In that moment
of eye-to-eye contact,

There is recognition
and a realisation occurs.

We are met
by another person.

Each of us deserves consideration,
thought and understanding. 

Each of us deserves
to be treated ethically.

Ethics is about allowing the humanity of the other person to have impact upon us. Rather than ignoring them as we devote ourselves to internal cogitations. Ethics is at work when we get stopped in our stride by the mere existence of the other person as we walk up and allow them to be themselves rather than an object to be persuaded, policed or preened over. Ethics is about how we are with other people, not how we think about ethics.

When you and I collide in the street, even as strangers, something unique and wonderful occurs. In that moment of eye-to-eye contact, there comes into being a recognition that, whilst completely original and exclusive, is repeated an infinite number of times every day. That instance, the recognition of another, is played out daily in every bar, school, factory, and pavement across the planet wherever someone catches the eye of another person. It is so omnipresent that we take it completely for granted and rarely, if never, think about its presence.

In that moment of recognition, a realisation occurs – we are met by another person, another person who is equal to us. The other person is not a ‘lower’ or different life form. They are on the same level as us. So much so, that the resonance of recognition is palpable every time it happens. We might take our encounters for granted, but the force of them is always there to arrest our journey even if for a ‘spilt second’.

The intervention of another human into our lives always carries heat. For a lot of people, the consequent movement in mercury is rarely, or never, enough to affect any impact. For others, the heat is too much and it burns, forcing them to take avoidance measures. For most though, the icy chill of one’s journey into a fore-drawn destiny is too powerful and will only be susceptible to melting once or twice after the initial openness and innocence of youth has passed. Near frozen lives become governed by rules of thought and strict access control measures that limit the ascension of new ideas, so much so that some travel as if they were the sole inhabitant of the planet at times. So locked into their own thoughts and ways of viewing the world they become guilty of succumbing to that most alluring state of mind and action: solipsism. To actually listen, or allow someone else’s point of view to be considered, appears sometimes as the hardest challenge. It’s time for a change and it’s time for us to realise what we mean to each other even if, at first, we don’t understand each other and can’t see why we each believe or do the things we do. Each of us deserves consideration, thought and understanding. Each of us deserves to be treated ethically.

Published by Dr Jim Walsh

CEO of Conway Hall Ethical Society and author of 'Ethics Starts With You'.

One thought on “Ethics

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