What is Corruption?

Self-righteousness in public gaze has become a way of life as we continue to revel in this reality show – fishbowl syndrome of a world that we have begun living in. The amazing aspect of our social persona is the very clever camouflage that we use to mask who we really are. The allure of being in the spotlight overrides the discretion of being who we really are or should be. So the question, why risk it? The answer to that question isn’t very simple.

The convergence of computing, communications and content has converted our lives into one big global reality show through this major dimension of our universe called the internet. The world is flat and accessible in Nano seconds anywhere, anytime and anyhow.  There is a notion that if you are not seen in this cosmos, you don’t belong anywhere. This is equivalent to the cocktail circuit of the elite in erstwhile times. Add this to the self-righteous outrage of people that has seen the fall of governments and institutions and the uprising of a new society. But the question remains, to what affect? Nothing has changed other than the shifting of the people to a different level of corruption; be it in government, corporates or societies.

Understanding this term corruption is therefore essential and fundamental to our existence today. It is just not the bribe taking or prejudiced version of wrong doing by a section of society. Corruption is a direct opposite of Excellence. It manifests in every single being that chooses a path opposite to excellence. Each one may be at a different stage of their journey towards either Excellence or Corruption; but there can be no mistaking the individuals have chosen; fort this determines the contribution they make to either a universe of excellence or corruption. Refer to the following illustration and follow the comparative table to understand the different paths.

Excellence Vs Corruption

Excellence: Is a pursuit by an individual or an entity for the universal well-being. Corruption: Is a pursuit for the selfish well-being of an individual and / or its associates/affiliates.
Competence: Is a station one reaches consciously with rigorous practice, determination and dedication. Controlling: Is a station one finds comfort where others may not be able to fathom their true station or the lack of it.
Defining: Where individuals seek constantly to create meaning for themselves and others around a common purpose. Defying: Where people seek to suppress those who may form a contrary view or position thereby asserting superiority to an personal purpose.
Understanding: is the mental state we create to find the right in everything and make it work for one self and others in the society. Posturing: Is the mental state we create to lead others to believe in something we ourselves experience little or no conviction.
Awareness: Being respectful of our environment and seeing diversity as strength and therefore finding unity. Pretense: Being disrespectful of the environment by opposing different streams of thought and forcing unity.
Innocence: A conscious state from where all curiosity in thought leads to making a right choice for action. Arrogance: An unconscious or indulgent state from where emerges the choice and dictate on how life should be.

I came across this Forbes article on Authentic Leadership (http://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2013/05/12/what-is-authentic-leadership/) and wondered if authenticity was the preserve of leaders alone or only a certain section of the society could aspire and practice leadership. To me the answer is very obvious: authenticity is essential of everyone’s life just like salt to food and air to life. We are all born innocent; whether we are born to a saint or a criminal. It is the environment around us and the influences we seek that shapes our outlook to life. Such an outlook therefore determines the path we choose; be that of excellence or corruption. Is there little wonder then that all of us will not deny the need for progress and growth; yet only some of us will dare to take that path authentically while most of us might tread the path of destruction or failure consciously or unwittingly?

From the above illustration and table, it is easy to understand where we are and the path we have chosen for ourselves. In ancient times people believed that it took a village to raise a child. The collective experience of the village therefore bore on raising a child that would be a better member of the society contributing to its growth and well-being. In this day and age of self-occupation, have we lost this ability as people to constantly move towards personal and universal growth? If that is the case, are we not as corrupt as the people we are accusing of corruption? Or is this something that needs to recognition as life’s evolution till life falls off and a new society emerges from its dirt?

About Subbu Iyer

Subbu Iyer is an Innovation & Transformation Leader as with 28 years of serving customers globally. He is currently the Chief Designer & Transformer at Energizing Innovation, an enterprise that is being founded to facilitate continuous growth in enterprises and as a consequence create societal wealth. The Radical Shift that this enterprise intends to employ is focusing on the Potential rather than the Performance of a business. He has been a serial entrepreneur and an intrapreneur in his past life, having founded Nihilent Technologies and Nandaki Systems besides being associated in senior leadership roles with firms such as Coopers & Lybrand, Cambridge Technology Partners, Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro Technologies and Steria.
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