Posts Tagged ‘morals’

Yes, Character Matters

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you
really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” – John Wooden

Your character says a lot about you. Are we sending the wrong message? Are we putting those years of education to waste? How about the countless years of selfless educating by our parents?

The Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, has said that the best of men are those with good manners. He himself was known as as-sadiq, the truthful, and al-amin, the trustworthy. People of every religion were witness to Prophet Mohammad’s good manners. It was known that many travelers would leave things in the Prophet’s trust without an ounce of hesitation.

These days character doesn’t seem to count for a lot. Elected politicians are in the spotlight for cheating on their spouses or fathering unknown children. Highly-paid CEOs are being caught stealing and lying. And in more recent news, leaders of countries seem to hoard billions unnoticed, while their citizens are living in poverty. And these leaders are being aided by governments who show themselves to be supporters of human rights and democracy. The true picture of hypocrisy.

Even some religious leaders don’t seem to care about how they act or talk in public. They are arrogant and rude in front of the masses, and are proud to be vain.

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03 2011

Heart of Darkness

He was commonplace in complexion, in features, in manners, and in voice. He was of middle size and of ordinary build. His eyes, of the usual blue, were perhaps remarkably cold. . . . Otherwise there was only an indefinable, faint expression of his lips, something stealthy—a smile—not a smile—I remember it, but I can’t explain . . . . He was a common trader, from his youth up employed in these parts—nothing more. He was obeyed, yet he inspired neither love nor fear, nor even respect. He inspired uneasiness. That was it! Uneasiness. Not a definite mistrust—just uneasiness—nothing more. You have no idea how effective such a . . . faculty can be. He had no genius for organizing, for initiative, or for order even . . . . He had no learning, and no intelligence. His position had come to him—why? . . . He originated nothing; he could keep the routine going—that’s all. But he was great. He was great by this little thing that it was impossible to tell what could control such a man. He never gave that secret away. Perhaps there was nothing within him. Such a suspicion made one pause.

Heart of Darkness –Joseph Conrad

William Deresiewicz quoted the preceding passage in a speech given at West Point. The character described is a good example of the type of leader modern society promotes; a person whose main goal in life is self-preservation and upward mobility—with disregard for the moral or philosophical implications of their transcendence. Lately, I have been reflecting on the moral requirements of just leadership. We live in a time when many of us are unaware of our moral values. Those of us who are aware are unwilling to act on our convictions.

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08 2010