ON ETHICS, MORALITY, GOOD AND EVIL
Updated: Feb 4, 2020
Q. What is the relationship between ethics and morality?
A. The relationship is a three part progression from ethos to ethics to morality. Ethos means characteristic spirit. Ethics means having to do with that spirit. Morality means behaving in accordance with ethical principles that emerge from that spirit.
From my perspective, ethos or the divine spark, spirit and light, evolves into an ethical infrastructure of attitudes, principles and methods deemed necessary, proper and correct for commanding, directing and living one's life. This ethical system of principles provides an internal guidance system which helps us navigate in the world. The ethical system then manifests as morals consisting of ethical wisdom applied to proper teachings, instructions, practical lessons and behaviors.
From my phenomenological perspective, ethos is logos, ethics is noumenal and morality is pheno.
Q. Is this three part progression the reason why you talk about morality issues in style and others do not?
A. It is a primary reason. I see morals and ethics as being anchored in Man's relation to the Supreme. This link imbues us with a sensitivity to and acceptance of duty to all of God's children and creations.
I will not speak for those who do not raise moral issues. Please address your questions to them.
Q. Why doesn't the education profession have a universal code of ethics?
A. The profession turned its back on the ethos of this nation, disregarded the meaning behind "In God We Trust," confused church and state issues with our spiritual nature and needs and equated the word educate with instruct. In so doing, we automatically forfeited the rights, privileges and honors that go with having a universal code of ethics. The profession became unable to develop a systematic body of principles to guide our members' behaviors and protect those it serves. Our nation is now living with the dispirited results.
Q. Discussing morality opens the door to words like good and evil. How do you define these words?
A. The word good is derived from OE., god. It means "fitting and suitable" in reference to the Creator's design. Some thing or some action that is "good" has the proper qualities to fulfill the conditions set by the Creator. Good is beneficial, valid, healthy and honorable.
Evil, on the other hand, means "exceeding due measure" or "overstepping proper limits." Evil things and actions are not fit or suitable. Evil trespasses and transgresses inherent and natural limitations and violates Laws of Nature, thereby interfering with the fulfillment of the potential built into the design. Evil lessens and worsens ourselves.
Q. Under this definition of evil, is over-indulgence considered evil? Are overachieving, being a workaholic, taking a job for which I am unqualified and lying on an application form, evil actions? Are reproducing materials and "adapting" someone's model or research without permission, evil? Are borrowing and not returning a friend's electric drill, letting my dog poop on my neighbor's property and breaking a confidence examples of evil activities? Are teaching kids with books they cannot read, testing them on materials that have not been covered, underchallenging gifted children and drugging kids to get them to be compliant, different forms of evil?
A. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
Q. How do these daily transgressions equate with the evil of murder?
A. They are all matters of degree. They are death by a thousand cuts. They are ways of "killing softly" that accumulate.
Q. Ouch! Does a "pain of awareness" aways attend the loss of innocence?
A. Yes. When you lose innocence, you recognize the forces of good and evil, and experience the pain of that knowledge and the accompanying responsibility. Remember the Edenic Legend of when humans were given the ability to know the difference between good and evil? That's when we became consciously and instinctively aware of right and wrong ways of living to perfect ourselves both as individuals and as a species. Man also realized that this choice is in our hands. Paradise was lost. And so was our naivete when God said, "This day I have set before thee good and evil. Choose thou."
Our development is forever altered whenever these facts-of-life are truly registered. Congratulations! You've passed the threshhold into the world of effects.