Saturday, 8 April 2017

TOWIE!

Apologies upfront to any junk media addicts who might have been expecting a blog about reality tv, being famous for being famous, or the tedious excesses of Essex life. You'll find no trivial hirsutes nor trash madonnas here. Nor will you find any mention of chief idiot abroad Karl Pilkington... (oops, apart from that one). Instead, I've hi-jacked the TOWIE acronym and I don't have a lisp. The Only Way Is Ethics!

Seriously...there are far too many idiots abroad right now - and I'm using 'abroad' in its conflated archaic senses of: a) out of doors (as opposed to in a foreign country) and b) in error. They are out there doing bonkers stuff in plain sight and getting away with it. That can't be right.

Some are in positions of power in a political sense, either seized by force, bought by virtue of great wealth, won via the ballot box or even a combination thereof. Others hold dominion in a religious context, empowered by the faith of true believers and an entrenched and ancient hierarchy. Still others exercise their power in the much more mundane settings of the workplace, the school, the club, the home. Regardless of who they are and how they got there, they ought to have a duty to wield any powers that they have wisely.

In an ideal world there would be no gassing of civilians; no refugee crises; no discrimination or oppression on account of  race, gender, political persuasion or religious belief; no child poverty; no state-sponsored doping; no turning a blind eye to human rights violations for the sake of sealing arms deals; no cynical exploitation of financial markets for personal gain; no ghettos; no coveting one's neighbour's ox; no fraud; no rape; no hooliganism; no domestic violence; no ignorance.

We don't have ideal and we never will have. The problems are age-old - it's just that the impact ramps up as society becomes more globalised. I'm not advocating an Ethics Constabulary, but am I wrong in believing that education - the minimising of ignorance - is the best hope for the future?  And an ethical education/education in ethics at that. It would sign-post a positive road forward for our human race and ought to be on the political agenda of every party in every country of the united nations.

This is the way to go.
You'll know from past blogs that I've got a lot of time for the ancient Greeks. Aristotle pretty much nailed this stuff around 340 BC. In fact he even wrote books about it, being a deep thinker, a cogent communicator and one of the great philosophers. (If I had a pantheon of heroes I think he'd be in it, along with Shakespeare and a few other notables). He wrote several treatises on the subject of Ethics, which he probably would have defined as an attempt to rationalise how one should lead a good life by always striving to do the right thing at the right time in the right way.

A student of Socrates and Plato, Aristotle built his ethical beliefs on four principles (or cardinal virtues) of prudence, temperance, courage and justice and expounded a theory of moral virtue in which the happiness of the individual (derived from doing the right thing etc) was also the cornerstone of the greater happiness of society at large. I guess it could be simplified and summed up in the '60s hippy mantra 'Be Kind'.

As an ethical system, it should transcend religions and geo-political differences. It ought to be a true expression of our humanity. For it to work, everybody would need a significant level of exposure to, awareness of and internalisation of the code of ethics, which is where education comes in. I know I'm not saying anything new here, but as an antidote to idiots abroad, it has to be the long-term goal. Ethics, not just 'citizenship', ought to be a core curriculum element - couched in terms appropriate for 6 to 16 year olds. There is work to do.

I was going to post a poem on theme, but it's not ready to show itself yet. In fact it's slunk away under the bed, with its back to the wall and refuses to come out until it's ready. Patience, poeticals.

Thanks for sticking with this. Have a good week and be kind to each other, S ;-)
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1 comments:

Anonymous said...

Like most good ideas it won't happen. People are either too lazy or too selfish, more's the pity.