Website design By BotEap.comWhen it comes to alternative interpretations on a topic, it is interesting that many business ethics textbooks contain The Parable of the Sadhu, about how these Westerners wrestled with the implications of a frozen mendicant Indian Sadhu. In short, the author had been beating himself for years because on a trip to Nepal to climb the Himalayan mountains, he and other climbers had come across an icy beggar lying exposed in the mountains. They revived him and left him in a hut, seeing him for the last time throwing rocks at a dog. For years, the author suffered from guilt, feeling that he should have helped bring the Sadhu to a village two days away.

Website design By BotEap.comWhat history doesn’t say, of course, is that the Sadhu had been exactly where he claimed to be, doing what he intended to do, when suddenly these Westerners grabbed and abused him, and then turned his presence into a serious moral crisis for themselves. . To top it all, they left it to be eaten by a dog; instead of dying in peace on the mountain, it is torn to pieces and devoured. It is not a very happy ending for the Sadhu.


This seems typical of interactions between Americans and the rest of the world. Nowhere did the Sadhu seem to have asked anyone for help. The author interprets the Sadhu’s lesson as “In a complex corporate situation, the individual requires and deserves the support of the group.” The lesson I see, instead, is: be careful with Westerners, they could grab you, mistreat you and take you somewhere where you have no interest in being taken, so that the dogs will tear you to pieces. A Syrian friend sent me a photo of a bumper sticker that is apparently becoming common in the Middle East: “Be kind to America, or we will bring democracy to your country.”


The real question we should ask ourselves, therefore, before engaging in the internal affairs of other countries or the day-to-day affairs of other people, is whether what we set out to do is going to help or harm other people. If we assume the answer to that question, we will continue to make the mistake made by the author of the Parable; that whatever we do to another person is justified because we are the ones who do it. I suggest that this presumption is in itself unjustified and unjustifiable.

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