Why Our Ancestors Considered Stealing an Evil...

The majority of us know stealing and lying are wrong.  The opposite of lying and stealing is honesty.  Let's take the value of honesty and apply it to two different situations:

You are hiking on a trail.  No one is around for miles and you find a man's billfold that has several hundred dollars in it.  What are you going to do?

If you try to find the owner of the billfold, you will automatically invoke the value of honesty.

Now let's examine all the good things that will happen when you are honest.  Say you find the billfold's owner and return it to him.  The owner of the billfold has several children, and having the money returned to him will mean he will be able to buy his children new clothes for school.  His driver's license and credit cards are in the billfold.  Getting his driver's license back will mean he will not have to bum rides from his co-workers anymore, and he will not have to call all the credit card companies to cancel his credit cards.  Most importantly, finding and returning the billfold will make you feel great.  You and the man whose billfold you returned will not hesitate to tell everyone of your good deed.  The people you tell will tell other people, and they will admire you for your honesty.  Who knows, your honesty might influence them to vote for you in the next tribal election - all this because you decided to be honest.

Now say you find the same billfold full of money, but you immediately take the money and throw the billfold in the bush.  The owner of the billfold, not a rich man, will not be able to buy his several children new clothes for school.  Imagine how his children will feel having to go to school without new clothes?  Not having his driver's license will mean he will continue to bum rides, and probably miss a day or two of work in the process.  Another person might find his billfold after you throw it away, and use his credit cards ruining his credit.  Later, a Park Ranger, recalling that you were hiking on the trail where the man lost his billfold, calls you and questions you, asking you if you had seen a billfold on the trail.  You lie and tell him no.  For a month you are stressed out because you are worried someone will find out you took the money.  To your credit, you begin to feel guilty and wish you hadn't taken the money.  As a result, you become irritable and crabby with your family.  All this happened because you decided to steal another person's money, and you were dishonest (lied) when you were asked about it.

Compare the two scenarios and you can see how honesty can make such a positive difference in your life, while dishonesty (lies) can harm your life and the lives of the people around you.  This is why our ancestors considered a person who lied as evil and put to death a person who lied (and stole) so the evil would not spread and harm the rest of the tribe.

Let me ask you these questions: Why are the above scenarios any different from tribal workers who put 40 hours on their time sheets, but work, say, 20 hours?  Is lying and stealing from tribal members evil?  Is falsifying time sheets, unethical hiring and firing, favoritism, and nepotism lying and stealing?  And if we did all this in our ancestors' time, would our ancestors consider us evil people and put us all to death?

I hope you came to the conclusion that I came to.  Tribal workers who steal from the tribe, regardless of the circumstances, are liars and stealers.  It doesn't matter if they are workers, supervisors, CEOs, or tribal council members.  Our ancestors would have considered them evil and would have put them to death a long time ago.

If we are all lying and stealing (evil), could that be the reason why our reservations are in such dire straits today (sounding like a Christian preacher ☺)?   What would happen if:

➢    All tribal workers would show up for work on time every day and work with minimal supervision.

➢    All tribal supervisors would also show up for work on time every day, and have the skills required of a good supervisor.  They would have the trust and respect of the workers they supervise!
➢    All tribal CEOs would make all higher level decisions based on fairness and honesty.  They would do all the long-term planning, they would enforce the board's policies fairly, and delegate lower level tasks to mid-management personnel.
➢    All tribal governing board members would stay in their roles as board members providing the CEOs with courageous and honest leadership when needed, and otherwise let them do their jobs.
➢    All tribal council members would lead courageously and honestly treating everyone with fairness and equality.  

If this happened, it would be a safe bet that the living conditions of the reservation would greatly improve.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dr. Erich Longie published on August 6, 2009 7:33 PM.

Everything Changes Over Time was the previous entry in this blog.

What Is The Best Defense Against Lies and Liars? is the next entry in this blog.

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