Ethical DilemmaIn our individual lives we are placed in the position of making ethical decisions. This appears to me to be a dilemma for us………which road will we take from this point. Too often we have taken the well worn path of the road of expediency while the more arduously perceived road of ethics remains a weedy path due to its lack of use.
In our individual lives we are placed in the position of making ethical decisions. This appears to me to be a dilemma for us………which road will we take from this point. Too often we have taken the well worn path of the road of expediency while the more arduously perceived road of ethics remains a weedy path due to its lack of use.
Our ability to rationalize these decisions is well developed and far advanced of our ability to reason ethically. We have volumes of religious, philosophical and social texts expounding the need for ethical behavior. Many of them give us direct guidance towards ethical behavior and the benefits connected to this choice. However, we seem to have an amazing ability to suspend these teachings and words of guidance when it comes to our everyday living.
Perhaps the largest snag we have in this dilemma is one surrounding actions in response to something we consider wrongful behavior that we have received. Whether we are reacting to a specific situation when we believe we have been the recipient of unethical action, or responding in general terms to those around us in day to day living, we seem to tailor our definition of ethics to the actions visited on us by others. If someone has been wronged, they often respond by stepping outside the stated ethics of our teachings in order to establish a specific set of ethical patterns that allow for responsive behavior to another’s lack of ethics.
But, this is not the way we think we live our lives. We engage in a duality that allows us to carry the banner of ethics and morals while keeping our own set of standards in our thinking without an adequate comparison of the two. In other words, we have learned as a civilization to talk the talk of ethics, but in our living we have given grace to ourselves to walk a different path because it is “realistic”.
Nowhere in any religious, spiritual or social teachings have I ever seen a reference to realistic ethics constructed in this way. As I continue to read I continue to find references to the need and benefits of ethical behavior. If we have been told for thousands of years that we must engage in ethical and moral behavior, then there must be a benefit to this recommended system of living. Perhaps our difficulty as human beings lies in our interpretation of these teachings. Do we, perhaps, see these teachings as just guideposts for our actions to strive for but never reached? Do we see them as an ideal behavior that can never materialize? Or do we think those who gave us these teachings were starry eyed and unrealistic as to the human condition? I can’t help taking these teachings to an energetic or cellular level. Is it possible that the energy of ethics is more beneficial to us than the energy of bypassing it? Instead of ethics being an unreachable ideal, could it simply be the optimum way of living on this planet? Might we not free ourselves of baggage that inhibits our growth if we stopped developing ethical alternatives in our individual lives? And if we did this as individuals, isn’t it reasonable to think this could spread to our collective living on the planet, and might not many of the problems we have living on this planet be diminished? After all, we have been told everything is connected. Could unethical behavior simply be a barrier to the natural flow of energy to this planet and its inhabitants? If this is true, perhaps the first thing we could do would be to begin to see ethics in a different light. Instead of seeing it as a far away mountain top only inhabited by starry eyed, unrealistic beings, we might begin to see it as simply a part of our living here in much the same way we see rain or sunshine. If we began to see ethical behavior as a vehicle for the optimum flow of energy to us we might begin to think about changing the way we have structured individual ethics as a responsive mechanism.
Interesting to think about.
by Katheryn Grandfield
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