Cam started a discussion about authenticity, transparency, honesty and doing the right thing. He quoted Seth Godinâ€™s book â€œAll Marketers are Liars,â€ which is probably my favorite marketing book. Being familiar with the book, I jumped into the conversation. The book is not about lying, by the way, itâ€™s about authentic storytelling. You can read the full discussion at on Camâ€™s blog:
In the discussion, Cam stated:
My point here is that there is a right and wrong answer, but people will ignore what is right or wrong to favor their worldview, even if it is wrong.
To risk a free-ranging debate across blogs, Iâ€™ve posted my response below:
I donâ€™t think (most) people ignore right or wrong because of their worldview; I think most people do what they sincerely believe to be right, but I think the concepts of right and wrong themselves can be different depending a personâ€™s worldview. I don't see how any two people who disagree could do anything other than reduce to shouting or verbal abuse (or worse) if they can't accept that the people who disagree with them, do so authentically. Also, it is a good idea to accept that we can be in the wrong because of our worldview as well.
It seems to me that accepting the possibility of our own fallibility is the only way progress can be made civilly. To illustrate this, consider Benjamin Franklinâ€™s words at the Constitutional Convention as he attempted to get the delegates to accept the delicate compromises being made:
[H]aving lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found otherwise. It is therefore that, the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment and pay more respect to the judgment of others.
Most men, indeed as well as most sects in religion, think themselves in possession of all truth, and that wherever others differ from them, it is so far error. Steele, a Protestant, in a dedication, tells the Pope that the only difference between our two churches in their opinions of the certainty of their doctrine is, the Romish Church is infallible, and the Church of England is never in the wrong. But, though many private persons think almost as highly of their own infallibility as of that of their sect, few express it so naturally as a certain French lady, who, in a little dispute with her sister said: "I don't know how it happens, sister, but I meet with nobody but myself that is always in the right."
In these sentiments, sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults -- if they are such--because I think a general government necessary for us . . . I doubt, too, whether any other convention we can obtain may be able to make a better Constitution; for, when you assemble a number of men, to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected?
It therefore astonishes me, sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies, who are waiting with confidence to hear that our councils are confounded like those of the builders of Babel, and that our States are on the point of separation, only to meet hereafter for the purpose of cutting one another's throats. Thus I consent, sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure that it is not the best.
. . . I cannot help expressing a wish that every member of the convention who may still have objections to it, would, with me, on this occasion, doubt a little of his own infallibility, and, to make manifest our unanimity, put his name to this instrument.
Accepting our own fallibility enough to consider another's point-of-view is the respect required for any discussion or disagreement to be productive. Respect helps us listen, and through listening, hopefully we grow. Perhaps even our worldview changes a little. Time and again though, we have seen that in politics and in world events, when respect and trust are absent, little can be accomplished.