For me, the Three Wise Monkeys were always a visual representation, a reminder of some bigger values, the ethical culture which I always brought to any work environment I’ve been in. Nowadays, in our current days and troubles, they’re needed even more:
See No Evil
This symbolizes the ethical imperative to avoid becoming involved in activities that are morally corrupt or that contribute to injustice. It signifies that one should avoid environments or groups where unethical practices are prevalent. In modern terms, this could extend to ethical consumption, advising against watching or sharing content that promotes hatred or misinformation.
Hear No Evil
This emphasizes the necessity of filtering out harmful or misleading information, serving as a guideline for thoughtful listening. Not listening to gossip or confidential information helps maintain a respectful and ethical environment. Ethically, it prevents becoming trapped in echo chambers where only one viewpoint is heard, encouraging critical thinking and open dialogue.
Speak No Evil
This infers one should speak the truth and not spread lies or misinformation. It also implies that one should refrain from hurtful speech and should be considerate in how they express themselves. It also advises against speaking without considering the consequences of one’s words, promoting accountability for one’s actions.
So, when seen together, the modern three wise monkeys, bring principles that promote a holistic form of ethical conduct involving what one consumes, how one interacts, and how one communicates. In workplaces, I honestly believe that these principles can form the backbone of an ethical code of conduct, promoting a healthy work environment. Yet, on a personal level, adhering to these principles encourages people to act with mindfulness and integrity in their daily lives.