What is loyalty?
Loyalty is the willingness and continuous display of behavioral patterns that support a commitment. Whether it is to a person such as a dear friend, a partner, a colleague, to a business or organization, or an idea and cause, being loyal implies being coherent.
True loyalty means being ready to resist temptations of immediate gratification and greater convenience. It might sometimes even involve doing the right thing for your allegiance at a cost for yourself.
When it comes to loyalty, stepping once out of the right path is betrayal. Of course, not all betrayals are made equal.
Some wrongdoings are worse than others, and it is usually the nature, strength, and rules of the relationship that sets how tolerable deviances are. For example, loyalty to brand, values, nations, and people have weights attached to them that varies based on the beholder’s view and their society.
I believe there are 2 main drivers to our loyalty. They are both based on values: our own internalized values and the ones of our environment.
What makes us stick or not to our commitment is either the way we feel when we do something we believe to be wrong and the way we feel when we know people might become aware we have done something they think is wrong.
Both our own values and social pressure are important. They might be what we need to stay on the right path. As an example, people in position of great power, who are likely not to feel accountable to anyone, are reportedly more inclined to betray their ideal. However, they might also be the reason why we cheat and hurt, like when we follow the rules of an authoritarian regime for example, or less intentionallu support a brand that exploit children labour and produce a lot of waste.
Ideally, we would want everybody to be loyal to the right values and societies to impose the right pressures.
We are missing a universal compass to objectively identify the universally good from the universally bad. We need a common charter of values. Religions, philosophies, and laws have, for centuries, tried to keep society decent by providing us with rules to live together. However, often, they themselves betrayed their own principles to cause great harm as they opposed other values and pressures.
We are missing a common set of values shared by all humanity. The only compass I think we can trust is one that has for sole objective the common good and where no form of lives is exploited.
This might be the key to ensuring that loyalty is always a good choice.
It seems like we might need a new universal declaration of value, not one made by nations but one made by people.
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