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Do the right thing

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Title:
Do the right thing a practical discussion on engineering ethics, responsibility, and leadership
Creator:
Johnson, David Alexander
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English
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xvi, 343 leaves : ; 28 cm

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Engineering ethics ( lcsh )
Engineering ethics ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 334-343).
General Note:
Department of Civil Engineering
Statement of Responsibility:
by David Alexander Johnson.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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|Auraria Library
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ocn690906022
Classification:
LD1193.E53 2010m J63 ( lcc )

Full Text
DO THE RIGHT THING: A PRACTICAL DISCUSSION ON ENGINEERING
ETHICS, RESPONSIBILITY, AND LEADERSHIP
by
David Alexandar Johnson
B.S., Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, 2005
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Science
Civil Engineering
2010


This thesis for the Master of Science
degree by
David Alexandar Johnson
has been approved
by
Bruce Janson
7 / ;<7 Itoro
Date
Stephan Durham


Johnson, David, A. (M.S., Civil Engineering)
Do The Right Thing: A Practical Discussion On Engineering Ethics,
Responsibility, And Leadership
Thesis directed by Professor Kevin L. Rens
ABSTRACT
Following many generations of structural failures, the American Society of Civil
Engineers (ASCE) adopted it's first code of ethics in 1914. That same year, the
American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)
was created, along with the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) 7
years later. While not directly related to any specific structural failures, many
organizations similar to these were created and/or adopted similar ethical
provisions in response to an engineering community that was suffering from a
collective lack of ethicsnot so much per the traditional definition in which one is
corrupt, deceitful, and cunning, but more so in the modem sense of complacency,
apathy, carelessness, and most relative to engineers, having a general lack of
respect for the violent forces of nature.
This thesis will address the topics of ethics, personal and professional
responsibility, and leadership as applicable within the engineering industry,
specifically focusing on the role of the individual engineer. Professional opinion
polls were conducted on all levels of the engineering industryundergraduate
students, graduate students, and experienced engineering professionals. The results
of these studies illustrate the perception of ethics as viewed from within the


engineering community. Concurrently, extensive research was completed on
ethics, responsibility and leadership from other sectors of society, including
philosophy, politics, exploration and religion. An analysis of this research offers a
perspective on ethics from outside the engineering community. Finally, numerous
engineering case studies, both structural failures and their successful counterparts,
were thoroughly analyzed with special attention given to ethical issues, in order to
bring each and every one of these views together such that the work herein would
be applicable to structural engineers and the construction industry as a whole.
In an attempt to assist the individual engineer develop ethical stamina, the intent of
this thesis was to create a thought-provoking and introspective resource, that
outlines ethical concepts, scenarios, and misconceptions, while promoting
characteristics such as mindfulness, compassion and empathy. Ultimately, through
reflection and practice, this thesis should help one Do The Right Thing more
consistently and more naturally, thereby increasing the probability of ethical
decision-making in daily situations.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I
recommend its publication.
Signed
Kevin L. Rens


DEDICATION PAGE
I would be remiss if I didn't dedicate this work to my nieces, Myla Mae and
Brookelynn Star. At just one and four years old, respectively, they have inspired
and motivated many of my actions thus far in my brief adult life. To Brookelynn,
for helping me learn how to live, love, and trust again. To Myla, for encouraging
me to enjoy the simple things, while instilling in me a new sense of responsibility
all because of a simple smile. In all honesty and sincerity, I hope my life, my
work, and the many things that I still hope to accomplish, have a positive impact
on society so that these innocent little girls may live richer, fuller and happier
lives. Furthermore, I think I must also dedicate this to the children of the world.
This is certainly not a revolutionary thought, but I have come to realize that
children are the only hope for our futurethe children are our future. Without
them, no less can we alter the transgressions of our past. Yet, if desired to improve
our future, we must positively cultivate the impressionable minds of the children.
The road ahead is all but paved in gold, if we will but see it through. Let us Do the
Rightalbeit generally the most difficultThing. -Uncle Dave
Leaders say follow me and we follow them. We follow a boy or a girl.
- Brookelynn Star Johnson, 4 years old and counting


ACKNOWLEDGMENT
This thesis, written entirely by myself, was inspired largely in part by my professor
and adviser, Dr. Kevin L. Rens, and a paper co-written by him and his wife, and
published by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in 2009, entitled
Leading, Learning, and Living the Shackleton Way: Education and Practice.
Many of Dr. Rens' concepts and ideas have been incorporated into this paper and,
while it can be read as a stand alone document, independent of outside sources, I
recommend reading this document in concert with with Dr. Rens' paper for a better
understanding of the history behind it's creation and transformation from his ideas
to mine.
I also would like to offer my sincerest gratitude to the Structural Engineers
Association of Colorado (SEAC), and particularly my good friend and colleague
Robert Leberer, for their unequivocal support throughout both my career and the
time I spent on this thesis. SEAC was kind enough to allow me to post an
announcement of an online ethics survey in their quarterly newsletter. I worked
many hours on this and I am very grateful to Robert and the rest of SEAC for
seeing it through, as well as offering me some excellent advice along the way.
Robert, who is also a personal adviser of minenot only on this thesis, but
throughout my careerhas truly been a blessing to my life. Thank you.
Last but never forgotten, I must also thank my thesis committeeDr. Kevin Rens,
Dr. Bruce Janson, Dr. Stephan Durham, and Dr. Cheng Yu Li. Each of these
intellectuals are wonderful persons and instructors, whom I now also consider my
colleagues and friends. Thank you for challenging me and supporting my growth.


Finally, a special thanks goes to Dr. Durham who epitomizes the concept of
leading by example. Somehow he instilled in me a passion for concrete that I was
unaware 1 had the capacity for. Though I cannot recall ever asking for it, the
damage has already been done. Thank you.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Preface ....................................................................xiv
1. Introduction.........................................................1
1.1 Thesis Overview Main Character Synopsis............................2
1.2 Literature Review Thesis Content...................................4
1.2.1 Philosophy...........................................................4
1.2.1.1 Socrates and Plato...................................................5
1.2.1.2 Aristotle............................................................6
1.2.1.3 The Stoics..........................................................10
1.2.1.4 John Stewart Mill...................................................12
1.2.2 Religion............................................................13
1.2.2.1 Islam...............................................................17
1.2.2.2 Hinduism............................................................19
1.2.2.3 Buddhism............................................................21
1.2.2.4 Judaism.............................................................28
1.2.2.5 Christianity........................................................32
1.2.2.6 Mormonism...........................................................36
1.2.3 Exploration.........................................................38
1.2.3.1 Ernest Henry Shackleton.............................................39
1.2.3.2 Robert Falcon Scott.................................................44
1.2.3.3 Roald Amundsen......................................................45
1.2.3.4 Vilhjalmur Stefansson...............................................48
1.2.3.5 Summary.............................................................50
1.2.4 Politics............................................................52
1.2.4.1 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi..........................................52
viii


1.2.4.2 Nelson Mandela.....................................................56
1.2.4.3 Martin Luther King, Jr.............................................60
1.2.5 Presidents.........................................................65
1.2.5.1 George Washington..................................................65
1.2.5.2 Thomas Jefferson...................................................66
1.2.5.3 Abraham Lincoln....................................................71
1.2.5.4 Franklin Delano Roosevelt..........................................76
1.2.6 Military Leaders...................................................77
1.3 Relevance to Structural Engineering................................79
1.3.1 Engineering Community Feedback.....................................80
1.3.2 Engineering Ethics.................................................80
1.3.3 Engineering Case Studies...........................................81
1.4 Summary............................................................81
2. Structural Engineering Community...................................83
2.1 Research...........................................................83
2.1.1 Engineering Undergraduate Students.................................83
2.1.2 Engineering Graduate Students......................................83
2.1.3 Engineering Professionals..........................................84
2.2 Engineers on Ethics................................................84
2.3 Engineers on Responsibility........................................87
2.4 Engineers on Leadership............................................88
3. Ethics and the Engineer............................................90
3.1 Distinction Ethics in Engineering vs Ethics of Engineering.......91
3.2 Discussion Professional Engineering Ethics (PEE).................94
3.3 Discussion Individual Engineering Ethics (IEE)..................108
3.4 Discussion Engineering Education Ethics (EEE)...................114
3.5 Summary and Conclusions...........................................120
IX


4.
4.1
4.1.1
4.1.1.1
4.1.1.2
4.1.1.3
4.1.1.4
4.1.2
4.1.2.1
4.1.2.2
4.1.2.3
4.1.2.4
4.1.3
4.1.4
4.1.4.1
4.1.4.2
4.1.4.3
4.1.4.4
4.1.5
4.1.5.1
4.1.5.2
4.1.5.3
4.1.5.4
4.1.6
4.1.6.1
4.1.6.2
4.1.6.3
Engineering Case Studies...........................................122
Failures...........................................................127
Colorado Highway 470 (C-470) Girder Failure During Construction. ..131
Facts..............................................................131
Technical Issues...................................................131
Ethical Issues.....................................................133
Conclusions and Changes Made.......................................135
Interstate-35 West (1-35W) Bridge Collapse.........................136
Facts..............................................................136
Technical Issues...................................................138
Ethical Issues.....................................................141
Conclusions and Changes Made.......................................144
Galileo's Cantilevered Column: A Design Change for the Worse.......145
Hyatt Regency Walkways Collapse....................................147
Facts..............................................................148
Technical Issues...................................................149
Ethical Issues.....................................................151
Conclusions and Changes Made.......................................157
Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse.....................................162
Facts..............................................................162
Technical Issues...................................................163
Ethical Issues.....................................................164
Conclusions and Changes Made.......................................167
Other Cases........................................................169
L'Ambiance Plaza Collapse..........................................170
Kemper Arena Roof Collapse.........................................171
Mianus River Bridge Collapse.......................................172
x


173
174
175
178
181
183
186
188
188
190
195
198
199
199
200
.202
203
.205
.206
.208
.209
.210
.212
.212
.212
.213
.213
Successes.........................................
16th Street Pedestrian Bridge Over Interstate 25 (1-25)
William LeMessurier Doing The Right Thing.........
Cleaning up the Johnstown Flood of 1889...........
Discussion........................................
Summary and Conclusions...........................
Conclusions.......................................
Ethics............................................
Personal Happiness................................
Do the Right Thing..............................
Empathy and Compassion............................
Mindfulness.......................................
Responsibility....................................
Personal Responsibility...........................
Professional Responsibility.......................
Leadership........................................
Talent and Obligation.............................
Leading by Example................................
Vision and Action.................................
Faith and Risk....................................
Servitude.........................................
Persuasion and Inspiration........................
Perseverance and Dedication.......................
Recommendations...................................
Individual Engineering............................
Engineering Education.............................
Professional Engineering..........................
xi


5.5 Engineering Lessons..................................................214
5.5.1 Failure..............................................................214
5.5.2 Confidence...........................................................215
5.5.3 Judgment.............................................................215
5.6 Other Helpful Resources on Ethics, Responsibility, and Leadership...218
5.6.1 Internet.............................................................218
5.6.1.1 Ethics, Responsibility, and Leadership...............................218
5.6.1.2 Engineering Ethics, Professionalism, and Case Studies.......219
5.6.2 Books................................................................220
5.6.3 Journals and Articles................................................220
5.6.4 Institutions, Professional Societies and Organizations...............221
Appendices
A.............................................................................222
B. ...........................................................................241
References....................................................................334
xii


FIGURES
Figure 4.1 Bridge View Looking South (NTSB 2008b)....................129
Figure 4.2 Overhead View Looking North (NTSB 2008b)..................137
Figure 4.3 Gusset Plate Connection Detail (Holt and Hartmann 2008)...140
Figure 4.4 Demand-to-Capacity: Gusset Plate U10 (Holt and Hartmann 2008).. 141
xiii


PREFACE
Like many engineers, I am always thinking analytically about somethinghow to
optimize efficiency in my daily schedule, the physics of a fastball versus a curve
ball, or why mozzarella string cheese tastes so much better when you actually peel
the strings than it does when you eagerly take a bite off the stick. If these were the
basis for this thesis, it wouldn't be much longer than a page, as my conclusions
would be inconclusive, centripetal acceleration and polar moments of inertia,
and surface area to mass ratio, respectively. While these questions do provide me
with good insight and help me develop a better understanding of the world in which
I live, they do not offer much to my comprehension of the variables of life that I
truly care about; those variables that comprise the sole purpose for which I live:
People.
Why do the people for whom I care so deeplyand even those whom I've never
even metsuffer and what can I do to ease their collective pain? Furthermore,
what is my role in their pain? A lifetimea meager 27 yearsof heartfelt inquiries
such as this, and a year of diligent graduate study and research, and I'm starting to
figure out that I still know very little on the matter. While this may hardly seem an
adequate conclusion for a master's thesis, it is exactly the conclusion that I have
long sought after.
When I first mention that my thesis for a degree in structural engineering is
centered on the topic of ethics, most generally offer back a curious, but confused
look. For a few awkward moments, I believe they must be asking themselves the
seemingly obvious question: What's left to debunk? Isn't ethics simply using
xiv


common sense? Certainly, a reasonable question, albeit one that given my
engineering tendencies, I have never been able to justify. To me, ethical behavior is
far from common knowledge. Sure, ethical theory has been invented and reinvented
a thousand times over, but the practical application of such ideas and concepts are
still relatively infant. Yet, as engineers shouldn't this be the ultimate findhow to
actually implement ethics into general society? Any engineer can design a structure,
but can someone else realistically build it? Many people over time have
conceptualized brilliant business plans, but how many of them have actually
become successful entrepreneurs? We all have different political views, many
centered on problems of corruption, deception, transparency, and so on; but how
many of us are actually willing to do something about it? The basic question
engineers ask themselves in most situations is can we, and how do we implement
our ideas. I wonder then, why we stop there only on the discussion of ethics. The
only policies and procedures available for such are merely comprised of retroactive
repercussions which, as I will also argue herein, only serves to promote paranoia,
bitterness, and a collective sense of exhaustion, eventually leading to apathy.
I agree that logic and sound reasoning are the best methods for reaching a solution
that benefits everyonein most circumstances. However, ethics is an entirely
different animal. This is exactly why human beings have been contemplating it
since the beginning of time, why many in the current age believe it is as simple as
basic human instincts, yet society, as a whole, is no less corrupt than it was two
thousand years agobecause ethics is not tangible, it is not a physical entity and
therefore cannot be tested, analyzed or measured. Simply, the only way to police
unethical behavior is to punish the guilty parties after the fact; and then we get
caught up in finger-pointing and name-calling. This thing that once again appeared
to finally contained has fooled us yet again; and our only response is to find fault in
xv


others. I don't have a systematic alternative for retroactively dealing with such
ethical failures. However, I propose that we start over; let us literally brainstorm by
starting at the root of the problemthe human mindfor as much of a blessing it
can be when it comes to engineering, it most certainly can also be a curse when
facing ethical decisions.
I believe that the solution lies, not within black and white limitations, or labels of
right and wrong, good and bad, ethical and corrupt; for these only assist us in
analysis after-the-fact; but in a collective effort to promote understanding instead of
judgment and encouragement instead of blame. I propose a collective effort to take
responsibility and stop passing the buck, to give credit and stop pointing the finger,
to question ourselves rather than each other. I will not lie and say this is an easy
task; there is no new technology to stop unethical behavior before it happens. My
only suggestions come from my ideas and my researchthose ideas from brilliant
minds before me and the even more brilliant minds alongside me. I implore you to
read on; read on with an open mind and an open conscience; read on with
convictions of donation and servitude; read on with with any permutation of the
following mindset: Love like Jesus, live like Gandhi, learn like Jefferson, think like
Buddha, march like Martin, and lead like Abe.
xvi


1.
Introduction
While the research required for this thesis was incredibly time consuming, nothing
new has been discovered. No new solutions have been found, and unfortunately
therefore, no new ideas are presented herein. The fact remains that the collective
knowledge and available resources on ethics are vastly impressive, and have been
for a very long time. The only aspect that has not been as impressive is the research
and collective knowledge regarding the implementation of such ethical knowledge.
Once again, any ideas or theories for doing this would still be entirely unoriginal
when considering individual concepts. Rather, the only new material that can be
documented is that of one's unique compilation and perspective of already proven
concepts. Accordingly, no more than this is presented herein. The following quote
from Jewish Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (Brown 2008) regarding his work
named Mesilas Yesharim (Path of the Just), parallels these ideas and effectively
expresses the intent for this thesis.
I have written this work not to teach men what they do not
know, but to remind them of what they already know and is
very evident to them, for you will find in most of my words
only things which most people know, and concerning which
they entertain no doubts. But to the extent that they are well
known and their truths revealed to all, so is forgetfulness in
relation to them extremely prevalent. It follows, then, that the
benefit to be obtained from this work is not derived from a
single reading; for it is possible that the reader will find that he
has learned little after having read it that he did not know
before. Its benefit is to be derived, rather, through review and
persistent study, by which one is reminded of those things
which, by nature, he is prone to forget and through which he is
caused to take to heart the duty that he tends to overlook.
Thomas Jefferson, had similar intents when he wrote the Declaration of
1


Independence, as described by Barefoot (2008) below:
He would later recall that in writing the declaration he had not
tried to find out new principles, or new arguments never before
thought of, nor merely to say things which had never been said
before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the
subject in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent,
and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are
compelled to take. (Barefoot 2008)
1.1 Thesis Overview Main Character Synopsis
Ethicshumankind has been researching this seemingly simple topic for a few
thousand years at least. Yet, many people still remain divided on it's basic
principles and mandates. Some say ethics is no more than the practice of using
common sense. Contrarily, many philosophersAristotle, John Stewart Mill, the
Stoics, and Friedrich Nietzsche to name a fewhave taken the opposing view,
dedicating much of their life to defining ethics as they understood it. Still others
associate ethics with spirituality and/or religionwhether Islam, Buddhism,
Christianity or any one of the innumerable religions recognized throughout the
world.
The objective of this research project was to analyze ethicsa topic that has
plagued humankind for many millenniafocusing on the role of the individual.
Hopefully to present a new perspective, and clarification on this very complicated
topic. Those who can handle the change of scenery will find that some of the best
explanations and solutions to the ethical dilemmas confronting the engineering
industry actually come from outside the engineering community. Particularly from
the writings and stories of many brilliant minds including Mahatma Gandhi,
Aristotle, Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK), the fourteenth (and current) Dalai Lama,
2


among many others; and by drawing parallels between their teachings and the
characteristics of the engineering industry.
Your personal ethical beliefs play a major role in determining how you will respond
to even the most miniscule situations that can arise on a daily basis. For instance, a
politician's personal ethics and morality largely dictates the perception of the
general public regarding his or her professional leadership abilitiesthough some
argue they have no effect on one another. Additionally, decisions made by leaders
in exploration, education, religion, and entertainment illustrate not only how critical
ethics are in modem society, but also how easy it is for even the most respectable
people to make unethical decisions.
To understand this better, one should examine the gradual change of priorities of
society as a whole over time. For instance, industrialized nations, by definition seek
increasing production, whether economically, technologically, medically, and so on.
Even the many who champion such societiesincluding most of the modem world
could be convinced that there is a reasonable upper limit to everything, even
advances such as these. While the advancements themselves can, and should be
commended, the byproducts of such could certainly benefit from a more thorough
analysis. Consider the following rhetorical discussion.
What are the most important characteristics of a young and
developing engineer or any young professional for that
matter? A high grade point average? Sure. A long list of
extracurricular activities, internships and personal
recommendation letters? Definitely. How about a passion for
science and mathematics? Yes! Communication skills?
Certainly.
Unquestionably, these are all very good qualities to have, and should proffer the
beholder rapid advancement in any organization. But what about a passion for
3


people? Not just technical communication skills, or leadership skills that emphasize
efficiency and productivity, but an inherent passion for people, their happiness, and
their general welfare. Has this personal characteristic become irrelevant in modem
society? Does true empathy exist, or is it simply an idealistic sentiment? This is the
question that is posed, and hopefully answered in this thesis. What is presented in
this chapter is a brief overview of the lives and stories of many individuals who had
great influence on ethics, and thus will be referenced frequently throughout this
thesis.
1.2 Literature Review Thesis Content
1.2.1 Philosophy
Taylor (1985) tells of two distinct forms of ethicsThe Ethics of Duty and the
Ethics of Aspiration. According to Taylor, many assume that ethics is a debate of
morality, obligation, and right and wrong (e.g. ethics of duty). However, most
ancient philosophers didn't consider this the case at all. In fact, they didn't even
associate ethics with morality or social obligations. Their preoccupation with ethics
centered around the idea of personal upliftment or satisfaction (e.g. ethics of
aspiration).
Many ethical philosophies have emerged throughout timebeginning prior to the
birth of Christ and still new theories are regularly being proposed in modem
society. Some of these schools of thought include Ancient Greek philosophy
(Socratic Ethics, Platonism, and Aristotelian Ethics), Stoicism, Cynicism,
Hedonism, Egoism, Moral Obligation, Natural Law, Virtue Theory, Utilitarianism,
Moral Rights (Taylor 1985), and so on.
4


1.2.1.1 Socrates and Plato
The teachings and philosophies of Socrates and Plato are more abstract than those
of Aristotle, whom will be discussed in the following section. Centuries before
Christ, each of these three philosophers were bom roughly forty years apart
Socrates lived almost exclusively during the 5th century, Plato spanned across both
the 5th and 4th centuries, and Aristotle's life took up much of the 4lh century. Socrates
was a mentor and master to Plato, and similarly Plato was a tutor and teacher to
Aristotle (Annas 2000). Plato and Socrates shared a deep bond, such that many of
the works attributed to Plato were written in the first person from Socrates
viewpoint. To this day, many scholars still disagree on the true ownership,
authenticity and voice of Plato's writings. One mentionable philosophy however is
the careful distinction made by both Plato and Socrates between physicality and
reality. In essence they considered the physical world as an abstract representation
of one that is perfect in every form. The analogy they use is that of a shadow
where the shadow is only instantaneous and far from a detailed representation of a
physical object, so too are physical objects only momentary and imperfect
representations of their perfect versions.
What can be taken from this is that nothing is ever exactly as it seems and, despite
the rational ability of human beings, perfection is unattainable. Situations will
always appear differently with the alteration of any one aspect. Even with the
passing of one second the shadow cast by a physical object has changed form, and
though unnoticeable to the human eye, this change is no less finite. This is evident
when the same shadow is examined hours laterit is then noticeably different, not
even resembling a similar shape. However, the confusing nature of situations
becomes evident when again the same shadow is observed the next day at the same
5


timeit may look exactly the same as the previous day, yet every physical
molecule is one day older, every fiery solar flame anew, and every observer one
day wiser.
1.2.1.2 Aristotle
At this point, it still may not be apparent what ethical philosophy, particularly that
derived in ancient Greekwhich to many is so difficult to comprehend that they
perceive it to be erroneous in modem societyhas to do with engineering. The
answer to this is not a dime-a-dozen cliche about how Aristotle was a philosopher
of ethicsthough indeed this is trueand since ethics and morality apply to all
walks of life, the teachings of ancient Greek philosophy are inapplicable to none
however true this may also be. Rather, Aristotleas well as his colleagues, Plato
and Socrateswas in a sense one of the very first engineers. Petroski (1994), in
one of his many books on engineering, also hints at a similar theory when he notes
that:
Some of the earliest recorded thought about design shows an
awareness of a scale effect in natural and fabricated things.
Among the minor works of Aristotle is a collection of questions
and answers known as Mechanical Problems, in which queries
about the physical world are posed and solutions offered in the
context of fourth century B.C.E. knowledge of physics,
mathematics, and engineering.
Aristotle, who studied under the tutelage of Plato, whom similarly studied under
Socrates a generation prior (Annas 2000)all three during the 4th and 5th century
B.C.was certainly one of the most influential people in the development of
modem day understanding of ethics and morality. Accordingly, he is famous for a
number of his works including many on the topic of ethics. The most famous of
6


these are his Nicomachean Ethics which begin by arguing that the ability to reason
logosis the purpose or proper function of all human beings since, among all
living things, we alone possess such abilities (Aristotle 2004). Arguably, Aristotle
focused his work on the precepts of common sense more so than any other
philosopher of his time, if not of all time (Annas 2000). This is illustrated by his
discussion of happiness below (Aristotle 2004).
Well, happiness more than anything else is thought to be just
such an end, because we always choose it for itself, and never
for any other reason. It is different with honour, pleasure,
intelligence and good qualities generally. We do choose them
partly for themselves (because we should choose each one of
the irrespectively of any consequences); but we choose them
also for the sake of our happiness, in the belief that they will be
instrumental in promoting it. On the other hand nobody chooses
happiness for their sake, or in general for any other reason.
Aristotle goes on to further define happiness, using common sense and logic.
But what is happiness? If we consider what the function of man
is, we find that happiness is a virtuous activity of the soul.
Using this same thought process in an attempt to expand this definition, he came to
regard every virtuous act as an intermediary between excess and deficiency. In
other words, a truly virtuous act was one not only defined by one quality but
several in fact. For instance, courage is the perfectly precise blend of confidence
and fear, to avoid not only cowardice but also irrational decision making. By
searching for answers in this manner, Aristotle was essentially utilizing the concept
of empathy, which is defined as the intellectual identification with or vicarious
experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another (Reference.com
2010). But, instead of utilizing it for interaction with some other person or living
creature, he employed it's concepts to understand the basic nature of human beings.
Using empathy, Aristotle questioned what motivated people to Do the Right
1


Thing, instead of asking why they do the wrong thing. Essentially, he studied why
people do what they do, instead of attempting to understand why they dont do,
what he himself understood to be the right thing. When one asks why a wrong has
been done, they subconsciously teach themselves that such a thing is factually
wrong, when in reality it may simply be a matter of personal preference. This in
turn, is a precursor to judgment, whereas the latter is a precursor to empathy and
understanding. By allowing himself to withdraw from his own biassetting aside
his beliefs and prideAristotle was able to comprehend and understand the actions
of others, rather than unintentionally condemning them. What he found, as already
mentioned, was that such actionsas with all actionsare a blend of individual
perceptions of right as opposed to pervasive and evil deeds.
In modem society, a similar misconception is present; it seems commonplace for
21st century humans to deduce everything into finite categories, considering one's
actions and beliefs to either be black or white, right or wrong, good or bad, left or
right, and so on. When such extremes are considered to be the only possibilities,
hatred, judgment and discrimination have the potential to develop, even with regard
to the most trivial of topics. Furthermore, with the dominance of this extreme
thought-process that entirely disregards the shades of grayor the regions
between the extremesthe logic of such also has a tendency to be pushed aside.
For, is it not true that the dividing regionwhich encompasses all shades of gray
is not only infinitesimally larger than the regions of extreme that it separates, but
that the occurrence of such pure extremes are rare, if they even exist at all? Is not
every engineering calculation based on at least one assumption? So, can a correct
or incorrect answer ever truly exist? Can it be proven that any piece of grade
A992 steel has a yield strength of exactly 50 ksi, without the slightest bit of
variation, or that within that piece of steel, no matter how small, the nearer end has
8


exactly the same physical properties as the far end? Is an inverse function ever
equal to zero? Or, considering nontechnical subjects, is a white piece of paper not
actually off-white in color. Is it not true that the same piece of paper, even if
considered pure white in sunlight, may appear slightly beige, yellow, or some other
shade under artificial light? The limit to these inquiries are infiniteor at least
beyond one's comprehension.
Assuming the preceding argument is true, shouldn't criminals be judged based on a
comparison of their level of guilt to that of their innocence, rather than proclaiming
them guilty or not guilty? Considering a topic a little closer to home for structural
engineers, shouldn't failures be reviewed not for determination of the guilty parties,
but rather the obstacles that obstructed their path toward ethical conduct, so that
such obstacles can be removed? For instance, many engineers are overworked,
underpaid and pressured to complete work expediently. The downfall to this is that
they lose interest and passion because they are forced to work in a way that they do
not enjoy. Then, if happiness is the ultimate objective, when such is reduced or
eliminated, so too will the results. Additionally, not only does one lose interest and
therefore attentiveness, but the engineering profession loses what Levy and
Salvadori (2002) call ...a needed characteristic in structural engineering-
redundancy. Nearly ever structural engineering book has at least one reference to
this concept and the necessity for it in structural design. Yet, when engineers are
pressured to work faster, but still paid the same or less, redundancy in design is
nearly impossible. To be discussed in more detail in the following chapters, one can
ask themselves, if redundancy is such a necessity for structures, why they indirectly
remove it from the design process by permitting themselves to be pressured and
underpaid?
9


1.2.1.3 The Stoics
Stoicism, a school of philosophy that arose in the 3rd century B.C., following on
the heels of the collective groundbreaking work of Aristotle, Plato and Socrates,
was a Greek philosophical school championed by Zeno of Citium. The Stoics
derive their name from the Stoa (e.g. Porch) where Zeno Lectured (Radical
Academy 2003). While many of the specifics of this particular belief system are
certainly debatable, it's fundamental premise, being sophisticated, logical, and
elementary all at the same time, is difficult to intellectually challenge. The Stoics
believed that destructive thoughts and emotions themselvesnot the outcomes or
events that spurred such reactionswere the source of sorrow, unhappiness, and
human err. Conversely, positive emotions and thoughts produce happiness,
satisfaction, and so on. By controlling one's thoughts and emotions the Stoics
believed they could control not only their mentality and outlook on life, but also the
irrational decisions made when influenced by such destructive emotions. As
explained by the Dalai Lama, emotions and thoughts cannot ultimately be
separated (Lama 2001). The fundamental idea is this: humans are bom with a
clean slate (e.g. a blank mind), which records one's life as it occurs. The
development of thoughts, patterns, beliefs, and so on, are simply formed by
repetition of such activities. In other words, practice makes perfect. The unfortunate
thing is that practice does not necessarily make perfect good. If you practice evil,
you will become perfectly ev/7; if you practice self loathing, you will become
clinically depressed. Oscar Wilde described it best when he wrote that [two] men
looked out from the prison bars. One saw only mud, the other saw stars. (Kalungu-
Banda 2006). Kalungu-Banda (2006) then goes on to observe that [we] create our
own reality by choosing the lenses through which we see the world around us.
10


The Stoic school of thought is particularly useful in situations where one tends to
act impulsively, often resulting in regret. This concept helps one develop a mindset
capable of immediately detecting the presence of such situations so that they will
respond proactively instead of instinctively reacting.
The Stoic philosophy is similar to a modem day practice called Mindfulness, which
is exactly what it sounds likebeing aware and mindful of one's thoughts,
emotions, feelings and sensations (Williams, et al. 2007). Simplistically, when one
allows their mind to wander, it's similar to releasing a wolf on a farmthere truly
is no limit to what this beast will do to seek immediate happiness. Elaborating on
Aristotle's claim that human's beings are the only living organism capable of logic
and reasoning, an untamed mind that is no longer restrained by logic can be very
detrimental. When left unmonitored for too long, the human mind eventually
becomes accustomed to immediate satisfaction. Then, when the resources that were
feeding such cravings are exhausted, the mind ventures out of itself seeking
satisfaction. Though not referring directly to it, the general concept of mindfulness
is concisely and effectively explained by Lama (2001), for .. .on the one hand,
[we're] acting out of concern for others' well-being. and on the other hand, he
continues ... [we are] transforming ourselves so that we become more readily
disposed to do so.
Stoic doctrine was very popular for many centuries, beginning with Zeno, but it,
like all philosophical schools suffered a certain fate, unfortunately similar to many
organizations throughout the history of man. Sedley (1998) describes the
unfortunate fate:
Ancient philosophy is that of classical antiquity, which not
only inaugurated the entire European philosophical tradition but
has exercised an unparalleled influence on its style and content.
11


It is conventionally considered to start with Thales in the mid
sixth century be, although the Greeks themselves frequently
made Homer (c.700 be) its true originator. Officially it is often
regarded as ending in 529 ad, when the Christian emperor
Justinian is believed to have banned the teaching of pagan
philosophy at Athens.
1.2.1.4 John Stewart Mill
The following passage from John Stuart Mill (Mill 2010a), a nineteenth century
English philosopher, explains just how evasive ethics truly can be.
There are few circumstances among those which make up the
present condition of human knowledge, more unlike what might
have been expected, or more significant of the backward state in
which speculation on the most important subjects still lingers,
than the little progress which has been made in the decision of
the controversy respecting the criterion of right and wrong.
This quote by Mill, from his book, Utilitarianism, purports a very simple yet
astonishingly accurate claimthat the progress made by man on the issue of right
and wrong over the millions of years of our existence is actually quite insignificant
compared to topics that have been allotted much less time, yet have still
accomplished much more. As discussed earlier, many think of ethics as common
sense and end the discussion, which may be the reason behind the reality of Mill's
claim. The reality of the situation is that ethics, right and wrong, morality, or
whatever you want to call it, is a very complicated topic. It is not simply one
similar to basic mathematics or riding a bicycle, such that once you learn the
concept, forgetting it is difficult. For ethics is not only a concept that is very
difficultif at all possibleto fully understand, but even if you do feel like you
have it down, the slightest distraction or most miniscule lapse in time can
contribute to the dissipation of such knowledge. Furthermore, once again unlike
12


riding a bicycle or adding two numbers, ethics requires intense, persistent and
continual concentration. Otherwise, situations will undoubtedly arise such to test
one's patience and cause them to react instinctively. This almost always results in
regret as ethics and empathy are founded in understanding of one another, whereas
reactions are the result of instinctual brain impulses, which are available to humans
merely as a survival instinct.
John Stuart Mill, who leaned towards the political realm of ethics, focused his
works on individual liberty and the reduction of government control (Mill 2010b).
However his writings on Utilitarianism contribute greatly to the topic of individual
ethics. Utilitarianism itself is founded on the principle that ethical value of any
action is based on its utility, or the benefit received by all sentient beings.
Essentially, regardless of the benefit a certain action provides to one person, five
persons, or even an entire community, the ethical implications are governed by the
overall impact imposed to all living creatures. Similar to the teachings of the Dalai
Lama, which will be discussed in the following section, every decision one makes
can and will have an impact on every other person, regardless of location, age, etc.
By recognizing this, one can minimize the detrimental effects of their actions on the
global community, and likewise maximize the beneficial effects to the global
community and themselves as well.
1.2.2 Religion
While ancient philosophers focus on self-betterment, called ethics of aspiration, and
modem-age philosophers preach varying permutations of the ethics of duty, many
religions attempt to put the puzzle pieces together with a blend of various
philosophies. These include both the ethics of aspiration and the ethics of duty
13


different names are used of course. In addition to these however, many religions
promote a few different types of ethics that the author calls the ethics of
providence, the ethics of fear, and the ethics of works. The ethics of providence
concern those ethical characteristics that concern God (or Allah, Providence, the
Truth, etc.) himself, and one's thoughts and feelings towards this Godsome
religious institutions promote loving and worshiping God, while others warn that
the wrath of God should be feared, and still many others promote a blend of such
ideologies. The ethics of fear is almost a supplement to the ethics of providence,
except that the ethics of fear incorporates not just a fear of God and his wrath, but
also a fear of the devil, a fear of demons, a fear of hell, and so on. Finally, the ethics
of works promotes the idea of obtaining God's favor or blessings through one's
righteous actions.
Countless books have been written about religious and spiritual ties to modem
leadership and management principals (Beekun and Badawi 1999; Witten and
Rinpoche 1999; Brown 2008; Nair 1997; Willis 2002; Mandair 2000; Cotterell,
2006; Kumarsamy 2006; Manz 2005; Briner and Pritchard 1998; Jones 1996;
Maxwell 2006). Examples can be drawn from each of these publications that are
germane to doing the right thing in a leadership sense. These will be presented in
more detail in the following sections and chapters.
Human beings are not merely flesh and bone, but rather heavenly angels beneath a
bleak exterior. One must rise above their best; give more than 100%; offer
everything they have, as well as that which is already proportioned for them, if they
are to utilize their full potential as a soulful being. It is common for many to seek
such through organized religion. Granted, the controversial matter of religion has
led some of the most evil human beings to do great things, yet at the same time
14


many of the most honest and compassionate beings have done evil in the name of
religion. Many find it difficult to resolve the many apparent conflicts and
hypocrisies of organized religion with the eternal-minded joy it has unarguably
hired in the hearts, minds, and souls of many. It is difficult to find evil or malice in
the common view that one can overcome the hardships of life, taking consolidation
in the fact that it is bigger than themselvestime keeps going with or without each
and every person. It then becomes even more difficult to argue against religion as
many have the ability to instill such a mindset in their congregations more
effectively than any other organization, school of thought, or way of life. However,
it is not so difficult to argue that the discrepancy between what a local Christian
preacher believes and that of the majority of his congregation, is no bigger a gap
than that between the very same preacher and a Hindu, or Muslim, or Sikh, or
Buddhist, and so on. For if every single person on earth, when shown a flower can
have an entirely different description of that flower, depending on one's experiences
and beliefs; why is it difficult to agree that no two Christians, or Hindus, or
Mormons, worship the same God. For instance, one person's friends and family are
who they perceive them to be based on their experiences with them, but to outsiders
those same people can be, and often are quite different people. The claim here is
that God is no different. If anything God is even more complicated due to his or her
inherently mystic nature. For how does one know that the God their priest,
preacher, or rabbi worships does not have similar qualities as the same entity that
they perceive as Lucifer himself. Accordingly, using this logic, it can be argued that
since no two people perceive God in exactly the same way, regardless of religious
preference, then there is only one religion and one God with many different
individual perceptions; or conversely that there is no God and in fact religion is a
hoax. Yet, as one arrives at this point, realization that they have potentially shown
something to be false, which they previously had shown to promote hope, faith,
15


love and compassion. Thence is the dilemma commonly encountered with the
debate of religion, and also why many people avoid the use of logic on such an
inconceivable topic.
It is common for atheists, agnostics, deists to place much faith in facts, research,
science, and the like. Conversely, theists hold that scriptures, prophets and biblical
texts hold the ultimate post of authority and authenticity on all things. Furthermore,
many times each of these groups have been known to criticize one another as
having a closed mindone that is unwilling to except other possibilities. Yet, can it
not be agreed upon that neither can be entirely certain of their conclusionsthat
neither argument can be proven without the use of assumptions. Is it not true that
some aspects of time have not been proven, and as such time, when considered
universally with respect to other planets, stars, black holes, 4th dimensions, and so
on, time could actually be drastically variable, thereby nullifying science which has
based its every conclusion on the exact opposite assumption? Conversely, is it too
difficult to imagine that every miracle performed or witnessed in the name of one
god or another were nothing more than mere coincidence; or that they were the
masterful and successful orchestration of sleight of hand by one deceitful person?
Even more, could it not be true that everyone is inaccurate on the matter, that the
truth lies in some other explanation that has not yet even been conceived? Religion
is a complicated subject indeed.
This thesis strives neither to prove nor disprove any religion. The point being made
is that the debate surrounding the black and whites of religion is a tireless and
hopeless debate that can never be won. More appropriate however is to restrict the
discussion of religion to that which is agreeably good and agreeably bad, such that
one can omit the bad and focus on the good. The gray areas in between, which are
16


the topics that are debated ad nauseum in modern society can then be left to the
logic of each individual, while still a global set of good and bad is agreed upon by
all. Thus, is ethics. And, thus is also the distinction between ethics and religion.
1.2.2.1 Islam
The core principles of Islamic leadership are acting ethically, doing good deeds,
and protecting one's followers, which is similar to ethics of duty. The Muslim faith
is founded on the teachings and life of the prophet Muhammad. Beekun and
Badawi (1999) emphasize the importance of honesty and integrity to Muslims:
Muslim leaders should be honest not only because it makes them better leaders,
but also because they are accountable for their deeds to Allah both in this world and
in the hereafter. The Quran further solidifies right thing thinking:
Do you enjoin right conduct on the people and forget (to
practice it) yourselves and yet you study the Scripture? Will you
not understand? (A1 Baqarah 2:44)
Beekun and Badawi (1999) add later on that Good deeds preceded by evil
intentions are not meritorious, which affirms that doing seemingly good things
whilst one's true motive is self-promotion or self benefit, actually is in fact the
wrong thing to do. Furthermore, rather than gaining merit, such selfish actions will
only proffer one an abominable reputation. On the other hand, one could also make
the argument that if doing good with bad motives is wrong, then conversely doing
bad with good motives should also be wrong. Through deduction, it is clear that
doing goodor doing the right thingcan only be achieved by acting righteously
with righteous intent. Then, the claim can be made that no one would honestly ever
say that their every action is founded with evil intent. And, if you can agree that it
is impossible to know factually of another person's true intentone may presume
17


or assume such things, but to know with certainty is impossible; this is why the
judicial system in the United States adopted the phrase beyond a reasonable
doubt for determining guiltthen it should not come as a surprise that only
method for ensuring that one does the right thing is for each and every person to
employ continual and constant introspection.
Common responses for Americans is that they will stick to their beliefs, or always
do what they feel is right, or always follow their heart, and so on. While all of these
sound wonderfully inspiring and worthy of praise, they actually mean nothing if
your beliefs are corrupted or if your heart is broken and bitter. Nobody does
something while in the moment believing it to be wrong, for even if what Person A
is doing may be wrong in the eyes of Person B, Person A no less believes it to be
justifiably right in the context in which it occurs. This then is where empathy can
be very helpful. When you see someone doing something unethical or immoral, it
does no one any good to condemn them for it, for this only creates animosity and
retaliation. Rather, if one can attempt to understand why this person believes what
they are doing to be right, there are a few likely outcomes:
1. The observer, while seeking to understand the motives of the culprit,
actually realizes that they in fact are wrong. Maybe they did not have all of
necessary information to legitimately analyze the situation. Or, maybe they
were just caught up in the moment and thus unable to assemble the proper
logic. Still, maybe they were persuaded and convinced by the logic of the
culprit.
2. The culprit, maybe after some time of defending themselves, realizes that in
fact his or her intentions were misled and, even though some damage may
have already been done, the observer is able to convince them that they can
still salvage some merit (and possibly even gain merit, for many people are
18


attracted more so to those who can admit they're wrongs than those who
rarely do wrong) by simply walking away from the situation.
3. Nothing is accomplished and the situation is back at square one.
From this layout of scenarios, it is clear that as long as you approach every
situation with empathy, the only possible outcomes are that of bettering the
situation, or of leaving it unchanged.
1.2.2.2 Hinduism
The primary texts in Hinduism that guide ethical conduct are the Upanishads,
Bhagavad-Gita and Brahma Sutra (Hebbar 2002). From these three scriptures,
namely the latter twothe Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gitaancient Hindus
derived a system of ethics for practical application that all Hindus are obligated to
follow. Hebbar (2002) explains the primary ideology of Hinduism in that salvation
is attained .by knowledge and realization, rather than by faith and works.
Continuing on, he says that selfish desires are obstacles to the seekers of Truth (the
Higher-Self, also called Brahman). Brahman, essentially equivalent to God of
other religions, is actually a personal mind state rather than physical or spiritual
entity. In this quest for Braham, honesty is highly praised. There are six sayings
that illustrate the meaning of the Upanishads, which are listed below (Hebbar
2002).
1. 1 am Brahman: The Truth is within us, in our own heart.
2. The Self is Brahman: All beings are identified with the Absolute Truth.
3. That art thou: Whatever one thinks about his or herself, then that they are.
4. Knowledge is Brahman: Our current understanding of the truth is the
Truth itself.
19


5. The whole universe is Brahman: The entire universe is Divine.
6. Here am I: Identifying the Divinity in our Self in something that happens
naturally like breathing.
Of these, five of them concern the self, in one way or another. If one examines
the first and third of these sayings in conjunction, a reoccurring theme is once again
evident. According to the first, the Truth is within everyone. The third then claims
that you are, or will become, whatever you think about yourself. Therefore, if you
think bad of yourself, then indeed you will be bad. And again, the Truth is within
everyone, so the Truth is within you; and if you are bad, the Truth within you must
also be bad. If the Truth within you is bad (or wrong), your reasoning in situations
will be misguided. This, once again vindicates how easy it is for people to think
they are doing the right thing when in fact their actions are fundamentally evil.
Hebbar (2002) tells of the evolution of Hindu thought. Purportedly, throughout
history, certain Hindus were not allowed to come in contact with other Hindus that
were known as the untouchables. However, the more intelligent Hindus, aware of
the taboo nature of such rules and restrictions were able to change common
thought. One of the more instrumental Hindus leading this movement was
Mohandas Gandhi (Nair 1997). Hebbar (2002) then explains that Rules were not
rigid and there was always a way to circumvent the most stringent of the rules.
Similar to the Stoic philosophy pioneered by Zeno, Hindus are aware of the
importance of controlling negative emotions, as they are supposed to control
emotions such as lust, anger, pride and jealousy. Hebbar (2002) does not
underestimate the capacity for destruction that is inherent to such thoughts:
The moral codes of various texts repeatedly emphasize the
importance of being aware of these ordinary but strong human
emotions.
20


Hinduism is a truly admirable religion. One of the few religions that abstains from
claiming it is the one and only true religion. Not only do Hindus not claim this, but
one of their nine beliefs states that no single religion presents the only path to
finding God. The Hindu beliefs go even further, saying that all genuine religious
paths are facets of God's Light and Love, deserving tolerance and understanding.
Hebbar (2002) goes on to further exemplify this characteristic as being innate to
Hinduism:
Earnest kindliness and tolerance to all human relations along
with non-violence had real effect on Hindu life. Desire for the
well being of all beings and benevolence in the form of
almsgiving were encouraged especially when done with no
expectation of rewards at least in this life.
1.2.2.3 Buddhism
The 14th Dalai Lama, the ultimate authority on Buddhism, argues that all human
beings share a common disposition in that .. .we all desire to be happy and to
avoid suffering (Lama 2001). His holiness then goes on to prove through rhetoric
that everything humans do, they do in an effort to improve their level of happiness.
This should be starting to sound eerily familiar and/or repetitive to the reader as
this concept is almost identical to that of Aristotle (Aristotle 2004):
A self-sufficient thing, then, we take to be one which by itself
makes life desirable and in no way deficient; and we believe
that happiness is such a thing. What is more, we regard it as the
most desirable of all things, not reckoned as one item among
many; if it were so reckoned, happiness would obviously be
more desirable by the addition of even the least good, because
the addition makes the of goods greater, and the greater of two
goods is always more desirable. Happiness, then, is found to be
something perfect and self-sufficient, being the end to which
our actions are directed.
21


After convincingly reasoning that one's own happiness is interdependent on the
happiness of others, Lama (2001) then calls for .a radical reorientation away
from our habitual preoccupation with self, and to also .turn toward the wider
community of beings with whom we are connected, and for conduct which
recognizes others' interests alongside our own. He doesn't say that one must
consider the interests of others above their own, for indeed that would contradict
natural human instincts. However, his choice of wording is still very important as
he says the interests of others should be considered .. .alongside our own. This
undoubtedly in itself would improve the ethical situation of modem society a great
deal. For, it is debatable if even the greatest of people of the day hold the needs of
others parallel with their own. This is not to say that some people are not making a
great difference, but the general trend is that these are typically the same people
who have inordinate amounts of wealth. Surely, it can't be hard to argue that the
majority of these people do not contribute relatively anymore of their estate than
does the single mother who works two or three jobs, just to make ends meet. Then,
it comes to fact that either the people with the available resources to give are by
nature unethical, or they simply do not know how to be ethical. Granted, it would
not take much to find a local or global charity and make a donation, but this would
be sidestepping the point being made. Certainly most anyone can figure out how to
donate money to a good cause, but the reference made was that many don't know
how, or have never leamed/been taught how to to live and think ethicallyto be
empathetic by nature. Contrary to common belief, this is indeed something that one
must leam one way or anotherit is not simply pre-programmed at birth as many
take for granted.
The Dalai Lama explains how easily misperceptions of reality can cause someone
to over- or under-react to a given situation (Lama 2001):
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The problem of misperception, which, of course, varies in
degree, usually arises because of our tendency to isolate
particular aspects of an event or experience and see them as
constituting its totality. This leads to a narrowing of perspective
and from there to false expectations.
Generally, I think most would agree that knowingly harming to others, be it
physical, verbal, psychological or emotional harm, regardless of the benefits to
those of it's aftermath, is acting with evil intentions. Using this logic, destructive
means and honorable intentions cannot coexist, indifferent to the ends achieved.
This concept is further explained by Lama (2001).
.. .it is also not hard to think of acts which, though they may
appear somewhat forceful and aggressive and likely to cause
hurt, could yet contribute to others' happiness in the long run....
On the other hand, the fact that our actions may appear to be
gentle does not mean that they are positive or ethical if our
intentions are selfish.
Lama (2001) goes on to say:
When the driving force of our actions is wholesome, our actions
will tend automatically to contribute to others' well-being. They
will thus automatically be ethical. Further, the more this is our
habitual state, the less likely we are to react badly when
provoked.
The last sentence of this quote is a key factor to making ethical decisions
consistentlythe basic premise is practice. A professional athlete, or an actor or
entertainer doesn't simply show up the morning of an audition (or evening of a
performance or game) just hoping they will achieve stardom. Many people criticize
the payroll of modem sports teams and the extreme costs of film-making and
entertainment, but the simple truth to the madness therein is that no one else is
willing to do it. Most sports icons and entertainers spend nearly every waking
moment of their lives preparing for their next game or performance. Some actors
23


and actresses completely take on new identities to play certain rolesChristian
Bale literally starved himself to lose 63 pounds from his already skinny figure of 6'-
0, 185 pounds to play the lead role in The Machinist (Elliott 2006). This is
certainly not a suggestion that one should become anorexic, but rather a dramatic
illustration of why superstars are paid so extravagantlybecause they work for
it.
For millennia, people have learned and been guided in their ethical walk by
religious doctrines and the mandates set forth thereinmerely an observation of
fact opposed to an endorsement, or condemnation of such policies. Now then, the
trend that can easily be seen in modem times, as human rights, democracy, and
individual preference become more and more common, is that many are straying
from ethics simply because it has been linked solely with religion for the longest
time.
Historically, since religion has held the post on ethical authority, and through
coercion the masses had little to no choice but to practice the local religious
traditionsand thus they were also required to practice ethical behavior
resentment towards ethics has been developed in the minds of the people. And, now
that the opportunity presents itself, many are rushing toward the exits. Certainly,
somebody must have known what George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma
Gandhi, and Thomas Jefferson all held to be factthat appealing to the spirit,
through emotion and passion, was often more effective than reason and logic (Rees
and Spignesi 2007). As modem day society presents the decline of religion, the
Dalai Lama, says that:
In replacing religion as the final source of knowledge in popular
estimation, science begins to look a bit like another religion
itself. With this comes a similar danger on the part of some of
24


its adherents of blind faith in its principles and, correspondingly,
to intolerance of alternative views.
Essentially, the Dalai Lama is saying that while science has indeed made massive
strides in development in recent times, such remarkable advancements are
deceiving the masses into believing that science is the resource of truth that human
beings have been searching for since the beginning of time. Actually, this is exactly
the same thing that occurred with many religions in the past forcing many
constituents to practice local religions regardless of their personal beliefs.
Continuing with his claim, Lama (2001) observes:
For while both science and the law can help us forecast the
likely consequence of our actions, neither can tell us how we
ought to act in a moral sense.
He continues:
Now, many people, believing that science has "dis-proven"
religion, make the further assumption that because there appears
to be no final evidence for any spiritual authority, morality itself
must be a matter of individual preference.
The fact that often goes overlooked however is that ethics, morality, and spirituality
are not equivalent to religion, nor is one vindicated by the other. To illustrate this
concept, one can consider the theory of deduction frequently encountered in
modern sports when a tie-breaker is required to determine which teamwhen
multiple teams share identical win-loss recordsmoves on in the post-season.
Some claim that since team A defeated Team B, and Team C lost to Team B during
the regular season, Team A will automatically beat Team C in a tie-breaker.
However, the logic herein is flawed as the situations have drastically changed.
Whereas Team C may have been severely riddled by injuries when they played
team B in the regular season, all of their players may be perfectly healthy for the
25


tie-breaker game; or now that they have an imminent opportunity to make it to the
playoffs, they may play much better than during the season when the playoffs were
but a distant consideration. Therefore, the fact that religion has historically held
authority over the constituents in certain areas to enforce ethical mandates does not
imply that ethics are dependent upon religion. In fact, one could argue the exact
oppositethat religion is in fact dependent on ethicsconsidering that many
ethical theories and philosophies existed existed prior to Christianity and
Mormonism; and may well have also existed prior to other religions as well.
Moving on, if it is true that science has dis-proven religion, then the only
conclusion to be made would be that religion in and of itself was the sole
perpetrator of deception. As the Dalai Lama says:
.. .consciousness belongs to that category of phenomena without
form, substance, or color. It is not susceptible to investigation
by external means. But this does not mean such things do not
exist, merely that science cannot find them.
Wu (2008) reports that the three qualities of the Buddhist faith everyone aspires to
are "to have compassion towards others, the wisdom to overcome problems, and
having the courage to do the right thing when no one is looking." In fact, Garfinkle
(2009) indicated that the Fourth Noble Truth of Buddha is "eight ways to do the
right thing" which includes such effort as action, thought, livelihood, and speech.
Lama (2001) discusses many of the different types of problems modem society is
faced with, including unavoidable problems such as old age, natural disasters, and
disease; as well as the avoidable problems which include murder, theft, rape, and so
on. Distinguishing between these two types of problems, he observes that every
avoidable problem is a direct reflection of .. .our understanding of what is right
and wrong, of what is positive and what is negative, of what is appropriate and
what is inappropriate. In other words, the problems related to ethics and morality
are not .. .inevitable, or .. .due to any lack of knowledge, as are problems such
26


as disease, natural disaster, and old age. The confusing thing is that many still
attempt to treat these ailments in a similar manner they would the inevitable ones
with rules, laws, regulations and so on. But this cannot work, for these
shortcomings are founded in the gray areas of life, not the black and whites. It is
not as simple as life and death. With ethics, instead of the extremes being
commonplace, and the middle area being the exception, the gray area is actually
where all situations reside, and the extremes are the exception to the rule. For
instance, it would be impossible to find a unanimous consensus amongst the
general public as to the ethical implications of a mother who steals a loaf of bread
to feed her starving children. Taking this one step further, it is even difficult to
reach agreement on such seemingly obvious topics such as murder. These examples
illustrate the fact that ethical and moral conduct, reside on a sliding scale that can
rarelyif everbe entirely one extreme or the other. As humans, this makes little
sense as it is always easier to use logic to narrow the evidence down until a finite
conclusion is reached. Subconsciously however, this only leaves one more
confused, for while they are momentarily satisfied with such finite conclusions,
over time their logic will explore the situation a thousand times over in an attempt
to resolve the inevitable contradictions. Yet, as nothing will ever be entirely right or
wrong, this will never occur in the presence of finite extremes.
On the topic of religion, the Dalai Lama says what's more important than if one
believes in religion or not is .. .that they be a good human being (Lama 2001).
Indeed, he even says that religious belief .. .does not matter much. This is not to
imply that he is denouncing his faith or any other preposterous claim, but rather he
is making it clear that his concern ... is to try to reach beyond the formal
boundaries of [his] faith... and to show that .. .there are indeed some universal
ethical principles which could help everyone to achieve the happiness we all aspire
27


to. However, he notes, it would be illogical for one to presume that they could
devise a set of ethical principles applicable to every conceivable situation.
1.2.2.4 Judaism
Founded by Mosesone of the central figures in many religions including
Christianity, Islam, and Mormonismover 3500 years ago, Judaism is one of the
oldest monotheistic religions, and the oldest out of those still being practiced (BBC
2009a). Even considering its age, Judaism still has over 13 million devoted
followers throughout the world. Like Christianity and Islam, the Jewish people
claim ties not only to Moses, but all the way back to Abraham as well. The primary
scripture referenced is the Torah, which illustrates the belief in one God with whom
all of the Jewish people share a covenant. The Jewish people are also one of tireless
traditions and customs such as circumcision eight days after birth, the Sabbath or
holy day, Passover, Hanukkah, among many others.
Having the benefit of so much history and culture, Jews celebrate with a central
focus on family. A good example of this is their gatherings for special occasions,
most notably the weekly gathering for the Sabbath, which is organized with strict
adherence to the laws and customs of the Torah. Leadership is a primary focus of
the Jewish faith, doctrine and scriptures thereof. The Torah, in Joel 3:1, says Your
old shall dream dreams, and your youth shall see visions (Brown 2008). However
it also speaks greatly toward the lack of leadership and the many problems that can
arise from such inadequacies. Judges 21:25 says that Everyone did what was right
in his own eyes, since there was no king in Israel. Brown goes further to
acknowledge how this, among many other issues encountered were due to the ...
astonishing lack of leadership. Seeking to more clearly define or present the
28


essence of leadership, Brown defines the true ingredient behind it as the power to
communicate hope and purpose and to inspire mutual responsibility, particularly at
times of crisis and vulnerability. Another definition she gives is that leadership ..
is both a state of being and a condition of doing. Both of these definitions are
excellent. Yet, one characteristic that she omits, even if inadvertently, is that of
one's desire and willingness to accept such leadership. When people feel pressured
or forced to do something they normally wouldn't do, they tend to perform with
either a sense of apathy or that of guilt in not meeting expectations.
Brown (2008) speaks to great lengths on the topic of guiltfrom within oneself as
well as from outside. Explaining the level of responsibility assumed by Jewish
prophets and leaders due to their innate desire to change the world, she notes that
many also share a sense of personal inadequacy. She then presents the question of
why many of the greatest Jewish leaders are haunted by a sense of failure. Indeed,
she even goes as far as to say that guilt to a Jew feels like home. This she
explains is because ... [between] the ideal of who you should be and the reality of
who you are, lies guilt. Certainly, it appears as if she believes guilt to be that of a
desirable or admirable characteristic to have. Should such guilt produce good
things such as empathy and compassion, one may be inclined to consider this
argument. Yet, the following quote by Brown (2008)while entirely and
indisputably accurateunfortunately illustrates the mindset of many people in the
world today.
A key distinction in personality between leaders and followers
is that leaders shape events through their active participation,
while followers are shaped by events through their passive
participation. At times of crisis or dysfunction, followers wait
for someone else to solve problems and are often satisfied
merely with complaining about their lot. Leaders, on the other
hand, view crises as problem-solving opportunities and
regularly put themselves in the center of that change.... All of
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these excuses are really a way of saying, It's not my problem.
But in actual fact, if an institutional dysfunction is affecting
you, your family, or your community, then it is your problem.
Several examples of Jewish leadership can be found in Old Testament leaders such
as Moses and King David (Rens and Rens 2007). The Old Testament is the
foundation for the Jewish faith and a good succinct leadership verse can be found in
Genesis 18:29 "Do what is just and right." The story of Joseph found in Genesis 39-
41 is another example of doing what is right no matter the circumstances. Joseph
was sold by his jealous brothers and ended up a slave in Egypt. He was successful
and placed in charge of the household of an Egyptian official, Potiphar. Potiphar's
wife falsely accused him of breaking a conduct law when he refused to follow her
wishes. Joseph did the right thing by continually refusing to succumb to the ill
behavior and conduct and ultimately ended up in prison. Again, even behind bars,
Joseph became successful and was eventually put in charge of all the prison
activities. He became an inmate who interpreted dreams eventually translating
the dream of the Pharaoh who ultimately released him from prison and promoted
him to "vice president" with food distribution responsibilities during drought and
famine. Josephs life was all about doing the right thing and how God can turn "bad"
into "good" as a result of wise decisions.
Brown (2008) notes that many people who complain really don't even care much
for a solution, but that they just want to complain. While this may indeed be the
case, the more one focuses on this, especially when their attention is focused
outwardly on the faults of others, it tends to have the exact opposite effect that they
intended for it. One can better understand this concept at times when people get
angry with them. If one chooses to focus on the person that is angry instead of
themselves, they will typically find that they do not understand the other person's
30


anger. Because of this they may respond with Why are you so angry? At this
point, the person who is angry only become angrier due to the other person not
focusing on the issue at handthe thing that they did to make the person angry.
Instead they are focusing on the faults of the angry person. When you study this
situation further, you will find that the disconnect lies in a lack of empathy. Instead
of empathizing and attempting to understand why the other person is angry, they
simply push the responsibility right back at them, by focusing on their madness
instead of what they did to make them mad. Whereas, if they employed empathy
and attempted to understand their angeronce again though, this is not suggesting
that one ever needs to be in agreement with the others anger, but simply to
understand itone almost always is able to manage the situation more effectively.
When you empathizeopposed to sympathizing in which you indeed relate to
others for the sake of providing comfortthe benefit is more often received by
both parties. For, when you understand not only the situation that others are dealing
with but their mindset entering into such situations, it gives you a better idea of
their sensitive areasthe buttons that you should not push. You also gain an
understanding of what they are seekingsome people are simply looking for
someone else to solve their problems, others may just want to talk about something
so they can hear their own thoughts out loud without appearing to be crazy, and still
others just want to complain because they find satisfaction in it by itself.
Regardless, if you can identify another person's motives and desires, you can more
effectively reinforce the issues that benefit their motives, while at the same time
incorporating and promoting your own.
There is much truth in what Martin Luther King, Jr. says, when he objects that
[we] must shun the very narrow-mindedness that in others has so long been the
source of our own afflictions (Phillips 2000). Taking this statement slightly out of
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context, one could reason that since the narrow-mindedness of others has long
afflicted everyone else, if those people can shun such mind states and adopt more
open minds for themselves, they can relieve, not only the afflictions of others but
those of themselves as well. In the Pirkei Avot (2005), a classical Jewish text
which, when literally translated, means The Sayings of the Jewish Fathers, it says
[b]y three things is the world preserved; by truth, by judgment, and by peace, as it
is said, 'Judge ye the truth and the judgment of peace in your gates'
1.2.2.5 Christianity
When St Francis was commissioning his disciples to go out into
the world to convert people to Christianity, he said to them, Go
and preach the Gospel. Where necessary, use words (Kalungu-
Banda 2006).
Jesus Christ of Nazarethheld by some as God himself in the flesh, the messiah,
the savior of the free world, the Son of Man, among many other connotations of
such titles. To others, he embodies the definitions of ethics, morality, leadership and
empathy. Still, to many individuals, Jesus Christ is no more than the fabricated,
mythical leader, and sole tangible vindication of a religionChristianity.
Regardless of what one believes, the story of Jesus can no less be debated than the
theory of the Big Bang. By this, it is implied that the story of Jesus Christ is written
in black and white in much the same way that scientists write of the origins of the
universe; and similar to any other story or book, we can consider it on a level of the
emotions it produces and the principles it teaches, without debating its authenticity.
When doing this, it is clear that Jesusthe resurrected messiah, the mortal prophet,
a famous human being, or the main character in a fictional story that has been told
for millennialived a life of ethics and morality as flawlessly as any other
32


characterfictional or notin the documented history of man.
The life of Jesus Christ as chronicled in the New Testament (NIV 2002) offers
multiple examples of doing the right thing from a Christian perspective. Several
leadership and management publications link the life of Jesus and Christianity to
right thing thinking (Briner and Pritchard 1998; Jones 1996; Manz 2005). Jesus
often taught through parables using allegories to facilitate deep thought and
meaning. One such parable is found in Luke:
Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them.
Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go
after the lost sheep until he finds it. And when he finds it, he
joyfully goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors
together and says, Rejoice with me; I have found my lost
sheep (Luke 15:4-6).
Jesus continues reinforcing this concept a few passages later in Luke.
Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one, does
she not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until
she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and
neighbors and says Rejoice with me, I have found my lost coin
(Luke 15:8-9).
Jesus also preached timeless philosophies such as If any one of you is without sin,
let him be the first to throw a stone at her (John 8:7 NIV) when consulted about
the imminent stoning of a adulterous woman. In this short, but humble statement,
Jesus helps the crowd of peoplewhom are ready to stone this womanrealize
that each and every one of them are no less sinners than she. Therefore, if the
woman should be stoned for her sin, so should every other person present. That is
unless there truly was someone present who had never sinned, which according to
the Christian faith was a personal characteristic of Jesus Christ. Yet, when every
one leaves rather than to cast the first stone and be forced to confront their own
33


sins, Jesus tells the woman that he also will not condemn her. He tells her to go and
implores her to sin no more. This is one of the purest examples of empathy one can
find. Indeed, one should replay this in their mind before they confronting another
person's sins, prior to their own.
While it is debatable to some, Jesus was the first person to promote the ideology of
nonviolence. The reader will find in the coming sections that Mahatma Gandhi,
Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King Jr. each adopted this philosophy as well;
and all three were able to accomplish great things through it. One example of Jesus
championing this philosophy comes in Matthew:
.. .do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the
right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to
sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If
someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles
(Matthew 5:39-41).
He continues later in Matthew, preaching to:
.. .love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you... If
you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not
even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your
brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even
pagans do that (Matthew 5:44-47)?
This is a common concept for many to forget. Often times, human beings give too
much to the people they deeply care for, that they have little love left for anyone
else. Jesus, makes the point, if you deeply love your family, but go outside and
scorn your neighbor, can you really claim to be better than anyone else? From
everything written about Jesus, it was clearly his desire for man to put the needs
and even wants of others before those of self, and to consider one's personal faults
instead of the faults of others. Yet, he also intended for this to be a universal mind-
state in which one offers it to all sentient beings, regardless of race, heritage, age,
34


sex, and so on.
Jesus would often preach with seemingly repetitive and redundant phrases, such as
in Mark when he says He who has ears to hear, let him hear (Mark 4:9). The
significance in this statement is in the wording. To many, it may seem obvious, or
elementary, but this statement says much more than just the nine words that it is
comprised of. First, Jesus says He who has ears, for it is true that metaphorically
many have cut off their ears so that they are unable to hear the cries of others. But,
he also says He who has ears to hear. which speaks to the people who do not use
their ears for the right purpose. Many have heard the phrase selective hearing in
which one listens to someone but only hears what they want to hear. This is
exactly the same concept. Similarly, many show up to self help conventions and the
like, looking for inspirationwhich they may receive momentarily via the
environment that surrounds thembut their mindset remains unchanged once find
themselves once again unmotivated again the following day. The reason for this is
that they did not attend with the goal of learning and changing, but rather to attain
instantaneous happiness, and one can only receive what they search for. If you are
looking for the truth, you will find it; if you are looking simply for someone to
prove you right, you will find that instead. Finally, Jesus invites those persons who
have ear to ear, and says let them hear. It is essential to follow through and
actually hear, learn, change, grow, and so on; to actually do what you set out in the
beginning to accomplish. For even as hard as the first two steps may be in some
instances, it never fails that they will be the easiest when you get to the final stretch
and you are gasping for breath and stumbling towards the finish line.
It is true that for any one of these sections in this first chapter, one could comprise
an entire thesis on that topic alone. However, as stated in the introduction, the goal
35


herein is not to present material that the reader has never seen before, but rather to
remind them of the important concepts that they may have lost track of over time.
With that said, the final concept for this section is regarding pride. In the book of
John, Jesus says that The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who
hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life (John 12:25). While many
interpret this passage quite differentlythose who are religious interpret it literally
as saying give your life to God while on earth and you will spend eternity in
heaven, while many who are spiritual but not religious may interpret it to imply that
the only way to attain true happiness in life is to put others before self, and still the
faithless might consider it to be just another meaningless quote by a man who lived
thousands of years agowhen considered on the basis of ethics, it has universal
significance. To understand that your life and the happiness associated with it are
essentially zero in the absence of another human being, is invaluable to
understanding the form of ethics being presented here. When someone cares so
little for their own life that they give everything they have to others, they
remarkably attain the highest levels of satisfaction and accomplishment such that
happiness is inevitable.
1.2.2.6 Mormonism
Joseph Smith, and eventually Brigham Young as well, were both exceptional at the
art of persuasion. Some call this leadership and others call it coercion. Yet, despite
the controversy surrounding Mormonism, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were
able to build, and sustain a religion that issuperficially at leastbased on
questionable evidence and stories. They also were able to accomplish this in the
face of great adversity, not much different to how most religions (e.g. Christianity,
Catholicism, Islam, etc) were founded. Some consider persuasion a very admirable
36


characteristic for leadership, and rightly sothe ability to encourage others to join
in agreement on one idea or another is at the heart and soul of leadership. However,
leadership is the essence of doing something for a just cause; when one's motives
become solely centered around personal benefit, the cause is no longer just, and
such persuasion is no longer leadership, but merely dictatorship. This is not to
suggest that this was the case with Mormonism, for the author knows that nothing
is certain in this life. Everyone has beliefs which they will stand by until they are
sufficiently convinced otherwise. The reader can form their own opinions on all
topics listed herein, as the intent of this thesis is to explain how certain things can
be viewed and the logic for and against such claimsnot to place blame or
conviction anywhere or on anyone.
Regardless of whether one believes the Mormon faith to be that of pure leadership
or deception, one thing that is difficult to debate is that the religion, faith and
culture that Joseph Smith founded, and Brigham Young eventually sustained, is one
of the closest-knit communities with truly genuine intentions available in modem
societywhether or not misguided is not the point, but rather the intentions of the
actions of all Mormons seen from the viewpoint of a Mormon. The following quote
affirms this claim.
It has been said that Joseph Smiths greatest creation was the
Mormon people. Even observers who have little use for Smiths
doctrines applaud the Latter-day Saints unity and communality
... In support of their religious identity, Mormons... may work
ten or fifteen hours a week in unpaid church service, and go on
voluntary two-year missions without pay. They feel immense
loyalty to one another and to the organization they serve
(Bushman 2008).
According to the BBC (2009b), a fundamental belief of Mormonism is ...being
honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men. It goes on
37


to describe those things that Mormons strive for:
We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured
many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is
anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we
seek after these things (BBC 2009b).
Once again, it is very difficult to argue with the fact that the intent with which
Mormons practice their religion is very noble. They strive to isolate no one, they
are empathetic and compassionate to all, and they are dedicated to their cause, as
shown in the previous statement. Honesty, is also very important to Mormons. And,
in modem times, when so many are deceitful and dishonest, it seems hardly
reasonable to condemn any group of people who hold the characteristic of honesty
in such high regard. Mark E. Petersen, who is a Mormon apostle, noted that
Honesty is a principle of salvation in the kingdom of God...
Just as no man or woman can be saved without baptism, so no
one can be saved without honesty (LDS 2010).
1.2.3 Exploration
Note: This section has been borrowed in many respects from an article written by Rens and
Rens (2010) with permission from the author(s). Much of the structure has been re-
imagined, reformatted, and adapted to fit within the content of this text, however, the
general thoughts, ideas, and concepts are unchanged. While countless hours of research on
this topic was completed by the main author in preparation for this publication, the basic
content of this section should be attributed solely to Rens and Rens (2010). The main
author does, however, take full responsibility for any and all inadvertent omissions,
misrepresentations, typographical or other reproduction errors, should any be found.
Furthermore, it is highly recommended that the reader obtain a copy of said article -
Leading, Learning, And Living The Shackleton Way: Education And Practice, to read in
concert with this thesis for a better understanding of the evolution of ideas and content.
At the turn of the twentieth century, explorers such as Robert Falcon Scott, Roald
Amundsen, Vilhjalmur Stefansson, and Ernest Shackleton were racing to discover
the South Pole, as it remained one of the last unexplored frontiers (Thomson 2002).
38


Scott and Shackleton together set the first mark when their Discovery expedition
paved the way in 1902-1903 (Scott 1905). Although they advanced 240 miles
further than anyone before them, they fell nearly 500 miles short of the South Pole
on December 31, 1902. Their route was later used by all as a starting point for
future polar explorations (Huntford et al. 2002). On January 9, 1909, British
explorer Ernest Shackleton set the record having to turn back a mere 97 miles from
the South Pole (Shackleton, 2002). Norwegian Amundsen was the winner on
December 15, 1911; he reached the pole literally days before yet another attempt by
the British Scott, who died on the return trip after coming in second.
1.2.3.1 Ernest Henry Shackleton
Throughout the last century, Ernest Shackletonan early twentieth century
Antarctic explorerhas become famous for his Endurance expedition in which he
transformed a seemingly doomed attempt at reaching the South Pole into a
remarkable victory. The Endurance expedition, which had all the makings of
calamity at even the earliest stages, was seemingly destined to become a hallmark
lesson in what not to do, is now told as one of the greatest stories of perseverance,
endurance, and leadership in history. The expedition got its name from Shackleton's
family motto: Fortudine Vincimus, which means By endurance we conquer.
The survival story of the Endurance is a remarkable adventure that is simply hard
to believeeven with the spectacular documentation of still and video
photography. Such a story, at times, may even seem fictionalthat of a child's
storybook or a 21s1 century box office film, that fantastically explores the paradox
of treacherous undertakings and heroic triumph. Fortunately for the crew of the
Endurance, it was not disastrous; and likewise for the general welfare of
humankind, that it was not just a fairy tale.
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Having failed at the Pole discovery, Shackleton set his goal to make the first
transcontinental journey across Antarctica on foot. In 1913, Shackleton reportedly
placed the following ad in the local London newspapers (Perkins 2000):
Men wanted for Hazardous Journey. Small wages, bitter cold,
long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return
doubtful, Honour and recognition in case of success.
As the profession of explorer had produced many heroes of the day, several
thousand people responded to the advertisement. In the end, Shackleton selected 26
men, 69 dogs, and one cat. Yet, relatively soon after setting sail, a stowaway was
discovered, bringing the total crew size to 28 (McKeman 2005). The Endurance
was scheduled to sail from London's East India docks on August 1, 1914 (Lansing,
1959) en route to South Georgia Island, and then continue on to the shores of
Antarctica where Shackleton and a select party from his crew were to trek on foot
across the frigid continent until they crossed over the Pole and reached the shore on
the other side of the frozen continent. They set sail from S. Georgia Islandtheir
last interaction with modem human civilizationon December 5, 1914. Yet,
doomed from the offset, the Endurance would never even reach the earthly shores
of Antarctica. Instead, it became trapped in the icy waters of the Weddell Sea, and
Shackleton and his crew would call those treacherous waters home for the next
497 days (Richards and Spijer, 2001).
In all, Shackleton headed south only four times. With the first two expeditions, he
attempted to reach the South Pole, however failing each time: Discovery (1901
1903), and Nimrod (1907-1909). After losing this race, he set his sites even further
ahead. His objective with the Endurance expedition (1914-1917) was to trek across
the continent. His final, and fatal trip to the icy waters of the south, the Quest
40


(1921-1922), was more of a reunion for the crew of the Endurance than anything
else. Technically, the mission was to search for lost islands by sailing around the
continent (Huntford et al. 2002). However, Huntford et al. continues on to explain
the extent of such plans:
After South Georgia, however, he had no plans. When all was
said and done, what he was trying to make was a voyage back
in time.
Within days, the ship entered loose pack ice and for 40 days successfully navigated
the icy jigsaw puzzle in the Weddell Sea. On January 18, 1915, the Endurance was
beset and frozen, like an almond in the middle of a chocolate bar (Lansing 1959).
The ship and her crew would stay intact until October 27, 1915, when the ice floe
pressure finally crushed the ship forcing the crew to camp on the ice for nearly 150
days.
Shackletons only comment when the ship was crushed was So now, we go home
(Perkins 2000). On April 9, 1916, the salvaged life boats were launched and all 28
men sailed to Elephant Island where they landed on April 22, 1916nearly 500
days since they had last been on solid land on South Georgia Island. But Elephant
Island was nothing more than a rock and not along any navigational routes used by
whaling or commerce ships. Shackleton, always hesitant about separating himself
from his crew, did the unthinkable. He selected five men and set sail on April 24,
1916, to South Georgia Islandsome 700 miles from Elephant Islandover the
most hostile seas known to man. During the boat journey, Shackletons mind was
always on the men he left behind: Skipper, if anything happens to me while those
fellas are waiting for me, I shall feel like a murderer. Using only a sextant for
navigation, they would endure 50-foot waves and storms estimated at hurricane
strength to land on the west side of South Georgia Island on May 10, 1916. The
41


problem was that the west side was uninhabited; the whaling station they had set
sail from nearly 18 months earlier was on the east side. Shackleton would have to
cross several mountain ranges and glacier fields on foot and he chose not to wait.
Thirty-six hours later he was back at the whaling station where he began the
journey. It then took him four attempts and nearly four months to get back to
Elephant Island, but he was eventually successful in retrieving the 22 men he left
behind. On August 30, 1916, all 28 men were finally reunited. Although frostbite
and malnutrition had taken its toll on some of the men, Shackletons Endurance
crew was again intact without a single life being lost.
Successfully reaching the South Pole with the Endurance expedition would have
assured Shackleton fame and fortune after his two previous attemptsdespite both
ultimately ending in failurewere widely considered major successes. In each
case, his team advanced nearer to the Pole than any of their predecessors. In spite
of this, Shackleton chose the life of his men, rather than the greed for the many
potential superficial rewards of success. Not to mention the financial woeswhich
flooded his life after the Endurance expeditionhe could have avoided by
carelessly proceeding with the suicidal mission. If Shackleton were selfish,
proceeding on heedlessly would have been a win-win scenario for him. But, as
should be obvious by now, this was not to be.
Shackleton would make one other South Pole trek attempt as part of the Quest
expedition in 1921though he never made it off South Georgia Island as he
suffered a heart attack and died on January 5, 1922. At his funeral, the saga of the
Endurance was best summarized by Worsely (1977):
Six years later when looking at Shackletons grave and the cairn
which we, his comrades, erected to his memory on a wind-
swept hill of South Georgia, I meditated on his great
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achievements and triumphs, great as they were, his one failure
was the most glorious. By self-sacrifice and throwing his own
life into the balance he saved every one of his mennot a life
was lostalthough at times it had looked unlikely that one
could be saved. His outstanding characteristics were his care of,
and anxiety for, the lives and well-being of all his men.
Shackletons care for his men was evident at many times throughout the two year
journey of the Endurance crew; some examples are cited below:
Shackleton pushed Frank Wild to take his breakfast biscuit,
insisting that his friend needed it more than he did. When Wild
refused, the boss (Shackleton) threatened to bury it in the snow
rather than to eat it himself. Wild took the biscuit. It was a
gesture he never forgot (Morrell and Capperal 2001).
When Hurley lost his mittens, Shackleton insisted that he take
his own. When Hurley objected, Shackleton was to the point of
throwing his gloves over and into the water rather than wear his
own when a crew member had to be without (Perkins 2000).
In between meals, if Shackleton thought we needed gingering
up in any way, he would suddenly issue a snack. It was due
solely to Shackletons care of his men that no one died during
the boat journey. Two of the party at least were very close to
death. Indeed it might be said that he kept a finger on each
mans pulse. Whenever he noticed that a man seemed extra
cold, he would immediately order another hot drink to be
prepared and served to all. He never let the man know that it
was on his account lest he become nervous about himself, and
while we all participated, it was the coldest, naturally, who got
the greatest advantage (Worsely 1931).
The night was a blur. Once Perce fell asleep while holding a
board in place on the dam. He found a mug of soup in his hand
and didnt know how it got there. The strangest thing was how
the boss was everywhere all the time. When a shift was finished
on the pumps, there he was with mugs of chocolate (McKeman
43


2005).
Leaders like Ernest Shackleton do not come around very often, and when they do,
it can be easy to brush them off as another crazy person. But lucky for the world,
the story of Shackleton was not lost in the history books, nor did it turn out to be
just another tragic story. It survived to become one of the great leadership stories of
modem day. The last quote above is especially remarkable for Shackleton never
was thinking of himself, but rather was always thinking of his men. In the
following quote, Phillips (2000) was speaking of Martin Luther King Jr.another
extraordinary leader whom will be presented in a few sectionsbut he easily could
have been referring to Ernest Shackleton:
Leaders are always providing people regular reminders to act.
They are continually giving a little encouragement when things
are going welland a lot of encouragement when things are not
going well.
The review of Shackleton's incredible story certainly supports the following
statement from James Dobson (Lansing 1959):
Let me simply dedicate this edition of Endurance to every
reader who has faced impossible challenges and gales of grief.
Perhaps you are such a person who has encountered perilous
mountains too high to scale. I hope this book will encourage
you not to give up. It was through the indomitable courage and
perseverance of the explorers that they overcame terrible
obstacles and lived to tell their story. Theres a message here for
all of us (Lansing 1959).
1.2.3.2 Robert Falcon Scott
Having captained the expedition that paved the way for Shackleton from 1907-
1909, in which his team was forced to retreat less than 500 miles short of reaching
44


their goal (Scott 2001), Robert Falcon Scott was no doubt the star explorer of his
day. He served in the British Navy, and when it came to the South Pole, the Navy
endorsed his expeditions, along with the British government. With every desirable
resource at his fingertips, Scott had the path to the South Pole all but paved in
heated granite lying ahead of him. Yet, when it came time to perform, he failed
begrudgingly, irresponsibly and bitterly. For the Discovery expedition, Scott chose
Ernest Shackletonthen a third officerand one other shipmate to attempt the trek
towards the pole. One the hike, Shackleton developed a sever case of scurvy.
Returning to the Discovery after failing to reach the pole, Scott decided to send
Shackleton home for medical reasons. However, it has been suggested that the
real reason was that he blamed Shackleton's illness for the failure.
Unlike Shackleton, Scott did eventually reach the South Pole, but not only did
another explorer, Roald Amundsen, beat him there by a matter of days, but his
semi-victorious expedition ended in bitter irony when he and his crew died on the
return trip from the pole.
1.2.3.3 Roald Amundsen
Roald Amundsen was a Norwegian polar explorer at the turn of the 20th century.
Despite being the first to reach the South Pole in the age of Ernest Shackleton and
Robert Falcon Scott, his legacy somewhat tends to be hidden in records of history.
While certainly famous and regarded by many as one of the greatest explorers in
history, Amundsen is not as memorable as Shackleton and Scott. This can be
attributed largely in part to the ethics of his decision making. The methods and
tactics that he employed to achieve his objectives were deceptive to say the least, if
not outright wrong. For example, in his expedition that succeeded in reaching the
45


South Pole, he told no one of his true plansnot his financiers, not his crew, not
Robert Scott who's concurrent expedition he secretly planned to undermineuntil
after he was well on his way in the other direction. His ship, the Fram, and it's third
expedition was in every way a scientific expedition, and would have nothing to do
with record-breaking (Amundsen 1976), as he would deceitfully ensure his
financial sponsors. However, he had no intentions of studying the North Pole which
was the official objective of this expedition. Rather, his plan all along was to turn
around and head south in an attempt to discover the South Pole before Scott did.
Amundsen openly admitted that he felt absolutely no shame in deceiving his
sponsors, who had so warmly supported [him], and had done so with the
original plan before them. As he saw it, his decision would at once put the whole
enterprise on its feet, retrieve the heavy expenses that the expedition had already
incurred, and save the contributions from being wasted. Indeed this was how
Amundsen viewed life and decision makingsimilar to many people in modern
society as wellthrough a lens in which only the rewards of the now were
important. Certainly, a scientific expedition would bring back very rewarding
information for the future of humanity, possibly even rewarding enough to engrave
his legacya commendable onein the history books. Yet, as he saw it, the
possibility of this was minimal, and the chances of it occurring during his lifetime,
thereby proffering him fame and fortune, were even slimmer. To Amundsen, he
cared not to leave the world with a timeless legacy; he simply wanted to regain his
losses and become a hero.
When it came to his crew, Amundsen sailed with them to the North Pole, before
breaking the news that their stay on the frozen pole would be short, as his original
intentions would be to turn around and sail to the other end of the world and
attempt a discovery of the South Pole. He asked each member of his crew
46


individually if they would like to join him. Their options; join his new expedition,
or go ashore onto the frigid, uncertain iceberg known as the Arctic and make their
way back home. Ultimately, he even abandoned his brother, Leon, asking him to
stay behind so that he could notify Scott of his new plansbut only after he had
made it past the point of recall (Amundsen 2010). This maneuver was basically a
formality to salvage any good remaining in his name.
As mentioned, Amundsen's gesture to notify Scott of his new intentions was no
more than a deceitful tactic to salvage what was left of his reputation without
foiling his selfish and devious plans. Despite the technicalities that spoke counter
this, most of the crew on Scott's ship the Terra Nova saw Roald's tactics as being
underhanded (Amundsen 2010). Speaking on his lack of remorse in his treatment of
Scott's expedition and his apparent lack of professionalism, Amundsen comments:
Scott's plan and equipment were so widely different from my
own that I regarded the telegram that I sent him later, with the
information that we were bound for the Antarctic regions, rather
as a mark of courtesy than as a communication which might
cause him to alter his programme in the slightest degree. The
British expedition was designed entirely for scientific research.
The Pole was only a side-issue, whereas in my extended plan it
was the main object.
Were this indeed the case, Amundsen's legacy may have have evolved differently
over the years, but any honest person remotely familiar with polar exploration of
the times would have known that this was a fallacyScott's intentions for
discovering the Pole were well known to all interested parties, including his
financial contributors. In fact, one may argue that Scott's professionalism is what
doomed his expedition, as he had every intent of completing the scientific research
that he had promised he would conduct, whereas Amundsen packed minimally and
efficiently with one goal in mindpersonal success. Amundsen did not have to
47


worry about unnecessary cargo slowing down his ship, nor did he need to conduct
scientific research, thereby delaying his trek to the Pole; he did not even worry
about coordinating his plans and schedule. He simply decided that he was going to
the South and did it, whereas Scott took all necessary precautions and notified
everyone of his true intentions prior to the fact. While Scott may have had some
leadership downfalls, he was in most respects, an honorable sailorhe kept his
word to those who entrusted their resources in him, and acted professionally
throughout each of his endeavors. Simply, only the opposite could be said of
Amundsen.
1.2.3.4 Vilhjalmur Stefansson
Contrasting Shackleton's leadership with that of another explorer of his time,
Vilhjalmur Stefansson, one could say that they were polar opposites, both literally
and figuratively. Stefansson was a North Pole explorer and the leader of the Karluk,
a vessel that was similarly trapped in the Arctic Ocean in 1913 (Berton 2004).
Unlike Shackleton however, it was only a matter of time before Stefansson could
no longer handle the responsibility. The waiting game soon got the better of him,
and he deserted his crew. He told his crew that he was going on a hunting trip. Yet,
he organized a hunting party comprised of the most ill-suited members for such a
trip. Stefansson was never again seen back at the Karluk. Many of his crew did not
survive. Though somehow Stefansson did, and his decision to leave reportedly
haunted him for the rest of his life (Berton 2004).
Vilhjalmur Stefansson was an independent person, and to ensure that he would
have to answer to no one, he chose to be unpaid. He was always convinced that his
way was the right way and did not like to listen to the advice of any of his crew,
48


often responding to suggestions or questions, that the questioner had no right to
ask or that the question was impertinent.
Stefansson preferred to plunge ahead, heedless of detailed
planning, confident everything would work out. His friend
Richard Finnie described him as really a lone wolf explorer...
at best when traveling by himself or with a few congenial
followers (Berton 2004).
His crew of scientists had little praise for him as a cohesive leader:
There was practically no confidence in the leader and little
assurance of getting good work done (Berton 2004).
His choice of crew was suspect as well. His chief magnetition/meteorologist
McKinlay commented on Stefanssons choice of crew and in general the overall
expedition:
They were good enough seamen but lacked the other qualities
which would be necessary for harmonious living in the kind of
circumstances which might face us in the north (Berton 2004).
The expedition was ill-conceived, carelessly planned, badly
organized, haphazardly manned, and almost totally lacking in
leadership (Berton 2004).
On August 12, 1913, Bartlett, the captain of the Karluk, followed an open lead of
water though the Arctic pack ice near the North Pole, disregarding Stefansson's
orders. The decision proved to be ill fated as the ship never was to see open water
again and was frozen fast. After about 30 days of inactivity, Stefanssons
restlessness, as previously mentioned, got the best of him and he declared an
intention to go foraging for meat. The debate goes on and on as to Stefanssons true
intentionwas the hunt to be a short-term expedition or abandonment?
No fewer than four published books have dealt with the
question of Stefanssons judgment and the fate of those he left
49


behind (Berton 2004).
Stefansson had not gone on any hunting party. Bartlett (Captain)
knew it in his gut. Stefansson had abandoned ship. He had been
anxious to be on his way, to continue his grand expedition. He
could not sit still any longer. Whatever his motives, McConnell,
Wilkins, Jenness, Jimmy, and Jerry (accompanying Stefansson)
were probably unaware. As far as any of them knew, they were
on a hunting trip, and it didnt seem to occur to any of them that
a secretary, a photographer, and an anthropologist made a
strange hunting party. If it truly was a hunting trip, why was
Hadley, the great trapper, not included? Or Chafe, the expert
marksman? Why did Kuraluk, the best by far of the Eskimo
hunters, remain on the Karluk while two other lesser hunters
went in his place? If Stefansson were planning a simple hunting
trip, surely he would have taken Kuraluk, who could of stood to
be separated from his family for that short period of time. But if
his intentions were indeed to be gone longer, better to take the
two single Eskimos, knowing as he did the native tradition of
families staying together when hired (Niven 2000).
McKinlay goes on to comment on the general moral of the crew after Stefanssons
departure: There was a feeling of every man for himself in the air (Berton 2004).
Rather than hold his crew together, Stefansson abandoned them as they struggled
for survival. He left behind 22 men, 1 woman, and 2 children; ultimately 11 of the
25 would not survive (Niven 2000).
1.2.3.5 Summary
Ernest Shackleton was warned to not enter the Weddell Sea in 1914: the whalers at
South Georgia told him that the pack ice had never been worse. Shackleton
disregarded the advice, after waiting a month for the ice to open up, and pushed
forward. He would never enter his promised land, the South Pole. Stefansson too
50


warned Captain Bartlett to not go north but to stick close to the Alaskan land for
many miles waiting for open water. But Bartlett became impatienthe disregarded
the advice and turned the ship north when Stefansson was asleep. As a result, the
Karluk was also beset. One can consider the following hypothetical situation:
Imagine if Stefansson considered this one action by Bartlett to be what doomed the
Karluk. He likely would have become very upset with Bartlett, and started to hone
in too closely on this one event. Surely, he could have come to the conclusion that
the besetting of the Karluk was not his faultthat in fact it was Barlett's fault for
his costly decisionand thereby concluded that he was no longer responsible for
the lives of the crew. Ultimately, Stefansson could have presented this argument to
himself so convincingly that he completely forgot about the mistakes that he made
to influence the fate of the Karlukwas he not the one who hired Bartlett as
Captain in the first place? While this is merely a hypothetical situation, the truth of
the matter is that it is quite a feasible scenario. In modem times, this type of self-
deception happens all too often. Such misrepresentation or minimization of truth to
oneself is best illustrated through a classic cartoon described by Jones (1996):
A famous cartoonist illustrates a creature face to face with the
second step. The creature's face is pressed against the step so
closely it is unable to move up, backward, sideways, or forward
without falling off. The creature is completely stuck.
Shackleton encountered many situations like this, but every time, he took full
responsibility to lead his crew out of the trouble they were inregardless of who's
fault it was. He made a point to do whatever was necessary to finish the race,
even if it meant personally supervising the trouble makers so they couldn't
influence the other members of the crew. How people respond to ill fated choices
tends to be very revealing of inner standards and character. Shackleton chose to
accept responsibility for disregarding the whalers advice and did everything he
could to ensure the lives of his men. He placed highest priority on the safety of his
51


crew. In fact, because he took his job so seriously, many claim that it eventually
cost him his life, as he died of a heart attack at the relatively young age of 47
(Lansing 1959). Stefansson, however, felt that the objective of the expedition, its
overall goal, was more important than any crew members life. He once said that
lives were secondary to the success of the exploration. In the end he chose to run
rather than accept responsibility. He justified his decision by choosing not to be
paid, but in the end it cost the Karluk crew 11 lives, and Stefansson had to live with
that for the remainder of his 83 years on earth (Berton 2004).
1.2.4 Politics
1.2.4.1 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was a popular Hindu religious figure, an early
twentieth century Indian civil rights activist, and universally one of the most
beloved figures of all time. Additionally, Gandhi was arguably the most influential
person in the construction of modem society in many respects. He is commonly
known as Mahatma Gandhi, in which Mahatma is an honorary title given to him by
Rabindranath Tagore (Bhattacharya 1997). He not only directly influenced political
policies in India, but he was also indirectly influential in American politics, African
politics, as well as many other countries. Additionally, he has had great influence
on religion; not only Hinduismwhich was the religion that he chose to practice
but also modem Christianity, Buddhism, and many others (Phillips 2000; Kalungu-
Banda 2006; Lama 2001; Nair 1997).
Gandhi is most famous for developing and implementing a massive, yet nonviolent
revolt in India to separate India from Great Britain. In developing his strategies and
doctrines that were based on concepts of love, compassion, and nonviolence,
52


Gandhi had been inspired by Henry David Thoreau. In his essay on civil
disobedience, Thoreau says that [w]e can no longer lend our cooperation to an evil
system (Phillips 2000). Borrowing this concept and incorporating it into his own
ideas and standards of nonviolence, Gandhi developed what he called
Satyagraha. The literal translation of this Indian word is truth-force or love-
force, which illustrates Gandhi's kind yet aggressive approach toward seeking
redemption. Gandhi's methods of nonviolent revolt against oppressive powers has
been borrowed and utilized many times since he implemented it in India almost a
century ago. Martin Luther King Jr., whom was one of such leaders to take after
Gandhi's teachings, explains the method's effectiveness:
I had come to see early that the Christian doctrine of love
operating through the Gandhian method of nonviolence was one
of the most potent weapons available to an oppressed people in
their struggle for freedom. .. .nonviolence became more than a
method to which I gave intellectual assent, it became a way of
life. Many issues I had not cleared up intellectually were now
solved in the sphere of practical action (Phillips 2000).
The concept of nonviolent revolt can, and in fact to many it does, seem almost
elementary. Yet, the fact remains that it is very effective. It worked for Gandhi;
African Americans whom had been oppressed for centuries used it under the
leadership of Dr. King, to gain equal rights in America; and South Africans, under
the leadership of Nelson Mandela employed it to rid their country of segregation
and discrimination. One cannot be misled by the seemingly simple doctrines of
nonviolence. Even Dr. King, who became one of its greatest advocates, before
researching it had firmly believed that an armed revolt would be required to bring
an end to racial segregation in America. The key to its effectiveness is that it attacks
the one thing that is a vulnerability in every single human being: the mind. It has
already been presented that happiness is highly dependent on one's mental state.
Likewise, the only way to change centuries old ways is to appeal to one's mind; not
53


their wallet, or their family, or their personal safety. Simply enough, human beings
are subconsciously very protective of their minds, so much that, similar to how they
take on what some call survival mode when in physical danger, they similarly
retreat into a mental survival mode when they are attacked mentally. And again,
since happiness can be defined as the ultimate good, people will almost always
relinquish any other power they may have in order to maintain control over their
own mindand in essence to protect their happiness.
Taking the concept of personal happiness that has been discussed throughout the
preceding chapters, Gandhi attempts to illustrate his concepts for ethics and
leadership by defining happiness as when you reach the point such that .what
you think, what you say, and what you do is in harmony (Gandhi 2007). Simply,
he's saying that consistency, not merely the exterior actions that others perceive as
being consistent, but the interior thoughts and beliefs that guide one's actions daily,
are what produce true happiness in human beings. Placed in context, one can
clearly see that this is indeed the case, for when you build something yourself, the
satisfaction and personal reward of accomplishment are infinitely greater than when
the same purchased at no effort of the purchaser. Further, telling friends and family
of how one succeeded in their education or career proffers them great joy when
such claims are the truth, yet only serves to prevent disappointment or scorn when
they are not. In other words, deception can only prevent bad things, whereas
honesty can directly produce happiness. Deception cannot produce good things;
only honesty and integrity can.
Continuing with this point, it should be clear that since honesty and integrity, not
achievement or the perception of achievement can directly produce happiness all
human beings should seek such traits. Then, if these characteristics are a direct
54


manufacturer of happiness, which according to Aristotle is the supreme good, as
it is perfect and self-sufficient, being the end to which our actions are directed
(Aristotle 2004), does it not infer that they should be sought above physical
achievements and the like? The path to happiness through such superficial means is
indirect by nature, whereas the path through honesty and integrity is direct and
therefore shorter. Furthermore, honesty and other such virtues will inherently
produce such ends (e.g. happiness) more reliably. Stone (2002) quotes Mahatma
Gandhi as he argues a philosophy very similar to this:
It's the action, not the fruit of the action, that's important. You
have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not
be in your time, that there'll be any fruit. But that doesn't mean
you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what
results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will
be no result.
Taking Gandhi slightly out of context, one could also argue the inverse of this
statement and say that you cannot do the wrong thing, simply because a fruitful
outcome is the likely result. With regards to acting ethically, what you do depends
not on the future implications of such actions, but rather the current ones. Finally,
as Gandhi states that one may never know what results come from their actions,
he is continuing the debate that ethics have no relevance to one's personal gainor
lossand as such, the current implications for consideration are those which have
the littlest effect on oneself.
As mentioned, Gandhi was and still is adored and respected by nearly everyone,
including the people and nations he rebelled against. He was able to maintain this
respect and adoration even after directly opposing incumbent institutions because,
as explained by Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi's goal, was not to defeat the
British in India, but to redeem them through love, so as to avoid a legacy of
55


bitterness (Phillips 2000). And, redeem them through love was exactly what
Mahatma accomplished. Comparatively, one downfall to his achievements is that it
took him his entire lifenearly forty yearsto achieve all that he did. Abraham
Lincoln on the other hand was able to accomplish his goals in only four years.
Nevertheless, Gandhi's persistence gained him a legacy of compassion and love
matched by no one, except for maybe that of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
Speaking of Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. amazingly said [i]t is ironic, yet
inescapably true that the greatest Christian of the modem world was a man who
never embraced Christianity (Phillips 2000). Nair (1997) says that Gandhi ...
reminded the world that the human spirit is indomitable and that courage and love
are more powerful than force. Gandhi's only message to the world: My life is its
own message.
1.2.4.2 Nelson Mandela
Towering like a moral colossus over the late twentieth century,
his voice carries an ethical weight like no other. He rode to
power on a global wave of goodwill...
This quote is how Kalungu-Banda (2006) chose to describe Nelson Mandela; and a
very appropriate description at that. Next to Gandhi, Mr. Mandela comes in a close
second, if not tied for first, when it comes to self-sacrifice for a common good.
Throughout the 20th century, Nelson Rolihlahla (his birth name) Mandela, anti-
apartheid activist and former president of South-Africa, spent much of his life with
an unquenchable passion to spend himself for the wellbeing of others (Kalunga-
Banda, 2006). Indeed he did just that, as the majority of his adult life27 years to
be exactwas spent behind bars. Mandela spent most of his time on Robben Island
56


imprisoned for crimes of conspiracy against the then incumbent apartheid
government (Stengel 2008). Indeed, his devotion to the betterment of others wasn't
just a glamorous motto or fictitious campaign; he sacrificed his life and freedom so
that the following generations could one day live a life without segregation and
discrimination. According to Baldwin (1999), the Apartheid government enacted
policies of blatant racial segregation, sometimes forcefully removing certain races
mainly black Africans as the Apartheid was comprised mostly of white Africans
from areas of the country.
Following his release in prison, Mandela picked up right where he left off by
leading the efforts to bring democracy to South Africa. In return for his sacrifice
and efforts, he was rewarded by the citizens of South Africa, who elected him as
their presidentin fact, he was the first president in the new, fully-democratic
South African government. Upon his inauguration, he surprised everyone by
making only minimal changes to the personnel structure for his administration.
After some time, his employees, certain of their doom and no longer willing to wait
in fear of the day when it would come, bluntly asked him when he was planning on
letting them go to bring in his own people. His response was simple:
But you are my people. Since I came into this office, everything
has been managed extremely well. I am pleased with the way
you are all working. (Kalungu-Banda 2006).
Unlike many politicians today, especially in the United States where newly elected
politicians are often ridiculed if they retain too many, let alone all of the previous
administration's staff, Mandela was not one to jump to conclusions. Simply, he
would stand by anything and anyone, until it/they proved to be wrong. Yet, many in
modem society require something to be proven before they will stand behind it.
Mandela gave everyone the benefit of the doubt. In return for his compassion, love
57


and forgiveness that he openly offered to everyone, he earned praise and adoration.
Similar to Gandhi, Mandela is often referred by his nicknameMadibawhich is
the name of the clan from which he descended from. In South Africa, it is
considered polite and complimentary to refer to someone by their clan name
(Nelson Mandela Foundation 2010).
A human being is not book; they are not 2 dimensional words written in black
letters onto a white page. In fact, Human beings cannot even be explained in three
dimensions, for that only has enough power to illustrate one's physical
characteristics. Furthermore, that can only describe the dimensions of a person. To
describe the color of their skin, or their hair or eyes, or their composure or gait, or
their speech or accent, and so on, it would take an entirely new dimension for each
one of these categories. This why many people are stumped when they attempt to
reduce someone else to an abstract summary. Kalungu-Banda (2006) describes this
attempt to define another by saying ... when you feel the pressure to describe
someone in general categories, you are most likely passing an unfair judgment on
that person... Further clarifying, he goes on to suggest that, similar to anything
else that has many dimensions, .. .we should not arrogantly attempt to 'read' people
but continuously seek to understand them as they choose to unfold themselves to
us.
This doesn't have to be a chore either. When you take the time to understand
someone, you learn new things, not only about them but about yourself; about who
you are or why you are the way you are. With such a mindset, seeking to truly
know people and befriend themnot merely requesting friendship on Facebook or
following someones twitter accountyou sincerely begin to enjoy it. Just as one
may look forward to going fishing or shopping, it becomes something you long for;
58


you want to get the opinions of others on every little thing that life offers. You
already know your own opinion, and so you desire to compare your logic with that
of the human beings that complete your life. This quote from Kalungu-Banda
(2006) expresses these sentiments in amazing detail:
Each person is special, and beyond measure. We may learn
certain things about them but it would be folly to imagine that
we know everything. Even the fact that we can trace a pattern in
someone's behaviour does not entitle us to think we know the
lot. The pattern we may have noticed is not hard information: it
can be negated at any time by the choices of that person we
think we know inside out. This is what makes any human being
a mystery.
Many people underestimate the magnitude that even the smallest act of kindness
can impress upon one's heart The boxer 'Baby Jake Matlala,' who lived near
Madiba when he was president, had just beaten one of the top boxers of the era to
bring honor to South Africa. As Madiba was an avid boxing fan, he was very
excited to hear this. In fact, Kalungu-Banda (2006) claims that one day as
president, he sneaked out unbeknownst to his bodyguards so that he could go visit
Baby Jake. In a moment of mutual astonishment, they both felt blessed to be in the
others presence. Madiba was excited to meet this star athlete, but Baby Jake was
stunned that Madiba made such a personal effort to visit him and congratulate him
on his victory. In fact, he was almost walking on air. Afterward, he said:
When I am in the ring nothing can stop me. Not even a wall of
steel can stand between victory and me. All I need is to
remember that Madiba is watching me fight for honour. He
came and drank tea in my home and I am simply invincible
(Kalungu-Banda 2006).
Even Bill Clinton, the President of the United States at the time, and very seldom a
man with little to say, simply could not find the words to introduce Madiba when he
visited the White House. Bill Clinton, who has talked himself out of some of the
59


trickiest predicaments, could only muster this in the presence of Madiba:
I do not know what to say. I just cannot bring myself to believe
that I am standing next to the greatest man of our time.... I am
so struck by President Mandela's presence that I cannot find the
right words with which to address you.... May I simply invite
the President to address us.
1.2.4.3 Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., bom in 1929 (Phillips 2000), is one of the greatest
leaders America has been blessed with. He not only achieved much in his short
lifetime, but he did it with empathy for all. The level of empathy that he offered to
everyone, including his oppressors, has arguably been surpassed by none. When
you read how Dr. King spoke of concepts such as empathy, humility, love and
forgiveness, one cannot help but be inspired to change their outlook on such
concepts along with him. After the conclusion the Montgomery boycott, in which
he and the entire town of African Americans boycotted riding the local buses until
they ended their practice of racial segregation, he made the following comments to
his audience of dedicated followers:
As we go back to the buses let us be loving enough to turn an
enemy into a friend. We must now move from protest to
reconciliation. .. With this dedication we will be able to
emerge from the bleak and desolate midnight of man's
inhumanity to man to the bright and glittering daybreak of
freedom and justice. ... [but] I would be terribly disappointed, if
any of you go back to the buses bragging.... we must take this
not as a victory over the white man but as a victory for justice
and democracy. .. Let us go back to the buses in all humility
and with gratitude to Almighty God for making this decision
possible (Phillips 2000).
Dr. King was the combination of inspiration, humility and leadership, such that he
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could arise passion out of the apathetic, talk sense into the most insensible, and
empathize with the evilest of deeds, all within the context of a single speech. It was
as if Dr. King took Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, and Ernest Shackleton, and molded
them into a composite leader to which he aspired to, and eventually succeeded in
becoming. With that, he is a perfect example of learning from the mistakes of one's
predecessors. Never once did Martin make the same mistake twice, and never did
he make the same mistake that someone else had previously made. He did this by
employing continual self-introspection, always listening, and never assuming he
was supremely correct on any matter. All in all, one could agree with Phillips'
(2000) claim that Dr. King's legacy is one founded with .genuinely unselfish,
compassionate, and action oriented leadership. He goes on to say that Although
inexperienced, unpolished, and impulsive, he learned rapidly and turned out to be
not only a great leader, but a true leaderone whom most people followed easily,
willingly, and passionately
Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of the most quoted political figures of the modem
day. He gained such status by accepting a task that was involuntary and
unexpectedly set before him. Regardless of the circumstances, Dr. King was not the
type of person to decline one's request for his leadership. Given the benefit of
hindsight, he turned out to be exactly the person the United States of America
needed in the middle of the 20th century. The United States of America was a
disheartened nation, coming off the heels of the great depression which presented
mass economic hardships with the potential to collapse the American unionand
would have had it not been for the leadership of President Franklin Delano
Roosevelt. Additionally, after having already fought war after war, and soon to
embark upon yet another, the last thing that the United States wanted was a civil
rights revolution; one that had been delayed over a decade since Abraham Lincoln
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issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862 (Phillips 1982). However, that is
exactly what they got from Martin King who knew that the time had come and that
the revolution could not be put on hold any longer if the country was to remain in
tact. A leader who advocated a non-violent civil revolution, in a conflict as ugly and
seemingly headed for violence as any in history, Dr. King lead this nation through
one of it's darkest times in history on the concepts of empathy and persuasiontwo
characteristics possessed by most of the greatest leaders in world history. Some of
his most inspirational moments are documented below (Phillips 2000):
Montgomery is known as the Cradle of the Confederacy. It has
been a quiet cradle for a long, long time. But now the cradle is
rocking. Dixie has a heart all right, but it's having a little heart
trouble right now.
Give us the ballot and we will transform the salient misdeeds of
mobs into the good deeds of orderly citizens, .. .Give us the
ballot.. .Give us the ballot.. .Give us the ballot...
The burning of our churches will not deter us. We are on the
move now. The bombing of our homes will not dissuade us. We
are on the move now. The beating and killing of our clergymen
and young people will not divert us. We are on the move now.
Through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can't
murder murder. Through violence you may murder a liar but
you can't establish truth. Through violence you may murder a
hater, but you can't murder hate. Darkness cannot put out
darkness. Only light can do that.
[Human beings] must make mistakes and leam from them,
make more mistakes and leam anew. They must taste defeat as
well as success. Time and action are teachers.
As illustrated with the preceding quotes, Dr. King used repetition, symbolism and
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metaphorical imagery better than any other leader. He would address a person's
logic to get them listening, speak to their conscience to get them inspired, and
continue to hammer at that nail until they were ready to follow him. He truly was a
brilliant example of leadership by persuasion and inspiration. Yet, at the same time
he was able flip the switch, exhibiting an almost father-like serious but mellow tone
as he would speak to crowds in some of the darkest times. On one occasion, after
his house was bombed, he spoke to a group of civil rights protestors gathered
outside of his homewho were ready to commence a riotand calmly just said:
I want you to go home and put down your weapons. We cannot
solve this problem through retaliatory violence. We must love
our white brothers, no matter what they do to us. We must make
them know that we love them.... This is what we must live by.
We must meet hate with love (Phillips 2000).
Agape love was what Martin called it. It was about understanding good will. A
selfless love such that you [love] the person who does the evil deed, while hating
the deed that the person does, but, he said in order to love your enemies, you
must begin by analyzing yourself. This is the key to it all. Many times people get
caught up in analyzing others that they forget about themselves. In all reality, there
should be no reason for anyone to ever judge someone else, for if everyone simply
examined and attempted to better themselves, no human being would have the time
to judge other people. It is not difficult to see this kind of continual introspection in
Martin Luther King. Everything he did; and everything he said, one could tell that
he was concurrently playing everything out in his mind as to make sure that he was
responding to life and not simply reacting to it. On one occasion in a diner where
the law required that colored people sit in the back, obstructed from view, to get
service, he didn't get mad or angry. He simply told the manager:
I just don't like sitting back there.... It makes me almost angry,
and I know that I shouldn't be ... but when you put me back
there something happens to my soul so that I confront inequality
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in the sense that I have a greater potential of the accumulation
of bitterness (Phillips 2000).
Martin recognized his thoughts and feelings for exactly what they wereinvisible
demons that one can control or become controlled by, depending on how they look
at it. As Martin was telling the manager this, certainly he didn't expect him to just
change his mind and serve Martin in front of a room full of angry white customers.
Martin was simply expressing his thoughts and emotions so that he himself could
hear and understand them; and to let them escape his brain so that they could no
longer control him from within.
Finally, Martin Luther King Jr. led by example, and he was only able to do this
because he practiced controlling his emotions such that they wouldn't get the better
of him in the heat of the moment. On two separate occasions, Martin was
physically attackedwell, more than two, but this discussion will focus on these
two. The first was during a book signing when a 42 year old lady came up to the
front of the line and stabbed him in the chest with a letter opener she kept in her
purse. Having control over his thoughts and emotions gave Martin peace of mind in
this situation to not panic. He simply sat up straight with the dagger in his chest and
waited for the ambulance to arrive. Knowing that someone had just tried to murder
him, it would have been easy let the situation gain momentum and to let his
instincts take control, but he didn't. He didn't allow this to happen because he had
practiced; he practiced for that exact situation. The second situation was at a rally
where he was giving a speech. In the first few rows of the crowd there was a
member of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), and at one point during Martin's speech, the
man jumped out of his seat, onto the platform, tackled Martin and proceeded to
punch him in the face repeatedly. Martin never reacted. He just threw his arms
down and turned the other cheek, until the guards came and wrestled the man away.
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To further illustrate the almost robotic demeanor with which Martin handled these
situations, his only response was basically to say let them go. In the first
situation, when asked if he would like to press charges on the woman, he responded
that he felt no ill-will.... Don't do anything to her.. .Get her healed. In the
situation with the KKK member, martin once again responded honorably:
This system that we live under creates people such as this
youth. I'm not interested in pressing charges. I'm interested in
changing the kind of system that produces this kind of man.
1.2.5 Presidents
1.2.5.1 George Washington
No two words could better describe George Washington than honest and ambitious.
Indeed, this was something that Washington actively worked towards and pushed
himself to achieve every minute of his existence. According to Rees and Spignesi
(2007), he sincerely wrote:
I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private
affairs ... that honesty is always the best policy.... I hope I shall
always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain (what I
consider the most enviable of all titles) the character of an
honest man.
Many examples of Washington's character and integrity can found in the many
writings of his colleagues, and even his adversaries, that speak to his
incomprehensibly noble characteristics:
.. .no one dared to question his honesty. He could not be
corrupted, and his standards could not be compromised (Rees
and Spignesi 2007).
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After George Washington had made the announcement that he would not seek
election for a third term as president of the United States, King George III is
reported to have suggested that if he indeed followed through with this
relinquishment of power, he would be the greatest man in the world (Rees and
Spignesi 2007). Furthermore, the French dictator, Napoleon, on the brink of death
after being forcefully sent into exile, spoke to the magnitude of temptations which
Washington was able to resist. Napoleon observed that the citizens of France
expected him .. .to be another Washington.
One aspect that stands out when reading of the man of George Washington is his
personal conviction to live a good and decent life, driven not by a desire to impress
others or to improve his own personal social status, but rather to improve the lives
of others and to impress his standards upon those he led. This wasn't just a talent
that Washington was divinely blessed with. This aspect of Washington's character
must have been something that he was always cognizant of, for he himself on more
than one occasion spoke to the amount of effort he placed in ensuring that he
remained an honest and just man.
.. .no man, that ever was employed in a public capacity, has
endeavored to discharge the trust reposed in him with greater
honesty, and more zeal for the country's interest, than I have
done; and if there is any person living, who can say with justice,
that I have offered any intentional wrong to the public, I will
cheerfully submit to the most ignominious punishment, that an
injured people ought to inflict (Rees and Spignesi 2007).
1.2.5.2 Thomas Jefferson
Socially, Thomas Jefferson was uncharismatic, sensitive, moody, emotional,
paranoid at times, he disliked public speaking, he was plagued with self-doubt, and
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most of the time he just wanted to be left alone (Barefoot 2008). His character
suffered many downfalls as well, including adultery, large amounts of debt,
hypocrisy, and deception. Nevertheless, Thomas Jefferson, a man of many
weaknesses, was indisputably one of the most intelligent men to set foot on
American soil, if not earthly soil entirely. As author of the Declaration of
Independence and many other revolutionary documents, philosopher on everything
from religion to architecture, and lifelong student of many of life's wonders, he
portrayed one quality of leadership that often goes overlookededucation and self-
discipline. After inviting forty-nine Nobel Prize winners to the white house, John F.
Kennedy is quoted as proclaiming that it was the most extraordinary collection of
talent and of human knowledge that [had] ever been gathered together at the White
Housewith the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone
(Jefferson 2008).
Considering every person mentioned herein, Thomas Jefferson was by far the
greatest champion of knowledge. He started his collegiate level education at the
young age of 14 studying topics such as mathematics, philosophy, and ethics. His
mentor at the time, Dr. William Smallwhom he formed a special bond with
because of their mutual respect for religious freedomalso educated Thomas in the
principles of the Enlightenmenta radical philosophical school of thought popular
at the time. Among what he learned from Dr. Small and the ways of the
Enlightenment were that .. .knowledge could redeem humankind from the
centuries-old chains of ignorance to which it had been sentenced..and that
blind allegiance to authority was no virtue (Barefoot 2008). Until his death, he
considered formal schooling merely as the beginning of a lifetime of continual
learning. So passionate about education and the ability of every human being to
have an opportunity to learn, that on multiple occasions, he took advantage of his
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powerful political position to submit laws, bills, or other regulations calling for the
installment of publicly-funded education systems. In fact, he is known to have
presented a bill known as The Bill for the General Diffusion of Knowledge,
which Barefoot (2008) called .one of the most radical proposals he ever made as
a legislator. In this bill he proposed a three tiered public educational system
similar to that which is commonplace in modem society. Over his lifetime,
Jefferson has been quoted to have made many statements regarding education and
his opinions on it. The following illustrate his level of passion on the topic.
I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against
every form of tyranny over the mind of man (Barefoot 2008).
Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are
the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty (Tucker
2010).
Kalunga-Banda (2006) certainly agrees with Jefferson's passionate views on
learning. He even goes as far as to say that:
When you feel so knowledgeable that all you want to do is
impart what you know, it is a sign that you have stopped
learning. But there is no such thing as standing still in learning.
You are either learning or you are regressing.
Not only a scholar of the mind, Jefferson developed what he called a habit of
industry (Barefoot 2008). This basic precept drove him to take excellent care of
his body through exercise, diet and purposeful activity. Writing to his daughter, he
taught that Exercise and application produce order in our affairs, health of body
and cheerfulness of mind, and these make us precious to our friends. He later
reaffirms his stance on this matter by saying that exercise and recreation are as
necessary as reading; I will say rather more necessary, because health is worth more
than learning. A strong body makes the mind strong. Indeed, as anyone who has
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developed a similar habit of industry knows, staying in shape and keeping one's
body healthy refreshes the mind by allowing it to process information more
efficiently, thereby allowing one to think more clearly.
Jefferson realized, not only the power in knowledge, but the improbability of
obtaining one's goals without it. If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a
state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. It would do
modem society well if all citizens could take the same stance that Jefferson took on
knowledge: .. .1 was bold in the pursuit of knowledge, never fearing to follow
truth and reason to whatever results they led, and bearding every authority which
stood in their way (Barefoot 2008). Certainly, the educational opportunities that
were offered him due to his family's wealth were of great personal benefit. Yet,
contrary to the actions of many privileged enough to be bom into the upper class
both in Jefferson's day and in modem timeswho squander such opportunities, he
took full advantage of them. He accepted everything he was given with great
responsibility, even proposing at one point that the cost of his education be
deducted from his share of his father's estate that he inherited upon his father's
death when he was only 14 years old.
Thomas Jefferson was a great man; not perfect by any means, but in many ways far
greater than most. One thing that particularly stands out amongst his leadership
qualities was his ability to get back up and keep moving. For instance, after a bitter
political feud with John Adams that lasted throughout his career, Thomas Jefferson
mustered the humility after he was retired to set aside his pride and write a letter to
Mr Adams. Jefferson hoped to rekindle their lifelong friendship which commenced
even before the revolutionary war (Barefoot 2008). Barefoot then asks the
introspective question Who is Your Adams? which is relevant to the discussion
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herein. This should not be taken as an inspirational question, of which dramatic
effect is its single purpose. Instead, the reader should be persuaded to search their
heart and soul for an answer to this question, for no one is so decent to have lived a
life entirely absent of pain, both that which has been inflicted by others and that
which one has inflicted. Once understood, one can forgive themselves for such
relationships and the roles they played therein. Only after such introspection can
one truly live in happiness.
Jefferson never said or implied that he would be naively steadfast in his beliefs or
always do what he felt was right. The fact remained that he did not know
everything and the only way to consistently Do the Right Thing was to study and
search for it. When he found what he thought might be such a thing, he searched
further. Not just with intent to prove his initial conclusions to be correct, but to seek
out any and all ways it was incorrect. The truth is always available, just waiting to
be found, but so are the lies and untruths. If one goes searching for the truth with
knowledge of what they already believe to be the truth, these lies and untruths will
manifest themselves as truths to the untrained eye; and only those who are
disciplined and diligent in their pursuit of the truth will be able to distinguish
between the two.
Thomas Jefferson is frequently misunderstood on a number of different topics. The
first being religion. Some say that he was a devout Christian; others say that he was
an atheist; and still many others believe that he was somewhere in between. If one
carefully studies his writings and the writings of him by historians, they will find
that he is actually somewhere in between. He was known to be a very spiritual
person, and considered himself a genuine Christian. Yet, his definition of a
Christian was much different than that of most people in modem America. He was
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a Christian in the sense that he learned from Jesus' teachings and tried to be as
Christ-like as possible. He was a devout believer in what he called the moral
philosophy of Jesus. However, he passionately believed that church leaders had
corrupted [Jesus'] teachings with superstition and mysticism (Barefoot 2008).
Regarding the matter of religion and personal beliefs, he says:
I have ever thought religion a concern purely between our God
and our consciences, for which we were accountable to Him and
not to the priests.... It does me no injury, for my neighbor to say
that there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket
nor breaks my leg.
The other topic that he was often misrepresented on is that of government. While
government policies change so frequentlyRepublicans in Jefferson's day are
similar to Democrats of the 20th century, the Federalists who are no longer a
political party could be considered similar to the Republicans of the modem day,
and so onit can be very difficult to align one's political views properly. Many say
that Jefferson was similar to modem day Republicans in that he desired minimal
government control, while others say he was similar to Democrats such that he
supported a lot of control by the government. Once again, the truth lies somewhere
in the middle. Well, not exactly; one could say that he was both of these extremes.
He favored big government when it would do good things such as provide public
education, and he supported small government when he believed the power it
wielded was trampling on the rights of the American citizens (Barefoot 2008).
1.2.5.3 Abraham Lincoln
His birth mother died when he was nine years old; his sister died when he was only
nineteen; and since he was more of an intellectual than a laborer, he never
developed a close bond with his father; he lost more often than he won; his voice
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was .high-pitched and .penetrating and far-reaching (Phillips 1982). Yet, he
has been consistently ranked as the greatest leader the United States of America has
ever seen. Abraham Lincoln did indeed have an incredibly tough childhood. As a
popular fable goes, Honest Abe even helped build the log cabin that he was born in
(Loewen 2010). Despite the many myths and fables, the majority of stories told of
Abe Lincoln are actually true. Phillips (1982) notes that qualities... such as
honesty and integrity, empathy for the common man, and devotion to the rights of
individuals were products of his upbringing. The story of Lincoln's life is not a
case in which the myths turn one into a legend, but rather a case in which the myths
turn a legend into a god. Regardless of the hoopla surrounding certain claims, his
story is one that inspires nearly all who have the opportunity to hear it.
There is little debate that Lincoln was the greatest leader this
country, and perhaps this world, has ever known. (Phillips
1982).
Bom two centuries ago, Abraham Lincoln was not only the greatest leader the
United States has ever seen, but quite possibly the world as well. Against almost
impossible odds, he managed to hold a country together to achieve a goal in which
many people had become apathetic toward. James Buchanan, the fifteenth president
of the United States preceding Abraham Lincoln, left office boasting that he was
.. .the last President of the United States (Phillips 1982). Certainly a preposterous
claim, but not erroneous by any means. After the transition from Buchanan to
Lincoln, a total of seven states had seceded from the union. Lincoln had been
president for a mere six months, before another four followed suit, bringing the
total up to eleven states (Phillips 2000). Another interesting fact is that Honest Abe
also inherited a dire financial crisis, similar to the one currentlycirca 2008
being experienced in many areas of the world. Prior to his inauguration, a severe
recession hit the nation, leading to the failure of thousands of banks. Yet, somewhat
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similar to Ernest Shackleton, Lincoln never once even considered throwing in the
towel and giving upas James Buchanan had done. As long as he was still in
charge, Abe was determined to do anything and everything he could possibly think
of to achieve victory. Throughout his first three years, Lincoln made more than ten
changes to the command structure of the army in an attempt to find the best
combination of leadership and strategy to win the civil war. Eventually, he
discovered Ulysses S. Grant who he described as a man who fights, and named
him the General-in-Chief of the entire army.
What's more is that nearly everyone had a good word for Lincoln, including those
who at one time or another marked him as their adversary. Two men in particular
came to hold Lincoln in very high regards, giving him their loyalty and
admiration, even though both had nothing but skepticism and mistrust for him
when he was first elected president (Phillips 1982). These two men were his
Secretary of State, William H. Seward, and his Secretary of War, Edwin M.
Stanton. Indeed, Lincoln had a way of winning the hardest of heart over to his
comer, using wit, dedication, and enthusiasm. The following quotes show the
extent of the impression Lincoln left on the people who were fortunate enough to
meet him (Phillips 1982).
Executive force and vigor are rare qualities.... The President is
the best of us. William H. Seward, Secretary of State
If ever there was an honest man on the face of the earth it was
Abraham Lincoln. General Ambrose Burnside
Plain common sense, a kindly disposition, a straight forward
purpose, and a shrewd perception of the ins and outs of poor,
weak human nature, have enabled him to master difficulties
which would have swamped any other man. The New York
Herald
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Lincoln did not demand respect or authority. He simply remained confident, and
empathetic, and eventually nearly everyone developed great respect for him.
Phillips (1982) notes that even the war hero, Ulysses S. Grant, refused to run for
president as long as Lincoln was interested in it.
Ronald Reagan was nicknamed the Great Communicator (Greenstein 2004),
partly due to his career in movies, and also partly due to his and his administration's
organization and strategy. Even with such effective management however, Reagan's
communication skills are trumped by those of Abe Lincoln, especially when one
considers the fact that Lincoln essentially managed his entire administrationhe
controlled policies and strategies, and did not let others dictate his leadership. In
spite of this, he still managed to .tell a great many stories (Phillips 1982) that
inspired a nation, made people laugh, and still effectively illustrated the concepts
and philosophies that he intended to communicate. The following are a few
excellent examples of Lincoln's poetic yet systematic ability to tell a story with
great conviction and effectiveness (Phillips 1982).
This story tells a parable of a lion and a woodman, who's daughter the lion wishes
to marry (originally told by Aesop):
A lion was very much in love with a woodman's daughter. The
fair maid referred him to her father and the lion applied for the
girl. The father replied: Your teeth are too long. So the lion
went to a dentist and had them extracted. Returning, he asked
for his bride. No, said the woodman, your claws are too
long. Going back to the dentist, he had them drawn. Then he
returned to claim his bride, and the woodman, seeing that he
was unarmed, beat out his brains.
The moral to the preceding story, is that you should never surrender your every line
of defense without a guarantee of something in return. The following tale, a
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favorite of Lincoln's, illustrates the concept of mind over matter in a humorous
way:
A man... had a small bull-terrier that could whip all the dogs of
the neighborhood. The owner of a large dog which the terrier
had whipped asked the owner of the terrier how it happened that
the terrier whipped every dog he encountered. That, said the
owner of the terrier, is no mystery to me; your dog and other
dogs get half through a fight before they are ready; now, my dog
is always mad!
While many people use large words and authoritative speech to get their messages
across, Lincoln did not. He knew that, though people often times sound powerful
and momentarily appear to inspire, disappointment lurks after the crowds are
dispersed, as many leaders often proceed to enact the exact opposite policies that
they endorsed in their speech. Here, Lincoln tells the story of two dogs with very
intimidating barks:
I remember when I was a lad, there were two fields behind our
house separated by a fence. In each field there was a big
bulldog, and these dogs spent the whole day racing up and
down, snarling and yelping at each other through that fence.
One day they both came at the same moment to a hole in it, big
enough to let either of them through. Well, gentlemen, what do
you think they did? They just turned tail and scampered away as
fast as they could in opposite directions.
Finally, in an excellent display of Abraham's knowledge and understanding of the
human mind and the logic of its workings, he describes the hypocrisy which many
employ, yet still most remain oblivious to, by narrating an encounter between a
thief and his victim:
The criminal drew his revolver, but the assaulted party made a
sudden spring and wrested the weapon from the hands of the
would-be assassin. Stop! said the attacker. Give me back that
pistol; you have no right to my property.
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Similar to Martin Luther King Jr., Lincoln developed a very skillful and intelligent
understanding of not just the nature of human beings, but of himself as well. He
developed great control over his mind and his thoughts through practice and
discipline. At one point when the press was saying very bad things of him, someone
asked him if he had read the latest news story. Lincoln calmly said [as] a general
rule, I abstain from reading the reports of attacks upon myself, wishing not to be
provoked by that to which I can not properly offer an answer. Lincoln didn't bring
it up again for he knew that thoughts are the origin of anger and, in sequence, regret
as well.
1.2.5.4 Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Each one of the American presidents listed herein were great leaders, and carried
the country on their back through some very trying times. However, this is not
suggesting that every other president has had minimal impact on the path taken by
this great country. In fact, there were many other presidents who have done
wonderful things as commander-in-chief of the United States. Franklin Delano
Roosevelt (FDR) is one of such presidents, and should not be omitted from any
discussion on the greatest American presidential leaders.
A man who, at the young age of thirty-nine, was struck with paralysis from a severe
attack of poliomyelitis, FDR was incorrigible in his pursuit of greatness, and
regained enough strength to walk with the assistance of a cane (Greenstein 2004).
Twelve years later, he was elected as the United States President, and remained
such until he died of natural causes three months into his unprecedented fourth term
as President. FDR marched into office full of confidence and determination to lead
the country through the Great Depression, calling for what he called a New Deal
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for American citizens.
Now regarded by most as one the saviors of America, he did not simply accept the
role of president but he took it forcefully saying that if government would not work
with him to expediently get the country back in the right direction, he would use his
Presidential power equivalent to what he would have if we were in fact invaded by
a foreign foe (Greenstein 2004). Ultimately, he led the U.S. out of the Great
Depression; on the heels of this recovery, the U.S. was indeed attacked by a foreign
foewhen the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbormarking the beginning of U.S.
involvement in World War II. FDR then led the nation through what would be
called the deadliest conflict in human history (Sommerville 2009).
FDR is known for making the modem political term the first hundred days
famous from his brilliant executionsometimes called manipulationof congress
throughout his first one hundred days in office. He was also well liked by the
American public for his accessibility and openness, which he exhibited through
programs such as his fireside chats. While sometimes criticized for his
manipulative style in which he never allowed anyone to know the full story on any
matter except for himself, it certainly worked for him and America at the time.
1.2.6 Military Leaders
While this thesis is not intended to be an all-inclusive reference to all things related
to ethics, responsibility, and leadership, it seems prudent to at least touch on the
topic of leadership from the viewpoint history's greatest military leaders. A short
list of such leaders might include George Washington, Alexander the Great, George
Patton, Ulysses S. Grant, and Douglas MacArthur. Once again, there are many
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others that could be included in this list, but this discussion will barely skim the
surface on the topic military leaders.
George Washington, a leader that has already been introduced herein for his
incredible leadership skills as President of the United States of America, is also
widely recognized as one of the greatest military leaders of all time. As commander
of the American Continental Army, Washington led American troops to victory in
some of the most trying situations ever known. It is acknowledged that considering
the greatest military strategists, Washington was far from one of the most skilled.
Yet, he skillfully mastered characteristics such as honesty, integrity, perseverance,
inspiration, and encouragement, which gave him the edge in the specific moment of
time in which he was asked to serve. The American troops that he led were, as he
described, sometimes half-starved; always in rages, without pay and experiencing,
at times, every species of distress which human nature is capable of undergoing
(CarpeNoctem 2000). Indeed, when it comes to one's ability to command an
ensemble of troops under the least likely conditions to inspire and motivate, George
Washington wins the gold metal for his understanding of human nature,
indisputable affability, and unequivocal integrity. It was because of these
characteristics that made it almost impossible for anyone not to offer Washington
their unconditional loyalty.
Having never lost a battle in eleven years, against the dominant powers of the time
who almost always won the numbers game, Alexander the Great was truly that;
Great. CarpeNoctem (2000) claims that he integrated infantry, cavalry, and
engineers with logistics and intelligence support in a manner never before seen or
experienced. Certainly, Alexander was far ahead of his time; bom in the 4th
century B.C. He utilized technology and intelligence unprecedented for the time,
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proffering him one of the greatest legacies of all time.
George Patton innovated the use of armored warfare in the United States Army of
the early 20th century. Throughout World War I and World War II, General Patton
slowly, but steadily, developed his capabilities as a commander of armed military
forces. By World War II, he had effectively implemented armored doctrine as well
as armory training programs for military personnel (CarpeNoctem 2000). In
collaboration with Patton, was Douglas MacArthur, who commanded significant
portions of the U S. Army in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War.
While designated as one of America's greatest military generals, CarpeNoctem
(2000) points out that he was also one of the most controversial generals of record.
A man whom people either loved or hated, still no one questioned his strategic
abilities.
Ulysses S. Grant, also already mentioned herein, was the army general who in
effect took back the civil war for the American Union. During a time when
President Abraham Lincoln was searching for anyone who would be aggressive
enough to forcefully go after the forces of the Confederacy, Grant turned out to be
exactly that leader. On the brink of defeat, the American Union Army had already
gone through more than a dozen military leaders, and defeat seemed inevitable. Yet,
General Patton brilliantly utilized his tactical and strategic knowledge and
intelligence to dominate the Confederacy in the latter part of the civil war
(CarpeNoctem 2000).
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1.3
Relevance to Structural Engineering
For those engineers who have successfully navigated the dangerous and
complicated waters of ancient philosophy, religion, and historical leadership, you
may be starting to wonder how this all relates to structural engineering. This section
should serve as a transition, explaining the topics still to be discussed and
illustrating how everything should start coming together and hopefully making
sense.
1.3.1 Engineering Community Feedback
Three distinct research projects were conducted in relation to the content of this
thesis: (1) an open-ended poll of undergraduate students on leadership; (2) weekly
discussion boards from a recent graduate level course in which students openly
discussed the topics of engineering, ethics, responsibility, and leadership; and (3) an
online survey of engineering professionals on the topics of engineering, ethics,
responsibility, and leadership. Each of these studies involves at least one of the
topics already presented and/or those still to be discussed. Chapter two will present
an overview and analysis of these research studies as relative to the main topics of
ethics, responsibility, and leadership.
1.3.2 Engineering Ethics
In an attempt to tie these topics in to engineering, a thorough analysis of the state of
ethics within the industry of engineering was completed and will be presented in
chapter three. This analysis includes, but is not limited to the following topics: (1)
engineering society's code of ethics; (2) literature review on various topics of
engineering ethics; and (3) ethics programs in higher education. These topics will
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be discussed both objectively and subjectively, and then conclusions will be made.
Following this, there will be comments and recommendations presented based on
the research performed.
1.3.3 Engineering Case Studies
Chapter four includes a number of case studies that were reviewed and analyzed in
great detail, with a focus on ethics, particularly the ethics of the individual. These
will be presented including case-specific factual information, technical analysis,
ethical analysisboth personal and professional aspectsand conclusions and
recommendations to prevent future occurrences of such failures and/or increase the
likelihood of success. These case studies will also tie in to, and reference the
subjects discussed in the first three chapters of this thesis.
1.4 Summary
In this chapter, the topics of ethics, responsibility and leadership were presented
and discussed from the perspective of ancient Greek philosophy, religion, and
historical leadership. From this discussion, the following conclusions were made
and for the sake of discussion, will thus be considered as truth throughout the
remainder of this thesis, lest the same arguments and logic be presented ad
nauseum.
- Happinessspecifically personal happinessin and of itself, is a supreme
good. In other words, happiness is an end to which every action, or means,
is performed.
The happiness of others is not separate from one's own happiness. In fact,
each is contingent on the other, without exception, only varying in
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magnitude of influence.
Honesty and integrityin the sense that internal acknowledgments (e.g.
personal satisfaction) are rewarded at a higher level than external
acknowledgments (e.g. blessings or vindication of rightness or success from
others)are unique characteristics such that they have direct influence on
one's happiness and are therefore considered to be more desirable than those
characteristics such as deception and dishonesty, which only produce
happiness indirectly by avoidance of pain and suffering.
Empathy, as distinguished from sympathy, is a characteristic on which the
measurement of one's ethical conduct is highly dependent. In this text,
empathy is also taken to encompass all favorable feelings towards others,
including but not limited to compassion, love, forgiveness, and so on.
Religion and ethics, though very much intertwined, are not the same thing,
nor is one dependent upon the other.
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2. Structural Engineering Community
2.1 Research
2.1.1 Engineering Undergraduate Students
A 41-minute IMAX film (Richards and Spijer 2001) on Ernest Shackleton and his
amazing Endurance expedition was presented to a class of 17 third-year civil
engineering students. The documentary was presented about three-fourths of the
way through the semestera time when student stress is usually quite intense. The
poll, including a comprehensive account of the students' comments was included in
a recent ASCE publication of the article written by Rens and Rens (2010), entitled
Leading, Learning, and Living the Shackleton Way: Education and Practice. All
student comments are not included herein, but will be referenced as applicable. It is
recommended that the reader obtain a copy of said article for reference. See the
references section for additional information regarding this publication.
2.1.2 Engineering Graduate Students
A recent online graduate level structural analysis course incorporated weekly
discussion boards on the topics of ethics, responsibility and leadership. The
educational background of students ranged from advanced undergraduate students
preempting graduate level engineering curriculum, to experienced professional
structural engineers. The diversity among discussion topics and student
backgrounds provides a comprehensive representation of the structural engineering
community on these matters. A complete record of the discussion topics and student
comments can be found in Appendix B. Select comments will be referenced as they
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apply to the following chapters. This will provide a link between the opinions of
those involved with engineering academia, and those involved in engineering
practice.
2.1.3 Engineering Professionals
In May and June of 2010, an anonymous survey of engineering professionals was
conducted online using tools from Google Docs and Google Sites. This survey,
along with a tally of the results can be found in Appendix B. Many of the topics
already discussed, including South Pole explorer, Ernest Shackleton, and those of
the following chapters were addressed in this survey. There were also a number of
topics addressed that will not be referenced herein other than in the Appendices.
This survey, and the results thereof will be referenced, where applicable.
2.2 Engineers on Ethics
The saying "Do the Right Thing has many different interpretations. The online
survey introduced in the previous section included an open-ended question asking
survey participants to explain what Do the Right Thing meant to them. Eight of
the eleven respondents had entirely different answers; three of the respondents did
not provide an answer; therefore, no two respondents had the same answer. Many
had similar answers, but non were identical. A select few of these responses are
listed below:
I think it means something different to each individual. To me it means
doing the things that you have been raised to believe are "right", [note:
this response has been shortened, see Appendix B for the full response]
Everyone has a sense of what is right and what is wrong. The phrase is
a directive to do what one knows to be right when faced with
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