Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The truth...

One of the recurring themes of late seems to be the inability of Folks in Power to 'fess up to wrongdoings, whether it's BP, Toyota, Goldman Sachs, or the Catholic Church.

It's kind of odd, because what  PR firms tell these guys to do - get the bad news out quickly, say it yourself,  get on top of it, and above all own up to responsibility - actually works.

I suspect the reason this is so difficult is because people are conditioned to avoid the truth, or they are conditioned to accept a magical belief as the truth.  They are also conditioned to believe that what they believe is true should be taken as true, no matter how much or how little evidence supports that belief.  Too, I think Barbara O'Brien's point about morality in Buddhism applies here: like other aspects of morality in Buddhism, owning up to the truth in word and deed, in practice is hard work.  Of course, it's hard work in other ethical and religious systems too; it's just we don't have "get out of jail free" cards, or special stamps saying we're Vicars of The Deity.

In addition to avoidance of awareness and action on reality being unskillful Buddhist practice (as if the above-mentioned care?) it's also bad politics, bad psychology, and somewhat ignorant.  Bad karma dude...

Of course that doesn't explain Toyota.  They're best explained by the sentence, "They're a Japanese company."

In an unfortunate but useful way, we can learn from recent PR disasters and apply them to our own lives.  Perhaps it's a coincidence that "Kessid Church" didn't respond to my queries, or perhaps they were hard for the recipients to cohere a response.

No comments: