I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of weeks. The question that plagues me, has plagued me for that time period is a question of ethics. A question of right and wrong. First off I worry about gray areas in life often. It isn’t nice to ride in the HOV lane when you only have one person in the car. It also is expensive if you get caught. So there is a risk/reward concept that you have to be careful of. If you are willing to take the risk (one person in the HOV lane) than the reward is while tainted (you get there faster) it isn’t an ethical issue. Moral maybe, but ethical, no.
Sorting and placing issues into the various buckets they exist in is difficult. In part because sometimes you have to consider other factors. The impact of ethical decisions has to include the impact on other people you care about. The right thing to do is always the path but you have to be careful that in choosing the right thing you don’t effectively bulldoze someone else into the ground. That colors the ethical decision considerably.
I don’t know why, after nearly 30 years in my profession that I still struggle with the various ethical concerns that surround me. I wrote a number of ethical blogs on the IASAGlobal web site a couple of years back. I argued and discussed a number of ethical dilemmas focused on the ownership of solutions and when does ownership truly end. If you design something when is it no longer your design? What level of modification takes the original software architect out of a solution?
Honestly I debate the ethical reality in my head my head often. I chase my own metaphorical tail or tale around and around. I spin myself into the ground. I push myself up and down a flag pole spinning around the reality of where I am and what is going on around me. What is the ethical question that does this? Any ethical question at times.
I am not unique in this. I’ve talked to many people over the years who struggle with this issue. Do the right thing is the mantra we grow up with. But the right thing isn’t always the simple thing. It isn’t always clearly marked. A glowing neon path in front of us, lit up for the world to see. This way, this way is the right way to go. The ethical path is as much within us as it is clearly laid out. The right thing to do may not be the right ethical answer. IT may be a modification. What is the right thing?
So I struggle, I ponder. I argue with myself. I seek advice. I seek counsel from those smarter than I am. Sadly I love a great sounding board two years ago when my father died. I lost my first sounding board 20 years ago when my grandfather died. I still have a great sounding board in my partner but you can’t overwhelm your primary sounding board with ethical questions. So I reach out to my network of friends and seek answers from them.
What is the right thing to do?
It plagues us that question as if in a great tragedy, we standing on the parapet soaked with the rain asking whom the bell tolling for? Wither tis nobler or pondering the questions that tear us apart and leave us ranting in the darkness. A path to light lost. We are, as Milton said, all parts of the continent, not islands, rocks rolling to the sea. Swirling in the fog that surrounds us, we seek the answer to the question what is the right thing to do?
Sometimes the answer isn’t what we want. IT isn’t what we wanted to do. It is in the end what we have to do. To take upon our own shoulders the path. To find within ourselves the strength to open the door and in opening the door accepting what comes through after. We cannot hold ourselves separate but we cannot be a part of what wasn’t right in the first place. So that balancing act becomes less of us and more of the quandary that drives the decisions we have to make.
What is the right thing to do?