Practicing Human Ethics

The man clears his throat and resumes the lecture. As he does so, he takes out some notes from his pocket, glancing at them every so often to refresh his memory.

Humans may be more complex than other creatures on the planet, but as with any organism they have their own Dao or Way. Therefore, those who wish to engage in ethics must keep the moral and metaphysical framework in mind, study the way of each particular organism, and consider how to develop a harmonious society that accords with the full spectrum of morality.

Ethicists must consider every direction that characterises a person, from the nutritive to the deliberative. This can be done by considering one's own personal experiences and sensations, and by observing the practical actions and reports of others. The personal nature of ethics makes it both easier and more difficult than other fields; we know it as part of our human nature, but that fact brings with it a measure of bias.

When observing others it can be easier to remain neutral, for we can watch strangers from a distance and do our best to keep ourselves out of the equation. We can see how they grow and what they need to thrive, and we can record what actions they take and the external expressions of their mood.

A less neutral example of combining personal experience and observation is that of parents raising their children. They personally experience a sense of responsibility and the desire to assist their children, which is itself ethical. While this introduces some bias, it also helps the parent focus on the child. They carefully watch as the child struggles to grow and pursue its directions, and they care deeply about the results. As the process continues, the child exhibits increasingly complex behaviour and takes up various social roles. At every point the parent watches, judges, and considers the best way to influence the process.

The parent feels the joy of success and the weight of failure. Exercises in leadership, such as parenthood, grant us a real-life demonstration of how different decisions and scenarios can impact an organism. This is crucial for those who would discuss ethics, because ethical judgments and decisions are complex and involve serious consequences.

Ethicists might also look to their parents or grandparents, so they may see what happens as a human approaches the end of its life. They can learn what palliative care and social structure best supports humans as they fade. It is inevitable that every body that can be brought together can also be dissipated, and in the fullness of time it is inevitable regardless of what medicine and other technologies might achieve.

It is not possible to experience one moment indefinitely and to the exclusion of all others. The Ethicist must accept and consider both birth and death, a sort of relative beginning and end of an organism. It is not enough to ask how to create and raise the next generation, but also how and when that generation should pass away.

The guide leads you to a little display rack, before handing you one of the pamphlets.

Please, feel free to take a copy, although the material is quite dated. I am sure you have questions, but I would not do them much justice. Far better you come back tomorrow and ask the team, and perhaps you will even have your own contributions to make here. For my part I have run through all my notes. You seem to be the last visitor today, so I will close this section up, but I can also tell you the way to the Guesthouse if you'd like.

You accept the pamphlet before deciding to...

Continue:

  1. Thank the man and step outside to read the pamphlet...
  2. Ask for directions to the Guesthouse...