Ethics

My life is full of meaning to me. The life around me must be full of significance to itself. If I am to expect others to respect my life, then I must respect the other life I see, however strange it may be to mine... Ethics in our Western world has hitherto been largely limited to the relations of man to man. But that is limited ethics. We need a boundless ethics which will include the animals also.

Reverence for life is the only sound basis for viable ethics.

The pyramidal effect is essential to all the arts - the effect of starting from the level, rising to the supreme height, and sinking back to the original level again. This in truth is the meaning of key in music; in art, as in life, the secret of happiness is first of all to get as far away from home as you can, and then get back to your home: every work of art is a sort of Prodigal Son, that learns to appreciate the fixed point in space as in ethics, by straying from it.

Ethics is the science of human duty. Arithmetic tells man how to count his money; ethics how he should acquire it, whether by honesty or fraud. Geography is a map of the world; ethics is a beautiful map of duty. This ethics is not Christianity, it is not even religion; but it is the sister of religion, because the path of duty is in full harmony, as to quality and direction, with the path of God.

Ethics alone will decide whether atomic energy will be an earthly blessing or the source of mankind’s utter destruction.

What is between one person and another is emptiness, nothingness, a space or field in which we can meet, talk, love, hate, hurt, nurture, encourage, and otherwise engage in ethically significant activity with one another. The between is the place wherein we are able to interact with one another, and it is a field of possibility, an opportunity as much as an emptiness to fill. Leaving the notion of emptiness to one side for the present, the betweenness of men and women works itself out in the way called “ethics,” which occasions and is the description of the consensual rules and structures of social existence.

Ethics is… to be regarded as a therapeutic attempt – as an endeavor to achieve, by means of a command of the superego, something which has so far not been achieved by means of any other cultural activities. As we already know, the problem before us is how to get rid of the greatest hindrance to civilization – namely, the constitutional inclination of human beings to be aggressive towards one another.

There is not even one single thing we value when we restrict the question to ethical values. Instead, there is a plurality of different things we value, but in ethics and in life in general. In life we value pleasure, human interaction, achievement and contact with reality. In ethics we value human flourishing but also commitment and justice per se… No single set of rules seems adequate to the irreducible plurality of incommensurable things that we value.

To glorify God is to be engaged in a concrete spirituality that refuses to draw marked distinctions between sacred and secular, contemplation and deed, theology and ethics.

In humans, social conditioning establishes acceptable versus unacceptable behaviors and belief systems. Pejorative denunciations and condemnations are institutionalized, and judgmentalism is supported and encouraged. Behaviors are identified with morality and ethics and simply classified as good versus bad or right versus wrong.

When anything is clear enough, true enough, real enough, beyond the point of doubt, then that something raises within itself its own requiredness, its own demand-character, its own suitabilities. It “calls for” certain kinds of action rather than others. If we define ethics, morals, and values as guides to action, then the easiest and best guides to the most decisive actions are very facty facts; the more facty they are, the better guides to action they are.

In the so-called Western secular democracy… a divorce has been effected between politics and religion, and as a result of this secularization, the society and particularly its politically active elements have ceased to attach much or any importance to morality or ethics.

Let me give you a definition of ethics: It is good to maintain and further life; it is bad to damage and destroy life.

Ethics is not definable, is not implementable, because it is not conscious; it involves not only our thinking, but also our feeling.

An organized money market has many advantages. But it is not a school of social ethics or political responsibility.

Just as individual ethics can be understood only in relation to the society within which it is practiced, it is also true that individual ethical behavior is far likelier to flourish within a just society. It might be argued that to lead an ethical life one must work to build a just society.

A Humanist Code of Ethics: Do no harm to the earth, she is your mother. Being is more important than having. Never promote yourself at another's expense. Hold life sacred; treat it with reverence. Allow each person the dignity of his or her labor.

I do not believe in immortality of the individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority behind it.

All human societies supplement politics with ethics; all of them to some degree are ordered by a moral code, if only honor among thieves.

There are seven things that will destroy us: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Religion without sacrifice; Politics without principle; Science without humanity; Business without ethics.