Honor and morality, as he notes, are independent variables.
We often see complexity emerge from simple motivations, in a world filled with complex independent variables.
British Dictionary definitions for independent variables
independent variable
noun
1.
Also called argument. a variable in a mathematical equation or statement whose value determines that of the dependent variable: in y = f(x), x is the independent variable
2.
(statistics) Also called predictor. the variable which an experimenter deliberately manipulates in order to observe its relationship with some other quantity, or which defines the distinct conditions in an experiment See also experimental condition
(ĭn'dĭ-pěn'dənt) In mathematics, a variable whose value determines the value of other variables. For example, in the formula for the area of a circle, A = πr^{2}, r is the independent variable, as its value determines the value of the area (A). Compare dependent variable.