I do believe (and have experienced) that following a doctrine aligned absolutely to a cause provides advantages. However, this also introduces its own brand of complications. For eg, ‘Under no circumstance will I speak ill of somebody behind their back’ – this may be a work ethic based on a ‘commendable’ cause, but even so it hinders a social connection, especially with people who do not passionately care about the consistency of the words and opinions spewing out of their mouth, but are yet not incompetent or stupid. Culture (company / country / region etc) is also a factor in encountering and dealing with this. One person getting upset is not something that can’t be dealt with – but what about the entire floor you work on (over time)? It’s not easy being a wolf in a flock of sheep. i.e the wolf needs to be disguised (at times) to lubricate the social machinery the wolf is (forced to?) play in. Though a fictional story, Jack London’s Whitefang was a captivating read for me and also illustrates this point.
To engage with a complex social environment – it appears that one has to be willing to make concessions or workarounds based on context and cause. The context could include your boss, or a friend you feel obligations towards. One can stick to principles, come what may and thus empower himself to make unbiased, logical decisions that are consistent in terms of philosophy. However, this works perfectly if you are Absolutely unaffected by anybody getting upset, and only care about ‘the truth’, and not the next promotion. This being said, I think that most people in hindsight, appreciate professionals who stick to their ethics no matter what. This is especially relevant in functions like Purchase and Sales in companies.
No matter how well a cause is identified and the purpose purged from consideration, I think that the purpose will still hover around – with an indirect or even possibly miserably lucid influence, depending on the level of cognizance, and perhaps imagination.
Let’s say I want to practice the doctrine ‘I will neither borrow nor lend money. If I do borrow money under dire circumstance – I will do all I can to repay it immediately’. A friend in ‘urgent need’ asks me for a substantial loan. It is my hard-earned money, but I want to help. I fully accept that there is no guarantee we will be friends forever, whether I lend him the money or not. However, do I want to risk whatever extant friendship becoming sour over ‘some money’ that may not be returned? One solution is to set aside the absolute minimum amount of money that I can spare without damaging my finances, and firmly assume the loan will never be returned. If the proposed charity is ‘returned’ – good. The dark, unknown future is (mostly?) left unprobed and the current ’cause’ has been dealt with, with everybody concerned getting something, but not all that is desired. However, a possible part of that unknown future (whether my friend will return the loan or not) is still being considered, and though the solution appears driven by cause rather than purpose – I am still trying to ‘control’ or influence the unknown future.
Perhaps, atleast a minute presence of purpose is necessary – as a part of the entire approximation driving the decision?