I have just listened to Waleed Aly talking about Ethics on Radio National and as far as I am concerned he has it all wrong. He said that ethics that is taught in schools should teach children to be smarter. Now what did he mean by ‘smarter’? If it is ‘smart’ to always do the right and honourable thing, then I guess he is correct. But I don’t think he meant that. I think he meant as in academically smarter: In which case ethics has nothing to do with smartness.

A person, who chooses to do something, knowing that it will be frowned upon or condemned by society at large and that its effect will be harmful, is unethical.

It is much easier to describe unethical behaviour than it is to describe ethical behaviour. It is unethical to cheat, lie, deceive, dupe, steal, to be overly critical and judgemental: the latter being very different from making a judgement. I have an old blog somewhere on Judgement vs Judgemental. I will post it when I find it. Then there is good criticism and poor criticism. Poor is unethical of course as it does harm to the victim. Good criticism encourages the person to do better because they are capable of it. But still should only be at the request of the criticised. Let me give you an example here: A piano teacher scolds her student for not doing finger exercises. If the student has a reasonable reason as to why they had not done any exercises, but looks pleased to do them in future and next lesson is much improved to the joy of all concerned, then it has been beneficial criticism. But let’s say the same teacher has another student who also has not done any exercises and the teacher admonisher her causing the child to cry and cower, a judgement needs to be made, not a criticism. This child is not suited to piano lessons and should stop going to class. The judgement is ethical, based on the child’s needs. The admonishment was not.

Breaking a promise could be unethical as well, depending on the promise and who it was made to. If someone asks another person can you keep a promise and the person answers ‘yes’, then proceeds to tell that person that they have done something really bad. It was naïve of the second person to answer ‘yes’ without knowing the secret. But if a builder promises to complete a building for X amount of dollars, in X amount of time then demands more money. The whole situation is unethical. Fraud is unethical.

It is ethical to run a business to benefit society and staff.

It is ethical to volunteer.

It is ethical to give back what you have borrowed in the same condition it was lent to you.

It is ethical to put everything correctly on your resume.

It is ethical to have good manners, although this is debatable. My good manners may not be the same as yours. For instance it is not necessary to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ about everything. Over doing politeness can be irritating. However an ethical person is always polite in business dealings.

I could easily write a school program on Ethics and I would love to do it if someone paid me to do it.


About eleanawi

Hi, I am Eleana Winter-Irving, a very youthful 74 year old. I own land and work hard. I built my own 4 bedroom house with a little help from my friends and I still regularly use a chain saw, fell weed trees and chop firewood. I keep fit by working hard and I also love dancing. If I am not out dancing I am at home, not anything old fashioned like waltzes, lol. I am a freestyler. I read a lot, love photography and going to places I haven’t been to before. I have travelled extensively all over the world to more than 30 countries and lived in 6 different countries. I have 2 children, both girls and both happy with long term partners. I became a grandmother in 2012. I can’t say the same for myself. I seem to be unlucky with men. I am very warm and affectionate with the ‘right’ person. I have New Age leanings, but not over the top. I am a Gnostic, so I don’t follow any religion. Religion is for those who are lost and can’t rely on their conscience to guide them. Yes, I am different from most people, especially women my age. If you dare to follow my blogs you will quickly notice that they are usually controversial. That’s me, I am controversial. I date guys in their twenties and thirties. They find me attractive and I find them attractive. I won’t date someone I am not attracted to, though it doesn’t matter for friendships. I am not into sport at all, though I was hockey and netball captain at school year after year. I like most music, except for heavy metal, rock ‘n’ roll, country and western, hip hop and rap. I do like some hip hop and rap, depends on what they are saying. I was born in India, educated in England and Australia and now live permanently in Australia. I have no claim to academia, though I consider myself intelligent, not intellectual. If you can’t think of anything to comment on about any of my blogs, that’s fine with me. I know it’s difficult when a subject is unusual. I write to get people thinking and of course if you do have something to say, I am all ears, lol. One thing, I doubt you will be bored with any of my posts. Eleana
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