Maarten Maartensz:    Philosophical Dictionary | Filosofisch Woordenboek                      

 C - Careerism


Careerism: The subordination of personal values, personality, honesty, integrity and human decency for the personal benefits and profits of rising high and earning much in a any bureaucratic institution as a reliable conformist in that group.

Although it is widely denied by careerists, the above is both the norm and the common practice in virtually every human institution:

All ordinary men seem quite capable, as it were by empathizing with their role (and its future expected benefits if played up to standard), to replace themselves in a socially contrived reality, that in fact is mostly fictional, but which is shared by others who play roles in the same group, and who all together keep up the pretense that their game is reality itself (from 9 to 5, or whatever the office hours may be), and who thereby succeed, also as in ordinary children's games, to really have - or to mock-"really" have: it depends - the kind of feelings, desires and beliefs that are appropriate to the bureaucratic specifications of their role in the institution.

The better on is able to do this, the better one's chances on a successful social career, and the higher one's income.

And it should be noted that a bit of this role-playing is necessary to survive socially, because a society keeps going only if most of its members keep agreements, contracts, conventions and keep up the pretenses that surround these - the real (very widespread) human problem starts when persons working in institutions start pretending, to themselves and others, that the games they are playing in order to belong, make money, and seem a decent person-in-their-own-institution (whether the Salvation Army, the SS, or the late great Lehmann Brothers Bank) are not games at all; are really real and as one should be, as a human being in that institution, and anyway are moral, as shown by their being rewarded in the institution.

Unfortunately, this is what mostly happens, though with considerable personal variations. This can be mostly explained by the gifts (whether moral, intellectual, or artistic) that succesful institutional conformers have, that only very rarely are large, and that explain their common lack of individual character, intelligence, courage, or indeed human presence.


See also:

- A fundamental problem for democracry and ethics
- Bureaucracy, Beaucracy-plan, Character, Group, Groupthinking, Person, Role, Self, Society
- In Dutch: Collega, Deugd, Loyaliteit, Respect


Aristotle, Machiavelli, Montaigne, Boétie, Shakespeare, Butler, Winstanley, Multatuli, Weber, Pareto, Orwell, Goffman, Zinoviev

 Original: Apr 1, 2009                                                        Last edited: 12 December 2011.   Top