"Caught in the relaxing interval between one moral code and the next, an unmoored generation surrenders itself to luxury, corruption, and a restless disorder of family and morals." -Will and Ariel Durant
The second convention of the Visionmaker's Code is Do No Harm.
Being aware and taking responsibility for our impact on others ensures that we consider more than just our own needs and ambitions. This is the Visionmaker's way. It ensures that choices are made with a 360º perspective.
Too late is the insight that harm has been done by a reckless addiction to power, wealth and personal gain. Once trust has been violated, it is hard to recover.
It is not just that there is an individual cost to such ethical lapses. The steady decline of integrity has undermined faith and trust in leaders in business, politics, religion, and cultural industries.
There has been serious consequences for such cavalier deportment. Public confidence is steadily declining and will severely undermine attempts to stabilize the crisis that has beset most of our institutions.
Moreover, it has 'normalized' breaking and bending the rules to support winning-at-all costs. We have entered the "Cheating Culture", a term that comes from the work of writer David Callahan. He argues that there are four reasons for the escalation of cheating:
"The carrots are bigger now -- stars in every system make more than they used to and more people will cut corners to grasp those rewards.
The sticks are hitting harder -- in a leaner-meaner economy, personal integrity loses out to financial security.
Many watchdogs are weak and cheaters know that they can get away with it.
Our culture indulges it -- we're focused on materialistic ends and more permissive about the means of personal advancement."
The "relaxing interval" that Will and Ariel Durant described has been abundantly filled with misdeeds.
Through the Visionmaker's Code, and the second covenant Do No Harm, Visionmakers ensure that actions are guided by the wisdom of reflection and the highest ethical standards rather than expediency.
Those that operate from an ethical code of conduct will be recognized for their integrity and asked to assume greater leadership.
Those that do harm to others and themselves will find their journey of meaning interrupted by conflict, loss...and maybe even jail terms.
© Patrick O’Neill 2009. All rights reserved.