Monday, June 1, 2009

P4E.108 Question Authority

"The longer I live, the more I read, the more patiently I think, and the more anxiously I inquire, the less I seem to know..."
John Adams


A mother ran away with her son to keep him from receiving court-ordered chemotherapy treatments for his cancer.

I saw the movie "Flash of Genius" which tells the story of Bob Kearns who fights for years to have the Ford Motor Company acknowledge that he was, in fact, the inventor of the intermittent windshield wiper. He is portrayed as a "man of principle."

I saw a documentary on John Adams, 2nd president of the United States and one of the founders of the country. In a very unpopular stance, he refused to enter into war with France.

The nomination of Sonia Sotomayor and the objections to her nomination.

The political rancoring over the Bush/Cheney war in Iraq and the torture of prisoners.

I saw the movie "A Man for All Seasons" based on the true story of Sir Thomas More who, under enormous pressure to do so, would not consent to give his blessing on the divorce of King Henry VIII from his wife, Catherine so that he could marry Anne Boleyn. Eventually, he was executed (beheaded) for his refusal.

A man shot a prominent doctor, presumably because he performed late-term abortions.


When is having a deeply held conviction no longer admirable?

When do principles cross over to fanaticism?

When does the "man of conscience's" deeply held conviction begin to "smack of pride," arrogance and stubbornness?

What if that deeply held conviction is "wrong"?

Who gets to decide what is right and wrong?

How do we decide right vs. wrong?

Is every "right" position held by one person "wrong" in someone else's view?

Are there universally right positions to hold?

What about majority rule?

Does the majority decide what is right?

Does "might make right"?

Can we (should we) avoid selfish motivation?

How do we act based on what we believe?

Does "money talk"?

Does everyone have a price?

Is it right that the strong prevail?

Do we naturally favor the strong/rich/handsome/beautiful when we decide?

How do we account for other's opinions/positions?

How do I handle new information in my decision-making process?

What about "the Law"?

Does every circumstance have a moral/spiritual interpretation?

Is the world black and white or a million shades of grey?

How do I decide which hill to die on, dig my heels in, set my jaw, stand firm, hold fast?

How do we balance deference and backbone?

Where do I fall between spineless and principled?

Am I wavering, waffling, flip-flopping, ambivalent, unprincipled, non-committal, unsure, lack of confidence, confused, uninformed, undecided, swayed by polls, indecisive, blowing in the wind?

Am I uncompromising, dogmatic, stiff-backed, judgmental, prejudiced?

Am I confident, principled, self-assured, committed, sure, well thought-out, willing to listen to both sides, disciplined, balanced, open-minded, compromising, fair, non-judgmental, well informed, unprejudiced, unbiased, deferent?

Am I a leader or follower?

Am I afraid of making a mistake?

Am I overthinking, brooding melancholy?

Am I unable to make a decision and make a commitment?

Where do I fall between dogmatic - moderate - spineless?

"Don't be evil." Google Corporate Motto

"Primum non nocere."