Saturday, January 11, 2014

When Nobody is Watching

"Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching". 
I find different forms of this quote going back more than one hundred years. So many variants, so many authors, they can't be wrong.

The chances to exercise our integrity are dwindling. An estimate of 1.85 million CCTV cameras in the UK, one for every 32 people. The Washington Post says the NSA can scan 1.7 billion emails a day. Everybody wants our data to rummage through. The privacy ambiguity introduced by the cyber lives we invented makes it hard to know when no one is watching. 

Given this is only getting worse we need new workable quotes for integrity and character. Something like "character is what you do when you think nobody is watching", and I have already read variations of that sort. 

Or maybe "doing the right thing when nobody cares", because all these Big Data engines are not really judging me I believe. Even if they are I may not care about their opinions of me. It would read as "doing the right thing even though we do not care about our reputation to the watcher. Nah, too long. 

The sign at Dojo had it right, "doing the right thing regardless of the consequences".

But then again there was another Japanese proverb used at the Dojo that conveyed the opposite.