“Dangers to Human Virtue: Business without ethics; Science without humanity; Politics without principles.” (Gandhi) – from a past post on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.
Gandhi would surely be aghast at the current times. We see daily headlines about businesses, especially big banks conducting their business without ethics or morals. We read about more and more science being devoted to removing humans from the daily activities of life, including driving; and, we certainly are in the midst of one of the most unprincipled presidential election seasons ever. We have national level politicians loudly proclaiming that they are standing upon their principals as they obstruct legislation; when, in fact, the perches that they occupy are those of bigotry, hate, homophobia and racism.
In these dangerous times it is perhaps more important than ever to have a strong personal base of morals, ethics and principals, not to use as a shelter to hide away from the world, but as the knowledge base upon which you make decisions. That knowledge base is called “values” and those values are the result of educating yourself. William R. Inge said it best – “The aim of education is the knowledge, not of facts, but of values.”
We tend to equate the term “education” with schooling; and, indeed, there is much to learn in the schools that we attend. Unfortunately, parts of what is learned in school are the bad values of some of one’s fellow students who are uneducated, perhaps even from the “teachers” that are there, too.
Perhaps a better source for establishing a good base of values is to be found in the Christian churches of America and the Bible upon which they are based. One aim of most religions is to establish rules by which the faithful can live. The perversion of many religions comes from the leaders within those religions who find ways to manipulate the written messages of their faith to serve their own purposes. Even in Christianity there are church leaders who loudly thump their Bibles as they spit out messages of hate, exclusion and bigotry. Perhaps Gandhi should have included a fourth danger in his quote – “Religion without love.”
There is an old saying about taking things with grain of salt. It is an idiom of the English language, which means to view something with skepticism, or to not take it literally. One must certainly do that in politics these days, as well as in business and science. One would do well to apply the same skepticism to some of what we hear coming from various religious leaders, too. Those who point to passages in the Bible and loudly proclaim that it is those words that justify their acts of bigotry or exclusion, must be viewed skeptically, for they are proclaiming a religion without love.
So, educate yourself to protect against the dangers of the world around us. Start with the Great Commandment – “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” — Matthew 22:35-40. If you can get those two down as the base of your values, you are off to a great start.
Have a great week ahead.