François Rabelais was a 16th century doctor and writer, who became one of the most important figures of the French Renaissance. His main work is a set of five novels that tell the life of the giant Gargantua and that of his son Pantagruel, with a satirical and extravagant style, which manages to disturb the reader. Among the many famous fragments of these fantastic adventures, there is hidden a small, especially renowned quote: “Wisdom does not enter into a malicious soul, and knowledge without conscience is only the ruin of the soul.”
More than 500 years after these words were written, The vanguard It published an interview on its back cover that managed to go viral at high speed on social networks. The protagonist was a neuroscientist named Howard Gardner, who gave a headline that was difficult to forget: “A bad person never becomes a good professional.” To justify it, Gardner assured that without ethical principles you can be rich or technically good, but that you will never achieve the excellence of individuals who are committed to global well-being.
From the novels of the French Renaissance to the most contemporary LinkedIn posts, there have always been currents of thought that have encouraged us to do good. But what exactly does it mean to do good? Here we could immerse ourselves in a wide variety of philosophical theories or simply remember a brief legend that the Cherokee Indians used to explain it. According to this story, a grandfather told his grandchildren how two wolves live inside people: on the one hand, that of resentment, abuse, arrogance, lies and evil; and on the other, that of kindness, joy, solidarity, mercy and hope. Once the story was over, one of the children asked: “Grandpa, which of the two wolves do you think will win?” And the grandfather answered: “Whoever you feed.”
So doing good is about feeding the right wolf. Doing good is a sum of small conscious and responsible decisions, which do not always find the ideal conditions to be carried out, but which end up shaping true personal and professional value.
“A bad person never becomes a good professional,” according to neuroscientist Howard Gardner.
Doing good at work seems to generate a high consensus on a theoretical level, but then requires a lot of courage and militancy in the practical field. Because doing good means having to constantly face comments like: you’re a do-gooder, you fuck with cigarette papers, you lack temper, you don’t know how things work, you look like a priest, you live in the worlds of Yupi… and a lot of normalized nonsense that always comes from those who long ago decided to feed the wolf of arrogance.
Furthermore, in the work environment there are also negative experiences that can tempt us to act incorrectly. The multiplicity of interactions means that we inevitably come across people who disappoint us or hurt us, but this should serve to reaffirm that we do not want to be like them. As they say, never stop being a good person because of bad people.
François Rabelais already warned: knowledge without ethics is a disaster. Howard Gardner added: being a good person is not a sufficient condition to be a good professional, but it is highly necessary. And the Cherokees finished off: if you are not a goodist, you only have one alternative, which is to be a badist.