Friday, January 8, 2021

Contemplating Ethical Behavior



Brainstorming over just what morality consists, lies at the center of philosophic ethics. In general, morality seems to hint at a system of ethics that is self-evident or decreed by supernatural creators. And so we have doctrine out there that allegedly and ridiculously are said to have been handed down by this god or that pantheon or are inherent in the design of the universe. This degree of absolutist ethics seems overflowingly full of hubris.

Indeed human beings and its tribes are the true creators of the spectrum of abstractions. Whether it by na├»ve myths that attempt to explain origins, mathematical principles and models that approximate and predict natural phenomena, or science and engineering that seek to model natural systems and design artificial ones. 

Fictional storytelling may be the purest derivative of human abstraction, particularly when it is crafted knowingly to be untrue and embodied with the power of and audience's suspension of disbelief.   As such our real experience is enhanced for entertainment and contemplative purposes. Misinformation and disinformation can twist the suspension of disbelief toward malevolent or benevolent ends, although it feels disingenuous to base ones ethics on falsehoods even if the outcomes are positive.

Respect of existence feels to me to be the holy grail of ethics. So easily stated, yet a complicated tension also exists. The myriad of conscious and unconscious beautiful things in the present is a tapestry whose woven threads that requires feeding upon other conscious and unconscious beautiful things. Evolution has mindlessly brought us to this point in time, where our species seems uniquely obsessed with unraveling the purpose and meaning of it all.

Indeed, that purpose and meaning comes paradoxically from within ourselves and the creations our communities have wrought.  And so might we not strive to find some balance of power in our world which allows natural forces to continue while allowing ourselves to explore and create in peace. Eschewing violence for our own species is a daunting challenge and arguably limits the paths we may wander. Thus we have that particular abstraction we call law which at its heart should monitor, regulate, and provide consequences to steer us down a path which maximizes the respect for all things living and inanimate to have a degree of liberty.

Within this contemplation, for each of us individual and as a society, lies the forging of purposeful, meaningful, ethical existence.