A great dilemma present is the separation of objective and subjective reductions of how we see the world, and in this case, the workplace.
The pure objectivist has an deterministic view of the world, with everything a point on a plane, with forces at play, and all results predetermined by boundary conditions and a free-body force diagram. You know what I mean, a black-n-white take. In short-term, near-sighted finance, it is "the bottom line" syndrome at play. This view holds a banner aloft with THE TRUTH written.
The subjective view, with their banner having THE GOOD written, tell us that all is not determinable in the here-and-now in pure black-and-white. All of our observations are viewed through an uncertain ether, written with a human and imperfect hand, and interpretted with a dislocated perspective - the flaws of objectivism. So, we must look deeper for THE GOOD in what we see and do. The GOOD is what counts, not our interpretation of the TRUTH.
And so, there is the merger of these, or least the attempt by Robert Persig in his book, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance." The union of the objective and subjective in our daily lives, or better, the emergence of the TRUTH and the GOOD together is what he called quality, the beauty of which is undeniable to any observer. It's just there.
So, in our discussions of great technology achievements at Dow or anywhere, and in the eventual maturity of these endeavors, we should be alittle more open. There are extreme TRUTH versions on one side (cursing shathouse at unfortunately delapidated operations) and GOOD versions on another ( overly reverent praise of storied chemists and engineers and the good that Dow and Carbide did in their communities). Where is the convergence? Where is the version of Persig's quality? It's in great operations that keep on producing product and supporting the people who keep the product coming, all the people. And, I think all those who see that in place, know it when they see it.
Ohhh... I should not have had that half bottle of red, and played those great tunes (Stardust, Lili Marlene, La Vie en Rose, You Don't Know Me, ...) that get me so effusive after a hot shower. Best thing is that I'm not re-reading this.
Anyway, if you get a chance, check out the motorcycle riding book. Very good stuff. The routes are true. Excellent head stuff. And, if you think about all the great things you did at work, you'll recognize the quality.