I recently attended a talk by a Boston College Professor on “If Aristotle, Aquinas, and Machiavelli Walk into a Boardroom”. I went into this talk thinking that it was going to be about theology or something like that. I was wrong. Instead, the talk was on business ethics and I was beyond confused the entire time. I am not a business major nor have I ever taken a business class. So when this professor kept using all of this business words that I didn’t know I felt like I was the only one in the room who didn’t belong there.
Towards the end of the talk, he showed a few clips of a movie “Margin Call” that really helped me understand what the professor was talking about earlier, or at least what I thought he was talking about. In the movie, a major bank collapses because of people’s ignorance and greed. The CEO is faced with the choice of either losing all of their money and power, or letting the consequences of their actions fall onto his employees who’s reputations and careers would be ruined. They money hungry CEO decides that the employees will take the fall.
In the end, I think that the professor wanted us to realize that in business a person can’t always think about his or herself. The company and employees should come before the owner or CEO in order for a businessman or woman to succeed.
After reading Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night”, I noticed Shakespeare also thought this, except with love instead of business. Viola is put in a situation in which she must chose to put the Duke’s feelings for Olivia above her own feelings for the Duke. Because Viola is not greedy with the Duke’s feelings and puts his needs before hers. She must go to the woman that the Duke believes he is in love with and convince her to marry him. Even though Viola is in love with the Duke, she does what he asks anyway. Although this hurts her and things backfire a little, Viola still shows her loyalty to the Duke and their love ends up succeeding in the end. The Duke and she are to be married and all ends well.
Antonio also puts the needs of Sebastian above his own needs. Instead of leaving Sebastian to be on his own, Antonio goes with him into the Duke’s land where he is not welcomed. Antonio ends up getting arrested but does not mind because he ended up helping a friend. Here, Antonio shows that even when something bad happens to a person, it is still better to put other people’s needs above one’s own.
Unlike the bank from the movie, which put money and power above all else and failed, “Twelfth Night” shows that when one puts the needs of others before his or herself, good things can happen. In the end I realized that in order to succeed in general, one must think of others before his or herself.