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Seeds Of Excellence Motivational Message~PromisesViews: 334
May 07, 2010 1:29 pmSeeds Of Excellence Motivational Message~Promises#

The Eagle: Motivating Champions Around The World
"Promises are the uniquely human way of ordering the future, making it predictable and reliable to the extent that this is humanly possible."

Hannah Arendt 1906-1975, Political Theorist


The Eagle


Private Reply to The Eagle: Motivating Champions Around The World

May 07, 2010 4:00 pmre: Seeds Of Excellence Motivational Message~Promises#

John Stephen Veitch
This is also about honour and consistency and playing by the social rules of your community.

A religious group in the USA was making a big thing about men being "promise keepers" a few years back. It's a rather old fashioned idea, but I think it has it's usefulness.

Sadly human beings a pretty good a breaking promises when it suits us.

John Stephen Veitch; The Network Ambassador
Open Future Limited - http://www.openfuture.co.nz/
Innovation Network - http://veech-network.ryze.com/
Building an Open Future - http://openfuture-network.ryze.com/

Private Reply to John Stephen Veitch

May 07, 2010 7:29 pmre: Seeds Of Excellence Motivational Message~Promises#

Thomas Holford
> "Promises are the uniquely human way of ordering the future, making it predictable and reliable to the extent that this is humanly possible."

Which leads into the undoubtely highly provocative follow-on question:

"Why keep promises?"

I will again tie my analysis back to what I suspect is a very early philosophical perspective: Socrates vs. The Sophists and their differing views of reality.

The Sophists essentially believed that there was no objective reality, only perceptions shaped by what our senses told us. Skillful use of rhetoric and the art of
"making the weaker argument appear to be the stronger", shaped people's perceptions. The Sophists made a living selling instruction in rhetoric to ambitious Greek citizens pursuing success in public life.

Socrates focused his intellectual energies on trying to understand "What is truth?" and "What is virtue?".

In pursing "truth", Socrates implicitly assumed that there was some sort of external objective reality, and in trying to understand the nature of "virtue", he implicity believed that there were "virtuous" choices, and "non-virtuous" choices, and that people had "free will" to make choices.

I would conclude that Socrates would say that keeping promises is "virtuous", and that virtue is, in effect, a transcendent moral code of some sort. I.e., it is a "religious" belief. In a nutshell, it is ultimately religious morality that requires people to keep promises.

I would conclude that The Sophists would say that keeping promises is "useful" only insofar as it helps to construct stronger rhetorical arguments. On the other hand, if it is possible to construct a stronger rhetorical argument even at the expense of not keeping a promise, then so be it.

This is the essential behavior we see in politicians. Obama "promised" to televise on CSPAN the negotiations for his health care legislation, but then found other more compelling reasons (i.e., rhetoric) that served him better in "constructing a stronger argument", so he abandoned his CSPAN promise.

T. Holford

Private Reply to Thomas Holford

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