Another Way of Seeing Things

March 23, 2015, Little House in The City

uncompromising: un|com¦prom|is¦ing
Definition of uncompromising in English:
adjective
1
Showing an unwillingness to make concessions to others, especially by changing one’s ways or opinions: as an uncompromising Protestant he felt that his country ought to be at war with Spain his voice was uncompromising

1.1
Harsh or relentless: the uncompromising ugliness of her home.

This morning my thoughts have wandered through the garden of what it means to be uncompromising. I wonder if it is ever “wise” to compromise one’s personal integrity.

In my experience, compromise is a crucial element to career success. Making concessions to the power structures within which one wants to hold a position is mandatory. In my opinion, no matter what hype the media presents, there are no mavericks in the arena of “success”. There is no one who is making their own rules.

If you grew up in a family, and in a context, of “success”, this sort of compromise seems normal to you. It seems good. It seems necessary. In fact, I have observed that, to many who grew up in this context, the state of compromise is undetectable to them, and unconsciously assumed to be a universal fact, like the fact that there is air to breath. The compromise was initiated before language was acquired for these people, it became a part of their personality structures, and they seem incapable of perceiving it in themselves.

There was a reason that Marie Antoinette’s alleged statement, “let them eat cake”, has been quoted, or misquoted, as an example of this quality of complete indifference to, or ignorance of, the life circumstances and wellbeing of the majority of people.

The majority of the population did not acquire the ability/disability to seamlessly make concessions to the power structures that success requires, in their early years. The majority came to believe in the romance of “success”. Children have been told stories of princesses and kings, generals and chiefs, all through their childhood. This, and other types of fantasies, have provided a romanticized view of “success”, a view that is so superficial that it beggars belief. There are very nasty politics going on wherever power accumulates. It isn’t romantic, and it isn’t a happy place if you are conscious.

For the majority, if they want to “succeed” in the world of power, the game is all about compromise, the when and the where of it.

Ultimately, I believe, that to “succeed” one must make concessions to those above, to the point of compromising self integrity. This, again in my opinion, is almost always accomplished by willfully agreeing to “collateral damage” to someone, somewhere, and a willingness to ignore what is right. The necessary evil must be accepted on faith, or perhaps in desperation and despair.

My issue is not so much with the working/professional level players, but with the game. As I stated earlier, I don’t believe that it is possible to be a “maverick” in the game of success.

Machiavelli knew well what he was describing, and in my view the world of power is not all that different now than it was in the fifteenth century.

Worldly Distractions

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Quote

“Any man who tries to be good all the time is bound to come to ruin among the great number who are not good. Hence a prince who wants to keep his authority must learn how not to be good, and use that knowledge, or refrain from using it, as necessity requires.”

“The vulgar crowd always is taken by appearances, and the world consists chiefly of the vulgar.”

Niccolò Machiavelli
1469–1527

[Niccolò’s world view is shaped by his birth into the upper classes, and his belief that the way they see the world is the only valid way of seeing the world, which is what I have described above, with those who were born into “successful” families. Certainly if success in such a game of power is the only consideration, this may be true. The “vulgar”, who are the majority of which I speak, are taken in by the appearances of affluence and wealth and “success”, having been indoctrinated with the romantic view of such things as children. Which might explain why so many people who win the lottery feel that the win ruined their lives.
I suspect Niccolò was surrounded by sociopaths all his life, and before he adopted language he came to believe their perspective encompassed all of reality.]

4 Comments

  1. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    Now you have me wondering what sent you on this tack, my dear.

    Before DH and I met I’d laid out some criteria for the man I wanted. Two of the requirements I had were an ability to compromise AND integrity – and I got them. Oh, it can be a little difficult now and then when the compromise line tries to cross what DH deems to be his line for personal integrity, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. 😉

    DH has very strong values, and having those values sometimes causes him conflict at work. To keep food on the table and a job, he has learned to lower conflict by maintaining his opinion but only speaking it if directly asked. And when he answers he always answers in a positive, problem-solving manner.

    Sometimes it’s not easy to have integrity and still stay within bounds of the expectations (andbeliefs/emotions) of others.

  2. The Anti-Terror Bill Teri, if anything, has me thinking on such a tack.

    How wonderful that DH works in such a place that tolerates freedom of thought, and manages to keep his integrity and maintain good will! Attila also works in a work place where this is possible. Not everyone does.

  3. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    It’ll be interesting to see what becomes of the anti-terror bill. I’m afraid I fear outside attacks more than erosion of rights. I guess I have a strong belief that if mistakes are made in legislation that the courts will make corrections as the problems become apparent.

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