Key Thought for this session:

“Without a compass, the journey is futile.”

So, an important perspective about truth deals with the difference between practical and principled decisions. For example, China once saw abortion as a rational way to control population, but this view has led to difficult population imbalances over time. Some people in the US consider abortion to be "right" because it gives a woman more control in difficult circumstances. However, others argue that fixing one life for a period of time can destroy an entire lifetime for another. Both reasons for abortion are based on what is a practical solution to an existential problem. Those who see abortion as a principled or ethical approach would view the unborn child as a life and that society must protect the life of all its people, especially those who are vulnerable and cannot protect themselves. Seeing abortion as practical makes sense to many people in many situations. Yet, abortion can have unintended consequences that are not obvious at first, but that happen over time. This is an example of why absolute truth can be challenging.

Reward systems are a rational way to influence behavior, especially in immediate situations. Let’s look at the truth about reward and punishment by revisiting the story we started with in Session One. Remember the story we told about the architect and his construction project. He ended up paying all the workers the same regardless of how long they worked.

The story conveys a truth that the nature of the reward giver is more important, in the big picture, to the community than the type of reward system. While reward systems are often the focus, fairness is quite subjective and temporary. It is a HUGE realization to see that it is far more successful for the community to be focused more on the passion and character of the reward giver than it is to be focused on the rules for how people are rewarded.

So, for those people who struggle with being distracted by fairness bias, or who struggle with bickering and maneuvering so as to achieve the best reward for themselves, or who sometimes find themselves sulking over the way their authorities are treating them, then this principle would suggest that the way out of this turmoil is to become more thankful to the one they follow. And if the one you follow is not really worthy of that thanksgiving, then maybe “True North” for you involves finding someone who is.