September 23, 2005
Vol. 2, No. 38

Published Weekly on Fridays
By Leadership University

From the Founder – Mike R. Jay, Master Business Coach

Leadership & Free Will

I don't feel I could write a more controversial topic, but just this morning I was watching a nicotine path commercial (designed to help people quit smoking). I thought to myself, that because of a psychological belief system that is being perpetuated by the general scientific community based on blank slate beliefs: beliefs that tell us anyone can be anything they want to be; capitalism is a vehicle that in a lot of cases exists to create harmful products.

Let me give you an example:

Currently, we in the U.S. are seeing all kinds of ads in media where tobacco companies are telling us to stop smoking and counsel our children on the ill-effects of smoking...all the while they pump out more and more cigarettes.

Now, most people will blame this on capitalistic greed, but I suggest to you that there is an underlying psychological belief system that keeps reasonable people from stopping the manufacture of products that are proven to be harmful.

Here it is: 'free will'

In other words, there is an assumption that as free people, we are entitled to do what we want with our bodies, and to eat, drink and smoke if we 'choose.'

Now, I can't spend the time here to give you the entire diatribe on my thoughts around this, but here's the short of it.

If I believe you have a right to do what you want with your body and that is amplified by a belief you can be anything you want to be, then I assume you do what you do because you want to, not because you have systems inside of you that predispose you to addictive behaviors.

Think about it.

If everyone is created equal, then you doing what you do is your choice and you are choosing to do that. I don't think for a moment that you have an addictive personality. I feel if you want to kill yourself by smoking or whatever, then it's your choice?

What if it's not people's choice?

What if free will doesn't exist like we think it does?

What if people have addictive personalities and are really different and don't choose to smoke, be a drug addict or alcoholic?

You see, underlying all the capitalistic greed is a flawed set of leadership assumptions based on a blank slate methodology.

I will be the first to agree, that it is a lot easier to allow people to become addicts or kill themselves without intervention because the alternative is categorizing people.

But, I do want to raise the issue, because I believe a new morality is going to have to arise to protect people from their own free will. I don't know who will do it, but I do realize that it is just as morally corrupt to continue with blank slate as it is to catagorize people based on what we know about predisposition to addiction and other maladies that arise, not of free will, but genetic predisposition.

The same issues exist with healthcare.

Some people are predisposed to get sick, others like myself, have hardy constitutions. Did I 'choose' to be hardy? Of course not, no more than anyone else chooses to be sick. This is not free will, this is nature's lottery.

Leadership is going to be required to sort through these moral dilemmas. It's not capitalistic greed, but failed leadership that creates many of the problems present in the world today.

If you want to read more about the inner-workings of my thinking and feeling, I write almost daily at a private blog site that you can purchase access to at: . I keep my thoughts available for this private group of people who are in dialogue about the serious issues facing leadership around the planet.

Come join us at leadu and become part of the solution!

Mike R. Jay, Founder

P.S. Please visit my blog to comment on this and
other articles about leadership.

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