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Jun 15 2010

Personal Ethical Paradigm

The following was an assignment that had to be max 1000words for my Ethics Class:

My Personal Ethical Paradigm arises from the metaphysical idea of Pantheism. The belief that the entire universe is divine including living beings and inanimate matter forms the core basis on which all my moral and ethical beliefs is based on. Under this framework the entire universe is composed of conscious, sentient, self-aware energy. In conjunction with this is also the concept of interconnectedness and symbiosis. I believe that for every action there is an effect and that all actions ripple out in the universe in an infinite way influencing everything. Therefore all choices have far reaching effects beyond their immediate impact. This is similar to the idea of karma, and that what goes around comes around. All actions have consequences, all individuals initiating actions are responsible for those actions.

The universe is like one gigantic organism with many components and parts. Ultimately one cannot separate oneself from the system and thus all decisions and actions will impact the system. Because all people are part of the system, each individual person has an enormous responsibility to care for the system and make the best decisions available so that the individual as well as the entire system benefits.

At its core my personal ethical paradigm is Kantian in nature in that the golden rule stands firm as a basis from which ethical decisions are based. “Do unto other as you would have them do unto you.” Is something that is central to all my decisions. In the larger scope of things I also ascribe to the belief that: “Ultimately everything that benefits you, benefits everyone else.”

At first you may object to the above statement. Somehow most of us are under the erroneous belief that somehow joy and pleasure is often gained at the expense of others. An idea that may come from the economic model of scarce resources and unlimited wants and needs. Some might argue that it is to your benefit to let’s say for example rob a bank. However such individuals did not read the statement correctly then. They key word is “ultimate” and long term consequences of all decisions must thus be carefully considered. It may benefit you to rob a bank today but, ultimately it does not in that you do damage to overall society which ultimately damages the very system in which you find your existence thus damaging you, ultimately.

It does NOT generally ultimately benefit you to rape, beat up, hurt, say negative things, think negative things, do negative things, rob, lie, etc. Unless of course somehow your IMMEDIATE life survival depends on one of these. Which 99.999% of the time it doesn’t. You have to look at the long term consequences of your actions. In this way I am a bit of a consequentialist. In that I believe that a large portion of decisions must be made on the basis of what the effects of those decisions will have on the system at large. We live in a relative framework where everything exists in dualities. Very few if any absolutes exist and therefore most decisions will be made in reference to other possible decisions.

It does however benefit you to evolve, choose to be happy, eat healthy, think positive, say positive things, do positive things, be honest, and be productive, yet relax, etc. As these benefit you, they also benefit everyone else, because you are spreading positive energy just by your ‘beig-ness’. Even thoughts have the power to influence those things around you and are a very powerful creative force. All actions begin in thoughts and thus an ethic of responsibility must begin in the mind. It benefits you to be kind to others but NOT so kind that you overextend yourself and deplete yourself of your personal store of energy. There is a fine balance that must be struck.

Self-sacrifice in the greater scheme of things can prove to be a negative. The individual as a component of the larger system must creatively fulfill its desires for this benefits the whole in the best way. Each individual is ultimately responsible to themselves in an existentialist type of way. But at the same time, the concept of self needs to be broadened to include the entire universe as a system.

Morally in conventional terms I believe. “There is no such thing as right and wrong, only what works and what doesn’t work, given what it is you want to do or have.” Thus good and evil do not exist as moral absolutes there are merely only consequences of actions.

In terms of how a society functions I would describe myself as an impure paternalist. I believe that society and government has a responsibility to protect individuals from harming each other. Fundamentally I am a libertarian in that on the whole people should have freedom to do what they want as long as it doesn’t harm others. When it comes to self-harm, or the use of drugs, seatbelts, and bicycle helmets society cannot take responsibility and should not for such actions. If people engage in activities that do self-harm they need to be allowed to experience such things so they can learn from their mistakes. Overbearing protection often harms those it seeks to protect by not allowing individuals to learn their own lessons.

The purpose of the universe is experience and creativity. Thus ultimately people should be given the freedom to express themselves in whatever way they desire unless it infringes on other people’s ability to experience the things they desire. Planet earth is unique in that it gives us the framework within which we can experience emotions. It is part of our duty and responsibility to preserve this planet in a sustainable fashion because we as humans have a symbiotic relationship with the planet as our place of experience. Planet earth sustains us, and if we destroy it we destroy our opportunity of creative expression.