Let's say it clearly: I am p*ssed. So this will probably be a ramble with links, rathen than a blog entry, anyway...
I hear over and over again the word ethics blabbed around by coaches as well as nonprofit guys and gals, to name a few. And I say blabbed cause none of these persons show any real, factual, knowledge of what ethics means.
In the most optimistic case, they take ethics as "observance of laws", missing how you can be observant of the law and STILL a completely unethical person. In the more pessimist stances, ethics becomes a matter of appearing (ie: as caring persons, better ones, etc etc) and you hear the disgusting words: "I don't want to SOUND unethical".
Do you want to understand what ethics is?
And yes, I said "you" cause I am European, thank G*d, and I live in a land in which even if you don't go to Medical School, most prestigious High Schools (Liceo Scientifico and Liceo Classico) force you through three year of studies in Philosophy. In short: when we speak of something, we usual know where it came from, we don't suppose it's sooo coooool what we have just invented! And THIS is what is happening in the US and Canada with ethics: they don't know where it comes from, they don't know what it is, but they shove their rendition down your throat cause they think it's them who invented yet another cooool toooool.
Let's start with this, ethics is a branch of philosophy. Both words come from ancient greek language:
- Philosophy: from "phileo" (=love) and "sophia" (=knowledge), in other words "love for knowledge".
- Ethics: is the study of human conduct
There are several kinds of ethics:
- descriptive ethics: ethical standards/principles;
- normative ethics: theories systematically denominating right vs wrong actions;
- applied ethics: using theories for practical cases; and
- meta-ethics: analysis of the meaning & justification of ethical claims
This being said, you will certainly understand why I am so p*ssed.
What people get out of the word ethics is about either prohibiting/getting rid of something prudish (see poor Millard Fuller, whose life is being jeopardized by persons that not even in 10 lifetimes could do as much as he did, in name of a supposed ethics that NOTHING has to do with real ethics) or about an accountant-like concept of ethics, "accountability" (meaning: MONEY, the f*ck with all the rest).
All of this, very typically, is North American: denial of sexual impulses (and any other "bad" impulse) in the workplace (but not only... it sounds like being INTO Brave New World or 1984, even if originally written as a satyr to Communism) and major preoccupation with money money money. So being ethical becomes being a frigid person, stuffing desires inside, being afraid of complimenting a person (cuz you know saying "your blouse matches your complexion and look so good on you" is claimed to be sexual harrassment --- GIVE ME A BREAK!!!) and replacing vital energy with things you need money for. And btw also avoiding malpractice is not really about avoiding to harm the poor/weak/innocent person, it's about avoiding to loose money to malpractice lawsuits.
Not that consumer/clients suing are better! Who are they suing? Philip Morris, the Red Cross, or some wealthy professionals. For sure they won't sue the shaman giving them an intoxicating potion, they sue the doctor giving them a medication they are allergic to. These both are mistakes, but how is that the doctor gets sued while the shaman doesn't? Cause the shaman doesn't have the money and people are not interested in justice, they want the MONEY. Equally unethical to whom covers his/her *ss in fear of loosing money.
Ethics is the preoccupation to think about our conduct, when it is right, when it is wrong, and why.
In short, we (generic) should think about ethics WHETHER OR NOT there is the actual possibility of a lawsuit.