Concepts of a Civil Society

What constitutes a Civil Society? The number of possible definitions surrounding a civil society makes one wonder if it has a definite and equitable meaning. Locke referred to it as a “peaceful place in which people respect each other, and where respect for property claims is a key principle.” In his inauguration address, President George W. Bush stated that: “A civil society demands from each of us good will and respect, fair dealing and forgiveness.” Philosophers, including Aristotle, Lock, and Ferguson’s civil society indicate it means a civilized, political society in contrast to barbarism, paternal authority, and the state of nature (Honderich, 2005). A Civil Society is also defined as a “public space between the state, the market and the ordinary household, in which people can debate and tackle action.” (Weeks, 2019)

            Christianity teaches us that God created us in his image, although we wonder why there are so many different images of human beings on earth. However, both teach us that we are to be respectful of everyone regardless of their outward appearances and differences. Examples include: The Golden Rule in Matthew 7:12; Loving others more than oneself, Romans 12:10; Show proper respect to everyone, 1 Peter 2:17; and Honoring your Father and Mother, Ephesians 6:1-3 (Bible Study Tools; Maxwell). The Bible Concordance contain 34 different verses with a basis of respect toward others, loving others as we love ourselves, treating others as we would prefer to be treated, and the Ten Commandments that outlines the laws of nature we should follow in our relationships and interactions with other people (Strong & Vine, 1999).

Natural Law as opposed to The State of Nature

Prior to the teaching of Christianity, the ideal and philosophy of a Civil Society of people begins with the rights, moral values, and responsibilities inherent in human nature, that those rights can be understood through simple reasoning. As humans were created in the image of God, all humans were inherently embedded with the Natural Law of God – being and doing good, reasoning to make sound decisions and behave accordingly, and a natural respect for the belief and nature of others. Natural Law is defined as “The belief that certain laws of morality are inherent by human nature, reason or religious belief, and that they are ethically binding on humanity.” Therefore, the law of nature is universal, meaning that it applies to everyone in the same way (Legal Dictionary).

Natural Law is the foundation of all ideals of moral and ethical behavior. Natural Law theory is a label that has been applied to theories of ethics, theories of politics, theories of civil law, and theories of religious morality. (Stanford.edu) Ethics and ethical behaviors are based on morals, which originate from the Natural Law. Proponents, i.e. Naturalists, of the belief and validity of the purpose of natural law proclaim that it is inherent in human nature regardless of government insistence on creating laws that are inconsistent with the natural law concept in humans. Furthermore, natural law ideals and beliefs are supposed to be incorporated into the legal system in order to maintain justice for everyone individually and citizens as a group (Free Dictionary).

They Theory of Natural Law is based on the idea right and wrong, knowing the difference and acting accordingly. Theories of natural law are viewed from three concepts: Divine providence; practical rationality; and historical application. The focus of this paper and presentation will be on the divine nature of a civil society, the reasoning used by the Founders in the creation of the American Government and the tool of the Speak your Piece Civility Project (Nine Tools of Civility). From these perspectives, one can see the advantages of civility among humans far outweighs the state of nature ideal of practical rationality, which has resulted in the uncivil state of nature and uncivil practices of communication, uncivil behavior, and, in some cases, unjust legal rulings and practices in America today.

            The Society of the American Culture was established by the Founders from their reading of great philosophers – Aristotle, Demosthenes, Seneca and specially Cicero. Additionally, they knew about Anglo-Saxon common law, and they had studied the European and English philosophers – Sir William Blackstone, John Locke, and Sir Edward Coke. Additionally, they were intimately familiar with the theories of St. Thomas Aquinas’ two theses, which were from a God’s-eye divine providence point of view, and from a human’s-eye point of view with its incompatibility with atheism and deism (NCCS, Plato.Stanford). Therefore, from the very beginning with the Declaration of Independence, the Founders felt that natural law theory was essential to America’s “freedom and unity.” The first two paragraphs refer to the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God that entitles everyone to the Creator’s unalienable Rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness (NCCS; National Archives – Declaration of Independence).

            Cicero defines Natural Law as “true law.” True law is reasonably aligned with nature, it has a universal application and that it is unchanging and everlasting. Blackstone said, “Man, considered as a creature, must necessarily be subject to the laws of his Creator…..they are eternal, immutable laws of good and evil.” Massachusetts patriot James Otis defined Natural Law as “the rules of moral conduct implanted by nature in the human mind, forming the proper basis for and being superior to all written laws; the will of God revealed to man through his conscience.” When the Constitution was completed, the Founders believed it was an expression of higher law. Madison believed it was a product of “the transcendent law of nature” and Hamilton called it “a fundamental law” of which no legislative act contrary to it could be valid (NCCS).

            America was created to be a “civil society” based on the “moral law” (according to Jefferson) by which all persons are subjected to by their Creator. For over one hundred years Congress used the basis of Natural Law and the reasoning behind all legislative actions. The belief that existed maintained the behavioral characteristics of honesty, painless fair play among others, and that people should render to everyone their just do. Reasoning felt that laws of nature were binding to the whole world at all times, and that no human law was valid when inviolate to natural law. In addition to an understanding of natural law theory, as well as the several writing on the subject, the King James Bible, and other versions, are based on the Natural Law (Oxford Scholarship Online). Additionally, John Adams regarded politics “the divine science” based on the Holy Bible, and he visualized a nation whose citizens would regulate their conduct on the precepts therein (NCCS). “One Nation Under God” was later added to the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag as an indication of the basis upon which America is founded.

Many today believe that the current cultural ideals override the idea of the consistency of Natural Law in that as individuals, organizations and governments progress it is acceptable to change the law of nature to accommodate the present state-of-affairs – the state of nature. Therefore, only the present matters, no consideration of past laws and/or philosophical ideals need to be considered in today’s decisions. For example, some of today’s politicians believe that the U. S. Constitution is a living document, and as such, changes in meaning as the country progresses. Under this theory, it is permissible to dismiss the state of nature during the time the Founders lived and wrote the Constitution, which also tends to exclude Natural Law theory as well.

            Social contract theorists described it – the state of nature – as a condition without government, characterized by deficiencies of which only governments could rectify. Philosopher Thomas Hobbes characterized it as a lawless state with no conception of right and wrong, justice and injustice. He believed that the only kind of authority was one with total and unlimited political control, preferably an absolute monarchy. Philosopher John Locke believed differently. He characterized a state of nature prior to a political authority, but that was still subject to the law to nature for government. Locke’s concluded that the proper remedy was the type of government ruled by the will of the majority who elect representatives to govern in a manner that promotes the common good. And, if those elected violate the trust given them, they can be removed from their office. (Oxford, pp. 894-895).

So, the question arises, “What happened to the Civil Society of the Founding of America?” Why does there exist in America today so much uncivility in behavior, in speech and in some of the Supreme Court rulings such as to favor abortion, gay societal behaviors, and other extremely liberal attitudes in the U.S? In the late 1800s and in the 1900s, the courts began to no longer consider natural law philosophy in rulings. In the 1920s, Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes denied judicial reasoning on the natural law (nlnrac.org). In 1947, Justice Hugo Black urged abandoning the natural law formula and argued that it was “a violation of our Constitution (NCCS). These statements from members of the Highest Court in America set the tone for subjectivity in make legal decision. It also became the beginning of the decline in civility, morality, and ethical standards in America, departing from the once objectivity of abiding by Natural Law precepts and standards of civility.

            In a recent article by Walter E. Williams, professor of economics at George Mason University and renown speaker and writer, he quoted Attorney General William Barr from his October 2019 speech at Notre Dame Law School in which Barr said, “attacks on religious liberty have contributed to a moral decline that’s in part manifested by increases in suicide, mental illness, and drug addiction.” Barr also stated that it is intentional “organized destruction” namely: “secularists and their allies have marshaled all the forces of mass communication, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.” He quotes John Adams, 1798, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. Williams also wrote that it is just the tip of the iceberg in our nation’s moral decline (walterwilliams.com).

These statements and comments are similar to writings of Edward Gibbons on the Roman Empire as The History of the Decline and fall of the Roman Empire. According to Gibbons, the root cause of Roman societal collapse was their loss of civil virtue and individual morality. Gibbons believed the laws of morality were as unchanging as the laws of mathematics and physics (thetrumpet.com). In other words, the laws of nature, Natural Law.

Return to “Freedom and Unity” – Civil Society

            To prevent what Gibbons described in the decline of Rome, the civility and morality of citizens in any form of government, the people must decide to return to the ideals of Natural Law and the resulting civil nature of people in their relationship with each other. The modern secular ideals that are propagated through media, movies, music, and public officials must be overcome using the same technological advances to reinstate the ideals of civility in the citizenship. The National Center for Constitutional Studies (NCCS) promotes several seminars and ideal to return to a moral society, with God-fearing statesmen who lead using the natural law principles upon which America was created. NCCS promotes a return to following the laws of scripture as a basis for civility, lasting peace, and happiness. Families and communities need open discussion on civility, natural law, and the precepts of the U. S. Constitution as the foundation of freedom and unity – e pluribus unum. There needs to be a return to the studies of the Holy Scriptures, which is the natural law basis of a free society. Prayer needs to be more openly practiced and promoted as a right under the Constitution (NCCS).

            All schools need to discuss, teach, and promote behaviors associated with various civility projects such as the Speak Your Peace Project to encourage civil treatment of all citizens in all forms of communication and organizational leadership. Teachers need an understanding of Natural Law Theory and teach the precepts and meaning of Natural Law morals and reasoned behaviors of ethics of moral laws. The following outlines and briefly describes the attributed and concepts of the Speak Your Peace Project. This is only one of the many efforts nationwide promoting civility.

            The following briefly describes the Nine Tools of Civility promoted by the Project whose vision is to urge the citizens of Duluth/Superior area to communicate in a more respectful and effective way. The idea is to enhance the ability to avoid unhealthy debate and conversations. The Project promotes their program using P. M. Forni’s book Choosing Civility.

Civility Described: polite, reasonable, respectful behavior, courteous, pleasantry, honorable and gracious. Quite naturally, uncivil is just the opposite.

Pay Attention: Observe surroundings, don’t interrupt without thinking first, listen intently, make an effort to remember (especially names), Others First.

Listen to Better Understand: ID the “Will” of the speaker, to what “Is” and what “Is Not” said, suppress the inner voice to speak, listen with empathy, reflect on conversation.

Be Inclusive for Greater Good: Civility Knows No – ethnicity, level of leadership, forum, religion, enemies, generation, bounds, and exclusiveness.

Don’t Gossip: Gossiping – hurts, accomplishes nothing, is childish, bad-manners, negative, divisive, destructive, racist, and lowers esteem.

Show Respect: Observe Golden Rule, everyone deserves respect, being uncivil lowers respect, honorable behavior.

Seek Common Ground: Collaborate, compromise, work for good of all, be a Builder, promote success – yours, others, and the organization.

Repair Damaged Relationships: swallow your PRIDE, seek to apologize, forgiveness heals, affirm success of others.

Use Constructive Language: no foul language, stick to the issues, don’t attack personally, no “yea-buts” or “we’ve always done it that ways.”

Take Responsibility: hold yourself accountable, don’t blame others, accept faults, clean up language, speak positively, respect everyone – Be the Example.

            Civility helps build strong and lasting relationships. Civility leaves memories of positive interactions and experiences. Civility binds people to each other and new ideas. Civility is an innate behavior based on the Golden Rule and 34 other biblical scriptures. Civility, by nature, is an innate behavior of respect for others.

            A movement needs to take place to instill the positive, relationship building, e Pluribus Enum ideal back into the respectful, compassionate and American civil society of which we were known throughout the world; which is quite the opposite of what we see and hear from our current governmental leadership. A good way to start is with a “Letter Writing Project” based on the ideals of the Speak Your Peace Project noted herein. Citizens need to choose to be Uncommon, which means do not follow the uncivil, ego-based behaviors espoused by Academia, the Media including Hollywood propagations, and social media. Lastly, peaceably, and compassionately confront uncivil behavior, with teachable and reasonable language.

Be “The Example of Civility.”

References

1. https://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/people/highlights/010705_civil.shtml

2. https://ssir.org/articles/entry/the_american_context_of_civil_society#

3. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/natural-law-ethics/

4. https://nccs.net/blogs/articles/natural-law

5. https://legaldictionary.net/natural-law/

6. https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/natural+law

7. https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/preamble

8. http://www.nlnrac.org/critics/oliver-wendell-holmes

9. https://www.allaboutphilosophy.org/natural-law.htm

10. https://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/bible-verses-about-respect/

11.https://oxford.universitypressscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199535293.001.0001/acprof-9780199535293

12. https://www.http://walterewilliams.com/us-in-moral-decline/

13. https://www.thetrumpet.com/15831-why-moral-decline-matters

14. Weeks, Marcus editor, 2019. How Philosophy Works, The Concepts Visually Explained. DK Publishing, New York, p. 204.

15. Honderich, Ted editor, 2005. The Oxford Guide Philosophy. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 142-143.

16. Strong, Dr. James & Vine, W.E., 1999. Strong’s concise and Concordance & Vine’s Concise Dictionary of the Bible: Two Bible Reference Classics in One Handy Volume. Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville.

17. Morris, Benjamin F, 2007. The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States. American Visions, Inc., Powder Springs, Georgia.

18. Maxwell, John C., The Maxwell Leadership Bible: Lessons in Leadership from the Word of God. New King James Version (NKJV), Thomas Nelson, Nashville.

19. Nine Tools of Civility – Speak the Peace Civility Project. http://www.dsaspeakyourpeace.org/about.html.

Circle of Success – Core Values

Success if a process. Success doesn’t happen only once in a lifetime. Success is like a circle that goes around and around continuously because one must keep it going. In the circle of success, it may stop or even end on an event, project or period of time. However, it begins again, sometimes on a new event or project, and other times it picks up again from a past time. None the less, when it begins, the steps to success must contain the above six steps to be a success. Before you disagree, let me explain.

Values – Who am I?

In leading and leadership, “Knowing Thyself” sets the foundation of one’s core values, i.e. honesty, integrity, work ethic, courage, commitment, trustworthiness, fairness, respect of self and others and several of the other twenty-plus character traits and core values. Furthermore, one’s spiritual intellect and values contributes significantly to the personal value system of people. Other concepts such as strengths, weaknesses, emotional intelligence levels, physical fitness practices and ability to communicate – oral and written – adds to a leaders ability to understand oneself.

Wisdom is a process as well, also a crucial part of growing as a leader. The premier leadership trainer in the world, John Maxwell says, “To grow yourself, you must know yourself.” Therefore, the Delphic Oracle of “Knowing Thyself” is critical to leadership and leading others, and enables one to read and understand others with whom they interact and lead. Core Values are foundational to knowing oneself and growing as a leader.

Core Values

To be properly and intrinsically motivated requires that leaders and those being led have deep-seeded core values. Core Values are not just simple beliefs. They are time-tested and accepted beliefs that are based on philosophical thought and practice that have been proven to apply to a more than just a few individuals. They are valued and accepted as truth, they are known to make a difference in the life and behavior of individuals, and they are used by an individual as foundational beliefs and guidelines for righteous and principled living.

Core Values are not subjective! Core values are objective values that are morally and ethically proven to be in the best interest of all people, that are based on intrinsic behaviors that treat people respectfully, and that result in a caring nature equal to all mankind.

The derivative ideal (philosophy) of morals and ethics is the Natural Law, which as Aristotle points out in his Nicomachean Ethics, centers on the ideal of “doing good.” Doing good is also related to the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The philosophy of human affairs centers around the idea of happiness. The virtue of happiness goes well beyond the feelings and pleasure of the moment. Ultimately the intrinsic reward of happiness is found in the excellence of human moral principles and ethical behaviors. In other words, the very base of who we are and of what is our make-up.

Natural Law according to St. Thomas Aquinas is an ordinance of reason towards the common good. Ordinance of reason signifies rules or virtues based on the innate reasoning of the ideals of God; in other words, the Laws of Nature. Therefore, all laws today are supposed to be ideas stemming from the Natural Law.

St. Thomas Aquinas in his writings identified seven basic goods in the quest of happiness:

  1. Life – Self-preservation. Drive to sustain life;
  2. Reproduction – Make more life with another, including sex drive;
  3. Educate one’s offspring – importance of schools, lessons in morality and survivability;
  4. Seek God – instinctive desire to know God;
  5. Live in Society – Man by nature is a social animal who has a desire for love and acceptance.
  6. Avoid offense – basic good is not becoming offensive, and we feel shame when we don’t do good (shame has been removed from our society today);
  7. Shun Ignorance – Nature of man is to become smarter about things and life.

Aquinas also proclaimed that we don’t need the Bible, or religion or church to understand the Natural Law. He says that we violate our innate human nature due to ignorance and emotion. Ignorance by seeking what we “think” we should without reason as to what we know we should be doing. Emotion by letting our feelings and desires overcome what we know we need to be doing, causing us to fail to do what we know is right and good. As such, the following Cardinal Virtues are based on the ideas associated with the Natural Law of Man.

Cardinal Virtues

The four Cardinal Virtues – Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice – were first identified by Plato as essential requirements of living a happy and morally good life. Aquinas defines virtue as a “Habit that disposes an agent to perform its proper operation or movement.” He believes that the Cardinal Virtues provide a foundation of all moral activity.

The word Cardinal means “serving as a hinge” of other words. In other words, in the case of Cardinal Virtues, all other virtues, i.e. values, are hinged upon or related to them. Here are some brief statements from various sources on each.

Temperance.

  • Restrained desire for physical gratification. Moderation of physical pleasures such as eating, drinking, and sex.
  • Restrain what Aquinas calls “concupiscible passions” – the appetite of desiring pleasure and avoiding what is harmful.
  • Due restraint upon the affections and passions which renders the body tame and governable.
  • Frees the mind from the allurements of vice.
  • Avoid excess and peer pressure to behaviors of pleasure counter to the divine principles of Deity.
  • Exercise self-control and keep worldly passions within limits of the good and honorable.

Fortitude. (Courage)

  • Ability to undergo pain, peril and danger.
  • Rational reasoning to avoid cowardness and irrational behavior.
  • Courage to demonstrate the mental, physical and moral courage to do good toward all mankind.
  • The Grit, Perseverance, and resilience to overcome evil with good and keep going when the going gets tough.
  • Endure the pain and discomfort of achieving the human good.
  • Restrain the fears that prevents reason for enduring dangerous circumstances.

Prudence.

  • Ability to make good judgments on proper behaviors.
  • Regulate our lives and actions with proper and good reasoning.
  • Regulate the present and the future that leads to happiness.
  • Decision-making that discerns between right and almost right behaviors.
  • Discernment between the irrational and the rational end goal – happiness.

Justice.

  • Governs our relationship with others – Golden Rule for example.
  • No consideration of personal gain but about community and organizational gains.
  • Render to others their just due – caring about their progress and betterment.
  • Render assistance and aid to depressed individuals regardless of other thoughts.
  • Includes all other virtues that are directed to another person for their good.

As noted above, to be a leader, you must be a person of character, character that is based on the Cardinal and other hinged virtues (values). This means that you are ethical and principle-centered. This is an important quality in an individual, especially a Christian. It will prove beneficial to the development of the leadership team and organizations Vision, Mission, and Goals to have a deeper, fuller understanding of this concept.

Character

Character is defined as the attributes or features that make up and distinguish an individual. Human rectitude is defined by Natural Law moral and ethical principles, which is also encompassed with several other core values defined by St. Thomas Aquinas and other. Character Counts outlines Six Pillars of Character as the core ethical values. The Virtue Project lists 52 other virtues that are related, hinged, to the Cardinal Virtues. These traits are behavioral expectations of all people. A short review of these concepts is at times necessary to remind us of our base behavior toward mankind. Included are pertinent scripture reference. Character is driven by “a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5).

Morals

The base of Core Values – Morals – is defined as the most important code of conduct put forward by a society and accepted by the member of that society. Morals are the principles and guidelines that we follow to restrain our Ethical behaviors. Morals refer to a code of conduct that, given specified conditions, would be put forward by all rational persons. (Bartlett, Robert and Collins, Susan. Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. The University of Chicago Press, 2012)

Ethics

Ethics is defined as the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation; the principles of conduct governing an individual or group. Ethics are the practices we exhibit in our daily conduct of doing good, doing what is right, and the rectitude described in our moral standards. (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy at https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/morality-definition/.

Several organizations and writers have described several attributes or practices under the title of core values evolving from Aristotle’s moral virtues.

Natural Law Morals + Leadership Ethics + Uncompromising Core Values = Authenticity – Trustworthiness – Relationship Building Expertise. Elements of true Servant Leadership.

 

The Ineffable Power of Resilience*

Why is it that some people are always upbeat and positive, with an optimism as clear as a cloudless sky? What gives them the power to override stress, recover from failures as if they never happened, and continue to perform at top-notch levels?

Research indicates that there seems to be an ineffable – indescribable – nature of humans that allows peoples to be set-back, knocked-down or pushed-back and rebound – bounce back – just as strong as before the incident that caused stressful or negative feelings or behaviors. Psychology Today says, “Research shows that, on average, human beings are hardwired to be more optimistic than not. It’s an admirable quality, one that can positively affect a person’s mental and physical health.”

Resilience is the individual capacity to withstand, recover, grow and function competently in the face of stress, adversity and changing demands. It is a capacity that studies show can be cultivated by people that gives them this leadership quality enabling superior performances. Leadership factors that are affected, that make people resilient are optimism, cognitive problem-solving skills and goal achievement.

In other words, resilience can be cultivated – built, sustained, supported and reinforced within each one of us to effectively control our behaviors – our optimistic attitude – regardless of the daily situations we encounter.

The benefits of being a highly resilience leader include:

  • Increased confidence;
  • Improved judgment and problem-solving abilities;
  • Focus and performance under pressure;
  • Improved coping skills
  • Decrease in depression; and
  • Enhanced relationship building and reduced anxiety.

Following a five-year study, the U. S. Navy teaches the following four area, or domain, of human beings that can improve optimism, attitude and overall performance.

 

Four Domains of Resilience 

Domain #1 – Mind

The mind – controller of all our thoughts and behaviors – is the foundation of the combination of the four domains of resilience. With the mind, we can use resources and foster emotional, cognitive and active coping strategies.

Using our mind in an enthusiastic and positive manner, we can reinforce resilience with these thought processes.

  • Build and sustain an optimistic attitude regardless of behaviors around us
  • Laugh, especially at ourselves, maintain a sense of humor in leading
  • Engender flexible and positive thinking
  • Ensure awareness of negative thoughts – change how you think about them
  • Manage your emotions with mindfulness, relaxation techniques
  • Build and maintain self-esteem and self-confidence

Domain #2 – Body

There has always been a mind-body connection in relation to our emotional intelligences and behaviors. Both can be affected in a positive manner, physical manner.

Embrace the ability to adopt and sustain the healthy behaviors needed to enhance health and well-being. Study after study reinforces the fact that a physically fit body enhance greatly performance and studies support these reinforcing resiliencies.

  • Maintain a physical fitness and exercise program – three times a week for 1 hour minimum
  • Become involved in physical and recreational activities
  • Power nutrition, healthy eating habits, with a disciplined limited intake
  • Restful sleep – 7 to 8 hours a night support feeling energetic and vibrant

Domain #3 – Spirit

Spiritual Intelligence has become a positive leadership ideal that supports the proven techniques of emotional intelligence, physical intelligence and academic intelligence. Leaders need a sound awareness of their own spiritual nature and the spiritual nature of those they lead. Cindy Wigglesworth’s SQ21: The Twenty-one Skills of Spiritual Intelligence, and Blackaby Brother’s Spiritual Leadership provide some great insights into building and sustaining the spiritual nature of our body and mind.

The Spirit Domain encompasses the following attributes:

  • Value clarification, and Core Value Convictions;
  • Spirituality: faith and prayer; and
  • Religion and altruisms

Domain #4 – Social

The social nature of mankind enables us to initiate, maintain and use social resources and connections in order to build strong, esprit de corps and relations with those with whom we work and lead. Enhancing our social domain enables Maslow’s belonging hierarchy of needs.

Building the social domain means going way beyond the popular social media avenue that promote self-photographs and other forms of entertainment. It is more about making connections, such as the business term of Networking, as well as leaders building positive relationships with those in their organization.

Reinforcement of the social domain entails:

  • Time management and family involvement;
  • Cultivating friendships;
  • Participation in community activities and events;
  • Building leadership relationships – building esprit de corps; and
  • Positive reinforcement and mentoring

The National Center for PTSD created a Response to Stressful Experience Scale (RSES) to determine factors that people can follow to cultivate resilience in their daily lives. The following are just six of those factors.

Resilience – how to get it and keep it

  • Positive outlook – Optimism; always poised; keeping emotional control of oneself
  • Spirituality – Faith; prayer/meditation; value system; purpose and meaning of life
  • Active Coping – Find creative ways of problem-solving – don’t give up; face your fears; expect to handle problems and bounce back
  • Self-Confidence – expect to handle problems and work through challenges
  • Learning and Making Meaning – find strength in meaning, vision and mission of life
  • Accept limitations and circumstances – know what can’t change

PTSD is not just about recovering from combat. It is also about overcoming traumatic events that happen in our daily lives. These events can be anything that disrupts our daily routine, minor or major. Understanding the Mind-Body-Spirit aspect of ourselves combined with a social network of support is crucial to building and preserving individual resilience.

Keep the Resilience Quest Alive!

* The information contained in this article is taken from the U. S. Navy Task Force on Resilience that is the result of a five-year study on ways to improve resilience in Navy personnel. It is designed to improve readiness, resilience, and reduce suicide in the Navy. The information is invaluable for anyone suffering from a traumatic event in their lives.

Elements of the Foundation – Four Pillars

In my previous article on the Foundations of Happiness, I mentioned the Natural Law and the Cardinal virtues as foundational to the happiness of man.

     The following is from the book The Real George Washington – The True Story of America’s Most Indispensable Man by the National Center for Constitutional Studies. Brother Mason Washington’s leadership at the Constitutional Convention was significant, whereby when speaking under the rules of order, all remarks were spoken directly to Washington. He felt his purpose was to listen and only speak when necessary.

His unspoken, non-verbal communication was a superior influence on the members of the Convention. Washington’s character was impeccable with a strong belief in God and the relationships of man under the Natural Law. There is a distinct connection of unspoken assumptions between the Foundations of Happiness, a virtuous society of man, and the Pillars of the United States Constitution.

     Pillar #1. The Constitution recognizes the existence of natural law. In the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson referred to the “laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Natural law recognizes the distinct and direct connection between God and the natural order of the earth and of the people on earth. The concept of unalienable rights is based on the natural law and man’s natural right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

     Pillar #2. The Constitution is based on the principle that all citizens of a republic nation must be virtuous and moral. Only people of virtue and a high moral standard are capable of freedom. This natural law ideal is the basis for the Golden Rule described in the biblical book of Matthew. Ben Franklin in one of his writings proclaimed, “As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need for masters.”

Washington, as stated above, was a virtuous man who had deep feelings about the need for morality and virtues among Americans. In a communication to Lafayette he wrote that the Constitution would protect America’s constitutional government as long as ther was virtue in the body of the people. In his Farewell Address he emphasized, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”

     Pillar #3. The Constitution acknowledges that the people are the true sovereigns in a republican government. Under natural law, no man has a right to rule over another, unless the subject gives his consent. Washington, Hamilton and Madison all wrote about the importance of the people as to the success of the Constitution. Furthermore, all three believed in the foundation of this belief was that the people would remain moral and just throughout.

     Pillar #4. The Constitution was created on the assumption that America would function under a free-market economy, recognizing and protecting property rights. Freedom and property right are all natural law concepts. As John Adams wrote, “All men are born free and independent, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights, among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; ……..that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.

The United States is a government based on principles of natural law, assuming a populace that is moral and virtuous. We citizens need to pledge ourselves to a daily behavior in countenance – moral support – with the ideals of the natural law, upon which the laws of our nation are based. A strong moral sense creates a personal leadership transparency that clearly identifies our integrity and honor.

The Foundation of Happiness

What is the secret of happiness? This question has been asked, surmised, argued, and guessed at for hundreds of years. In the Declaration of Independence, the Founding Fathers wrote of the inalienable Rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Freemasonry – a system of morality – teaches the answers to and the pursuit of happiness in several of our rituals and lectures.

The Great Philosophers, Aristotle, Plato, Socrates and many other philosophers discussed, debated and wrote about it for years. Jesus, in his time on earth, taught and modeled the perfect ideal of happiness. Leadership pundits for years have opined about, talked about and wrote about the ideal principles and practices of motivating people to happiness in teams and organizations. The greatest rulers in history sought to obtain it through war and power over people to no avail of achieving personal happiness.

Beyond the philosophy and psychology of personal behavior and the quest of happiness, people of great wealth, from King Solomon down to the richest today, have sought to gain forms of happiness through material possessions. However, none can be quoted as the happiest among us. So, what is the answer?

I think we need to approach it from a different prospective, which is my intent here. While I certainly will not make the claim of having the answer. I can proclaim that in my personal life pursuing happiness in several material possessions, to the proclaimed happiness of Eros, and in similar behaviors, I know my own quest for and obsession of finding happiness has been somewhat futile. Having said that, please allow me to attempt to motivate you to ponder happiness beyond the present-day views and ideals.

Philosophies, beliefs, and behaviors begins with the Natural Law. Wait! What? Nobody talks about Natural Law today. Herein lies the real problem. Natural Law, i.e. the Laws of Nature, innately drives good and correct behaviors – love, respect for others, the Golden Rule, caring for others, etc. Natural Law is about rationality of reason toward behaviors, morals and ethics, differences between good and evil, and the ideal of happiness of human beings.

Natural Law according to St. Thomas Aquinas is an ordinance of reason towards the common good. Ordinance of reason signifies rules or virtues based on the innate reasoning of the ideals of God; in other words, the Laws of Nature. Therefore, all laws today are supposed to be ideas stemming from the Natural Law.

Aristotle in his Nicomachean Ethics describes this good as another word for happiness. Happiness includes the excellence specific to human beings as human beings, which he calls “virtue.” Virtue relates to the activity or the way we are to live as human beings. From this he derived his Eleven Moral Virtues – Courage; Moderation; Liberality; Magnificence; Greatness of Soul; Ambition; Gentleness; Friendliness; Truthfulness; Wittiness; and Justice.  Other philosophers down through history have opined on several other virtues, i.e. core values by which we can and should govern our lives and behaviors.

St. Thomas Aquinas in his writings identified seven basic goods in the quest of happiness:

  1. Life – Self-preservation. Drive to sustain life;
  2. Reproduction – Make more life with another, including sex drive;
  3. Educate one’s offspring – importance of schools, lessons in morality and survivability;
  4. Seek God – instinctive desire to know God;
  5. Live in Society – Man by nature is a social animal who has a desire for love and acceptance.
  6. Avoid offense – basic good is not becoming offensive, and we feel shame when we don’t do good (shame has been removed from our society today);
  7. Shun Ignorance – Nature of man is to become smarter about things and life.

Aquinas also proclaimed that we don’t need the Bible, or religion or church to understand the Natural Law. He says that we violate our innate human nature due to ignorance and emotion. Ignorance by seeking what we “think” we should without reason as to what we know we should be doing. Emotion by letting our feelings and desires overcome what we know we need to be doing, causing us to fail to do what we know is right and good.

Cardinal Virtues

The four Cardinal Virtues – Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice – were first identified by Plato as essential requirements of living a happy and morally good life. Aquinas defines virtue as a “Habit that disposes an agent to perform its proper operation or movement.” He thinks that the Cardinal Virtues provide a foundation of all moral activity.

The word Cardinal is defined as meaning of “serving as a hinge” of other words. In other words, in the case of Cardinal Virtues, all other virtues are hinged upon or related to them. The Initiate of Freemasonry is provided with a brief description of these virtues. Here are some brief statements from various sources on each.

Temperance.

  • Restrained desire for physical gratification. Moderation of physical pleasures such as eating, drinking, and sex.
  • Restrain what Aquinas calls “concupiscible passions” – the appetite of desiring pleasure and avoiding what is harmful.
  • Due restraint upon the affections and passions which renders the body tame and governable.
  • Frees the mind from the allurements of vice.
  • Avoid excess and peer pressure to behaviors of pleasure counter to the divine principles of Deity.
  • Exercise self-control and keep worldly passions within limits of the good and honorable.

Fortitude. (Courage)

  • Ability to undergo pain, peril and danger.
  • Rational reasoning to avoid cowardness and irrational behavior.
  • Courage to demonstrate the mental, physical and moral courage to do good toward all mankind.
  • The Grit, Perseverance, and resilience to overcome evil with good and keep going when the going gets tough.
  • Endure the pain and discomfort of achieving the human good.
  • Restrain the fears that prevents reason for enduring dangerous circumstances.

Prudence.

  • Ability to make good judgments on proper behaviors.
  • Regulate our lives and actions with proper and good reasoning.
  • Regulate the present and the future that leads to happiness.
  • Decision-making that discerns between right and almost right behaviors.
  • Discernment between the irrational and the rational end goal – happiness.

Justice.

  • Governs our relationship with others – Golden Rule for example.
  • No consideration of personal gain but about community and organizational gains.
  • Render to others their just due – caring about their progress and betterment.
  • Render assistance and aid to depressed individuals regardless of other thoughts.
  • Includes all other virtues that are directed to another person for their good.

Hinged upon these foundational virtues are various aspects of installing officers into the various position in organizations. Happiness of employees is identified as a major goal of the governance of the organizations. In addition, individuals are charged with the pursuit of happiness and high moral standards in their lives and that of the organization.

Imagine the level of happiness if everyone governed themselves accordingly through the divine precepts of the Golden Rule in all aspects of their behaviors. Imagine the level of happiness if everyone governed themselves through the Cardinal Virtues in all instances of building good relationships with others. Imagine the level of happiness if  everyone removed all bias and jealousness in our daily dealings with leadership. Imagine the level of happiness if everyone pursued the standard of life-long learning in the various secrets of happiness.

We all need to “Keep the Happiness Quest Alive!” in our daily lives.

References:

  1. Russel, Bertrand, 1945. A History of Western Philosophy. New York, Simon & Schuster.
  2. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2002. Https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/natural-law-ethics/
  3. Natural Law Theory: Crash Course Philosophy #34 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_UfYY7aWK0
  4. Bartlett, Robert & Collins, Susan, 2011. Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Chicago, University Press
  5. St. Thomas Aquinas on Natural Law Ethics, Academia at https://www.academia.edu/download
  6. Seek First the Kingdom, Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s Blog, Archdiocese of Washington at Https://cardinalsblog.adw.org/2014/07/16/cardinal-virtues-pursuit-happiness/
  7. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy; A Peer-Reviewed Academic Resource. Thomas Aquinas: Moral Philosophy at https://iep.utm.edu/aq-moral/#H3

 

 

5 Reasons and How to Create a Legacy

Legacy is a image others see, an impact made on other people, and how you changed their lives, making a difference in the world. The following is taken from two Jim Rohn – Success Presented articles that give reasons for leaving a positive legacy and how to create that reputation, i.e. Legacy. I think you will find it useful.


Rohn: 5 Undeniable Reasons to Leave a Legacy

This Is How You Leave a Legacy

Keep the Legacy Leadership Quest Alive!

Character and Core Values

Is General Schwarzkopf referring only to military strategy? No! The General’s comment refers to anyone and any strategy. Without a strong set of core values, one’s plan of action will be unrestrained, never a thought any value system. Recent history is replete with examples of actions and behaviors toward material rewards without a serious thought of any moral and ethical standard.

But, is it always only about morals and ethics. Leadership authors and professionals tell us that Core Values encompasses several other leadership traits and behaviors.

Maybe it is time for a review of Core Values, its origin, principles and ideals. So what are Core Values, and what is the make-up of these personal guidelines? Why do leaders exhibit amoral and immoral behaviors, knowing of the high moral standards of society?

The derivative ideal of morals and ethics is the Natural Law, which as Aristotle points out in his Nicomachean Ethics[i] centers on the ideal of “doing good.” Doing good is also related to the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The philosophy of human affairs center around the idea of happiness. The virtue of happiness goes well beyond the feelings and pleasure of the moment. Ultimately the intrinsic reward of happiness is found in the excellence of human moral principles and ethical behaviors. In other words, the very base of who we are and of what is our make-up.

Character is defined as the attributes or features that make up and distinguish an individual. Human rectitude is defined by Natural Law moral and ethical principles, which is also encompassed with several other core values defined by Aristotle as the Eleven Moral Virtues. Character Counts outlines Six Pillars of Character as the core ethical values. These traits are behavioral expectations of all people. A short review of these concepts is at times necessary to remind us of our base behavior toward mankind.

The base of Core Values – morality – is defined as the most important code of conduct put forward by a society and accepted by the member of that society.[ii] Morals are the principles and guidelines by which we follow to restrain our Ethical behaviors. Morals refer to a code of conduct that, given specified conditions, would be put forward by all rational persons.

Ethics is defined as the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation; the principles of conduct governing an individual or group.[iii] Ethics are the practices we exhibit in our daily conduct of doing good, doing what is right, and the rectitude described in our moral standards.

Several organizations and writers have described several attributes or practices under the title of core values evolving from Aristotle’s moral virtues. Character Counts lists Six Pillars of Character[iv] as their core values. Basic definitions are provided my Merriam-Webster.

Trustworthiness. Worthiness as a recipient of another’s trust or confidence. Dependability, reliability, infallibility, or creditability. Think “true blue”. Be honest. Don’t deceive, cheat or steal. Do what you say you will do. Have the mental, physical and moral courage to do the right thing. Build a good reputation. Be loyal – stand by your family, friends, and country.

Respect. A relation or reference to a particular thing or situation; act of giving particular attention; consideration; high regard; esteem; quality or state of being esteemed. Every individual deserves a certain level of respect based on their very existence. How high or low that level of respect is determined by their individual behavior, performance or achievements – i.e. earned respect.  Follow the Golden Rule. Be tolerant and accepting of differences. Use good manners, not bad language. Be considerate of all feelings of others. Don’t threaten, hit or hurt anyone. Deal peacefully with anger, insults and disagreements.

Responsibility. The quality or state of being responsible: such as moral, legal, or mental accountability. Reliability, trustworthiness. Burden. Do what you are supposed to do. Plan ahead. Be diligent – practice due diligence. Persevere. Do your best. Use self-control. Be self-disciplined. Think before you act. Be accountable for your words, actions and attitudes. Set a good example for others.

Fairness. The qualities in a person or thing that as a whole give pleasure to the senses. Play by the rules. Take turns and share. Be open-minded; listen to others. Don’t take advantage of others. Don’t blame others carelessly. Treat all people fairly. In a recent study by Robert Half Management Resources on the most important leadership attribute, Integrity and fairness were rated 1 and 2.[v]

Caring. Feeling or showing concern for or kindness to others. Be kind. Be compassionate and show you care. Express gratitude, forgive others. Help people in need. Be charitable and altruistic. As the saying goes, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Citizenship. State of being a citizen. Membership in a community (state, city, organization). The quality of an individual’s response to membership in a community. Do your share to make your community better. Cooperate. Get involved in community (organizational) affairs. Stay informed. Be a good neighbor. Obey laws and rules. Respect authority. Protect the environment. Volunteer.

Core values are basic to existence in society. As stated there are other traits, such as learning that is integrated with personal development. Moderation is another, don’t over-indulge. Justice, which includes not only the legal attributes of the law, but also the fair and just treatment of others.

Core Values define “who we are” as individuals. These are the basic attributes, traits and behaviors we are to follow in our individual lives; not just at home, but twenty-four, seven, 365 days a year in every aspect of our interactions with other in private, public, business, religion, and personal leadership.

I ask you, “Who are You? What is the base ideal of your daily leadership and practice in building relationships with other?”

Endnotes.

[i] Bartlett, Robert and Collins, Susan. Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. The University of Chicago Press, 2012.

[ii] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy at https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/morality-definition/.

[iii] Merriam-Webster Dictionary at https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ethic.

[iv] Character Counts at https://charactercounts.org/program-overview/six-pillars/.

[v] Forbes online at https://www.forbes.com/sites/victorlipman/2016/10/25/the-most-important-leadership-attribute-new-study-has-clear-answer/#28e06a204df2, October 25, 2016.

Why?

Powerful word, “Why?” It makes people uncomfortable. Merriman-Webster dictionary states that why is in the bottom 50% of popularity. A Navy officer I worked for in the early years of my Navy career told me one time that his college Psychology professor made it his final semester examination. Furthermore, he said the only acceptable answer for the professor was “because.” My response to him was, “Why?”

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, Why means “for what cause, reason or purpose.” When George Washington turned down a bid to make him King of America, he said, “The cause is too important.” The cause or the purpose to him was liberty from mother England.

Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek proclaims that, in any worthwhile endeavor, we must “Start With Why,” which is also the title of his best-selling book and the third most popular Ted Talk. He asks, “Why is it that some people, some organizations are more successful than others.” In his Ted Talk, he points to his discovery in answering the question and gives three strong examples of leaders who were successful in their fields when other of equal skill and intelligence were unsuccessful.  His discovery is what he called “The Golden Circle” with which he provides a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with WHY.[i]

Premier leadership coach, trainer, speaker and author John C. Maxwell in his book on Intentional Living writes that in choosing a life that matters, one must search until they find their Why.  In it he says that, “Once you find your why, you will be able to find your way.” Further he says that tapping into your why is necessary to make a difference and live a life of significance. You need to start thinking and discovering your purpose on this earth, and that when you know this why it becomes your life-blood of intentional living.[ii]

So what makes Why so important in your quest for success and living a fulfilled life of intention. Here is what Sinek and Maxwell say about it, and what I have found to be the truth in my own life.

In his presentation before a Puget Sound audience in 2009[iii] that became an extremely popular Ted Talk, Sinek describes his discovery he calls the Golden Circle.

The Golden Circle

He goes on to explain the differences between the three parts with examples of Steve Jobs and Apple, the Wright Brothers and the Airplane, and Martin Luther King and the Civil Right Movement, and more importantly the purpose or cause each was successful. The below breakdown explains. You can listen to the entire presentation by following the link in the Endnotes.

What How Why
Apple/Steve Jobs Computers Just like others Make you feel good
Wright Brothers Airplane Bicycle shop parts to repair plane Change the course of mankind
Martin Luther King Civil Rights Movement Peaceful Marches I Have A Dream – People judged by Character, not skin color

 

As Sinek points out, people don’t follow you because of what you do or how you do it, they follow you because of why you lead them better than others; because your leadership comes from within – the cause, the purpose, the belief and value of your practices, the Servant nature of your leadership; all of which is to make others better than they were before you began to lead, teach, mentor and/or coach them.

Why do people buy Apple over Android, when Android phones have been proven to be technically better?  Apple markets to the “Why”, the emotions of people, the feeling that “it makes me feel good.”

Aviation expert and pioneer Samuel P. Langley had the recipe for success; 50K to figure out the flying machine; Harvard trained, hired the best people he could find; NY Times followed him around. The problem was he wanted to be rich, people worked for him because of the money. When Wright brothers discovered air flight, he quit instead of working with the Wright Brothers to make planes better.

Orville & Wilbur: no college education; used bicycle parts from their shop to repair their plane when it crashed. They were driven by a cause, purpose, belief that would change the course of the world. People worked for them because of their cause.

Dr. Martin Luther King got 250,000 people to show up in Washington DC without advertising to listen to his “I Believe” ideals, his “I have a Dream” speech. They carried the message to the streets of America because of the “Why” – the cause, the purpose of his ideal.[iv]

Following Brother General and President Washington, the cause is too important to just be a social organization. Following Dr. King, the freedom which comes from seeking more light is too great to just be a monthly meeting to discuss the poor economic state of the organization. Following Orville and Wilbur, if we want to veer away from the current course of morality in America, and quite possible the world, we have to understand and follow the purpose, the cause of building better men and women.

Then, after much reflection and considering the passion of your Why, you need to establish your vision of where you want your why to take you. Once established, write out a one sentence, or a few words, that states what will be your future for the next few years, which could be 5, 10 or even 20.

Next, you create your Mission statement, which is the work, or how, you will accomplish your vision. Again, your mission states in a simple sentence, what you are doing on a daily basis to complete your Mission, which in turn is what you are doing to turn that Vision into a reality. The day-to-say activity of accomplishing your Mission is done through the writing of SMART Goals that you will achieve to complete your mission.

For more information on writing Vision and Mission Statements, see my Blog on 3 Essentials Necessary for Sustainable Success.[v]

Endnotes:

[i] Sinek, Simon, 2009. It Starts with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action (New York: Penguin Group, 2009)  37-51.

[ii] Maxwell, John C.,  Intentional Living- Choosing a Life that Matters (New York: Center Street, 2015) 77-80.

[iii] Sinek, Simon,  How Great Leaders Inspire Action, TedxPuget Sound: https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action, 2009.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] McCuistion, David. 3 Essentials for Sustainable Success: https://www.vanguardldrship.wordpress.com.