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Friday, March 27, 2009

J.R. Nyquist: "Speaking Truth to Power"

Excellent commentary from J.R. Nyquist on the true crisis of our time, "the crisis of intellectual integrity", in this Financial Sense article entitled, "Speaking Truth to Power".

"Diogenes the cynic was a Greek philosopher of the fourth century B.C. who walked the streets of Athens carrying a lamp in broad daylight. People asked what he was doing. He said, “I am just looking for a human being.” After Plato offered Socrates’ definition of humanity as “featherless bipeds,” Diogenes brought a plucked chicken to Plato’s Academy, saying, “Behold! I have brought you a human being.”

When captured by pirates and sold into slavery his new master asked what his trade was. “Governing men,” he replied, adding that he wished to belong to someone who needed a master. One morning, when Diogenes was basking in the sun, Alexander the Great came to see him. Wishing to do the philosopher a kindness, Alexander asked if there was any favor he could bestow. “Yes,” replied Diogenes. “Stand out of my sunlight.”

The integrity of Diogenes has much to do with his independence. He was not interested in advancing his career, winning the favor of princes, or making money. He didn’t flatter his teachers or the public. When he spoke, there was no reason to distrust what he said. He had nothing to sell, so he had no motive to flatter or manipulate. In today’s world we have become very comfortable buying and selling things. It is also our habit to say what is pleasing to our superiors. More and more, our culture emphasizes the necessity of having a career, of promoting oneself, of making money and impressing other people.

To be wise, to love wisdom, requires a different emphasis than that of today’s culture. It requires an emphasis on truth and clarity. To be successful today, to advance your career, truth and clarity aren’t always appreciated..."

Please take a moment to read the full piece and absorb this lesson on the importance of truth as a real priority in our daily lives. I could not have said this better myself had I tried.

Given all that's happening in our society today, it is vitally important for us to determine whether we will rediscover the value of truth over deception and false comforts, or continue on the same path which brought us where we are today.