So, how has kindness inspired us this week? We talked about morality and ethics as one of the three pillars in kindness. We explored the origins of morality, which dares to answer the question: “how ought we live?” We viewed morality in terms of virtue, rationalism, irrationalism and religion. We asked ourselves if we are hardwired by consequences, and pondered our fundamental purpose.
We explored how social emotions evolved when “survival of the fitness” no longer depended on the individual, but a community. We looked at prevailing virtues across civilizations that included knowledge, bravery, fairness, and self-control…but also humanity, namely virtues of love, social consciousness, and, kindness. We looked at kindness exhibited by animals, and how the common traits of mammals surviving in groups emoted similar, but primitive “social emotions.” And we looked at morality as it related to non-humans, with programs designed to be amoral, and the ethical ramifications.
We then blurred ethical lines and explored Kant, utilitarian and virtue views when lying. We also applied some of those ethical perspectives to a cruel game…the zero-sum game, which shed only the briefest of light into cruelty.
And I will conclude our fifth ritual of kindness with closing thoughts…ethics and morality is only a framework meant as an attempt to explain “right” and “wrong” behavior. What is ethical today may be condoned in a thousand years. And was ethical a thousand years ago is likely considered barbaric today. Do not follow social rules, code of conducts or any authority for that matter, for the sake of following because it was written into law. Follow rules, conducts and authority because you understand the consequences of following, and understand the consequences of disobeying. Ultimately we are rational beings, and have the power of free choice. Respect your capacity for tremendous reason, and never take it for granted.
My take? This framework of “right” and “wrong” is designed to help us be the best version of ourselves. Sometimes that means we must listen to the lessons of others, and sometimes it means experiencing things on our own. So, what is the best version of ourselves?
Mankind is meant to be kind.