Ethical Impropriety

Good acts are more difficult to define than bad ones but are often much easier to recognise.

Ethical frameworks are those guiding principles within which we are free to make moral choices. The extent to which our choices align to the semantic intentions of any particular ethical framework is a definition and declaration of our adherence, conformity or alignment to it.

Notice, however, that the majority of ethical frameworks we encounter do not serve a primary purpose of positive guidance so much as they do of a retrospective surveillance. The judgemental or admonitory oversight of ethical frameworks do not provide any kind of sufficient guidance as to how best to live one’s life – they are heavily invested in the invocation of introspective guilt and pre-emptive constraints upon human thought and action.

An ethical framework is thus rendered as almost purely negative, prohibitive and (inversely) built upon what is wrong, not what is right. Is this because defining the good is – beyond the simplest or most clear-cut cases – actually impossible? Is the good assumed to be an inevitable consequence of the rote-learned presence of a litany of counter-factual “thou shalt nots“? There may be an intractable enigma here.

It is because good acts are more difficult to define than bad ones that we find ourselves inhabiting cultural (and ideological) systems grounded on fear and prohibition, rather than those cultivated around love and freedom. In this, and I am aware how unpopular this position will be but it must be said, the greatest ethical impropriety and falsehood or lie is in and of the ethical frameworks themselves. This is why we all tend to feel trapped, suffocated and imprisoned by the labyrinthine moral codes we are born into or choose along the way.

The first ethical truth is that there is none beyond the fictional narratives we inherit, modify and create. Acknowledging this is a first step towards a better world. Freedom doesn’t start with fear.

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