Walter Jacobson, M.D.

Walter Jacobson, M.D.

Posted March 8, 2010

Published in Lifestyle

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What Price Loyalty?

Read More: ethics, God, humanity, ideals, integrity, justice, loyalty, truth

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There's a lot of  loyalty floating around out there.  People are loyal to their country. People are loyal to their president. People are loyal to their political party. People are loyal to their political pundits. People are loyal to their religion.  People are loyal to their job.

Loyalty seems to mean, to a lot of people, that they shouldn't criticize that which they are loyal to.  Their country right or wrong.  Their president right or wrong. Their political party right or wrong. Their political pundit right or wrong. Their religion right or wrong. Their job right or wrong.

But what about our loyalty to ourselves and our integrity? What about our loyalty to the truth? What about our loyalty to God? What about our loyalty to humanity?

If we have the perception that it is honorable to be loyal, then where is the honor in being loyal to a country, a president, a political party, a political pundit, a religion, or a job, when what they are doing is dishonorable and goes against the highest ideals of God and humanity?

If, in our need to be loyal to any particular group or belief system, we betray principles of truth, justice, integrity, God, and humanity,  than our loyalty is a sham and we are betraying ourselves.

There is loyalty and then there is  blind loyalty.

It is good to be loyal to something we believe it. But it is necessary that we speak out and challenge the party line whenever it goes against our ethics and ideals.

If we don't do this, then that which we are loyal to will eventually crumble and decay.


2 Comments | Leave a comment


I agree w/your point. Blind loyalty says one is not
thinking for themselves. It implies the person or entity they are loyal to is infalible. Growth
occurs thru challenge.


I too agree with your point. You write very insightful articles!

I suspect that loyalty is a "written in stone" issue for those with certain personalities. I recently read the amazing book "Why him? Why her?" by Helen Fisher in which she offers her personality evaluation system.

It's done in a Myers Briggs style but is more specifically tailored to interpersonal rather than business applications. One of the personality types that she describes is The Builder.

Anyone with a primary Builder personality is likely to be loyal to the object (be it a person, place or idea) come-heqq-or-high-water. For a person with a primary Builder personality, changing behaviour, and thinking in shades of grey, tends to be difficult.

There are three other main personality types in her system: Explorers, Negotiators and Directors. Of the 4 types Explorers and Negotiators are the most open to change and adjusting loyalities depending on circumstances.

The personality labels Fisher uses to denote the types are only slightly indicative of the characteristics. There is a lot of useful information in her study, and I got a LOT from reading the book and doing the evaluation. If you are interested, you can get it out of the library initially. I bought it after I was sure it is a "keeper"!

Using this system as a tool in understanding people's personality characteristics can be very helpful in creating interpersonal as well as personal peace.

A Negotiator or Explorer might wonder "How can you be so stuck on believing XYZ??" when the ultra-loyal person has a Builder/director personality that is predisposed to focused dedication and loyalty.

Such persistent loyalty can be a wonderful thing when they stick by loved ones through thick or thin. The flip side though is that they may have trouble changing their attitudes or behaviours, even when they are creating problems for themselves. It's just part of the "good with the bad" combo that makes us all human beings.

Understanding the potential strengths and weaknesses of personality interface can help smooth interaction and save people a lot of frustration.

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