Go read “When, Why, If” by Robin Wood.
Okay, you read it right?
Well, that book is one of my favorites for spiritual growth and personal development. While it was written for pagan people, I think that almost anyone could find a great depth of knowledge and insight into themselves (and their spirituality) by reading it.
The book covers ethics, ranging in topics from Honesty and Love to Harm and Help. It talks about how ethics aren’t concrete like morals. While a moral tells you “do this, don’t do that”, ethical behavior is about following less strict guidelines while measuring each situation for its best solution.
Nothing is ever cut-and-dried.
Should you steal? I’m guessing you’d say no. What if you were starving? What if you had three kids and the local shelter was closed for the night and none of you had eaten in days?
Should you kill? Traditionally, we’d say no. But we amend that moral with “unless it’s self-defense.” As a society, we’ve decided to allow for the right to protect your own life by taking someone else’s. However, it can get muddy. What if you simply “felt” in danger? What if that boy in the hoodie looked dangerous, looked like trouble, and you decided to remove him before any injury could occur? Is that self-defense? [Note: Yes, I’m referring to Trayvon Martin or any other young, dangerous-looking boy walking through the wrong place at the wrong time.]
Should you lie? White lies are considered part of being tactful; after all, no one likes the assbutt who constantly tells people they look like fat cows or smell like a gym sock (even if he’s telling the truth). We, as a society, don’t like rude people. However, we don’t like liars either. Is it okay to lie to get into office? What if you lie by omission, rather than outright lying to someone? Lies break trust, so the more often you lie the more you wittle down the amount of trust people feel toward you.
Ethics have no straight lines. In fact, I’d say ethics are a bit wibbly wobbly, timey wimey at the core. No two people will feel the exact same way about every situation.
A perfect example would be me and my friend Sarah. When a man almost t-boned us on the way to work one morning, we had two completely different reactions. I wished hard that he would be scared into driving safely for weeks after our near-miss. She wished just as hard that he’d find his car wrapped around a pole. I don’t believe in wishing harm on others, because thoughts are energy. Sarah doesn’t feel that her thoughts hold any more power than a middle finger raised in his rearview mirror, so she feels no qualms about hoping his day ends violently. We are like sisters, but we are not always the same. Again, ethics are personal.
My blog will have random posts for the next few weeks. I’ve decided to share my answers to the workbook questions found in “When, Why, If”. I’ve always been a bit of an open book, and maybe you’ll glean something from my thoughts.
Feel free to ask questions!