Deconstructing Lack: A Buddhist Perspective on Egocentric Organizations

Ronald E Purser


This paper advances the Buddhist insight of ‘no-self’ as a foundation for theorizing the phenomenon of lack, and how such a sense of lack is symptomatic of a more fundamental and primary repression: a fear of no-self, or identitylessness.  Egocentric organizations depend on the reproduction of collective lack and underlying ontological insecurity, which manifests as a desire to be real, enduring, and self-existent. Egocentric organizational dynamics bind anxiety by channeling ‘reality projects’ which feed compulsive desires for power, territory and control. The Buddhist perspective offers a liberative path as a counterforce to dominant egocentric organizational narratives. Rather than accepting lack as cultural condition, the Buddhist path focuses the mind directly on the source of lack, which, paradoxically is a gateway to seeing through the delusion of the self.


Buddhism; lack; organizational identity; egocentric organizations

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