ETHICS IS: The sum of all fundamentals affecting right conduct in every case at all times. (more at www.extremeethics.org/what-is-ethics).
Ethics, a universal personal attribute, defines what is right, good and true. It requires nothing other than yourself to approve or apply. It’s an integral part of you that applies to the whole of humanity—in fact to Earth and the entire Universe—not just to you or any particular group.
Ethics, founded in truth, a First Principle, is also right and good. And this is where the whole of humanity comes in because while truth is a given, good and right are not; therefore, the terms require clarification.
But first, to put ethics in perspective, it is first necessary to define its foundation, TRUTH. But therein lies a problem: Fundamentals (like truth) cannot be perfectly defined. They must remain at least in part concepts—ideas, perceptions, theories, awareness— principles. Why? Because they are the source, not the product, of definition. What follows is so basic that it may be far too simple to explain; however, it’s my best shot currently:
TRUTH, a First Principle, is a given. Everything requires it simply to be. Even lies require truth just to be what they are. But philosophy (the pursuit of truth) and its offspring ethics (derivative from truth) cannot be used to perfectly define truth, because a result cannot define its source (an effect can’t define its cause). However, we need a definition that satisfies our idea of the concept in order to proceed—after all, that’s what words are for. Here is a definition (not original) of truth based on perfection (another First Principle): a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle; being in conformity with reality, transcending even what may be perceived. I hope that this will suffice.
Truth is a given that applies universally to both the individual and the whole. Good and right apply to the whole of humanity. What is ethical is good (and right) for the whole—the entirety of humanity, even the entire Universe. And this is what ethics is all about.
BUT WHAT IS TRUE?
There are subtle (but very real) differences between true and truth. True, an adjective, deals with statements made. Truth, a noun, does not—it merely is. It’s an absolute. “He should not be driving so fast” may be true but it’s debatable. Truth is indisputable, an ideal or “fundamental reality transcending what may be perceived.” It’s a given, a First Principle. Like the Universe, TRUTH SIMPLY IS.
Givens are what is; besides the Universe itself (a singularity the origin of which remains undefined), they include LIFE (your own being an example, a gift not requested and, in fact, undeserved); PERFECTION (we know what it is even if it can’t be achieved); and of course TRUTH (necessary to define and articulate WHAT IS) among them. You can’t deny WHAT IS even if you want to because IT IS, anyway. You WILL accept what is, like it or not.
Since you are ethical, BE ETHICAL!!
You were born with all the parts to live a life perfectly complementing the Universe. You had to be, because you are an integral part of that Universe. You were born of humanity and are thus responsible both to and for it and Earth, your environment that gave you life. This means that you were born ethical, just like everyone else; it’s a universal personal attribute—a given. Givens are all so basic that we can freely ignore them, but they’re always there.
So what happened to our ethics? And truth itself?
Other people. Coping. Competing. Life as it is—going along to get along. We’ve become comfortable with denying the very idea of truth. We even avoid the use of the word lie, replacing it with any number of excuses to cover up the general lack of honesty in our society. We embrace political correctness, finding other words to avoid the possibility of making someone uncomfortable by stating the facts as they are. Both truth and ethics have suffered study, debate and dispute and in the process, have become misunderstood empty formal abstractions.
“Any fool can tell you what you want to hear. It takes guts to speak the truth.” SJ Lewis
But givens (First Principles) are universal and remain consistent over time—they don’t evolve or change. What was ethical/true then is ethical/true now and will be ethical/true in the future.
We are born into this world with all that’s needed to live right—it’s all there. The wickedness, depravity, iniquity, immorality and evil of the world are all manufactured by those who would deny their selfs to gain temporary advantage over others and avoid their responsibility to the whole. You may even be one of them, but you don’t have to be. You can choose to return to your self and live right (which is really what ethics is all about). It’s that simple. All you have to do is be who you really are. Return to the basics. The rest will take care of itself. But it’s up to you to ‘get it.’ Got it? If not, peruse the rest of this site. That’s what it’s here for.