Professional Responsibility in Leadership
Professor George Buckley
Wednesday, December 15th 2010
My little final speech on -
How to achieve a good personal and professional life
“And it is no mean manifestation of Nature and Reason that man is the only animal that has a feeling for order, propriety, for moderation in word and deed. And so no other animal has a sense of beauty, loveliness, harmony in the visible world: and Nature and Reason, extending the analogy of this from the world of sense to the world of spirit, find that beauty, consistency, order are far more to be maintained in thought and deed, and the same Nature and Reason are careful to do nothing in an improper or unmanly fashion, and in every thought and deed to do or think nothing capriciously.
It is from these elements that is forged and fashioned that moral goodness (…) – something that, even though it be not generally ennobled, is still worthy of all honour; by its own nature, we correctly maintain, it merits praise even though it be praised by none.” Marcus Tullius Cicero. De Officiis
I know, I know.
This is a painfully long quote, but since you asked me to elaborate a bit on the key ethical principles I followed in life, and my advice -personally and professionally-, Cicero’s quote offers a perfect opening floor for that. So you got to stick through it. Sorry… Before starting with personal advice for life, I would like to warn you all that I am referring a lot to Aristotle’s Nichomachean ethics, since they are –in comparison to Mill and Bentham’s Utalitarianism or the Hellenistic philosophy of Stoicism- the one that reflects my personal inner beliefs and values, and the idea of how to achieve a good life best. So here we go…
A few words of advice… My personal advice for every person present is to strive for fulfillment. I know, this is a fairly broad term, but do not worry, since I was asked to talk for a while, I would like to explain to you, what I mean by that. For me personally, fulfillment must be divided into two co-existing parts, which then jointly lead to true goodness and quality in and of your life: Firstly, there is personal fulfillment. Personal fulfillment strives for ones’ individual needs, which differ from person to person. However, most people have a few general desires in common that are necessary for happiness, such as finding love in life, getting married, raising a family with kids, having a good job and staying healthy. For many people this seems to be enough to strive for, and they do not seem to realize tat this can only bring happiness and satisfaction to a certain degree. A feeling of incompleteness is then oftentimes interpreted as a need for more money, a new partner or something else. However, this is where I believe the second mode of fulfillment comes into play. By this next level of fulfillment, I mean greater, even more satisfying and valuable in order to achieve the core principle of living a good life. Moral Goodness is the key to this greater extent of fulfillment, which, I believe every human should strive for to live a honorable, noble and ultimately, good life. Now, some might wonder, what the hack ‘moral goodness’ is supposed to mean. Well, let me elaborate a bit on that, before I go on into explaining how I believe we can achieve this ‘moral goodness’, and thereby the ultimate fulfillment that is –in my idea- the essential piece that completes a ‘good life’. Moral goodness is what Aristotle defined as some good that “all human actions ultimately aim for” and which creates “eduaimonia”, which is Greek and stands for happiness and/or blessedness.  However, this might appear fairly vague to you, so let me explain a bit better, what I actually mean by moral goodness. For me, it is not a static state that can be achieved, but rather an activity