In our last analysis, our problem of getting people to accept our beliefs or to act upon our suggestions, is just this, to plant the idea in their minds and to keep contradictory and opposing ideas from arising. He who is skilled in doing that will have power in speaking and profit in business. Do you think this is immoral advice? If so, why? If not, why not? Personally, I do not think that this piece of advice by Dale Carnegie is immoral. I strongly believe that we, especially in this time and age, are able to make our own choices freely, and not have to feel subjugated by any other individual.
We determine our own future and have more or less some say in the running of our own lives. Hence, though some may think that Dale Carnegie’s piece of advice is immoral for it seeks to coerce our mode of thinking, I feel that we too must take some responsibility in allowing this to occur. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human rights, Article Eighteen and Nineteen, clearly states that one is entitled to “The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Hence, this further reiterates my stand that as individuals, we are made aware of our right to free choice and thought thereby acknowledging the fact that we are ultimately our own “masters”. Of course, one must also take into consideration the surrounding and circumstances. More often than not, this view of free choice and thought holds true for individuals operating by the laws of democracy and not those who are subjected to militancy or dictatorship.
The immorality and corruption that might come about occurs when the individual who amasses such “power” harbours immoral intentions and exploits this “power” for immoral purposes such as achieving a corrupted aim, or furthering a “twisted” vision. Furthermore, the business that the individual engages in -with the skill of being able to plant ideas and keep contradictory and opposing ideas from arising- is also an important factor in determining the matter of immorality.
Simply put, it is not the advice that proves to be immoral, but rather, it is dependent upon the intentions of the individual in question. Similarly, the “business” that the individual engages in is also of primary importance. Thus, if the individual utilizes such a “skill” for immoral purposes and business, then the result that follows would consequently be immoral and negative. Conversely, if the individual utilizes this skill for moral or non-corrupt intentions and businesses, then this would obviously yield positive results.
There are those who might condemn the profits made by Multi-National Corporations (MNCs) and businesses. However, in today’s highly competitive arena, companies resort to every possible means so as to meet targeted sales, to attract and keep their clients and to reap profits. Having this ability or “skill” to satisfy all the above requirements is essential. With the myriad of choices available nowadays, consumers find that they have a greater freedom in exercising their right of freedom of choice and thought.
Ironically, there are individuals who still prefer purchasing the same brand of products despite the wide array of choices. This then could be seen as the business’s success in planting a particular idea in their consumer’s minds, and keeping contradictory and opposing ideas from arising. For instance, many firms today use brand names in order to differentiate between many similar products. An example of this would be a pair of jeans. Firms aim to associate their brand with a particular image.
A pair of “Levi’s” jeans would thus be distinguished from another pair of jeans merely by its brand name. Hence, the idea that is perhaps being planted into the minds of consumers is that the pair of “Levi’s” jeans is of a better value and of a higher quality, or that a certain “status” or “association” comes with wearing the brand “Levi’s”. Perhaps, many might see this as the firm establishing a false sense of what the brand or the pair of jeans really entails.
Yet, as mentioned earlier, we hold the right to freedom of choice and thought, thus, no one can forcibly make us do what we do not wish to. Hence, if the firm is indeed able to plant such an idea of “better value, better quality” into the minds of consumers and able to keep contradictory and opposing ideas such as “there are cheaper pairs of jeans to purchase” from arising, then this firm will undoubtedly have the power in speaking and will definitely reap in the profits. This however, is merely a business strategy.
It is not immoral in any sense, for it does not attempt to “cheat” the consumer. It merely offers a bias stand. It is ultimately entirely up to the consumer to decide if he or she will purchase the pair of jeans. Unfortunately, when it comes to the matter of reaping profits in business, the advice that Dale Carnegie gives, though not immoral in itself, does apply even in immoral situations. Take for example, prostitution rings. In a Newsweek interview, two American journalists managed to secure an interview with some of the girls that were forced into prostitution in Thailand.
The startling revelation was that though these girls were aware of the fact and admitted that they were forced into prostitution, they also believed that this was their only option in life, that they were abandoned by their natural families and that they were condemned to prostitution to cleanse the “sins” of their past life. The pimps of the prostitution syndicate had over a period of time, “brainwash” the girls into accepting their fate and to abandon any contradictory and opposing thoughts of escape or a new lease of life.
This example shows how the individual uses this ability of getting others to accept their beliefs and act upon their wishes, to achieve immoral and corrupt ends. Hence, the advice in itself is not immoral. It is the individual’s intentions and manipulations that bring forth immoral consequences. Dale Carnegie’s advice is also applicable not only in the area of business. Take the example of the late Mahatma Gandhi. He was an individual who had the ability of getting people to accept his beliefs and act upon his suggestions.
He aimed in uniting India and he advocated fighting for India’s independence without having to resort to violence. He was able to plant this idea into the minds of the oppressed Indians. He was also able to keep contradictory and opposing ideas of revolution and violence from arising. In all, he was able to amass the power to speak and convince the people of his vision. Conversely, another individual who was able to amass such skill and power was Adolf Hitler. His infamous Nazi reign resulted in immense suffering and destruction.
He was successful in that he was an individual who had the power of speaking, and the ability to plant his twisted ideas of rebuilding the “Third Reich”, reclaiming land that was lost after the First World War and “cleansing” Germany of the Jews. In addition, he was extremely successful in keeping contradictory and opposing ideas such as “is the act of exterminating the Jews humane? ” from arising. Hence, though both examples above are not associated with profits in business, nevertheless, it shows that the advice that Dale Carnegie speaks of is in itself not immoral in any sense.
Again, it is the individual behind this ability that controls the consequences. In the case of Mahatma Gandhi, his “skill” resulted in the peaceful transition of India’s independence. On the other hand, Hitler’s manipulation of this similar “skill” resulted in great carnage, deaths and destruction. In conclusion, these examples merely serve to show that whether it is in the context of business or not, the advice that Dale Carnegie speaks of is not immoral.
It is imperative to draw a line between the advice and the individuals who seek to adhere to the advice. If businesses adhere to the advice in a bid to reap profits through means such as cheating their clients, or embezzling their funds, then the matter in itself is immoral regardless of the advice. Thus, the advice in itself does not stand for anything. It is through the actions and intentions of individuals that one is able to witness the true manifestations of this piece of advice.
January 9, 2018
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