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Welcome back to our


session on mindfulness,
on defense strategies against
ethical blindness, and
we will now continue with our third line
of defense against ethical blindness.
The third defense line against
ethical blindness has to do with our
weakness of overestimating
the power to control what we do.
Overestimate our integrity.
Overestimate the positive
perception of ourselves.
We might look into the mirror and perceive
ourselves as beautiful princesses, but
in reality, we are already monsters.
We just do not realize it.
So, developing a better knowledge
of ourselves, of our values,
is a key element of defending
ourselves against ethical blindness.
You might remember the session
we had on institutions where we
saw that large parts of what we do,
large parts of our decisions,
are driven by unconscious routines,
are driven by autopilot.
But behind our routines,
there is this, this set of values and
beliefs about the world that created
these routines in the first place.
So in strong contexts,
our beliefs that built up these routines,
they might get distorted.
They might get buried under more salient
values that the immediate situation of
context pushes, like greed, like,
like competition with others.
But these buried values,
they are still there.
You can see them when someone wakes you up
from your state of ethical blindness, when
you're taken out of your context, when
you realize that what you did was wrong.
You remember in the session, ethical
blindness, we discussed this phenomenon
that blindness is just a temporary
effect driven by the situation.
If you take the person out of the context,
he or
she might realize that
what she did was wrong.
And one of the effects by which you can
see that is when people are taken out of
their context, they often ask themselves,
how could I ever do this?
This is so
against the values that I feel inside.
And they have no answer.

You have some answers now


after these seven weeks on
ethical blindness, of course.
Our values are our moral compass
even if we don't see them,
even if they are buried,
even if we might struggle listing them
if we are asked what our values
are because they are unconscious.
So, it is true that some
people don't have values.
They don't have that compass.
They, they make decisions in
the wrong direction by intention.
And in our course,
we do not want to deny that option.
We do not want to deny the existence
of bad apples in organizations.
Indeed, they are there all the time.
The bigger an organization, the higher the
probability that you have criminals there.
However, what we claimed in this course so
far is that this does not explain many of
these large scandals that we have seen.
It does not explain how whole cultures
can get corrupted by wrong practices.
So, in our course, we do not think
about solutions for the bad apples.
We think about the solutions for
people who do the wrong
things against their good values, against
their good intentions, being sucked
into a context that then takes control
over what they do and what they think.
So, what we have to do is we have to
strengthen those values in our decisions.
Think about the session we had
on dilemmas in our first week.
One of the aspects that we highlighted
there is that we should know our values.
We should analyze our options
in a decision-making situation
against the background of the values
that we hold that are important for us.
So, we should always ask ourselves
from time to time, what are my values?
What is important for me in my life?
What is not negotiable?
What kind of compromise am I willing
to make and where would I want to stop?
If you want to understand what your deep
values are, think about critical decisions
that you had in the past, where you had
to go into one or the other direction,
where you felt more or less comfortable
with the choice you made in the end.
Or look at your own biography,
the direction it took.
Are you happy with what
you decided in the past?

If yes, why?
If not, why not?
Where are the points where you would
have made different decisions if you
could do it again?
Or imagine you're about to die.
You look back at your life.
Ask yourself, at what kind of life do I
want to look back when I'm about to die?
What is my idea of a good life
summarized from the end of it?
What is my vision of a good life?
How do I want to go there from here
if I understand what my vision is?
How do I go there from here?
Or another way of getting to your values
is think about a situation where you
were too weak to really do what you
thought was the right thing to do.
You just obeyed.
You followed the group.
How did you feel about this?
What kind of decision would do
you do instead today and why?
Why do you feel that
this decision was wrong?
Normally, we avoid asking these kind
of questions, stuck in our routines.
But very often,
we avoid doing the things we believe are
the right things to do because we fear.
We fear to lose something.
We fear to be humiliated.
We fear of being marginalized by others.
We fear of not fitting the mode
of other people's expectations.
Sometimes even, we fear violence.
So, if you would ask me what is
the main drive of ethical blindness,
my answer would be it's fear.
And therefore, when we think about fear,
when we think about de,
decision-making situations
where we were driven by fear,
we should ask ourselves,
how would I decide if I had no fear?
This simple question might wake us up for
what is the right thing to do.
In situations where we are not
clear about where to go,
where we are unsure about whether or
not a compromise is worth taking, we
should just ask us this simple question,
how would I decide if I had no fear?
And you would see,
if you would ask yourself this question,
it will reveal what is
really important for you.
It will wake you up.
It will release you from all

the pressures of your context,


at least in your imagination.
And then you might still
do the wrong thing, but
then you do it consciously and
you have no excuse.
You cannot shift the blame to
the power of the context anymore.
So, it is our values that
built the material for
the ethical framing of our decisions.
It is my own character.
It is my own identity where I should
start to think about change when I
want to deal with strong situations.
It's not the situation
where it should start.
Think about what the famous business
caller Karl Weick once said.
If people want to change
their environment,
they need to change themselves and
their own actions, not someone else's.
In the old Greek society,
at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi,
the inscription was gnothi seauton,
know thyself.
We have to understand ourselves as
weak actors in strong contexts.
We have to understand how context
can overpower our good will.
We have to know our own weaknesses in
order to better deal with them and
to defend ourselves
against strong context.
So if we know our values better,
if we have a clear idea of our ideas,
if we know which kind of path
we want to choose for our life,
we can defend ourselves against
strong context in a, in a decent way.
Finally, imagine the construction
of your defense line
against ethical blindness
as a permanent activity.
The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle
understood morality not as a set
of values, not as something that you can
put into a code of conduct and then read.
For him, it was profoundly about
a training of your character.
So, we can lose our morality
if we stop practicing.
You must imagine morality like a kind
of sports ground in which we exercise
ourselves everyday to routinize the
ethical decisions against the context that
very often pushes us towards a routine
that excludes ethics as a, as an element.
The philosopher Gunther Anders

once called this moral stretching.


So we have to stretch our
moral muscles all the time
to keep ourselves fit in contexts
where we might need them.
If we don't exercise our moral muscles,
they get weaker.
So our contexts push towards narrow
frames and mindless routines.
What we can do is we can in, defend
ourselves by creating at least islands of
mindfulness, islands of mindful decisions
in this ocean of mindless routines.
Mindlessness is the problem.
Mindfulness is part of the solution.
So let me conclude this
video by summarizing our
four defense strategies that we have at
our disposition against ethical blindness.
The first one is mindfulness.
Try to step out of your routines and
decide consciously.
The second one is moral imagination.
Try to imagine a broader set of
consequences for your decision and
a broader set of options.
The third one is self-knowledge.
Develop a deeper knowledge, a deep
understanding of yourself, your values,
your beliefs, your vision of life.
And finally,
the fourth element is moral stretching.
The right behavior results from
the constant training of your character.
If you follow these four advices, you
might still fall into the trap of ethical
blindness, but you're better equipped
to defend yourself than others are.
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