我之前曾经写过道家思想与 TPS又名精益之间的异曲同工之处。东方哲学思想对于丰田之道的影响是显而易见的，因为大野耐一先生与其他精益学说的架构者都来自这样的文化。道家思想对于 TPS如何合理安排工作有显著的影响力，强调由简驭繁、朴实无华、顺应 (而不是对立) 自然，以及 “无为”。和有着许多规则和限制使生活更复杂的哲学教条是截然不同的。道家领导力体现藉由谦逊、关怀(虚怀若谷)之道，进行有效的领导，有勇气知所进退，并且归功于他人。道家思想深入探究人性尊重(天人合一)。
I’ve written before on the parallels between Taoism and TPS a.k.a. lean thinking. It is not surprising thatwe find influences from so-called Eastern philosophies, as Taiichi Ohno and theothers framers the Toyota Way were from that culture. Taoism is evident withinTPS in how work is organized. The emphasis is on keeping things simple, beingfrugal, going with the flow of nature rather than against, and beingeffortless. This is in contrast to more rigid philosophies that complicate lifewith many rules and restrictions. Taoist leadership means being effectivethrough humility, compassion, having the courage to advance as well as retreat,and giving credit to others. Taoism delves into respect for humanity.
有个关于旅行哲人看到老农夫在田里耕种的故事 《庄子·天地篇》。老农夫用水瓮从井里取水灌溉农田，而这个旅行的智者眼见农夫辛苦取水，便提议：我知道有个工具可以让你工作的更有效率，于是走向前去讲述、一个能利用绳子、杠杆与水桶组合成的奇妙装置以便从井里引水。老农夫笑道：我不是不知道这个，而是选择不用它。我听师父说：机械导致机事，机事导致机心。农夫宁可徒手工作因为他坚信 “机械将以不良的方式影响行为、思考、与人格” 的智慧哲理。从现代的价值观来看，我们可能认为老农夫是固执、迷信、甚至愚蠢到不愿采纳能让他工作便利的科技工具。
There is a story of a traveling philosopher who saw anold farmer working hard in his field. The farmer used a vase to draw water froma well to water his fields. The traveler watched the farmer’s struggles andoffered, “I know of a tool that will make your work much more efficient,” andproceeded to describe the contraption of a rope, pulley and bucket to drawwater from the well. The farmer laughed, “It is not that I don’t know of this,I choose not to use it. I heard my master tell, ‘Machines lead to mechanicalactions, and mechanical actions lead to machinations in my heart.'” The oldfarmer preferred to work by hand because he believed the wisdom that machinesinfluence his actions, his thoughts and his character, in unwanted ways. Bymodern values, we may think the old farmer is stubborn, superstitious or evenfoolish for choosing not to use a technological invention that will make hiswork easier.
Master Zhuan, a.k.a. Zhuanzi, is the fourth centuryChinese philosopher and one of the founders of Taoist thought. It was Zhuanziwho spoke the wisdom about machines. I believe it has deep relevance today forboth how we practice lean thinking and in how we live our day-to-day lives.Let’s explore Zhuanzi’s words.
Where there are machines
People behave in mechanistic ways
When people behave mechanistically, thinking becomes mechanical
Within mechanistic hearts
There is no purity
Where there is no purity
There is no God
Where there is no God
That is not the Way
A simpler way to phrase this maybe, “When we rely too much on technology, we lose some of our humanity, andthis is not right.”
Machines have progressively enriched our lives forhundreds of years. Nearly every generation experiences some sort oftechnological advance that disrupts society for a period of time. In thisdigital age we are inviting machines to become the de facto social andfinancial interfaces with other humans. It is without doubt that this haschanged how we communicate, how we act and how we think. As an example, socialmedia, despite its benefits, allows us to say things to each other that wewould never say face to face. We allow the technological innovation to draw usinto unfamiliar ways of behaving, thinking, and existing in society. Whether ornot we believe, as Zhuanzi warns, that this makes our spirits less pure, this isnot the Way (Tao) of simple, humble, compassionate, effortless being.
若将机心与机械替换成精益，后果会如何?使用精益工具手法就能成就 精益行为或精益思维吗?实践精益的确能够聚焦于培养服务他人、预防/解决问题的思考与行为模式。作为精益带来后果，人类还保有纯净的心境吗?或许，这需视我们在精益里面包含什么而定。 就像老农夫的故事，难道精益代表的是一种合理、实用、带来效率与生产力的发明或手法工具，但与此同时，它却逼着我们丢弃对于工作保有感恩之心吗?在人类采用新科技或类似精益的新方法的同时，若没有考虑这将如何影响我们周遭的生活，我们就在冒着用人性交换效率的风险。
If we replace the words “mechanical” and “machine”above with Lean, what would happen? Do “Lean tools” result in “lean actions”and “lean thoughts?” The practice of can certainly develop patterns of thoughtand behavior focused on serving others, preventing and solving problems. As aresult of Lean, do we have hearts that are pure and inviting to the Spirit?Perhaps, but this depends on what we include in “Lean”. Like the old farmer inthe story, does Lean represent an invention or tool that is rational, useful,bringing efficiency and productivity, but also threatens to make us loseappreciation for our work? When we adopt a new technology, or a methodologylike Lean, without considering how it will affect the lives of humans aroundus, we risk trading some of our humanity for efficiency.
Perhaps Zhuanzi naively imagined an ideal world wherepeople lived in mutual respect and harmony, free from technologicalinnovations. But even 1700 years ago, his life in China was full of technicaladvances compared to his ancestors or even compared to neighboring countries. Itake Zhuanzi’s words not to be a prohibition on machines or technologicaladvances, but a warning against unthinking adoption of these advances, toolsand methods that seem to make us more efficient. When we allow machines,innovations or Lean methods to speed up our lives, there are always unintendedconsequences that disturb harmony between people, and that is not the Way.