Ethics carries many other names: Morals, Values, Rules, Virtues… They are to be the basis of the way each of us lives our life.
Ethics are present whether you’re playing sport, driving, on a website or washing dishes. Ask yourself the question: What do referees in sports, stop lights in traffic and terms and conditions on a website have in common? They all define the do’s and don’ts of behavior.
(Audit of Humankind, chapter 2.7)
Rules and regulations are a way of life specific to humans. Only humans need, legislates and have to follow laws and even have laws imposed on him. Every aspect of man’s life is governed by some type of rule or directive. A way of life is simply a set of rules by which we conduct our lives. We are continually measuring ourselves—our human performance—against an invisible set of rules to see how we’re doing.
No society or organization—whether it be one person or billions can run smoothly—with peace and prosperity—without rules and regulations. A no rules—do your own thing so you can thrive—option is not a solution. Rights of freedom are present in the constitution of the United States and many other countries but, does that mean anything goes? Rules are an essential puzzle piece and without them, we can’t and don’t get a whole picture.
Each of our three previous points in this chapter is complex and all are hotly debated:
Human Nature – what makes humans tick? How it differentiates us from animals.
Free Will – all about choices, many don’t believe it exists.
Behavior – many don’t know how, whether and to what degree it should be managed.
And now we add yet another controversial fourth layer as to how humankind functions: Ethics – should they exist and to what extent they should be present in our lives.
Not only do many questions exist around each of these four features but when you intermingle human nature+ free will + behavior (attitudes) + ethics (rules) imagine the exponential number of combinations and red-faced opinions that can be expressed.The first four elements of how humans function are: human nature + free will + behavior (attitudes) + ethics (rules) imagine the exponential number of combinations and red-faced opinions that can be expressed. Click To Tweet
At this point in The Explanation, I’m not going to answer the myriad questions raised by such a scenario. Even if I tried it would not give each reader—and those not reading this—satisfactory answers. That’s where 7 billion minds differ—where mind coupled with free will come into full play, where imagination coupled with individual decisions gives each one of us the independence to propose a personally nuanced response.
What I’m simply showing here are the pieces—not all the contours of each piece—that are needed to have a complete puzzle. When it comes to ethics and rules there are those who don’t even believe that rules are needed, we call them anarchists. They know about rules, they know what rules are, they’ve just decided that they can discard all or certain of the rules. Put another way, they feel we can have a complete puzzle of peace and prosperity by shaving off the edges or eliminating the piece called rules. It probably goes further than that because anarchists would probably tend to even throw out the piece called peace. In other words, no rules = no peace—with which I would agree. The question is: Is that what you want your final puzzle to resemble?
What is ethics?
The constitution, code of conduct, creed, credo, ethos, Human Rights, ideals, laws, the Magna Carta, moral code, morals, morality, moral principles, moral values, principles, rules of conduct, rights and wrongs, standards (of behaviour), terms and conditions, values, virtues—are summed up and incorporated in ethics whatever we want we’re talking about an identical matter.
At this point, we’re not discussing the validity of rules, whether they’re good or they’re bad. Whether they promote or hinder peace and prosperity. We will broach subjects like the pros and cons of how rules are enacted, whether present rules and regulations are suitable or even fair. But, here, in this chapter, the idea is to be much more basic than that: With regard to how humankind functions the goal is to show the elements—the basis from which humans operate. A code of ethics is fundamental.
A mathematical formula of our four elements might look something like this
Peace = (human nature + free will) x (ethics + behavior)
If an individual or group wants peace it is incumbent on them to decide how to direct their human nature via free choice in relation to the ethics that govern behavior such that it will give rise to peace. For now, we’re not talking about whether they obey or disobey the set of rules agreed upon—just the necessary pieces for the system to function.If an individual or group wants peace it is incumbent on them to direct their human nature via free choice in relation to the ethics that govern behavior such that it will give rise to peace. These are necessary pieces humans to… Click To Tweet
A set of rules that leads to proper behavior carries various other names: principles, values or ethics.
Communities and rules
Each country has a set of fundamental values and principles by which one should conduct their life in order to be a proper citizen. UK guidelines include the following:
- Respect and obey the law
- Respect the rights of others, including their right to their own opinions
- Treat others with fairness
- Look after yourself and your family
- Look after the area in which you live and the environment.
When it comes to such a charter we talk about respect and support of such ideals.
Websites—where you can leave comments—give a framework not only for what you can say but how you can say it. Even Audit of the Universe has a copyright which tells you that you can copy and distribute any part of this book so long as you include its origin. Most books won’t even allow you to copy them. Those are the rules. As I write this post website are in the process of complying to the General Data Protection Regulation which is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within certain boundaries in Europe. Notices the terms: Regulations and law, this is the meaning of ethics.
Rules are needed for sociability in all circumstances. To have a moral football game you need to have rules that both teams agree on and play by:
- Change ends at half-time
- Delimit the playing field, size of goals,
- How much physical contact is allowed
- The length of the game
- Accept the decisions of the (outside, 3rd party, independent) referee
- The penalties decided by the referee
Even if you’re alone on an island you need rules to survive.
- Hygiene, activity, diet
- Sleep, protection from sun, insects, animals
- Use of fresh water, food…
- Homework, chores, making your bed, cleaning room
Everything to do with humans—has some sort of a rule. Humans can follow or break rules. They can respect or not the speed limit and red lights. They can lie or tell the truth in court when asked a question. Humans can smoke a cigarette where the rules tell them they can’t.
We’ve seen the equation involving: human nature, free will, behavior, and ethics. There are seven billion combinations of these characteristics that animate our world population. This is the complexity of the issue The Explanation—and all of mankind is working with.
How are we to bring real Peace and Prosperity to Humankind?
This blog post is an excerpt from chapter 2.7 of the book Audit of Humankind.
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