The Ethical Executive: Becoming Aware of the Root Causes of Unethical Behavior: 45 Psychological Traps That Every One of Us Falls Prey To

By Robert Hoyk; Paul Hersey | Go to book overview

THE PARABLE OF THE SADHU

THE FOLLOWING STORY was taken from a chapter written by Bowen McCoy in the Harvard Business Review on Corporate Ethics.1

In 1982, Bowen McCoy, an investment banker for Morgan Stanley, spent his sabbatical trekking in the Himalayan Mountains of Nepal with a group of people from Japan, New Zealand, and Switzerland. After hiking for thirty days, McCoy and his group reached a base camp where they prepared to climb to the highest point of their trip, “an 18,000 foot pass.”

The next morning, the group started their assent at 3:30 a.m. To conquer the most treacherous part of the pass before the sun melted the steps cut in the ice.” [Italics added.] McCoy writes, “The Himalayas were having their wettest spring in 20 years; hip-deep powder and ice had already driven us off one ridge. If we failed to cross the pass, I feared that the last half of our once-in-a-lifetime trip would be ruined.… I felt strong—my adrenaline was flowing.… If the ice steps had given way, I would have slid down about 3,000 feet.…” [Italics added.]

As the sun rose over the mountains, the group rested at 15,500 feet. “One of the New Zealanders, who had gone ahead, came staggering down toward us with a body slung across his shoulders. He dumped the almost naked, barefoot body of an Indian holy man—a sadhu— at my feet. He had found the pilgrim lying on the ice, shivering and

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