(Modern) Slavery…

People bound to their relationships.

Doing things just to please others.

Employees tired to their employers.

Doing things just to satisfy them.

Managers enslaved to their customers.

Adhering to whatever they say as long as they are happy.

CEOs enslaved to their shareholders.

Making everything possible to make them happy.

People bound to their desires and wishes.

Selling their own soul to satisfy themselves.

A cosmos enslaved to progress.

Doing things just to do things.

Look beyond what you see. Search your soul. You used to have a soul remember? Trace back your footsteps. Back to your home. To a place where your were loved. Recall your happiness. When you were in Paradise along with God.

Oppressed and enslaved by the only thing that could enslave you…

Look in the mirror.

Can you still see yourself without crying?

Hey!

Why did you not finish that report yet?!

Sorry boss…

(Why am I smiling?)

HR (lost) wisdom: The toxic culture of ‘Perfectness’ (The Nimitz example)

Society today values being perfect.

We seek perfect professionals.

We seek perfect companions.

We seek perfectness in anything we do.

And sure…

HR ‘lets go’ of people who are not perfect.

The mottos of companies promote excellence and perfectness.

Why seek anything else?

Would anyone pay for failures?

Not the perfect ones!

I am sure all the above do ring a bell in one way or the other. Perhaps not in their absolute form, perhaps not in the sense mentioned above but in another very similar one. Yet, this idea of ‘perfectness’ penetrates and transcends out culture and our thought and it is very hard to find a company or a person not pressing themselves to strive for the perfect.

Sure, mistakes are for humans. We learn by our mistakes. But these kind of words are limited to our parents and our loved ones, or – at best – to a sympathizing HR manager scolding a low-level employee on their first mistake at the work. If you want to be in the big league, big mistakes are unforgivable. See for example two incidents in the US Navy here (Navy Removes USS Philippine Sea CO After Fuel Spill) and here (2 Top Officers of Navy Ship John S. McCain Are Removed) and here (Carrier Roosevelt CO Relieved Over ‘Extremely Poor Judgment’ in Creating ‘Firestorm’ Over COVID-19 Outbreak).

Now…

Let me tell you a story…

Meet Chester Nimitz.

You might know the name Nimitz to-day. Because it is the name of a whole class of nuclear powered aircraft carriers [source].

Impressive aren’t they?

The honor of naming a whole class of ships after you is not an easy feat, especially when we talk about aircraft carriers which are at the cornerstone of the US power projection capabilities as we speak.

But it was a natural thing for Nimitz.

You see Chester William Nimitz, Sr.  was a fleet admiral of the United States Navy. He played a major role in the naval history of World War II as Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet and Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas, commanding Allied air, land, and sea forces during World War II.

On September 2, 1945, Nimitz signed as representative of the United States when Japan formally surrendered on board USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. On October 5, 1945, which had been officially designated as “Nimitz Day” in Washington, D.C., Nimitz was personally presented a second Gold Star for the third award of the Navy Distinguished Service Medal by President Harry S. Truman “for exceptionally meritorious service as Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas, from June 1944 to August 1945.” [source]

Amazing story isn’t it?

Well this is the end.

Oh, did I tell you how the story started?

Well…

In 1908, Ensign Chester Nimitz ran the destroyer USS Decatur (DD-5) aground in the Philippines. He was court-martialed, found guilty of neglect of duty, and issued a letter of reprimand. [source] It was a different era so he still able to make admiral despite this career setback [source].

Would Nimitz be able to get to be an admiral (let alone Fleet Admiral) if he had such an accident to-day?

Short answer: NO.

He would be relieved of command and would be lucky to have a desk job until the end of this pathetic thing he would dare to call carreer.

To-day we are too perfect to allow specks of imperfection stain the perfect image we have been trying to build for us, our company, our customers, our Navy. And yet, are we getting any better? Are we improving the way we treat people? How many Nimitz admirals have we forced to drop out of the Navy because we cannot tolerate the obvious?

Experience is our teacher.

Yes, mistakes are human nature.

My mom told me that.

And I am sure Fleet Admiral Nimitz would say that too.

Note: Later in his career as a commander of a submarine squadron he may have remembered this initial incident when he cut some slack for a sub commander who bent a prop pulling away from the pier [source: The Admirals].

Because at the end…

What do you get when you fire someone who has run a ship aground?

Someone who has never had the experience of running a ship aground…

The Boeing case: Not Boeing’s fault! It is our ethics!

Last week several emails exchanged between Boeing employees were revealed, in which those employees seemed to know about the problems of the 737 MAX airplane and even ridicule the authorities and the airlines for believing them that there were no problems. The investigation is ongoing.
One cannot of course know from now the result of the investigation. However the comment I would like to make has nothing to do with that per se. What I would like to comment is the all increasing cases of corporate scandals at the highest levels and of the highest severity, severity which only seems to increase as time passes.

The Enron case…

The mortgages scandal…

Apple and sweatshops in China…

Cambridge Analytica…

Boeing and the 737 MAX…

More and more we are being held witness to grand corporations breaking the law or bending it to a point where lives, the economy at a large scale or basic human rights are at stake.

Why does this happen?

Viewing this as a result of ad hoc errors, miscalculations, or even one-time fraudulent behavior by specific “bad” people who are not the norm simply won’t do it. No, the exceptions are becoming more and more and we have to consider whether the rule we believe that applies truly holds. Are big corporations really ethical? CAN they be ethical in a place where profit is the one and only goal?

The answer is a simple NO.

And this answer also offers an insight on WHY those incidents take place, while offering us a glimpse to the future as well. The western man’s dream is that of making money. We have for a long time now lost connection with basic spirituality. We have lost touch with those principles which actually make us humans and have relied on an arbitrary tool (money) to define our happiness. This may sound corny, but it is true.

Trading was thought of as an inferior activity in ancient Greece. Traders were treated as inferior people during the era where philosophy flourished. Answering the metaphysical questions of humanity seemed more important than selling things and generating profit for Aristotle and Plato. Can you blame them? The Byzantine Empire also held trade in low esteem; actually charging for interest was not allowed back then.

And then came Protestantism. And then people started trading. And then people started making money. And from that point onward, nothing else mattered. I am not blaming Protestantism for Boeing of course. If it wasn’t that, it would any other religious movement that would be used by people to make an excuse for their need to wealth and power, instead of the need of the cosmos for us to stay humble and accepting (Christian values).

Related article: The source of Ethics

We want control and power. We wish for more when we have enough. And after we get it, we want even more. Greediness and arrogance is what characterizes us. And there is no end in the tunnel. That is why no matter how successful one company is, it does not seem to have enough. And there is no way to get more and more by legal means. There is always a limit to how much money a company can earn in a regulated environment, let alone an environment with ethical values (we don’t such environment, just saying). So it is logical and expected that big companies tried to find a way to circumvent rules and regulations to achieve their (almost by definition) un-achievable goals.

Who sets these goals?
Society.
Who forms society?
You. The man next to you. Everyone.

No, again I am not saying that you and me are to be blamed for critical flaws that Boeing hid from the authorities. Just should be served in that case. However everyone is to blame for the way everyone puts money and profits in the throne of the King. If everyone sees success in profits and failure is lack of them, then it is only logical that companies would try to get more of them.

Wait a minute! you could say. When we celebrate successful companies for having profits, we do so with the assumption that the profits would be made legally! No one approves of a company breaking the law or making profits the wrong way!

But this is what is great here! Most of the above cases were conducted either legally (e.g. Cambridge Analytica) or on the verge of the boundary between legal and illegal (e.g. the mortgages scandal or Apple and its factories in China)! If Apple has factories with people working under gruesome conditions in a country which allows such conditions, is that illegal? If a bank provides mortgages to people who cannot repay but everything is approved as per the bank processes and the regulators say nothing and then others are buying derivatives based on those mortgages isn’t the whole system to blame? If the FAA approved the 737 MAX is it Boeing to blame? If the airlines approved the fact that no training was needed for this completely new plane, is it Boeing to blame? Or also the whole culture of “Profit is the King”?

So no, the legal or illegal character of the actions is not what those scandals have in common. Law can be circumvented or changed (for better or worse). There is something much fundamental and much darker lurking in the depths of our degraded era…

How could an airline consider not having any training in simulators for a plane with such changes, only because there didn’t want to pay for this training? How could people profit on loans on homeless people only to earn some more money? How could the European regulator blindly trust the FAA for a new plane which would carry lives in the sky?

Can you start seeing that something lurking in the dark taking shape?
Performing such actions and at that level, especially actions which affect human lives and the basic human rights, is conducted not only because either the law or the regulatory authorities processes have holes. The biggest cause for all of the above, is the big holes we have in our ethical foundations. Because no matter how many excuses a company or a person can find based on the law or the regulations, there are would be no excuses if there existed a solid ethical foundation to which everyone should comply with. Even cases which were clearly illegal from the first minute and which resulted in people getting in prison (as in the Enron case), would be completely avoidable if ethics were instilled in society as a whole. If the King was declared naked.

No, PROFIT is not the ultimate goal!

Do that sound corny? Yes. And I do not care. It is ethics we need. Not profits. The more we look only at those the more such scandals as the above will increase and increase with no end in sight. Why stop at 10 billion dollars profit when you can make 20? Why stop at 20 when you can make 50?

Who could provide this ethical foundation?

Well, for this we can re-iterate the beginning of this article…

“Trading was thought of as an inferior activity in ancient Greece”…

Do you see now?

We have lost our grasp of what is right and what is wrong. We have broken our moral compass (God) a long time ago. And now we are just wandering with no goal except the goals we set…

And still…

That dark shape in the dark is afraid…

Of us listening to the voice we used to listen to…

“Thou shalt not lie”…

Stop spraying! I want to make a nuclear tes… errr, I meant “I AM AN ECOLOGIST”!

Stop spraying! It is YOUR fault that the ozone layer was destroyed! (1)

No. It is not the hundreds of nuclear tests conducted on the surface of the planet or in the atmosphere!

It is YOU, you evil citizen!

You, who wants to spray your hair! Shame on YOU!

We, the industrialists know. It is YOU who has destroyed the environment! And now you must recycle for EVER in order to redeem your self! Why put filters on the chimneys of our industries? Your 0.0000000000001% contribution will suffice for now… We know!

It’s YOUR fault! Shame on YOU! SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT!!!

Usually the ones who shout too much about something, are the ones who care LESS about that something.

Ecology is here! And its best supporters are the ones who destroy it!

Be a rebel! Cut the tube!

You cannot even imagine how much cream is left inside a hand cream tube after it is SUPPOSED to have finished.

The tube plays a very specific role in todays consumer society: It makes it difficult to use the product, usually forcing you to use MORE than needed (in case you extract more cream by accident, there is no way of getting it back in) and – more importantly – makes sure that you will buy a new one long before the whole product has been used!

See for your self…

Find a cream tube from which you cannot extract any more cream by squeezing and cut it half with a pair of scissors and look inside…

PS. The same applies for many other products as well. Women should also check their lipsticks… When they “end”, there is much more inside the “base” of the lipstick. Just use a small brush to use it.

Because acting is the best philosophy…

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