Traditions versus Ethics

Only traditions can get old-fashioned, not ethics.

Ethics is like the beauty of nature – eternal.

Often we follow tradition without thinking about it. If anyone asked us, why we are doing a certain thing, we would simply answer: »Because it’s tradition.« In general it is alright to follow traditions, if they are still functional in the present. It would be totally dis-functional to drive in coaches pulled by horses these days for instance. It would represent a hurdle in traffic. In addition to that, by taking up a lot of precious time it would deprive us of hours of sleep or some other spare-time activity, which makes it possible for us to fall asleep in the evening. Naturally today we take a train, a bus or drive a car. But there is also something that has not changed. We are not supposed to run over a pedestrian crossing a street. The thing that is eternal and universal, is ethics. Traditions change, ethics stay the same. I am stressing this, because in face of immoral acts we read about every day some people are beginning to think that ethics is becoming old-fashioned. It is not. It cannot be. Only traditions can get old-fashioned.

Let us take a look at another example. Arranged marriages in the Western world can be regarded as something historic. Modern marriages are based on free will and free choice of the bride and groom. Tradition has changed. What stayed the same is the promise to stay faithful to each other. Being faithful is ethics, because one promises that on the wedding day. And it is even implicit in partnerships without the wedding ritual. If a couple is together, it is understood without debate that they are supposed to be faithful to each other. Again, it is ethics that has not changed. It would be a breach of an implicit or actual promise to have other lovers.

Facebook and other social sites have brought new ways of communication. We have learned to communicate through selfies and a myriad of other pictures. We learned the langue of smileys and similar signs. We can have friends that we have never met in person and feel quite close to them. But there is something that has not changed. Facebook friends are only a list of contacts, only a number on your wall, unless you spend real quality time with them. The universal law of reciprocity stays the same. A real friendship on Facebook is just as hard to keep as an old-fashioned real-life friendship. You have to be there for each other, if you wish to call yourselves friends. The Golden Rule or ethic of reciprocity: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” has not been altered or even shattered by the new social media and I am glad it is that way. What about you? What are your views on that?

Take care,

Helena Smole, author of:

– a fantasy novel with romance Vivvy and Izzy the Dwarf: A series about relationships

Balancing the Beast, a book offering a bright view of schizoaffective disorder ˗ bipolar or manic-depressive type

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