Have you ever played Scruples? It's called the game of moral dilemmas. The idea is to answer stuff like:
You accidentally damage a car in a parking lot. Do you leave a note with your name and phone number?
The game is all about predicting your friends' answers to these questions. Beyond the game, la vida is a much more interesting playground. The workplace specifically seems to create endless opportunities to test our principles. As we pursue our goals, in the fog of organizational blurriness, friction is frequent and fear is omnipresent. Under those conditions, a constant flow of morally challenging decisions—more or less deep—is thrown to us. What will we do?
Character is built on those conditions, and true leadership is, in my view, strongly related to the integrity shown in course of daily choice, of daily action. This is the true expression of authority, perhaps the only one that matters, and permeates all human relationships built in the course of proffesional activity. Integrity, therefore, may be an undisputable virtue worth pursuing, but it hides questions of extraordinary depth and perhaps impossible answers.
Is it morally correct to fire people to preserve profit? Is it morally correct to fire people to gurantee the continuity of the company, so that a greater number of jobs can be saved? When does one become the other? There are a thousand shades of grey in the really challenging situations. Under such edge cases, conscience is our last resort. But conscience sits in that uncomfortable ground between rationality and belief, and belief is the acknowledgement that we simply don't have a CPU that will compute some things out (and this fact is hardly disputable).
I guess the real question in this post is: do you believe in an absolute Truth? A Truth from which true principles emerge. A Truth that is the real compass you have to rely on in order to make those calls where pure reason won't suffice. Surely this question has religious vibes, as it sits in the space of spirituality, but it also sits in the space of philosophy if you want to look at it that way, as it has been formulated as Plato's agathou of Stoics's logos too. No matter how you want to look at it (or name it), the question is fundamental and deserves not an answer, but a belief. Honore de Balzac said: "There is no good and bad, there are only circumstances." His choice seems clear. Many other side him too.
As for me, count me on the Truth side, despite I'm still staring at the stars, waiting for a signal to go in some direction. And I guess this post is a way to thank that friend that reminded me that I was again distracted weathering the storm, while more relevant matters still await.
All the best for this week, see you on the next one.