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Goodness can Over-ride Ethics

Ethics is about Rules

A person of good character, a virtuous person, should be ethical, almost by default. Yet ethics is primarily a social phenomenon characterized by rules, not by goodness or spiritual energies, or any preoccupation with the evolution of consciousness.

So exercising good character does not directly and simply translate to being socially judged as ethical.

The present focus is on the individual person as a member of humanity rather than as a member of a particular society. This distinction, explained earlier, cannot be over-emphasized in the present globalized era. Societies worldwide are currently led by people, often supported by much of their citizenry, whose preoccupations are primarily on acquiring power and wealth for themselves. Governments—politicians, bureaucrats, financiers—view the world as a whole in power-centred terms. Conflict based on the flouting of goodness is therefore inevitable.

The structure of society's ethical rules is complicated. It was discovered and articulated in Working with Values (1995). The most important discovery is that approaches, i.e. philosophies of ethical choice emerge from value systems-PH6L6. Ethical rules and ethical authorities in society emerge from the legitimist approach to ethical choice-PH'6L6—where the ethical obligation is to set an acceptable rule.

The origin of ethics in value systems, evocative of tribal loyalty, makes it deontological and often divisive. Goodness can rectify actual ethics via ultimate values-PH6-L7 and transcendentalist choice-PH'6L7.

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Brief accounts of some THEE ethical Frameworks have been posted to clarify political choice and the influence of natural moral institutions. Full accounts with diagrams and matrices are available for download here.

Goodness is about Character

While societies and their leaders can ignore the demands of ultimate values and goodness, they cannot wholly ignore the behaviour of their citizens. This behaviour is dependent on how developed people are in terms of their humanity and desire for goodness. This development is an absolute criterion referring to the degree that everyday public consciousness has evolved in spiritual terms.

Although spiritual development is not well understood, the significance of character is widely recognized in everyday life and work. Note that there is no specific location for character in the taxonomic structure of a society's ethical order. By contrast, building character via integrity, talent, presence and heroism, is found at the heart of the present Framework. (The societal frameworks only have a place for expected virtues, which may or may not emphasize character features like integrity.)

Character is not generated by rules but by the heart, especially if encouraged. It is a personal effort for one's own development that actively suppresses self-gratification. It primarily feeds a deeper sense of goodness common to all.

As this framework reveals, ultimate values are the key. These values are universal and all-embracing. The effort to dominate, as in geopolitics, and to criminalize, as in the war on drugs, obscures the harm that such foci cause. The danger is that negative ultimate values like fear, anger, impatience, entitlement, falsehood, deception, envy, confusion permeate daily life and weaken us all by depleting goodness.

Originally posted: 7-Jun-2013

All posted material is part of a scientific project and should be regarded as provisional. Visitors are encouraged to think through the topics and propositions for themselves. Copyright © Warren Kinston 2009-2016.
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