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July 25, 2021 / Congau

The Necessity of Being Ethical

If ethics is not necessary, it is not ethics. If it does not have to exist, it does not exist.

Ethics describes what you need to do to be good, but if you don’t want to be good, is that an option? No, for if it were, it would no longer be a requirement and ethics is essentially a requirement.

Therefore it does not really make sense to ask “Why be ethical?” It is like asking “Why do I have to do what I have to do?” 

But why is ethics a requirement? How can anything be required of you, a human child who never chose to be born? No one can make demands on you if you in no way have forced your presence on them. A demand is something that is imposed on you from outside as a claimed repayment for something, but if no such thing is presumed to exist, the demand is at best unfair and at worst meaningless. However, if the requirement comes from yourself, it is not a demand and not a duty, it is just something you must do following the logic of your being. Do you have to eat? Yes. Is it a demand? Your duty? No. Do you have to be ethical? The answer is the same.

Is it a stupid question then? The reason why we need food may be too obvious to ask, but if a really deep and exact answer was wanted, it might be profitable to ask a nutritionist and then it would turn out that the question made sense. 

Nothing in life should remain unasked and especially not the matters of highest importance. What could be more important than what we are to do and how we are to live, and how can an answer to it be accepted if a reason for it is not provided?

Yet they keep telling us what to do. Be nice, be good! Don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t kill! And they refuse to tell us why. It makes intuitive sense, sure, but so does many an illusion and until an investigation is made the risk of deception is greater than we can afford. 

Why be ethical? Because it is a duty imposed on you from nowhere? Because society would fall apart if you did not contribute? An affirmative answer to this may have a pragmatic advantage but that does not make it true and if someone calls the bluff we are powerless.

No, it is not your duty to be ethical and society does fine without your tiny contribution, but you cannot do without it.

Why eat? It is not your duty and society may not need you to, but you need it yourself. It is a function of your being that you retain your being. Likewise it is also a function of your being human that you live like one. Being ethical is being human and since that is what you are, it is what you must be. Why that is so is another question, but it’s the only path of explanation available. You don’t have to be anything, including ethical, unless it is necessary for being what you are.

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