Ethics of Pleasure

May 7, 2018

Ethics – on the contrary of moral that refers to customs and habits - are related to “immutable” universal principles that consider the individuals as the base to find the best way of living, both in private and public spaces.

Ethics of duty had influenced excessively the formation and development of the enterprise cultures processes in the last XIX and XX Centuries. In this context, notably based on Christian and Islamic religious philosophies, ethics of duty presented dogmatic sets of commands and rules that should be obeyed independently of the individual will.

Notwithstanding, the renaissance impulses in favor of the Greek eudaimonia ideals or of the illuminists in favor of the reason, in face of the mass mentally ill of the job in the mat of the industrial revolutions, ethics of duty were imposed not only in the corporative day to day, as well as in the most diverse aspects of the social life: family, community, nation and, mainly, in the relation of love-fear with God.

It is interesting to observe that, in the last three decades, excellent transformations in these anchors have had undeniable impact on the social ethics: the familiar nucleus even more reduced and unstable, the digitalization of the community in ephemeral and superficial networks, the patriotic disillusion and the spiritual insufficiency in satisfying increasingly material desires. All of this disarticulated the deontology.

In this ethical vacuum, reviving the ethical principles of affection (understood here as the joy of the pleasure and the fear of the sadness), has just fortified the self-centered perspective that characterizes the ethics of pleasure, according to which the search for satisfying the individuals aspirations and necessities has even being strengthened the social interactions that generate meaning and project the idealized context of life.

Traditional organizations - drawn in structures command-control, in which the work is perceived as transactional and career as an expression of professional success, they  need to deal now with this new field of forces imposed from outside to inside, and from inside to outside, as it occurs with great sociological phenomena. In this new context, leaders and subordinates have even more been searching for the maximum power of expression of their virtues, cognitive capacities and ethical ideal to very beyond of the operational limits of the companies. The term “work” is in check.

In the ethics of pleasure, the “inspired purpose” defines this new perspective that is added to the “normative formation in critical events” and to the “identification with the leaderships” in the formation and development processes of the organizational culture. Very beyond recent pamphlets of corporative self- assistance and playgrounds offices in fashion, the search for an inspired purpose that strengthens internal cohesion and addresses external problems resolutions, by means of a new semiotic concept, only brought more instability to the cultural phenomenon.


Daniel Motta is the Founder and CEO of BMI Blue Management Institute, a leading niche consulting firm. He is a global thought leader focused on culture, strategy and leadership. He has a PhD in Economics, MSc in Financial Economics and BA in Economics. He is also an OPMer from Harvard Business School. He is the Managing Director of USA-based VC company White Fox Capital and the Senior Tupinambá Maverick of bossa&etc. He was a co-founder of Brazilian Society of Finance. He currently serves NGO UNIBES as Strategic Planning Principal. He is the author of the best selling books Essential Leadership and book Anthesis. He also has three articles published by Harvard Business Review. He is a Board Member of MASP.