping and adapting to the challenges of this modern world, and a huge opportunity for personal and organisational growth, especially for leaders. Michael Tobias is a rare example of this.
Michael Tobias is a living expression of multi-dimensional wisdom. He has lived and travelled to most countries in the world. His book and film subjects range from the environment, to population, to spirituality, art, science, geography, fiction - he is prolific and very active. A fountain of knowledge and wisdom, gushing with ideas and inspiration.
When we met at Trafalgar Square, we reminisced about old times and the challenges of the new world. We had first met twenty years ago at a conference on Jainism at Stanford University. Although not born in a Jain community, he was profoundly moved by the Jain tradition and its total and unconditional respect for all living beings. He lifted me to new heights which I never before imagined I could soar, introducing me to writers, ideas, leadership and vision. This is the joy of personal contact with wise people. I encourage anyone who wants to cultivate a borderless mind to seek out and learn from enlightened people, whatever their faith or heritage. Travel enables us to go to the root of a story, to find out with your own eyes and senses, what is really going on. Michael has been to rainforests and dumpyards, to the Himalyas and the Antartic, in search of truth, wisdom, and hope. He is a scientist and an activist at the same time - he does not see any distinction between the two. He is a scholar and an entrepreneur. A policy advisor as well as an artist. When you examine his life's work, you cannot believe how one person can achieve so much in so few years. He does not wait for applause or recognition - Michael just keeps on moving.
A borderless mind should not wait for things to happen - instead, it should actively seek wisdom and opportunity wherever it may lie. Tobias knows as much about economics and finance as any Phd 'expert' - actually, he knows much more than them. I have seen with my own eyes how possible it is to be a master of all trades, and a master of wisdom, at the same time. In fact, the true visionaries do not see knowledge as something to be exploited and manipulated, but something to be opened and shared. Subjects should not carve up truth into bits of science - wholeness is as important as preciseness. Michael Tobias demolishes the very idea of focus - he is a whole with many parts. An enlightened soul.
One of the roots of Michael's wisdom is his deep respect for and inspiration from nature. At Trafalgar Square, we saw some beautiful paintings in the art galleries, and then we sat watching pigeons flying. He explained to me how intelligent they are, how gentle and forgiving. We also saw two young brothers playing with them - a one year old, looking at them in awe, and a three year old chasing them and kicking them. Michael used the example to show how parenting and media affects the mind, right from childhood.
Like Tobias, I have always maintained that true diversity begins with bio-diversity - human society must recognise and respect each and every living being, if it is to practice genuine tolerance and respect. We will keep on pressing this point, no matter how often we have to repeat it. This is the core of sustainable thinking and a borderless mind.
Michael Tobias writes very informative and timely blogs on Forbes.com - you can read them by clicking here
Dr. Atul Shah, June 2010
Tweets by @atulkshah