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Archive for the ‘Ethics’ Category

Laws alone cannot secure freedom of expression;
in order that every man present his views without penalty
there must be a spirit of tolerance in the entire population.
Albert Einstein

I’m not like you. We come from different places, we tell different stories, our humour is different, as is our spelling. We don’t look the same, smell the same, believe the same things or even eat the same meals. We’re different. Now what?

That question never goes away. The above litany is always true. It’s true, no matter who we are, where we live or who we work/play with. It’s true, regardless who we compare ourselves to. We’re different. So?

The differences in skin colour, looks, interests, wealth, intelligence, politics and religion, and so on and so on… ad nauseam, are easily used to build barriers. Anyone can do it. No education or skill required. The more ignorance, the better. Obstacles and barriers, chasms and canyons, created while we wait in growing fear.

To revel in diversity requires effort. The recipe is simple. Take one part education and mix thoroughly  with another part humour. Simmer slowly, don’t allow to boil… and tolerance rises.

When confronted face to face, if we blink… we lose, when we wink… we win.

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Let us endeavor to live
that when we come to die,
even the undertaker will be sorry.
Mark Twain

Each day is a brick to be thrown or build upon. Even at the height of anger we have choices — to defend or to destroy. We choose our roles — protector or protagonist.

Is today a better place, because of actions taken yesterday? Did we roll the rock higher? Did we grow, or were we ground down?

These are simple questions, no less important because of their simplicity. They search for the light that guides us. When every wind is against us, when every path is uphill, what keeps us moving? What makes it all worthwhile?

Or is the secret not to think too much? To let it all just happen and cast our lot into the storm? “Making the world a better place,” is one of the many answers found. Another is: “Take care of those around you.”

The probing question remains… how wide do we cast our net? How large the circle of our friends?

It’s not all chaos. The search, for the reason behind the fury, is the foundation of future progress.

Let our passage turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones.

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The fleas were appalling,
but the honour was great.
Laurie R. King

We demonstrate our respect and gratitude in a variety of ways, from a simple phrase of thanks, to elaborate gifts and celebrations. Our depth of respect and personal resources, determines the quality of our gift.

In turn, we accept gifts and honours with a critical eye, weighing each in turn against personal and private measures. The honour we feel we’ve been bestowed, is determined by our hidden valuations.

Which is the greater honour? To be invited out to dinner, or to be invited into a home to eat? The answers will vary according to taste…

The question is not… where would you rather eat? Or even… which serves the better meal? The question is… Which, according to the giver, bestows the greater honour?

To feel slighted, when only honour was intended, is tragedy masquerading as comedy.

What greater social error can we make, than to misjudge those who do us honour? The gifted bottle of wine, regardless of the vintage, is still a gift. The surprise party, still a gathering of friends. And the public embarrassing praise, still praise.

Sometimes sincere intent is the reality, and uncompromising perception, the problem.

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He who has never hoped
can never despair.
George Bernard Shaw

To speak frankly of hope, to one who has never had the need of it, is to utter sounds devoid of meaning. Hope is an enigma, beyond understanding, until experienced.

To speak frankly of hope, to one currently clinging to it for life and sustenance, is to commit an act of profanity and sacrilege. Hope is our final defense against despair. If it is to be taken down, let the one who raised it, be the one to lower it.

To speak frankly of hope, to one who has passed through its grip, is to share compassion beyond the power of mere words. Hope is a thin thread we hold in common. At the darkest hour, it raises us up, until either it breaks, or by chance, we achieve our heart’s desire and require it no longer.

To speak frankly of hope, is to admit that when reason and rationality tell us there is no hope, that is when hope is strongest, and needed most. Hope doesn’t guarantee success, it merely gives us time for fate to run its course.

Hope marks time while fate catches up.

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Consistency requires you
to be as ignorant today
as you were a year ago.
Bernard Berenson

We’re not who we were yesterday. To attempt to stay the same is to defy Time’s purpose. Time passes, we change.

Consistency of thought and opinion assumes a stagnation of knowledge and a hardening of our reasons. Even if the information stays the same, our minds continue to explore new perspectives.

To contradict someone else requires only the possession of different facts.
To contradict ourselves, is to challenge our self image.

We focus on the view we now consider wrong, rather than on the growth that helped move us forward in our beliefs.

All opinions are supported by the facts of experience. As our experience expands, so does our collection of facts. If we pay attention those facts grow on a daily basis, so too should our interpretation of what we’ve seen.

When our opinions differ, it’s less a matter of their being wrong or right than it is of views from trains traveling in different directions, at different speeds, to different destinations.

A personal opinion is a summary presented after one leg of a long unfinished journey… never close the book until you arrive.

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What is moral
is what you feel good after.
Ernest Hemingway

Acting ethically isn’t always easy, but the ethical choice is nearly always obvious. We know without doubt what behaviour we’re proud of, and what we’d rather veil from public view.

Like photographs on film, the black or white of ethical issues are exposed when brought from darkness into light. That which we hide from plain sight will weigh us down and shatter us.

Ethics isn’t determined by written rules or standards. It isn’t external to us. Our ethics are determined by our internal gut response to the simple self posed question.

“Would we care if everyone knew what we chose to do?”

We’re our own inescapable judge and jury. With every act we hide from public view – we hand ourselves both judgment and sentence.

Forget corporate policy and stated rules of behaviour, an ethical person or company operates on a single principle… they’re proud to say, this is what we chose to do.

Our moral compass is really a sundial, it works best when placed in the full light of day.

Ethics are paraded by our chosen actions, not by signs hung up on corporate walls.

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What makes enemies of people,
if not the eagerness,
the passion for the same thing.
Bernard Berenson

We are drawn asunder and pulled together by the things we both hold dear. Peace and security, a land to live upon and to rest in peace beneath, these are our common hopes and dreams.

We’re divided by memories of injustices long past. In sacred remembrance we create new memorials to fuel the future feud of children aged before their time. A plague of amnesia would allow us to start afresh. A divine gift of tabula rasa for those as yet unborn.

Our justice is swift for we live in the land of the fair. We demand an eye for an eye, until we crawl on all fours in the land of the blind.

We rightfully give praise to those who fall in the clash of arms, yet the solutions must lie beyond the battle circle. When we no longer care who lives or dies, then death can no longer threaten the living.

Conflict can reach the point where the solution is either genocide or compromise. Civilized thought enables one and denies the other.

The lands we fight over are more pleasant if stood upon, than lain beneath.

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