Ethics and Paying the Ferryman
Life is not all doom and gloom. Nor is it always a fun experience. Happiness is elusive. It is necessary to arrive, always, at a balanced position – a work/life balance where we are at least content with our lot.
Are you a driven man? Must you achieve? And do you (as a woman) have to break through that ‘glass ceiling’. By all means strive to do so but at what cost? Remember there is always a compensatory aspect to life.
I know that you have heard this all before but it astounds me that some people always forget, or ignore this compensatory “rule” and try to benefit or please themselves at someone else’s cost. Helpfulness and co-operation are the cornerstone of any society. We may be individuals each striving for our place in the world and to reach our self-determined goals but we can never do this on our own. Even the so called “self-made man” has had help from others along the way – no one can do this in total isolation.
So what is the cost of ‘life’ to those who strive to reach their self-determined goals? What is the cost of ‘life’ to high achievers? What is the cost of ‘life’ to those women who opt for a career before all else? What is the cost, in lives, of a government’s oppressive or exploitative policies? There is an old proverb, “Take what you want from life says God, take it, and pay.”
In the present economic climate – what with the recent Global Financial Crisis and its long “tail” which is still affecting many people in many countries, it is not surprising that there is widespread concern about employment prospects and financial security. So do not decry or be judgemental about someone’s choice to work as hard as they can to try and secure their financial future by whatever means at hand. That is their call and good luck to them. But they need to be very careful about the methods they use to “secure” their financial future. They must never forget that the Ferryman, who carries us all on our journey through life, will demand recompense. This payment cannot be avoided and it is always paid in kind – we sow the seeds of the crop we will reap, like it or not.
We will always have to accept the consequences of our actions and activities (good or bad) – and there are always consequences for every plan, for every activity and all behaviour. It is worth recalling the fate of Lehman Brothers, the ponzi schemes of Bernard Madoff, the greed and unethical behaviour of pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKiline, the corrupt practices and fraud exposed at Barclays Bank in the UK, the ineptitude and plain bad management of many European banks, the false accusations of “weapons of mass destruction” levelled by various politicians leaders against Iraq and the subsequent invasion of that country, the leaders of Australia’s political parties and their questionable policies towards asylum seekers - the list goes on and on and on...
No one can ever know the full extent of the effects of any action they may take – we will never find any vantage point high enough from which to view the pattern of our life and how the threads interweave to form the patterns we have made – to see what good we do or what harm we have caused. We can never see the interplay between moral values which results in good and evil; in good or bad outcomes. This is why ethics is so important – it must be the first consideration of any person, company or organisation. By engaging in ethical conduct the welfare of people (staff, customers, patients, clients and voters) will be paramount; will be considered, first, before money, market share, first before the CEO’s or any politician’s ego.
Remember this – burn it into your consciousness – without people there would be no business, no commerce, and no industry. Never forget that commerce and industry are for the benefits of people; that commerce and industry service the needs of people. People do not and never have serviced the needs of commerce and industry. To assume this is the case is to put the cart before the horse; to assume this is to consider people as tokens on some sort of economic game board; tokens to be moved at the behest of commerce and industry. This train of thought will lead only to business disaster and failure and the collapse of government (recall that Soviet Russia tried this and failed spectacularly).
By being ethical – or at least being guided by ethical principles – will ensure that any business or personal action or activity is being driven by the best motives. To forget or ignore the undoubted fact that every action has a consequence (good or bad), in other words the “Law” of cause and effect, will itself cause problems. This is why there are concepts such as ethics, justice, kindness and compassion. All human actions and activities will have unexpected consequences but much of the unhappiness, the cruelty, the abuses will be minimised if the welfare and wellbeing of other human beings is considered first, in other words by conducting all business and personal matters in an ethical manner.
We have to live with ourselves and the results of our actions and behaviour. If ethics is disregarded or ignored to satisfy selfish ends the threads that entangle us all in the web of life will, eventually, trip up and bring down the perpetrators.
The Ferryman is patient but, eventually, will demand payment, regardless.