In The Republic
) Plato (https://goo.gl/Yu60RI
) asks (and answers the question of whether it is always
better for the individual to be just than unjust. The ideals of Greek ethics have been the foundation of moral theory (https://goo.gl/x7YIo1
) not because somehow the ancient Greeks were more moral or personally just than any of the peoples before them or after them, but perhaps because they lived in a time when life was so precarious and things so uncertain that understanding the value of a person’s life was of paramount importance.
While in our super hi-tech world we have managed to advance our thinking on ethics a little by creating a greater level of taxonomy (https://goo.gl/ruUJAg
) our questions (and answers) show that we have not really moved the needle that far from ancient Greek times (https://goo.gl/sSlxrv
). We are concerned with how we ought to act because we want to have at least some concrete answers to how we ought to live (https://goo.gl/dBjBGS
). And therein lies the rub. If self-interest is our primary motivation, can that be successfully reconciled within a broader personal and then national context? - https://goo.gl/beifIF
In our search for ethics we are really looking for morality (https://goo.gl/EuAhuV
). More than that, really, what we want is clarity of the sort that will allow us to say “There! See? That’s how things ought to be!”. Consider the bind, for a minute, presented by former American coach Lou Holtz (https://goo.gl/D27u1N
) whose quote on doing the right thing (https://goo.gl/f1Bo8C
) is the kind of motto that should be graven on everyone’s wall. And then wonder how, in through that one man’s mind, we go from the high aspirations of his kindness to others, to this: https://goo.gl/q2JQJI
Plato’s answer that it is always better to be just than to be unjust (https://goo.gl/3TFDFK
) relies on proofs that revolve around life, living, meaning and happiness and the cultivation of specific attributes and virtues. In Plato’s time the world was decidedly smaller, though perhaps not from his perspective, and arguably simpler in its belief systems which might have made one ‘better’ than others. A luxury which perhaps we can no longer enjoy: https://goo.gl/mGG3dA
Cultural (and ethical) relativism raises some pretty important questions regarding authority, acceptance and our collective sense of right and wrong. Or maybe the ancient Greeks were right all along: https://goo.gl/W5mkLl
and we need to go back and reconsider some of the deeper aspects and implications of their concept of a life “well lived”.
“At the heart of ethics is a concern about something or someone other than ourselves and our own desires and self-interest.” - https://goo.gl/g5Or5s
. It is, it seems, upon us to create ethical cultures and ethical people: https://goo.gl/d55SGd
. We hold those who hold High Office accountable to greater standards because they set the tone of what’s acceptable, they create the atmosphere of permissiveness that allows us to be more or less ethical ourselves: https://goo.gl/IZnWoi
. But it is perhaps wrong of us to expect those who lead us, just like those around us, to do everything by themselves.
Ethics and morality just like just leadership and a just society are the direct result of our collective actions and the collective responsibility of us all: https://goo.gl/AEcwf0
. If we have the power to create the world we want to see, then not using it to create a better place for everyone: https://goo.gl/d55SGd
is akin to living a life, half-lived. Our eyes, made to see far and wide, failing to raise themselves from the ground. Passing from this world without once having looked up at the sky and wondered just how far we can go? How high can we fly? How much better can we be?
Now, sugar, is not the best thing in the world, but taken in small doses on the one day of the week when we have coffee aplenty and time to think, may not be the worst thing we can do. So, I hope you’ve got your donuts and your croissants, your cookies and your chocolate cake and, as always, have an awesome Sunday, wherever you are.