Morals vs Ethics – The Series (Part Three)

Introduction

 

In this series we have gone over the basics of morals, ethics and have shown the duality that exists between them when they face off. I’m confident that everyone reading this now has a clear understanding on the topic and how it’s up to you to decide your choices in life.

This part in the series in going to be taking a look at the issues that may arise when morals and ethics operate on vastly different levels and why that may happen. I am going to provide some examples, possible reasoning behind the different levels and leave it up to you to decode it how you wish. Showing complexities between morals and ethics is only showing you the choices and not forcing your hand one way to another despite how we may have vastly different opinions.

That is the great thing about this topic in general, no two opinions will be exactly the same and it leads to some great debates.

They Operate On Different Levels?

 

The issue of “why” has always been a personal favorite of mine in everything I do and this topic is no different. You may up until this point have been thinking that the level they operate on are related and most times they are in some degree. Everyone in society has vastly different opinions, life experiences and things to base there morals on but ethics tend to complicate this. Ethics as we have previously explored are very inflexible so we can have vastly different levels of the two relating to a single individual.

In order to specifically tackle the “why” some groundwork must be laid out first

  • Everything from this point forward will deal with societal ethics and not a specific organization unless otherwise stated
  • “High” morals in this context will be consistent with rarely ever doing anything that the individual feels is wrong with “low” being the opposite
  • “High” ethics will mean the individual almost always follows the rules set before them with “low” being the opposite

Take a few seconds to yourself and ponder why they may operate on different levels before I give you my take on the situation. This will help you better understand how much different our opinions may be.

 

Why does that happen?

There are countless reasons why it may happen but I will only touch on a few that I believe will be easy to grasp.

  1. Mental disorders will play a huge role in having them on completely different sides of the spectrum. It is not the end all and be all of the situation but it is one that can’t be changed very easily.
  2. Desensitized to internal or external changes is another one. It operates on a similar level as #1 but one does not need to have a mental disorder to be desensitized to information. This may be done through mental conditioning, they may simply not care or give there actions a second thought to name a few
  3. External pressure to do a certain action may be another possible explanation. We as a species are very susceptible to pressure from others if it is consistent and we tend to modify our behavior towards it.

 

High Morals, Low Ethics

 

Someone who has high morals and low ethics is an interesting choice for certain individuals to encounter. This type of person will feel very little wrong in the choices they are making but society tends to view them as immoral, unjust and sometimes down right evil. More often then not though “ethical duality” will exist which goes to further complicate the issue. An example of such a person can be displayed as follows…

A mobster “killer for hire” is a good example. They may treat society, those they encounter, with the down right sinister regard and they feel nothing about it. To them the choices they are making are just and there is nothing wrong with them. This may be due to a mental disorder, repeated actions dulling there original morals or just simply not having a high baseline moral ground to begin with among other possible explanations. The ethics come into play by society viewing killing as wrong especially when it involves money but it also introduces ethical duality.

As society views the individual as immoral there organization may have a completely different view on the subject and they may take great pride in adhering to that. Ethical duality is almost always at play when someone has high morals and low ethics. What may be considered low ethics to society may not be to an affiliated organization that individual belongs

 

High Ethics, Low Morals

 

Someone who has high ethics and low morals are dangerous individuals in the scope of the topic. Try to think of them as sheep that are simply following orders and without direction they will run amok. Examples such as what I will be showing are rather rare cases out in society but when they do happen anyone who interacts with the individual should be very wary. These types of individuals almost always have another motive at play.

A religious priest is an excellent example to lay the scene for this topic. They are bound by a very strict code of ethics by both the church and society in which they adhere too. They are being told completely what to do without a second thought about it; they have lost the ability to go against the ethics set before them.

The issue of morality comes into play when they have no desire or free will to make there own choices in life despite loathing every second they have to adhere to the ethics. They are not a “good” law abiding citizen by nature but due to there extreme sense to follow rules set before them they are stuck in an internal conflict. They have become a ticking time bomb waiting to explode and this is what makes them very dangerous people. They value there job, the ethics of the church above all else and societal ethics only go to reinforce that belief as sort of a crutch. If they were to loose the church’s reinforcement of societal ethics a tailspin would ensue but even without that duality conflict still rages. This is another type of ethical duality hinging on needing to have both to reinforce a point in which an individual lacks entirely to make up there own mind.

Ethical Duality Is Key

 

It is very unlikely to have such a drastic shift in the levels of morals without some type of ethical duality. Ethics are meant to set ground work for moral choices but they can be skewed in many different ways to the point where societal and organization ethics can be different or exactly the same. This is a huge grey area for many faced with such circumstances but there is no real answer to how an individual will respond to a given situation.

What you should take away from this is that even though mental disorders tend to play a huge part in drastic shifts of morals/ethics it is NOT the only reason and there will always be others at play. Duality is a strange and interesting beast that will touch all of us at some point in our lives. One should not live life avoiding duality but take some time to think about how it would affect you in the given the situation. The more you know about yourself the better prepared you will be to face a world full of conflicting topics.

 

Final Thoughts

 

This was a topic I had sitting on my mind for many months and writing it has been an absolute blast. Some of the debates I’ve had with friends while going on this journey have been fantastic and goes to show how many varying opinions it can bring to the surface. There is no right or wrong answer when talking about morals/ethics and that is the beauty of the process; everyone has there own opinion about what is right for them. I will revisit this topic at some point in the future but for now I plan to move on to other things.

I am not exactly sure what the next series will be or the direction this blog will take but I know for sure it’ll be an interesting ride. If you have an idea feel free to share it no matter the subject.

I hope everyone enjoyed reading “Morals vs. Ethics – The Series” and you took away something about yourself in the process!

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Morals vs Ethics – The Series (Part Two)

Introduction

 

In part one we explored the basics of morals, ethics and explained how they are fundamentally different. This gave us a good foundation in which to build further exploration of the topic. I would like to start by saying that interaction between the two operate in vastly different ways; It can be either good, fundamentally chaotic or somewhere in between. When we have our morals going up against ethics, especially ethics imposed by a governing body things get quite dicey very quickly. Ethics imposed by society are easier to grasp and conform our morals too but this is not always the case when talking about an organization or professional life.

 

The Torn Lawyer

 

This is going to be an interesting section as you can probably tell by the name, there are other examples but none of which are as cut and dry as the example I plan on using. Avoiding a grey area is essential in providing the scene for some strange interactions between the two subjects, painting this picture requires some careful planning in order to avoid confusion and a grey area.

In the following scenario all of which are assumed to be true and unchangeable

  • The lawyer in question has no way out of the situation.
  • The lawyer must pick one choice or another. No middle ground.
  • The lawyer is a lawyer. They will never have any other skills or career prospects
  • The client is assumed to be sane and in there right mind.
  • The client is not lying about what they are saying and the lawyer is aware of this
  • Where the conversation is taking place it is just the lawyer and the client. No one is aware of the conversation and they are not being recorded or otherwise monitored
  • The confidentiality between the two is considered sacred and it is not possible for it to be broken under any circumstance.
  • The evidence being presented in the case is considered excellent and the client will win the case at trial guaranteed ONLY if said lawyer is representing them.
  • A plea deal is not an available option
  • The client will not re-offend again

Now that all the possible grey areas have been weeded out the picture can now be painted.

A lawyer is representing a serial murderer and before trial a conversation has taken place. The client has just admitted that they are guilty of the crimes they are being accused of. The lawyer in question has morals that tell them that killing is wrong and those should be punished but due to the profession and the strict code of ethics given to lawyers by the BAR association it specifically states that they must do everything in there power to fight for the client to get them off on the charges. 

The lawyer has two options in this situation. The first is quit being a lawyer, abandon the profession forever, live the rest of there life with a clear conscious and never make a livable wage again. The second option is going to trial with the client in which they will walk free forever, continue being a lawyer and have it haunt them for the rest of there life.

 

What Would You Do and Final Thoughts

 

In reality scenarios such as this rarely play out as cleanly but it goes to demonstrate a point of duality; you have your morals, you have ethics and you have the battle that they will play out on occasion. What would you do in this situation? Would you give up the rest of your professional life for a clear conscious or would you have it haunt you forever to keep your current life? I’m interested in seeing what choices people would make.

In part three of the series we’ll take a look how you do not need to have morals and ethics on the same level, in fact they may be on completely different ends of the scale. This will introduce another layer of the complexities between them by having morals and ethics on different ends supply even more odd ball interactions between individuals and society.

 

Morals vs Ethics – The Series (Part One)

Preface

 

After some careful consideration and a suggestion by a fellow blogger I have decided to split up “Morals vs Ethics” into a mini series. I believe this is the best way to get what I want to say laid out in a fashion that is enjoyable to read and gets the point across. As of right now I’m looking at least three posts in the series;  for such a broad topic and a hotly contested one at that it should be an interesting ride.

Without further ado I present you with part one of “Morals vs Ethics”

 

Introduction

 

I would like to start off this series by going over the basics of morals and ethics, they are very closely related in terms of concept but share some stark contrasts. They end up battling it out in society in strange and puzzling ways to those who are not well versed in the differences between them; the duality of these conflicts is the reason why I chose to pick this topic.

A debate on Facebook with a friend several months back also contributed to this pursuit. I wanted to make sure that they understood that even though they are related they are different concepts.

 

What Are Morals?

 

In the most layman terms morals are the concept of “right and wrong” in terms of the individual. They vary drastically from one person to another as they are completely internal, they are flexible though and can change quite dramatically through out a person’s life. This may be caused by coming of age, traumatic events, rehabilitation or other life events; a person’s moral compass is how they feel about committing or thinking about a certain act.

Does it make YOU feel good/bad? Those are your morals coming to light, the person next to you may feel the exact opposite about the same act in question.

I would like to point out that even though you may feel one way about a certain act but choose to go against what your internal feelings are things will change. As an example, you may sleep with a married wo/man and your morals make you feel horrible about it but you keep doing it. The feeling will eventually pass and you may not think twice about it anymore, this is how morals can be changed with time. They are flexible and yours only to hold and do what you please with.

With such a varied range of internal feelings that change from person to person how do we end up regulating and grouping them? Fear not! Society has the answer for you…

 

What Are Ethics?

 

Ethics, like morals, are feelings of what is right and wrong but in terms of imposed values. These values can be imposed by society, an organization or other external body. They may be a collection of “moral” values stuck together or they may not be, it all depends on who or what is imposing these values. Ethics are by nature very inflexible due to a collective of contributors, they do not change day by day depending on what happens. When ethics do change it is very rare and takes a large amount of time, in terms of society this can be generations or longer.

As an example for ethics take a look at a BAR association, in order to do there job correctly everyone needs to follow the same set of imposed rules. This is known as a “code of ethics”, it is mandatory in many professions to avoid such a varying degree of moral compasses but as you’ll see in a later post this is not without consequence…

 

Conclusion and Part Two

 

Now that you have in hand the basic concepts of morals and ethics things are going to get way more complicated. Despite a good portion of society using morals and ethics interchangeably that is a slippery slope.

We need both morals and ethics in a functioning society but they battle like hatred enemies on occasion and the results are explosive.

Part two is going to focus on how they interact with each other in good, bad and downright ugly ways.