While time runs only in one direction, human beings have the privilege of hesitating and zigzagging. Nobody can prevent you from destroying what you have built in the past. You can do away with your possessions and reputation. You can neglect to use your talent and education. You can move forward or you can start again from scratch.
Moving from hesitation to determination
ethically relevant when it is anchored on fundamental virtues such as
honesty and independence. A man can be consistent with his best or worst
actions; coherence with the former enhances his moral stature; loyalty
to evil precipitates his demise.
Personal effectiveness is fueled
by virtue and accelerated by consistency. A rational man desires to
build higher. He wants his health to improve, or at least, not to
deteriorate. He expects his family to become a growing source of joy. In
his work, he aims at expanding his business or advancing his career.
he acts in alignment with reality, his expectations will be fulfilled
barring extreme bad luck or misfortune. On the other hand, if he behaves
inconsistently, chances are that he will make a mess out of his life.
lead to waste, chaos to irritation
A wise man corrects his mistakes
and reaffirms his commitment to doing what is right. A fool dismisses
lessons from experience and blames his errors on others.
marriages fall apart due to lack of commitment, they leave adults
scarred and children stranded. When companies change their strategy too
frequently, they accumulate mistakes. When investors buy and sell shares
too often, they fail to achieve substantial capital gains.
most occasions, contradictory behaviour arises from inconsistent
convictions. Without a strong sense of direction, coherence is
unsustainable. Without integrated values, ethics become meaningless.
Without a reliable compass, maps can provide little certainty.
if individuals who perform counter-productive actions are willing to
correct their mistakes, they seldom identify what they have to do. The
difficulty does not lie in detecting failure, but in extracting valid
lessons from experience.
If we do not grow in knowledge, we are
bound to repeat our errors. The damage that will ensue could have been
avoided. If we had understood the cause of the problem, we could have
adopted preventive measures. If we had been able to detect the signals
of danger, we could have steered our ship out of trouble.
keeps us making the same mistakes repeatedly? What blocks man's ability
to improve? In the great majority of cases, the culprit is relativism,
the belief that a good outcome may result from random behaviour.
people are determined to ignore the link between present actions and
future consequences, they will not listen to rational arguments. Even
when a person is responsible for catastrophic failure, he will deny any
error or fault.
Wrong ideas can blind you to the facts of reality
Individuals who embrace relativism choose to
ignore the law of cause and effect. In this way, they curtail their
ability to learn and become psychologically inert. Neither facts nor
emotions can move them, because their minds do not link those elements
to each other.
Relativists refrain from questioning their actions
and convictions. They consider life unpredictable and causality
unfathomable. When they propose improvements, they present them as
opinions. When they present opinions, they treat them as facts. When
reality belies their philosophy, they reply that both are true but that
none of them matter.
Turning around in ethical circles is
exhausting. Behaviour A may be encouraged on Monday, elevated to supreme
virtue on Tuesday, and discarded on Wednesday. Behaviour B may become
fashionable on Thursday, lose popularity on Friday, and be written off
on Saturday. A new doctrine might be embraced on Sunday, but for how
be comprehended cannot be validated
Woe and waste, when shall this game end? Human beings
cannot build knowledge on moving sands. We need a stable morality as
much as we need a regular intake of vitamins and minerals.
We need a code of values that
can be improved through trial and error. Should its length prove
excessive, we can reduce it. Should its frame prove too heavy, we can
resize it. Should its contents prove too abstract, we can turn them to
Active minds detect opportunities because stable
values connect them to their environment. In contrast, those with
shifting views cannot tell the blur from the colours. Without distinct
goals, there are no workable plans. Inconsistent convictions lead to
Image by Gordon M Robertson under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us