Thursday, November 13, 2014

Right and Wrong Really Do Exist

“The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, and ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” 
             – Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

The existence of right and wrong is an incontrovertible, but often inconvenient, truth. It is perennially out of style, and countless human beings from all walks of life seek endlessly, but fruitlessly, to escape its penetrating presence in our world and universe. You don’t have to align yourself with a specific philosophy, or belong to a certain religion, to recognize and accede the reality of right and wrong. As mentioned earlier in this chapter, everyone has a conscience, which serves as an existential guide to all who are willing to listen.

RIGHT: Thoughts, speech, & actions that create positive and constructive long-term consequences for self and others.

WRONG: Thoughts, speech, & actions that create negative and destructive long-term consequences for self and others.

According to M. Scott Peck, M.D., evil is a form of mental illness, and is the “ultimate disease.”[1] Evil begets lies and deception—especially self-deception—and is therefore characterized not so much by doing wrong, but by a person’s “refusal to acknowledge”[2] his or her actions as being wrong.

Peck points out further that evil harbors a perpetual “desire to confuse.” [3] Rightness and goodness, on the other hand, continuously seek to clarify and illuminate.

Everyone on this planet has thought, said, and done things that are wrong; but not everyone is evil. The opportunity to avoid evil is possible for anyone who is willing to accept one’s own propensity for doing wrong while continually striving to do what is right.

The purpose of this book is not to try and proclaim what is and is not right in every particular. That is the purview of pure philosophy and the integrity of individual minds. [4] This book’s aim is merely to affirm in general terms that right and wrong do exist, and to encouraging self-action leaders everywhere to listen to their consciences in an authentic effort to embrace the good and eschew the evil for the sake of personal growth and the wellbeing of others.


Right is right and wrong is wrong, and never the twain shall meet.

It is vital to note that the key words in the aforementioned definitions of right and wrong are “long-term.” There are many wrong decisions that will bring seemingly positive short-term consequences. And there are many right decisions that will bring seemingly negative short-term consequences. Indeed, some consequences take years, decades, a lifetime, or even centuries or more to fully flower (or decay) into easily recognizable “right” (or “wrong”) choices. As a result, it becomes relatively easy to justify wrong behavior on the premise of pleasurable and preferable short-term consequences. However, if you wish to be happy and successful in the long run, and if you desire to leave a lasting legacy for others to admire and benefit from, you must choose the right. It is the only way.

Perhaps the simplest way to distinguish between right and wrong is to observe and measure their impact on your Existential Growth (X-Growth) or Existential Atrophy (X-Atrophy). Simply stated, Right choices lead to X-Growth. Wrong choices lead to X-Atrophy. Do you wish for your enlightenment and humanity to flourish, or to diminish? The choice is yours, but you cannot wish away the existence of right and wrong any more than you can wish away your own existence. Similarly, you cannot circumvent consequences of your decisions any more than you can wish away the natural laws of motion and gravity.


Making SAL real in your life requires that you learn and then do. It starts with education, advances with action, and continues with consistence and persistence.

This book provides a Pedagogy of Personal Leadership in the form of the SAL theory and model. This information provides the education necessary to successfully change and grow existentially in an effort to become all you are capable of becoming as a human being.

Exercising self-discipline is harder than giving in to what feels natural. Authentic change requires a total commitment of body, mind, and soul. As a result, changing can be extremely difficult. How much do you want to change; how hard are you willing to work for change; and how long are you willing to wait for change to become real in your life? The answer your actions give to these questions will be the ink that writes your life’s story.

The good news is that change is possible. Weak people can become strong. Diffident people can become confident. Poor people can become wealthy—financially or otherwise. Bitter, vengeful people can learn to forgive. The adversities of your past do not have to define your present, nor are they destined to shape your future—unless you allow them to. You can choose to change the direction of your life’s journey at any moment along that journey. In so doing, you can write a whole new story for yourself that generations to come will venerate for its grace and nobility. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, and believe me, some will try cleverly and diligently to do so.

To err is human. To repair and to change is divine.


[1] Peck, M.S. (1983). People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil. New York, NY: Touchstone. Page 264.
[2] Ibid. Page 69.
[3] Ibid. Page 179.
[4] Ziff, L., Ed. (1985) Ralph Waldo Emerson: Selected Essays. New York, NY: Penguin Classics. A reference to a quote from his essay, Self-Reliance ("Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind." Page 178).   

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