What Is An Ethic? by BOB PODOLSKY

What Is An Ethic? by BOB PODOLSKY


In order to escape from the MATRIX it is necessary for that you understand the subject of ethics, which is the means by which one discerns acts which are good from those that are bad, or evil.  Most of the explanations of ethics that are taught in schools, churches, and synagogues are unnecessarily complicated and/or mystical, and in many instances simply wrong.  The explanation that follows is both simple and scientifically valid.

What Is An Ethic? by BOB PODOLSKY

An ethic consists of two parts.
1.   A value, which is simply a description of what one wants more of in one’s life.

2.   A belief, or system of beliefs, that defines how one must act or behave in order to attain more of the resource defined as the value to be maximized.

You are free to adopt any ethic you choose.  In this sense the choice of an ethic is arbitrary.

BUT Not all ethics are created equal.  Some are valid and some are not.


Some Examples

1. The regime of the Soviet Union was based on an ethic.  The value chosen to be maximized was material well-being for everyone.  The belief system adopted was that of communism, which decreed government ownership of everything of real value and political suppression of dissent. Ownership of all the major businesses and properties was taken over by the state (government) and “managed for the benefit of all”.  Those who voiced any objection were imprisoned in harsh prison camps or executed “for the sake of the people”.

The result was universal poverty and the most brutally tyrannical regime in modern history.  Material well-being was only available to a tiny minority of the people who were supposed to benefit from the revolutionary regime.  This was the exact opposite of the intentions of the Soviet founders.  Their ethic was not valid.

2. The French revolution was based on an ethic.  The value to be maximized was equality for all and the belief system that of armed rebellion.  The result was a major blood bath that left the people no better off than they were before. The ethic was not valid.

3. The operations of the Catholic Church and its various Christian offshoots was based on an ethic.  The values to be maximized were the love of God (the Christian conception of course) and the reward of a heavenly afterlife.  The belief system was that the Church was infallible and that unbelievers deserved to burn in hell.

This belief system spawned both the 200-year Crusades and the 400-year Inquisition. These resulted in the torture and slaying of millions of Jews, Muslims, and Christians, the theft of the victims’ assets, the destruction of their culture, and a hatred of Christianity that continues to this day in the hearts of hundreds of millions of people.  Instead of increasing the love of (the Christian) God the Christian ethic resulted in the exact opposite of what its proponents had hoped for.

4. The founders of the United States adopted an ethic.  The value they chose to maximize was freedom for everyone (but blacks and women).  The belief system to which they subscribed was that of republican democracy by means of majority rule. The result is that each year but two we have had less freedom than the year before.[1]  Our government becomes more and more tyrannical, taxes us more and more heavily, and increasingly restricts our freedoms for the benefit of special interests.  Meanwhile we fought a devastating civil war to maintain our power over the southern states who wanted to withdraw from the Union.  They found they were not free to do so.  The ethic was not valid.

From the foregoing examples a recognizable pattern emerges.  When a group or a society adopts an invalid ethic, the result is the exact opposite of that intended by those who adopted the ethic.  This pattern holds true throughout human history.  It is the cause of untold suffering.  It is the reason every political regime in history has failed, from the Roman Empire to the Soviet Union.  It is the reason all of our institutions are failing today.

One might mistakenly conclude that there is no valid ethic; that the whole study of ethics is futile; and that humanity is doomed to a dog-eat-dog future, ultimately leading to its own extinction.     BUT, This conclusion is false.  There is, in fact, a valid ethic that leads to its own fulfillment rather than its opposite. In order to understand this important fact, let’s examine the two main ethics between which those of us in the modern western world must choose each day.

Utilitarian Ethic: An act is good if it benefits more people than it harms.

Titanian Ethic: An act is good if it benefits at least one person, including the person acting, and harms no one.

While these two ethics appear similar, they, in fact, result in very different outcomes.

Take note that Utilitarian Ethic is ostensibly the basis of all modern regimes.  It is fundamental to both democracy and communism.  It justifies majority rule by implying that an act is good if it benefits 51 people and only harms 49.  It permits harm to be done to some people if the intention is to benefit a greater number.

There are at least three ways to prove that Utilitarian Ethic is not valid.

1. The Historical Proof is simply the observation that even though society has largely chosen to adopt Ethic 1, we still have war, genocide, race-hatred, terrorism, crimes of violence, drug addiction, and myriad atrocities like those described in the pages preceding.  The ethic produces its opposite and vastly more people are harmed than benefited by its adoption.  So it is clearly invalid.

2. The Golden Rule Proof states that the application of Ethic 1 violates the Golden Rule, because those being harmed under Ethic 1 are not being treated in accordance with the Golden Rule.  Again, this proves the ethic is invalid.

3. The Logical Proof shows that an act permitted under Ethic 1, must also violate Ethic 1.  This is true because an act which benefits some people while harming others is the logical equivalent of two acts; one that only benefits (some) people and another that only harms (some other) people.  Thus, Ethic 1 contains its own contradiction, and is therefore invalid.

The Titanian Ethic, on the other hand, does not suffer from these three criticisms.  Let’s look at it more closely.

Titanian Ethic: An act is good if it benefits at least one person, including the person acting, and harms no one.

We have to name the specific value to be maximized and to define the belief system that must be associated with it for the ethic to be valid under all circumstances.  So let’s tighten up our definition.  The word “benefit” is simply too general a value, because some perceived benefits lead to unwanted social consequences; thus contradicting the intent of the ethic.  Values such as wealth, profit, political power, and even happiness suffer from this weakness.

On the other hand, consider the values of Truth (objective), Awareness (/Personal evolution), Love and Creativity (TALC).  These TALC values are particularly interesting because an act that increases any one of them also increases the others; while an act that limits or diminishes any one of them also limits or diminishes all of the others.  Thus these values, and perhaps many others, may be said to be logically equivalent to one another.  So let’s redefine Ethic 2 as follows:

This ethic, it turns out, is valid, in that its adoption by an individual or a group invariably results in an increase in Creativity and its logical equivalents.  For convenience, let’s refer to this ethic from now on as E+ or as the E+Ethic.  It is worth noting at this point that all prosperity and happiness can be causally traced back to someone’s Creativity or one or more of its logical equivalents.

It should be noted that there is a second set of resources (values) that are necessary, but not sufficient, for the maximization of creativity.  These include such things as freedom, honesty, empathy, conscience, and the teaching of true information to people who habitually act ethically.  These are all Ethical resources or creativity enhancers, but they are not logical equivalents of creativity, so they are not mentioned explicitly in the definition of E+.  Surprisingly, when one of these values is made the value to be maximized in the definition of an ethic, the ethic that results is not valid.

This discussion of “What Is An Ethic? by BOB PODOLSKY” leads us next to Ethical Principles

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