Human life is driven forward by its dim apprehension of notions too general for its existing language. Such ideas cannot be grasped singly, one by one in isolation. They require that mankind advances in its apprehension of the general nature of things, so as to conceive systems of ideas elucidating each other. But the growth of generality of apprehension is the slowest of all evolutionary changes. It is the task of philosophy to promote this growth in mentality.

Alfred North Whitehead

Adventures of Ideas (1933)

Practical Philosophy?

When we see or hear the word “enterprise,” our minds are drawn to a concept shaped by our experience of all the entities we call enterprises. And when we set out to begin a new enterprise, this concept, drawn from our experience, naturally directs and constrains our attention as we design our new venture. 

Our project will be new, but it will also fundamentally resemble all the other enterprises we have experienced. If it doesn’t bear this resemblance, we won’t be able to recognize it as an enterprise. But it won’t be new unless it is distinct in some way from the enterprises we’ve already experienced. 

Exactly how different can a new enterprise be without becoming unrecognizable as an enterprise? What conceptual territory is implied by our idea of enterprise that actual enterprises haven’t yet staked out? What progress can we make collectively and as individuals in this realm of undiscovered possibility?

These questions are philosophical; they seek to discern between the objects of our experience and the concepts of our understanding. Yet they are also practical – seeking to discover unknown possibilities. 

We believe that the norms of “business as usual” are such prevalent features in the conceptual landscape of enterprise that they are likely to capture our attention by default and conceal the possibilities beyond them. Our purpose at Fairpoint Mutual is to explore beyond these norms and reconsider our most basic assumptions about enterprises to reveal unknown or overlooked potentials for individual and collective thriving.