“Who is John Galt?”
The statement is repeated hundreds of times in ‘Atlas Shrugged’ by Ayn Rand. People utter this statement simply, without expression. Sometimes fear is attached to this utterance. Attached to this statement is a feeling of terror without reason.
The question is symbolic; it is apparently a question but in fact a statement. It indicates lack of knowledge, lack of information, a mystery, and helplessness. It denotes that one has reached a dead end, a situation where ‘Devil and Deep Sea’ are the only two options.
That evening I remembered “Who is John Galt?” I even asked - in hope and in desperation – not exactly about John Galt but about one person whose initials were also JG. In a way I asked “Who is JG?”
The name JG appeared in one of our important communications and we (our team) were asked to share the progress regarding discussions with this particular JG.
So I asked my colleague, “Who is JG? Who has discussed? What?”
He did not know. We realized that both of us did not know. And we were supposed to discuss this in the next 10 minutes - on an important international call.
Then I asked the question to the people who are supposed to know, who should know.
They asked back, “Who is JG? Who has discussed? What? For what?”
That was great. I had just few minutes at hand and I had no time to get amused or irritated.
Then I turned to those who must know.
And they asked, “Who is he? And discussion about what?”
That was indeed fantastic.
People meet every day, they call every week, they have internet connection, they are supposed to work together, and they are part of one team. But it is interesting that someone who is miles away from us, has access to such a piece of information which none of us have. No doubt knowledge brings power, but some people seem to think that not sharing knowledge generates more power.
I believe that communication is not a skill hurdle or technology problem, it is basically a mindset problem. There is no dearth of communication tools. What matters is whether one feels like communicating, what message one chooses for communication, how one communicates. People can meet, they can call, they can send text messages, they can write blogs, they can write letters, they can meet and spend time together without talking, they can express their anger, joy, happiness, they can choose not to express, they can trust each other. There are ways and means to choose recipients, messages, tools, outcomes. What is lacking is the urge to communicate!
The lack of communication reflects on how one treats others, how much importance one gives to team work and how much one values egalitarian sharing.
Who is JG -John Galt? – is much deeper and subtler question than it appears. It reflects on life values of ourselves and the people around us. Beyond certain limits, one cannot choose people around – life is full of compromises.
However, one can certainly choose life values.
It is better late than never!!