Personal Ethics sample essay
When faced with a decision which requires an ethical framework, my usual pattern of decision making follows a pattern of reflection and introspection. The introspective element is both cerebral, that is: based in a rational analysis of the issue or matter at hand, and also intuitive, of which is to some degree an assessment of the emotional components of the decision at hand.
However, intuitive introspection, at least in my opinion, transcends the boundaries of rationality as we understand it, and it even transcends our understanding of emotional responses, so intuition, although critical to my own decision making process is a slightly difficult aspect to illuminate. I once read the following paradigm somewhere. The origin of the paradigm is lost to my present memory, but the paradigm was this: whenever you are faced with a truly perplexing “yes or no” or “do or don’t” or “either or” decision, and you really can’t seem to make up your mind, flip a coin and assign “heads” to one outcome, and “tails” to the other.
Now, when the result of the coin flip is shown, assess your feeling about the result and you will see what you wanted to do all along. In other words, say your choice is between going to a movie or playing a video game with your friends online. You can’t make up your mind which would be abetter choice, so you flip the coin, assigning “heads” to going to the movie, and “tails” to playing video games, vowing to abide by the result.
Now, let’s assume the result of the coin flip is “tails” — staying home to play video games — and you feel excited, pleased and happy right away without thinking. Then staying in is what you wanted all along. If the coin-flip result of “tails” — staying home to play video games — made you want to flip the coin again for a different result, then you would know the same thing, that what you actually wanted to do was stay home and not go out to the movie. That is not to say that I make my decisions, trivial or profound, based on a coin flip!
What I am driving at is that we often have intuitive feelings that lurk below the level of our rational consciousness and we can access this intuition in some cases when making decisions. As someone who has little faith in absolute ethical systems, or in a morality which is based on abstract philosophy, I like to include my own feelings, as well as my rational understanding of ethical concepts when I am faced with decisions. The underlying principles which inform the way I live my life are also drawn from the aforementioned notion of intuition or deep-introspection.
For example, if I refuse a certain job offer, or even the offer of friendship on specific occasions this may have less to do with something which could be expressed in a linear fashion: the job was too demeaning, or that person had the wrong hair-style or hobby, but with something that might be more difficult to articulate clearly, but which is much more crucial than any superficial notions that might be viewed by some as important gauges or cues. In short, I don’t have any kind of “maxim” or concrete set of principles — edicts, I believe they are called — but rather a sense of personal disposition and emotional bearing.
For example, I don’t like to hurt people’s feelings; viscerally: I just do not like to witness their pain so I avoid doing so when I can manage it. On the other hand, I take a rather dim view of altruism or the notion of helping people or giving them charity. I feel awkward placing myself in a position where I am apt to start pitying or feeling sorry for people; I myself dislike being pitied or felt sorry for, so I guess I assume it is the same for others. I tend to adopt the pursuit of happiness and personal joy (not to be confused with hedonism) as key aspects of my world view.
That is, I am, at heart, an optimist who dislikes “whining” and cynicism and the pursuit of superficial self-gratification at the expense of others. That certainly does not mean that I advocate “selflessness” — whatever that term may indicate as a way of life, but rather, that I view joy, success, and fulfillment at least to some degree to be communal in nature. It is necessary that all acknowledge that everyone is a part of the human experience, no matter who or what they are. there are no exceptions.
In my work, I try very hard to be both competent and respectful of those who I work with and for — but I often find it difficult to refrain from voicing my opinions, especially when I believe there is a possibility that my input may be helpful. I realize that work is a primary form of self-expression and self-fulfillment in life. My idea is that most people either love their jobs and derive a large part of their self-identity and worldly power through their jobs, or they hate their jobs and are constricted, limited, and oppressed by them.
So, to my mind, it is crucial that you endeavor as much as possible to find a job that puts you in the former rather than the latter category because so much of life keys off of one’s work. One thing that I am convinced about is that everyone should bring the same emotional involvement and enthusiasm to their jobs as they very often bring to their hobbies, just as I believe most people should try to bring the same level of integrity and competence to their personal relationships as is usually required by their jobs. Obviously, I would not advocate the pursuit of money as a reliable indicator of whether or not a job is the right or wrong job.
It is much more important that a job facilitate one’s sense of self-esteem and emotional security than whether or not the financial rewards are above and beyond “fair. ” That said, a fair salary is always indicated because without it, maintaining self-respect and self-esteem is made more difficult. While there is no single “litmus test” for whether or not one’s work is the right work for them, the emotional and intuitive aspects of decision making can help as much in assessing a job’s strengths and weaknesses as a cold rational evaluation of the facts.
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