As beings with the capacity for rational thought and logic, we have choice. And with that gift comes a responsibility to honor and respect the dignity of other beings. In philosophical thought, this means respecting the moral treatment toward oneself, toward others, toward all living things and toward our planet. Aristotle believed that human virtue is our moral imperative. I like to think of it simply as a personal directive to seek to BE KIND and do no harm to the best of our ability each moment... with our words and with our actions. This is no easy task and we probably break it each and every day because much of what we communicate and do is unconscious. We don’t think all the way to the widespread impact of our choices. For example, we grab a bottle of water and drink it, but don’t think about its disposal and how it will affect our society and planet in the long run. So, the best we can do is ponder on this subject for many years, and begin to make more conscious choices each day. A commitment to do no harm can take a lifetime to learn!
TILT 365 WEEKLY CHALLENGE: Today, I will be kind and attempt to do no harm to myself, to others and to the planet, to the best of my conscious ability.
Avoiding being Strict (Overuse):
To be strict demands rigid compliance without exception and yes, there’s a place for that when society or the planet at large could be harmed. Yet, if we as individuals go too far with our stance on ethical issues, we can begin to edge into dangerous territory and actually do harm when we don’t intend to. This happens when we believe we are right and others are the problem, without realizing there are things we can do to stay in the middle zone. We can actually seek ethical integrity but don’t go so far that we take a contemptuous position to judge others and blame for 100% of the responsibility, as if we ourselves are blameless. No one person is entirely to blame for most situations because they are complex (fundamental attribution error in logic). This is also problematic because what we do is more often unconscious than conscious, so therefore not intentional. We are acting on habitual processes that helped us survive whatever environment we encountered early in life. So, what can we do when we notice someone is doing something that harms others? Find a way to bring attention to it with compassion and humility. Above all, don’t infer that we ourselves are blameless. Start by pointing out how we’ve missed our own unintentional actions and someone made an observation that helped us. When we’re all on an even playing field, we can express love and respect, while helping each other.
Commendable Trait: Ethical
Learn more about being Ethical and Tilt 365
Catch up on the Tilt 365 Weekly Challenges