Ethics are a funny thing. Defined as 1) moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity; and 2) the branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles.
Huh? Still not sure what that means. A couple weekends ago I got the privilege to attend a workshop by Ronin Empowerment Group that featured Jack Hoban of Resolution Group International (RGI) on the subject of the Ethical Warrior. Jack served as a US Marine Corps officer and is a long time practitioner of martial arts. He assisted in the creation of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program and remains a subject matter expert for the program. He has led more than 500 workshops and seminars around the world addressing universities, government and private organizations on ethics and martial arts, including the FBI and the NYPD.
A good reminder for all of us and Jack’s definitions definitely outline a clear understanding of the hierarchy of values.
- Values – “Things that have an intrinsic worth in usefulness or importance to the possessor,” or “principles, standards, or qualities considered worthwhile or desirable.”
- Relative values – Values shared by some people, some of the time (sporting team fans).
- Life value – Shared by everyone – life (the first inalienable right).
- Moral values – Moral values are relative values that support life and respect the Dual Life Value of self and (all) others. (honor, courage, commitment, love, integrity, justice, charity, truth, freedom, dependability, knowledge, unselfishness, loyalty)
To be moral, the relative value must respect the Life value of self and (all) others. The Life value of self and others is the “true north” of the moral compass. We can orient ourselves using the Life value during times of moral confusion.
Most people already have a sense of morality, but sometimes morals can be obscured or trumped by our emotions and/or strong relative values. Rather than “taught,” morality can be clarified then “activated” through: lessons in context, values stores, shared adversity and leadership.
Ethics are moral values in action.
A person who knows the difference between right and wrong – and chooses the right – is moral. A person whose morality is reflected in their willingness to do the right thing – even if it is hard or dangerous – is ethical.
Think of the bully on the playground. Where does your compass point you?
Each one of us are faced with moral and ethical dilemmas each and every day, ranging in scale, but nonetheless important. Keep in mind that ethics are moral values in action, which always support the universal life value.
To learn more about values, morals and ethics, pick up a copy of Jack’s book, The Ethical Warrior.
It’s a great read and an model for all of us to Evolve, Connect and Inspire.
Where does your compass point?
~Guest blog post by John Kowalski - Visit his websit at www.babicita.com