The Essence Of Ethics In Our Lives By Stacy M. Amewoyi -Crime rates keep increasing day in and day out and looks like there is nothing one can do apart from government’s efforts made to curb the situation at hand but pause, take a deep breath and open your eyes to the reality. Before a person does wrong, he or she might have been triggered by something or has a problem recognizing wrong doings from right ones. With the reasonable amount of attention given, this could be put to a drastic reduction. That’s where the question ‘HOW’ comes in. Well as subtle as it sounds, ‘ETHICS’ can play an important role in this effect. Ethics brings about a lot of controversies in our societies daily. Whether or not one’s actions are right or wrong, we all find different viewpoints in certain situations and occurrences. Ethics is the branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles; whether or not an action was right or wrong. Others put it as the moral principles that govern a person’s behavior. In other aspects of life, it is labelled ‘MORAL PHILOSOPHY’.
To be ethical, one will first have to look at the BIG PICTURE, WHAT IS RIGHT OR WRONG? Right in one’s view may be wrong and wrong as right. In view of this, there must be an accepted criterion for the words RIGHT OR WRONG. Right is anything morally good, justified or accepted and Wrong is a thing not correct or true, accepted, unjust or dishonest. From this, any action made is either wrong or right but can be justified to one’s point of view.
It has become a norm and a conscious effort in developed countries that murderers, psychopaths, thieves and other criminals are taken through therapy to investigate and look into the matter as to why the person should resort to such activists or not.
From research, it happens that judgement becomes really difficult after hearing the points of views of such criminals. Taking world’s popular fiction Robin Hood, a wretch who used to steal from the rich to help the poor, into analysis, his reasons seem ethical but still criminal. Having said this, you will realize that these are not directly proportional in any way because an action may be ethical but still criminal. Laws are set of instructions that govern a group of people to curb certain circumstances but to extremes one may have to break such laws but not for negative reasons but rather for the good of all or a greater good. For undeveloped countries, such factors are barely considered and judgement is made right from the top just from the outlook of the situation and that’s very bad.
There must be ethical activists as well as human activists to support such culprits. For example, there was a case of a 96-year-old man caught over-speeding and jumping a traffic light at a school range area but as he was sent to court and questioned if it was true that he did jump the traffic, of which he answered “yes I did that only because I had to save my 63-year-old son who has been bedridden for a number of years due to his medical condition” i.e. he has cancer and had to take his son on a weekly checkup but unfortunately he had a seizure whilst in the car and was at the brink of his death and that is the reason he needed to rush that urgently.
After this everyone was shocked with the judge’s verdict where he closed the case and said a word of prayer for the old man to be blessed with long life and strength as he acts inconsiderate at his age to help a fellow human in this case his own son putting himself through stress and all, taking that responsibility and was really touched by his story.
This is yet another story of an action which is criminal but ethical. Many people act on difficult impulses some known as universalists who act only for the good of all or a greater good and the other being the egocentric who act only to their personal benefits. For these set of individuals, they believe an action if it is going to be of really good or benefit them personally and not others.
But looking into this, this form of belief or principle can lead to serious catastrophe as greediness, selfishness and what have you which at the end of the day can promote or increase crime rates worldwide or in a given area. Thereby, it is quite evident that the universalists do have a broader view of what ‘RIGHT’ is to stand for: standing in for others and taking sacrifices (total selflessness) just for the good of all. In this view, crime rates will reduce drastically as before a person acts he will not only take himself or himself into consideration but others too in concern and wouldn’t want to have anyone hurt being spiritually, socially, psychologically, sexually or financially therefore everyone thinking about a means where all can progress together.
This is best summarized by the popular saying ‘TOGETHER WE STAND; DIVIDED WE FALL’. Majority do think a person’s ethical stand and mainly influenced by his or her religious beliefs but in actual fact it is not so.
Though religiously our mind and heart in a way is trained to do a greater good and to know the difference between right and wrong equally, one’s culture or socialization ensures that. In a community of only atheists, it would not be abnormal to see them live peacefully and in harmony without much chaos or negativity just by thinking basically as humans and just doing the right thing.
For instance, dumping refuse appropriately in litter cans and bins though they totally lack religious stand and equally you can find a community of highly religious or populated by a dominant religious group but live in total disperse, agony and disorder.
This is so due to each and everyone’s socialization as he or she is brought up. With information, no individual has the right or audacity to say he or she isn’t religiously inclined and that’s what ended the person acting unethically or committing any criminal offense much more, growing up, everyone is abreast with the norms and vices of the society he or she finds himself or herself and has no reason to use ignorance as bait to injustice.
In a nutshell, the implementation of ethics in our basic and fundamental upbringing is the fastest remedy in addressing the issues of crime in our societies today. It is from this that families and society play an important role to ensure that one has a fair share of moral standing or background. From our very own educational system where students from fourth grade (primary four) through to grade 12 (s.h.s three) are taught Religious and Moral Education: which teaches all about norms, taboos and social vices as well as ways to defray from going contrary to the accepted conducts in the society in which one finds himself. Also, our families correct us in many ways and let us know every time we do something wrong by punishing, scolding or depriving us from some benefits. i.e. they direct us to the right thing at every given time no matter where we find ourselves and by so doing, everyone gets to know or have a general idea of what is right or wrong and in turn help crime to a degree as informed earlier.
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