Honesty and Integrity, Ethics and Morality

Honesty and Integrity, Ethics and Morality

Logic flow broadly from oldest (B2B1) to most recent

You cannot be half pregnant.  You either are or you are not.  Similarly, you cannot measure Honesty or Integrity on a scale of 1-10.  Nor can you draw the line between white lies and real lies.  When you find that your best friend of 40 years lied to you, that breach of trust can never be repaired.  i.e. One lie is all it takes to destroy trust.

I believe we have entered and age of ignorance, where “that which is wrong is deemed to be right and that which is right is deemed to be wrong”.  We now live in a world where incentive bonuses created a new morality, namely: “if you can get away with it, it is OK”, which must be a moral low as it says “I lack the strength of character to take a moral stand”.  Because of this lack of application of conscience we have fallen so far that: ”our increased reliance on laws to regulate human behaviour is a measure of how uncivilized we’ve become.” Paraphrased from James Faust.

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2009/10/moral-discipline?lang=eng  …and

“The lack of internal control by individuals breeds external control by governments” …and “Policemen and laws can never replace customs, traditions and moral values as a means for regulating human behaviour. At best, the police and criminal justice system are the last desperate line of defence for a civilized society.

While compliance with the law is part of ethics, ethical conduct far transcends it since laws prohibit only the most serious forms of harm, by attaching civil or criminal penalties.  Accordingly, it is not sufficient to say that a company complies with the law and a manager’s responsibility to make money is constrained only by the need to obey the law, to keep the firm’s strategic interests in mind and to respect a minimal set of ethical values.  The “ethics” buck must stop at the level of the/each individual.

Each of us can and should choose to become truly Honest and Ethical, but until we as members of society take a stand and rigorously condemn the actions of less honest peers, a preferred more honest society will never gather momentum.  Future technology and the emerging rateocracy imbedded in modern software platforms may aid us in this endeavour.  Choose the eulogy “He was a man of integrity”!

It is said that a man of integrity is one who always does the right thing, even when nobody is watching.  In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions.  i.e. Integrity is a personal choice to consistently hold oneself to high moral and ethical standards.  In our increasingly global society, Honesty, Integrity, Ethics &Morality should not vary from country to country or from East to West.  The 10 Commandments are pretty universal across all religions.


Eelco Lodewijks

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