Friday, May 27, 2011

My Moral Compass

I think you can justify a lot... if not everything. Maybe its the lawyer thing, my lack of a moral compass, but justification comes quickly to me. Sometimes, I may even agree with a person, though I argue for another point just for arguments sake. Call me a devil's advocate.

You can justify a lot.

Whether it is fortunate (for those of you who think I am on par with some of the infamous and evil people of the world) or unfortunate (which is my belief), I just had my first Business Ethics course at St. Thomas. This course is designed to pomote the ethical thinking within the business world and our lives.

After the first class, I'm fairly certain my teacher thinks I am a malignant drain on the goodness of society and that my moral compass points due south to Hades.

Mountain Pass Parable of the Sadhu

Have you read the Parable of the Sadhu? If not: long story short, there is a group of businessmen on a six month sabbatical in which they are climbing a mountain. These men are confronted with the precarious situation in which, while climbing the mountain they meet a naked Sadhu man struggling with hypothermia. Do the men leave the man behind for potential death or do they backtrack their once-in-a-lifetime journey to potentially save his life.

We, as students, laid out the criteria of which a person is responsible for another human. After a scant number of comments generally stating what the men did was wrong, leaving the man behind for, what was now exaggerated as certain death, was wrong. I was the person who raised their hand and asserted, according to the criteria (that I didn't even necessarily agree with -- it seemed too liberal), there was no obligation to save the man and that, while not only being a risk to the businessmen, to help the Sadhu could be doing him a disservice as he was on a spiritual journey and experienced in what he was doing. I reasoned that I was talking a utilitarian approach in maximizing the overall utility within the group.

My professor stared at me with shock and even mild concern (whether it was concern for my future or the well being of his students trapped in the room with a person like me, I don't think I'll ever know). Following, he addressed the class and asked if someone had a counter-view or comment about what I said.

Crickets. No one countered or commented. Does that redeem my classmates in my eyes? I don't know. They could have been silent out of fear of confrontation or, perhaps I persuaded them to see my side. Either way, I don't know their overall opinions and that seems like the ultimate form of ineffective discussion and communication.

Even if I am a moral-less student soon to be banished to the dark unknown, at least I can go out with enough honesty and backbone to assert my opinion.

I can't wait to start the group project for that class... seems fun. Right.

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