Thinking Ethics was a project launched in Geneva to foster the debate about ethics. A few friends, fed up with only reading about abuses in the media, decided to hold a forward-looking seminar on five subjects: ethics and performance, ethics and knowledge, ethics and consciousness, ethics and disobedience and ethics in real time. If moral has to do with right and wrong, then ethics is its application in society. We believe that people need to talk about the subject to determine the level of ethics they want. The book Thinking Ethics, a result of the seminar, is to start the discussion. This blog is a contribution to the conversation. :
Ethics have in time always been reinvented see the case for the main religions over time. Mr. Gardner took a lion’s tale to paint his calligraphy. It was Prussian law that dictated society at the end of the eighteenth century on part out of need and on part out of the ongoing intellectual fashion. Weimar did not meet par. He also forgets slave and opium trade prevalent during the empire days and arranged by prolific personalities in this sector as members of parliament and congress.
Many persons were doctors, others lawyers, all were gentry and all belonging to the elite. The ethical professional then reminds me of the whistleblower of today.
In China there has always been a balance between Confucianism and Legalism depending on gusto and circumstances. I see little or no ethics here but a set of working rules to manage a society effectively.
That society as such can have two very different views as with Japan and China – see Funaoka Seigo on Chinese and Japanese outlook between family and government. We must go back to the golden rule… The advantage of the rule is in it’s flexibility and therefore ease of implementation into individual societies. The global village story is a myth. Origin, history, background, family values, language body and spoken language, a conglomerate of personal points of view composed out of need, outlook, opportunity etc. etc. define the accepted ethic or moral in a specific region. Ethics are diverse, local and temporary. The introduction of cell phones and social websites make for fleeting values.
There are also physiological and psychological questions to reply as – what is greed and when and why does it set in?
The suggestion of an agora or a trustee committee is inspiring but is it realistic? It’s certainly worth the while.
The way will probably be slow and tedious very much like an opening of the free mason’s ideology and they too had their problems over the centuries.