What’s the point of ethics and morality these days?
As I look out from what often seems like a parallel universe perspective and wonder more and more whether I actually belong to this planet I find myself asking what it is that we can rely on. It’s so hard to find the truth about anything. It seems in many ways anything goes if you have the power and inclination to go for it – from destroying whole forests, to manipulating the economy, to building walls between countries.
I’m lucky in many ways as I have a strong and long-standing spiritual practise which supports me in navigating the world we have created. It helps me find my equilibrium and my peace of mind – not through passivity but through conscious action.
Putting spirituality aside though and reflecting on the more ‘every day’ aspects of life I ask myself what can I rely on? And who can I rely on? At the heart of my exploration of reliability are factors like integrity, truth, morality, ethics, goodness. They could seem a bit ‘old-fashioned’ in many ways. They have a slight ‘stuffiness’ about them – maybe even a religious or pious overtone – and I don’t consider myself the least bit religious.
However, if we look at all the major positive advances in the evolution of human rights they came about through leaders who had these qualities – Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi…
We don’t have to be equal to these giants in terms of the global impact that we have. We do however as leaders, have to be equal in terms of our code of conduct and our core ethos. We are facing a huge battle for the heart and soul of humanity at this time. Whether that’s in business, the workplace, democracy, social justice, the economy and, most fundamentally, the survival of the planet.
All of these are deeply and inextricably interlinked and if we ever feel the challenge is too big for us to do anything or that we are too small to matter, we need to think again. Whilst we don’t have to be Gandhi or Mandela we do have to be equal to them in terms of how we show up in our lives. Living from, and standing up for, truth, morality, ethics and a will to good is what will change our world for the better.