Greek gifts

Ethics have always been at the forefront of behaviour, the trouble is they get taken to a meta level and questions such as ‘what is goodness?’ get answered by the prevailing cultures of the time. Shareholder value and the ‘goodness’ of greed is pursued ‘at all costs’ because that is the extreme way, and in the short term may get a desired result and praise for the CEO, which leads me to another Greek word, Hubris

At the extreme edge, this is maniacal pursuit of profit and the self-convincing that you are invincible and can do no wrong. You believe you have the answer for everything and a lot of your actions are justified by some self-realisation that you can take on the world and win, or even be a great president.

What is required is a dose of humility and Greek philosophers have opined that the more you learn, the more you don’t know.

Without this humility and a healthy dose of scepticism (another Greek word) people remain unaware of the risks and ignore advice so too the story of Icarus, a great example of ignoring advice with disastrous consequences.

Whilst we cannot influence past events, there are some lessons to be learned from Ancient Greece and over the years the messages have been the same but delivery systems have changed. Whereas we now have real time snapchat and Instagram posts that allow comment from all sides, the content can be dubious and doesn’t stand up to the rigours of rationality and sometimes the debates can be unhealthy.

If we go back to Ancient Greece the messages remain consistent, we can dress up concepts and values as much as we like, they have taken the guise of plays, songs, poems and oral history.

Printing presses have also had their time. Nowadays the Internet is used as an Oracle.

Whilst the Oracle was asked for advice on key decisions, it was an ordinary Greek Mortal, Aristotle, who gave us the greatest thought as a gift-the concept of the ‘Golden Mean’ i.e moderation in everything.