Why don’t people fess up when they’ve done something “wrong”?
In our work, we believe that fear of taking responsibility is a result of being “Domesticated”. We define Domestication as any Training Process that uses a system of punishments and rewards to accomplish its goals.
We enjoy how Don Miguel Ruiz describes this in his book The Four Agreements.
“Children are domesticated the same way that we domesticate a dog, a cat, or any other animal. In order to teach a dog we punish the dog and we give it rewards. We train our children whom we love so much the same way that we train any domesticated animal: with a system of punishment and reward.
We are told, “You’re a good boy or girl,” when we do what Mom and Dad want us to do. When we don’t, we are “a bad girl or boy.”
When we went against the rules we were punished; when we went along with the rules we got a reward. We were punished many times a day, and we were also rewarded many times a day. Soon we became afraid of being punished and also afraid of not receiving the reward.”
Becoming an Auto-Domesticated Animal
The domestication is now so strong that at a certain point we no longer need anyone to domesticate us. We don’t need parents, the school, or the church to domesticate us. We are so well trained that we become Auto-Domesticated animals.”
We can now domesticate ourselves according to the same system of punishment and reward. We punish ourselves when we don’t follow the rules according to our belief system; we reward ourselves when we are “good boys and girls.”
Our culture practices judging whether we are good or bad, right or wrong, appropriate or inappropriate, worthy of reward or deserve punishment …
This causes people to confuse Integrity with Morality. We define Integrity as: Being true to your Chosen Values and your Highest Self, vs. Morality, which is: judging the rightness or wrongness of something according to Culturally Learned moral standards. Morality is the practice of judging what’s good or bad, right or wrong, appropriate or inappropriate, worthy of reward or deserves punishment.
In this culture people get Integrity & Morality mixed up so they believe that failing to act as others expect will cause them to be judged as Bad and Wrong, or worthy of punishment. So people fear the punishment that will follow from the judgments of others such as: How irresponsible / inconsiderate / selfish / stupid … or What a jerk / creep / idiot, and so on.
In this situation it’s no wonder there are so few souls willing to martyr themselves to the consequences of these moralistic judgments.
What Would You Prefer?
Given all this, it seems to us that the more important questions are: How do we move from a culture where we try and control people’s actions through fear of punishment and desire for rewards to one where we elicit the actions we want from others by engaging in a compassionate dialogue that is focused on gaining clarity about everyone’s needs in a situation (such as one where someone has acted “irresponsibly”), thereby eliciting a sincere agreement to participate together in a way that serves the highest good of everyone involved?
And as an important prerequisite: How can we gain the level of Values Intelligence needed to focus our attention on maintaining integrity with what is most important to us (at the essential, core, “spiritual” level) rather than being driven by our culturally learned, habitual thinking?
So (as a shamelessly self-promoting plug) if you find these questions intriguing you may be interested to know that much of our work is dedicated to finding practical and effective answers to these last two questions.