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Ethics chapter 7
Introduction

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

 

 

The degradation of love and the fallacy of reason.

Chapter 7

It is time to talk about the two worlds in which we live and have our being. The first world is physical, it is trees and shrubs, flowers, animals of all kinds including human, and it is rocks and minerals, a bricks and mortar framework upon which and within which is outplayed the second world, and that is the inner being of ethics, spirit, morality. Of the physical world I have little to say other then to note, and concur with the Genesis story, it is good. The world of nature is abundant, prolific, diverse and full of wonders. No less wonderful today for all that it is dying of a fatal disease, and that disease is human kind. What human kind has done to the world is as a direct result of paying too little attention to the second world of ethics and morality. In as much as any person discriminates unjustly against a neighbour for selfish gain, then that person is a despoiler and a betrayer of mercy, truth and justice and of every ethical consideration that the human soul can know and understand. That person is no more or less than the greatest despot who steals land and lives to further the cause of his or her own lust for power. Inside each of us is despotism and mercy. If we never look inward and acknowledge such paradoxical truths we are constantly less than our promise, betrayers of our own souls and the world in which we live. The person who weighs vegetables or lives with weighted scales is an enemy of life. 

As we travel inwards and discover the world of ethics, each person will at some point make an incredible discovery. The inner world of ethics is larger than the physical world and indeed the universe. In fact the world and the universe is meaningless without this greater inner world of ethics. Paradoxically, as scientific knowledge expands and we know more and more about the physical world, walking the inner path of ethics we discover greater and greater ignorance. The further in we go the more we do not know. It is an infinite place; it is vibrant and full, greater by far than the sum of the parts of the physical universe. And it is whole, interconnected and interrelated; it flows like a river and is an infinite ocean. To be part of it is to be related to the whole, it is to follow others who have dared its infinite dread, and it is to embrace the entirety of life, purpose and reason. 

In all this flowery esoteric talk let us explore a practical example. A child’s notion of justice, and oft-wielded complaint of, ‘It’s not fair’. Children have an innate dignity or pride, call it egocentricity. Their first understanding and expression of justice is towards themselves, their own vital needs for food, shelter and nurture. From the moment of birth that egocentricity is apparent, and as language develops the child will constantly express herself in terms of her own needs and pleas that those needs be met, immediately. Such is normal child growth, behaviour and development. A child’s first brush with justice will always be with regard to herself, and her cry of, ‘it’s not fair!’ will always be about an egocentric notion of justice to self. This idea of fairness is naïve and juvenile, not to be dismissed, as we so often do, in the use of such terms, it is profoundly and vitally important. It is not to be stamped out of children in an effort to make them into less egocentric beings, but rather to be developed if an adult notion of justice is to emerge. 

An examination of science and its vaunted impartiality will, perhaps not quickly, but inevitably, lead one to realise that science is not impartial. In so much as it is practiced by human beings with minds and feelings, any scientific procedure must either take that on board or carry with it an inherent flaw, ‘the observer must interpret’. Without interpretation there is no conclusion. There is a further flaw in science, if we look at reality as a rock face, then it is clear that so long as we are on the face, we are not examining the mechanics of climbing, we are doing it. Any interpretation of our act of climbing, our abilities, and the mechanics of climbing must come after the event. In so much as we are interpreting and examining, we are no longer on the rock face. The implications of that are no more apparent than in the development of the nuclear bomb. The atomic bomb was ‘discovered’ by theoretic physicists, beginning life and developed in the minds of physicists and mathematicians it was impossible for the appalling truth to truly impress itself on the hearts and minds of those who developed it. Though many struggled with the ethics of developing such a weapon it was not until the first bomb was dropped that the reality became known. Millions died and further millions continue to suffer the consequences. It was not the failure of science that those millions died or continue to suffer; it was the failure to address ethics. 

This failure to address ethics has led to the deaths of countless children in the third world by the aggressive marketing of powdered baby milk, the devastation of the rain forests in the deliberate exploitation of natural resources for profit, the emergence of BSE, WWI, WWII, in fact everything that bedevils the world. In so much as economics, politics and religion do not address ethics then there is devastation, destruction and death.

© 2000 Keith Lindsay-Cameron. All rights reserved.