Exercising Moral Integrity in Modern World

Posted on 24. Feb, 2009 by in Business ethics

Recent Scandals In the wake of the Blagojevich scandal, others come to mind. The foibles of Former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer, former Florida Congr ssman Mark Foley and retiring Idaho Senator Larry Craig, to name a few. In the corporate area, Madoff’s $50 billion Ponzi scheme, caps off years of scandalous reports about Enron, Tyco International, and World Com. The moral faults of corporate leade s con inue to cost investors billions. Is there a modern day standard bearer to guide the common man?

Ancient Warrior Code
According to Shannon French, author, The Code of the Warrior: Exploring Warrior Values Past and Present, the essential element of a warrior’s code is to set definite limits on what warriors can and can not do. In this sense, warriors value honor, integrity, justice and a sense of what is right and wrong. To the ancient warrior, the discernment between right and wrong is like night and day. Clear, obvious, unquestionable. To them, there are no gray areas, no “that depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is “(Bill Clinton). To the warrior, if something is not right, he will not do it.

Ancient Warriors versus Corporate Warriors
In ancient times, one looked to the warrior for guidance to the light; to serve as defenders of moral integrity. Today, though, the warrior, or rather corporate warrior is perceived as mere profiteers. Neocons, using natural disasters, social unrest, changes in regimes and wars- have been used ‘as a natural ally’ of corporate interests. Naomi Klein, in her book, the Shock Doctrine, indicates that heads of,companies, representatives of municipalities stood in the rubble of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and thanked God for the solution to the problem of housing in New Orleans. Similarly, PW Singer, in his book, Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry writes that private corporations working for profit have the ability to sway the course of national and international conflict.

Warriors of Light
Paulo Coelho, in his book, Manual of the Warrior of Light made this observation: “Sometimes the warrior feels as if he were living two lives at once. In one o” them he is obliged to do all the things he does not want to do and fight for ideas in which he does not believe…Then all that is needed is a little daring, and his two lives become one.” p 181. Ancient warriors carried out actions that brought them closer to their higher ideal. Some political and corporate warriors, on the other hand have tended to capitalize on the weak. How might we attain warrior of light status?

Friends and Allies
First, we need to de-bunk the myth that warriors are ‘lone wolves.’ Throughout pop western culture, American icons: John Wayne, Rambo, Clint Eastwood, have presented the ideal warriors. These warriors exercise independence of mind, thought and action. Often, they are presented as friendless. A warrior of light, however, appears to revel in the company of friends, followers and allies. Twyan Towery, in his book The Wisdom of Wolves, argues that the ‘strength of the wolf is the pack, and the strength of the pack is the wolf.’ Coelho quotes John Donne and continues in his own words. “No man is an island. He can not fight alone; whatever his plan, he depends on other people. .. p 103.

When selecting alternative courses of action, the warrior, relies upon the wisdom of his closest friends. Prior to committing a whimsical act, how many have been spared public humiliation because a colleague quickly intervened?

Angels
Second, warriors of light recognize that they are fallible and need divine help. Theologians say there roughly 300 references to angels in the Bible. Coelho presents warriors of light as men who steadfastly rely upon angels, God and Jesus Christ.

“A warrior knows that an angel and a devil are both competing for his sword”hand. The devil says: ‘You will weaken. You will not know exactly when. You are afraid. ‘ the angel says: ‘You will weaken. You will not know exactly when. You are afraid.’ The warrior is surprised. Both angel and devil have said the same thing. Then the devil goes on: ‘Let me help you.’ And the angel says: ‘I will help you.’ At that moment, the warrior understands the difference. The words may be the same, but these two allies are completely different. And he chooses the angel’s hand.” p 123. How does the warrior of light know that the purpose for which he is fighting is just and pure? According to Coelho, ‘The warrior of light meditates. He sits in a quiet place in his tent and surrenders himself to the divine light…. A warrior of light knows that in the silence of his heart he will hear an order that will guide him.” p 55.

Open Heart
One would readily suspect that warriors, those who must exact judgment on a daily basis, are driven by hatred and unfettered greed. Instead, according to Coelho, “The warrior of light always keeps his heart free of any feelings of hatred. .. He accepts that his opponents are there to test his valor, his persistence, his ability t” make decisions. They force him to fight for his dreams. It is the experience of battle that strengthens the warrior of light.” p. 87 As keepers of the light, warriors are born with a spark of light. As each day passes, warriors evolve. Their spark flickers into a small and then larger flame through prayer, meditation and connection to the One. We turn to Coelho again for clarification, “Accumulating love brings luck, accumulating hatred brings calamity. Anyone who fails to recognize problems leaves the door open for tragedies to rush in.” p 53.

Conclusion
When the warrior reaches temporary defeat, he is comforted by this, “The warrior of light unwittingly takes a false step and plunges into the abyss. Ghosts frighten him and solitude torments him. His aim had been to fight the Good Fight, and he never imagined that this would happen to him, but it did. Shrouded in darkness, he makes contact with his master. ‘Master, I have fallen into the abyss,’ he says. ‘T”e waters are deep and dark.’ ‘Remember one thing, ‘ “eplies his master. ‘You do not drown simply by plunging in to the water, you only drown if you stay beneath the surface.’ And the warrior uses all his strength to escape from his predicament.” p 129. So too, there is hope for the likes of political and corporate warriors, Blagojevich and Madoff. Get up and aim to respect the true code of the warrior; value honor, integrity, justice and a sense of what is right and wrong.

Dr. Mead, PhD, MBA, MA http://www.ishareknowledge.com is a consultant specializing in human behavior, school and social psychology. She can be contacted at: tonya@ishareknowledge.com

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