A Brain on Ethics

eweber   May 19, 2011   7 Comments

Albany needs ethics reform NOW according to today’s New York Times editorial. My question is bigger. Have we rewired our nation’s brainpower to live without ethics? If so – we also wired collectively against brilliance and growth! What do you think?

Yet we’ve all felt the positive impact of a person who makes an ethical choice – with others in mind! We’ve all struggled with forgiveness.

Another amazing example of ethical IQ in action –  Sofitel management reported to police a powerful world leader who violently attacked an immigrant maid. Bravo! Rewards will liklely escalate as in any highly successful business built on truth.

Unethical behavior, in contrast, exonerates rape if even one lawyer opts for greed or notoriety, over doing what’s right. Sadly,  entire nations pay the price when you rewire a brain’s circuitry to accept lust over love, war over peace, or cynicism over care.

Do you crave a new kind of community where justice exists because it sustains the right things? Yet it rarely happens in some business structures we defend as norm.

You don’t have to be the sharpest knife in the drawer to cut out ethical behavior, and short-circuit what’s legal at work.  The cost of wiring a culture for fast talking lawyers who lie for money or pose for prestige – though – comes with hidden price tags that bankrupt human brainpower.  Spot any abuse or outrageous expenditures of inhumanity in your organization?

A Brain on Ethics

Until we close dangerous gaps between ethical and legal practices, savage costs will continue to rise, until ordinary people can no longer pay.

Imagine if ethical rules of conduct required people to do the right thing as defined by responsible leaders in our diverse communities. At Mita, it’s called raising Intrapersonal IQ for a brainpowered climate. It’s about ethical conduct as agreed upon, and about evidence expected in behaviors, much like laws are written, approved and enforced by leaders at state or federal levels.

What would it take to ratchet up values for a brainpowered climate that could salvage a falling economy?

Not only does the brain shape culture,
Culture shapes the brain.
(Norman Doidge, MD)

You know ethics rewires your brain’s plasticity daily, if you:

  • Act morally rather than preach morals.  Why so? Mirror neurons in the brain equip people to mimic actions of those nearby.
  • Enjoy well being when you do good. Kindness increase your serotonin, a chemical for well being.
  • Live courageously through risking a finer good, and you also increase intrapersonal IQ for ethical conduct.
  • Create spiritual space and you’ll value spirit in others, as compassion grows with spiritual intelligence.
  • Generous acts rewire the brain for mutual winning,  in ways that preclude lies, cheating, or greed.
  • Revere life, and  your brain’s natural proclivity for curiosity welcomes differences in ways that proper all.
  • Depart from questionable practices,  so your brain opens neuron pathways toward more ethical discoveries.
  • Model values in your community in ways that benefit others to stoke more brainpowered bailouts.
  • Care for the earth and its extravagant wealth offer brainpowered tools  for  future generations.
  • Protect freedom for yourself and others, by awakening your brain’s peaceful resolutions to serve justice with mercy.
  • Learn, grow and remain open to ethical opportunities within opposing views, and stretch your dendrite brain cells for good.
  • Communicate an ethical tone and your brain cultivates  respect for the best in others.
  • Help others and enjoy brainpower that shrinks from practices  that harm humankind.
  • Stack another’s deck to  clearly see a code of morality embedded in your enviable actions.
  • Care for animals in a way that recognizes their vulnerability and your brain increases its capacity to care for all.
  • Open new understanding to grapple with great mysteries of a more ethical universe, impacted by your choices today.
  • Become that amazing person you’d like others to see in you, with every act  that changes your brain’s plasticity.
  • Refuse to promote your  well-being at the expense of another’s, and your brain rewires to prefer a bigger truth.
  • Reverence sacred parts of life, and you grow brainpower for value from other’s sense of sacred.
  • Work harder than most,  yet pay others fairly for their extra labor to reduce cortisol toxins that erode a workplace.
  • Apologize and offer restitution whenever you harm another person, but teach your brain to take back no offense from others’ failure.
  • Avoid cynicism – and your intuitive IQ will never think less or more of yourself than is true.
  • Choose well, and your brain develops a conscience that remains sensitive to goodness.
  • Support the right thing - even when others wire brains daily to ignore weaker persons in the right, or yield to powerful people in the wrong.
  • Avoid conflicts of interest, and your brain frees its focus to guide you to higher goals.
  • Live transparently and you free up others to  evaluate your actions with a more ethical lens.
  • Grow ethical brain cell connectors and develop wisdom with each new discovery about living a good life.
  • Express gratitude for all that is given to you, and your brain finds far less room to become discontent.
  • Practice the Golden Rule daily, and brainpowered tools increase for leading the same.
  • Sacrifice to sustain goodness over evil, even when a community wires against ethical conduct and restore collective IQ.
  • Showcase good in others, before you identify differences they offer so that diversity extends into growth opportunities.

How would ethical conduct define brainpower and sustain growth where you work?

Not surprisingly, each time you act on an answer to that question – your brain rewires itself for a more ethical approach to your day. That’s the delight of a brain on ethics.

7 thoughts on “A Brain on Ethics

  1. Valencia Ray MD

    I’ve noticed for a while now that most of the woes of society appear to relate to a left-hemisphere (characteristics) out of balance and dominating the right-hemisphere of the brain. Interestingly enough, I’m currently reading a well researched book on this very topic: The Master and His Emissary by I. McGilchrist – Masterful- Compares LT/RT Brain features: http://dld.bz/aaZFW

  2. Ellen Weber

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments about the balance between the right and left brain, Valencia – and I so agree with your notion of balance between both sides of the brain.

    Am aware of McGilchrist’s book – but have seen far less of that wonderful balance in leadership or in reality. We work to bring it through practical approaches such as connecting hard and soft skills and applying multiple intelligences as practical tools for innovative problem solving.

    How do you design the balance? Ellen

  3. Dorothy Dalton

    Hi Ellen – such a topical distinction. I saw a great interview on this topic with Andrew Sorkin -and his book ” Too big to Fail”. The recent global recesssion was caused by behaviour which was unethical, but not illegal which is why not one single person went to gaol! Some of those involved would do well to read this piece!

  4. eweber Post author

    Thanks Dorothy, and I see where you are going with this concern! Read the book reviews and agree with you. It’s painful to see highly paid lawyers speak lies in ways that win favors for such ethical violations.

    Still, ethics begins with me – and I am so aware of its play in any day of my life because of modeling I see from people like you! While we cannot legislate ethics we can emulate it – and you do it so well and with bold leadership. Thanks!

  5. ATIG

    Dear Elen,

    This is our personal responsibility to stop such behavior.

    Transparency must increase the influence in our personal morals.


  6. eweber Post author

    Sami, you build a good case for the first step back to a more civil and ethical approach in leadership. Would you agree that we have habitually rewarded unethical behavior, by tactics such as huge bonuses to top finance people who act more in their own best interests that in the interest of those they serve?

    Imagine what the lights of transparency would do in all leadership – and it starts with each of us:-)

  7. Pingback: 15 Million Jobs for Innovation Era – Brain Leaders and Learners

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