Okay, I’m not trying to toot my own horn here, but I do think I am a fairly ethical person. I will assume that most of you in this group will hold the same opinion—about yourselves of course, not me.

I know that I do not live a blameless existence—but that is hard to do in this day and age anyhow. For example, when I looked around for some fair trade certified clothing, I found that choosing ethical clothes was way beyond my budget. I simply cannot afford to pay $80 for a T-shirt. It is not that I disagree with the price—not if that is a fair price for fair trade clothing. But it is still beyond my budget. Instead, I bought a $10 T-shirt that was probably made in a country where employees work 10 hrs a day for a buck fifty.

So that is what I mean by not living a blameless existence. Unethical behavior and predatory economics is so endemic in the world economy that it is nearly impossible to avoid it.

But in day-to-day affairs, in the one thing that I can control—meaning my behavior—I do try to be ethical. If I back into someone’s car in a parking garage, I get out and leave a note with my name, number, and an apology. If a cashier hands me too much change, I hand it back, often to astonished looks. If I find a wallet on the streets, I call the person and return it, money and all. It would never occur to me to do otherwise, and that’s the truth.

Again, I’m not trying to toot my own horn or pat myself on the back by saying what a swell person I am. I am simply giving examples of what I believe to be natural, personal, ethical, and obligatory behavior.

I use the term natural here because I think that for me it has been natural. I never experience inner turmoil over what is the correct course of action in these situations. I’m never tempted to take the money and run. The correct action always seems obvious.

However, I’m not more intelligent, more empathetic, more learned, more pure, more holy, more special, or more anything than the average Joe. I didn’t grow up in a home or an environment that discussed ethics. It wasn’t covered in school, and I certainly didn’t learn it in church. And yet I’ve always felt as though I had a pretty strong grasp on right and wrong.

So if I can get it, why don’t other people? As the title says, it ain’t rocket science!

And it sure seems that a lot of people don’t get it. Every day seems to bring another news story about someone, usually in the political, business, or religious sphere, who just can’t seem to play nice—who corrupt others or situations, who accepts or gives bribes, cuts corners at someone else’s expense, embezzles, cheats the system, bends the rules, lies and deceives, and acts in ways that are unquestioningly unethical.

I could go on and on listing examples, but unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll know of plenty examples yourself. Even our neighbors, coworkers, and family members are often guilty of unethical behavior, too.

So here are my questions (please copy and paste into the comment field for easy reference):

Do you consider yourself to be an ethical person? If so, can you give examples of day-to-day ethics?

Do you ever struggle with ethical decisions, or does it seem to come naturally?

How did you gain your sense of ethics? Learned, instilled by your parents, instinctual, etc.

Do you take pride in being ethical, or is it something one shouldn’t take pride in?

Do you agree with me that unethical behavior seems to have swelled to epidemic proportions?

Why do you think so many people find it so easy to behave unethically? Or better yet, why does it seem that some people have a conscious and some people don’t?

Tags: ethical, ethics, honesty, integrity, morality

Views: 37

Replies to This Discussion

5. I don't know if unethical behavior has swelled, but it is being reported on more than it was in the past.

Yes, that question often comes up. Is pedophilia, infidelity, white collar crime, etc, more prevalent, or do we just here about it more often?
Do you consider yourself to be an ethical person? If so, can you give examples of day-to-day ethics?

--I consider myself to be an ethical person. Think that, like you said, in todays world it is very difficult to just be... I would agree with you that ethics involves a conscience, that is why I believe I am ethical, because I am a coscious person. In the past if I said something wrong I felt bad, and understood that I didn't mean to say what I said but that my anger fogged my mind. That's what anger, and like infractions of the heart do, they make your heart pump so fast that your brain gets flooded and one doesn't think strait, and you end up saying things that you may...or may not regret. We all do this, feel, think, act, in regretable ways, the difference is wheather or not your conscience is there to save you, to help you to understand. It is difficult to give day-to-day examples of my ethics at work. However, I can't hold down a job around here, and I've been other places aswell, I work construction, and it gets exausting listening to all the pridefull pompassness, bigetry, racist, womanizing...ect blah blah! So I work for myself

Do you ever struggle with ethical decisions, or does it seem to come naturally?

-- Naturally now. In the begining, it was a challenge to overcome the pressures of society, to act like an ingrate. There are certain trust issues within our communities, so that if you don't act a certain way when something is said within a small group you are sized and judged accordingly.

How did you gain your sense of ethics? Learned, instilled by your parents, instinctual, etc.

-- I have pondered that myself alot! I think that we are what our senses pick up on. Products of our individual inviroments, and collective inviroments. Though we are born with a sense of right and wrong. I have seen it with children, if they have been wronged even subtley they know it, and a perceptive child knows when he or she has been lied to.... I think initialy we are ethical beings, however we can be overiden if we don't have the courage to atleast ignore the lies.

Do you take pride in being ethical, or is it something one shouldn’t take pride in?

-- I don't take pride in anything, I think pride is related to ego and arogance.

Do you agree with me that unethical behavior seems to have swelled to epidemic proportions?

-- Yes! If we were to grade an internet conversation (if you could call it that) and a face to face personal conversation, in the order of ethics, which would be unethical?

Why do you think so many people find it so easy to behave unethically? Or better yet, why does it seem that some people have a conscious and some people don’t?

-- As children we may be fortunate enough to have someone in our lives that we look up to, someone that always showed you respect, was always kind to you, helped you when you needed help, was always there for you and there was no question you could trust this person. Then in very subtle ways he educates you on the world... The person you looked up to was a white supremisist,
I believe that if someone is unethical that they were manipulated into being unethical.

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