Deadly Sin Series: Knowledge without Character

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It’s such an exhilarating feeling.

You have been to college and alongside you have been pursuing an entrepreneurial dream.

You were the type the girls ignored. Too focused. Too disciplined. Too obsessed. Maybe you even partied and were cool. But it was just a way to ease the tension that pursuing big dreams create.

Suddenly you pull through college, you aim for Silicon Valley. Your pedigree of collegiate entrepreneurial pursuit makes you stand out amongst the many applicants.

You get into the lifestyle, the grueling work hours of most Silicon Valley start-ups. The sacrifice is worth it because you know you are on to something big. That idea is about to become a product. That product is now a big idea. It’s what everybody wants to use and are raving about.

Suddenly, everyone wants to know who built it. Incidentally, you are part of the brilliant team. Everybody marvels at your genius and ingenuity.

And like Silicon Valley dynamics, the big giants are curious and snooping. Next they are thinking of creating a competition for your brilliant idea or the other brilliant option. Buy your start-up!

If they buy your start-up, you become the overnight millionaire. If you decide to go public with your IPO, maybe a new kid billionaire.

It’s the ultimate dream you cherished in your college years. You dreamed of becoming the next tech millionaire and now you have it and it feels good.

But the trick is that you are not prepared for the trappings of success. People who ignored you suddenly start paying attention to you. The girls who can’t stand you, have turned your phone into a music player from regular phone calls.

The dark side of success also beckons. But you were never warned about this.

Suddenly, the path of least resistance looks more appealing. There is now so much that you can hardly spend it. No need for penny pinching. You can have it all and your bank balance is still fantastic.

You are disciplined and know you should work and you continue to do so. Along comes drugs, booze and the sensuous appeal of women.

You don’t know how to deal with this. And you yield. It’s OK to try. Once is harmless. You forget that it is better to resist the first desire than to satisfy those that will follow after it.

Succumbing to this initial temptation now graduates into a regular habit. You are now super-duper distracted. Work is beginning to lose appeal. You now have secret monster habits that take advantage of your base instincts.

You simply can’t understand this all-consuming but never satisfying passion, this uncontrolled and uncontrollable addiction. You have resolved to stop, only to find yourself falling deeper. It’s like you are in a quick sand. You keep going down.

On the other hand, you have now become a master of disguise. You have it altogether on the surface. But deep down within, in your closet, you are falling apart. Your life is becoming like a house of card, a stronger wind will soon cause you to crumble.

You felt you could conquer the world and you mustered the forces of discipline with a razor focus on that intent. Yes! You achieved that feat. The parody is now that you suddenly now find yourself a slave to your own desires.

It’s only a matter of time, if you don’t quit now, you suspect it will end badly. You might have to check into rehab for drug use, you might lose the power of your once disciplined mind.

By now, you are beginning to recognize we are not nearly as invincible as we think we are. We can’t get away with everything.

The women of easy virtue have now become a source of escapism. Sex is now a coping tool, not something that binds you to another. Your relationships with the opposite sex are at best superficial and do not help the sense of helplessness you are now dealing with.

King Solomon warned,

“For by means of a harlot, a man is reduced to a crust of bread.”

Perhaps you would have turned out differently if you had committed to a nice and virtuous woman you wonder. But it wasn’t an option amidst the noise of the crowd that told you, you can have and do anything,  that you have arrived and character is no longer important.

We realize this too late – The price of satisfying our ignoble desires is high. It cost pretty damn much, more than we thought or are willing to pay. It cost the very essence of our lives – the integrity of our souls. It ruins everything we have worked for and our very self.

Reflection

This story sounds like what happens to most celebrities, artist, entrepreneurs, sport athlete who self-destruct at the height of their fortune and glory. The ones who let fortune and fame get into their heads, who failed to realize that talent, knowledge can get you to the top but only character sustains your relevance.

From time immemorial, people have demonstrated a lack of the necessary character foundation to handle success and fame. It can happen even to seemingly virtuous people so this is pride check for all. Don’t dare think it can’t happen to you.

Recently I watched a CNN report on the profitability of prostitution in Silicon Valley. Silicon valley is where you find the IPO dollars and newly minted tech billionaires and millionaires whose new found fortune leave you drooling.

These young men suddenly find fame and fortune but their character is not prepared to successfully navigate its stormy waters.

According to the sex workers, the relentless hours and high pay of young entrepreneurs makes them ideal clients.

What can be said about this?

Prioritizing work above all other important areas of your life leaves you lonely, tired and with poor judgment. This lifestyle leaves little or no room for traditional dating that most young men need to find suitable partners.

To deal with this, a call girl can provide temporary succour, an elusive oasis in a desert of loneliness.

A sex worker made a scary remark, something that should frighten the soul of any young man aspiring to a life of virtue, “Anytime you have a lot of young men coming west to seek their fortunes, the sex worker industry responds.”

Already a Google executive, Forrest Hayes is dead as a result of such indiscretion. A sex worker, Alix Tichelman is in court over allegations of drugging him to death with heroin.

How do we respond?

We are seeing the degradation, the destruction, the disillusion that abounds when the pursuit of fame, fortune and knowledge is not tempered with the maturity that comes from character growth. Intelligence as we have seen is overrated. Our society need more young men who recognize the need for character as much as their need to make money.

It reminds me of the psalmist prayer for character growth,

“Make me walk along the path of your commands for that is where my happiness is found. Give me an eagerness for your laws rather than a love for money.”

How I wish every young man and woman will pray this prayer passionately. Alas! We are blinded to our need for virtue, robbed of our innocence by the unending appeal of indulgence that characterize today’s media.

Our educational institutions can also be blamed for this, having divorce the pursuit of knowledge from the philosophy of morality. The Morality that started the pursuit of education is now a stranger to the house it once built.

We need to provide that fine balance of character and learning. The world of commerce must follow suit. Governance must be administered only by men and women of vision and character. Character education must be restored across all levels of society.

Anything less than this, we are all time bombs carelessly walking in a land mine. You can imagine the kind of explosion that triggers.

Sadly, our posterity will have to bear the effect of our wrong actions.

As I write this, I’m sober myself, realizing my own imperfections and need to do better. We are not perfect people I agree but we can be better.

The only question is – will the pursuit of character become appealing to you after today?

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4 responses to “Deadly Sin Series: Knowledge without Character

  1. wow….nice write up..great grammatical fluency.. Don’t know if you will be available come December during the sacred heart’s reunion to give a talk on “choice of career” and “building tomorrow’s man” .

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