Now, I gave here two small examples from that millionaire, of when he was building up his company. The communists were strong in Japan, shortly after the war and they used to have representatives in all the companies. Now they had one in his company and they succeeded in creating a certain resentment against the president who was only about… 600 or 700 staff he had there.
Anyway, they want to humiliate him in some way. Now, the new year, the whole factory is always clean and made, sort of, spotless and then there’s a little ceremony of blessing. There are rice cakes and a lobster and ancient Shinto ceremony that’s simply done to start the new year. And it’s always a point of honour, the whole place should be quite clean.
And the president goes around with the directors and they go to every part of the factory. So this little group tell the other staff, they took the job of cleaning one of the lavatories and so they did that. Then, the president made his round. And when he came to this lavatory, the floor, one part of it, was dirty. And had been deliberately left dirty. Well, he could either ignore it, pretend not to see it. Or he could order it to be cleaned then, on New Year’s Day. Now, he didn’t do either of those things.
He turned and ordered a bucket of hot water, soap and a scrubbing brush, these were brought and everybody stood and then he went down on his knees and he scrubbed it himself. The assistant came forward – he scrubbed it himself. Well, he was enormously popular, including with the communists after this. It was a, sort of, little inspiration, which avoided the confrontation. This is the same man whom I told you about before, who had spoken about the salary, the extra salary won’t make you happy because you’ll immediately expand your commitments and then you’ll be short of money and worried just as you are now. And what will make you happy is making cheap, very good electrical implements for the Japanese housewife.
Well, now another time, they had a financial crisis. Now, in Japanese companies, they don’t like sacking people, but the electrical things were piling up unsold because they couldn’t be sold. So he called a meeting of the whole company; 600, mostly they were mechanics and people working in the factory and he said, “This is what has happened. Now we have all these goods stacked up, which we can’t sell.”
So everybody was gritting their teeth and gulping ready to be sacked. He said, “Well, now you’re not salesmen, of course, any of you. A few salesmen they’ve tried their best, but they can’t sell, but you’ve made these machines, you know they’re good. Now, would each of you like to take a couple under your arms and go out into Osaka, and visit the houses, the housewives, they must be wearing out in some of these- the previous machine must be wearing out in some of the houses. And you could offer these things for cheap, three-quarter price.” So 600 salesmen with these, descended on the streets of Osaka suburbs.
And in fact, because they personally could turn up and they could inquire and they found a housewife who had a machine that was wearing out and they could look at it and they could say, “Well, yes, I can tinker this one up for you, no, this one has gone. Look, you can see.” And they were able to sell. So the, the firm could weather the crisis. Well, this again, was a unique inspiration.
The salesmen were complete amateurs, but they were mechanics and they had made the thing and they could talk intelligently about it. Now, these were little inspirations, but these were not solving the riddle. And the riddle is to become aware of the Lord’s purpose. The cosmic purpose. We can say, well, there is no cosmic purpose, but we’re finding now that there is.
There’s the new principle called the ‘anthropic principle’. We are finding that the cosmic constants of physics are uniquely tailored for human life and more and more they’re beginning to feel that there is a purpose. But, again, simply to know this theoretically, one can believe it and one can feel better for half an hour and then you think, “Hold on a minute, after all… it could happen by chance.
© Trevor Leggett
Titles in this series are:
Part 1: The Need of the World
Part 2: Evil in the world
Part 5: Creativity in Life
Part 6: Meditate on the cosmic purpose