Honesty, Integrity and Jealousy

Old Abe Lincoln - Eternal Posterchild for Honesty

Back last week, I posted about meeting a friend of mine that has been living a rather extreme, hedonistic lifestyle for about the last 6 years non-stop. I think I forgot to mention that part of his wanderings took him to the depths of the Amazon to learn shamanism of all things.

So why the weird title of this post? I have been wondering about the values that were pounded into our heads and their real value as currency in our dog eat dog world. We were taught that “honesty is the policy” and “integrity is next to godliness” or something of that nature. And yet…when you look at politics, it is only the most sleezy (Berlusconi), most brash and rude (Sarkozy), and most corrupt (Il Cavaliere again but also Putin, etc) people that actually “win”. OK, so there was Obama but as we say here in French, “The exception confirms the rule”. You think of rock stars and the pounds of drugs they all consume, the insensitivity to their fans that most show, the pure commercialism of their approach to music and fame…all are also in strict contradiction to what we were taught. OK, so there is Radiohead but like the French say….

Then when I think of my friends transmigrations, he probably broken 10’s of laws, endangered himself and those around him on occasion, and was entirely and remorselessly selfish for this period. And yet, he comes out of the whole experience scratch-free – even thinking of becoming a parent…

So is this all fair? Does it really matter? Am I even posing this question just out of jealousy? I am not sure, I don’t think so though. As a parent of two, I am just wondering how to instill the fore-stated values of honesty and integrity when in reality, we all know that nice guys finish last. That you’ll never do politics without being an incredible and believable liar. That all economic and political systems are intrinsically corrupt and rigged by those that profit from them. That stabbing your competitor in the back (or having him shot or poisoned like in Russian/Ukrainian politics) has always been the most effective way of beating them. Am I being overly cynical or just realistic?

OK, so back to the regularly scheduled program on the Disney Channel…


About mfinocchiaro

IT Architecture Guru for large PLM software company but dabbling in Web 2.0 and other stuff.
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