Our society is suffering from a persistent malaise whose motto is, “The end justifies the means.” It seems that as long as you have good intentions then it doesn’t matter what you have to do to manifest them.
Ethical behavior becomes a transactional proposition that can be bypassed when parameters change. Values are expendable — for if the means can be justified by the ends then values and ethics are “niceties” used when they further the ends and dispensed with when they limit the scope of action.
Until we restore a more fundamental appreciation of integrity as the soul of right action we will continue to have the litany of ethical breakdowns in board rooms, government agencies and society at large.
Ethics are the leaves of the plant producing the fruit of right action, and integrity forms the roots. How can we nourish the root of integrity both at an individual and a systemic level for our society?
To ensure the roots are strong and healthy requires six things:
- Being in service to something greater than personality ego
- Cultivating self-awareness
- Telling ourselves the truth
- Gaining perspective
- Accessing courage in order to develop personal mastery
- Cultivating whole-hearted allies.