Ethics

Several weeks back, as I was reading through Aldous Huxley’s The Perennial Philosophy, one section caught my eye:

     In actual practice moral insight is never a strictly personal matter. The judge administers a system of laws and is guided by precedent. In other words, every individual is the member of a community, which has a moral code based upon past findings of what in fact is good in the longer run and the wider context. In most circumstances most of the members of any given society permit themselves to be guided by the generally accepted code of morals; a few reject the code, either in its entirety or in part; and a few choose to live by another, higher and more exacting code.

     That last part got me (especially since there was talk at that time about the ethical implication of Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia having too close of ties to political groups), and I started thinking about a hierarchy of ethics and if such a thing might be possible within ADF.

My first thought was working along the lines of Dumezil’s tri-partite division of Indo-European societies. After all, as Huxley pointed out – “most of the members of any given society permit themselves to be guided by the generally accepted code of morals” – and to me, that meant the third function: the producers, the farmers, the artisans, etc. So, that was my starting point, but…you really can’t build any kind of ethical code or system based upon that alone. But, combining that with the Nine Virtues, you have the beginnings of something.

And that’s the operative phrase with this: “the beginnings of something.”

It’s by no means a finished product, and will no doubt evolve through different iterations, but I figured kicking it out into the world might produce some beneficial discussion.

So, let’s get to the meat of this:

The Third Function:

Because the Third Function makes up the vast majority of any I-E society, the ethics at their level should be common things that anyone can aspire to and attain.

Wisdom: cultivating common sense

Piety: maintain hearth religion

Vision: planning for personal/family future

Courage: over-coming mundane fears and facing the normal challenges of life

Persistence: resilience in the face of the general stresses of life

Integrity: keeping one’s word

Hospitality: being as generous a host as one can afford and always being a gracious, helpful guest.

Creativity: excelling at one’s craft/trade/vocation to the point of it becoming an Art

Moderation: practicing moderation in all things, living sustainably

The Second Function:

Because the Second and First Functions have privileges and responsibilities above and beyond those of most people, they’re expected to adhere to a stricter code of ethics. The idea is not that their code supersedes and replaces the lower one, but builds on top of it.

Wisdom: cultivating common sense, knowing when and when-not to use force

Piety: maintaining hearth religion

Vision: planning for personal/family future

Courage: over-coming mundane fears, facing the normal challenges of life, facing danger, protecting others

Persistence: resilience in the face of the general stresses of life, going down fighting (literally, if need be)

Integrity: keeping one’s word, honoring the responsibility of one’s power/skill/position

Hospitality: being as generous a host as one can afford and always being a gracious, helpful guest; cultivating the arts of diplomacy and peace

Creativity: excelling at one’s craft/trade/vocation to the point of becoming an Art; practicing some form of non-martial art

Moderation: practicing moderation in all things (especially, self-control in regards to aggression), living sustainably

The First Function:

Wisdom: cultivating common sense, practicing some form of philosophy, continuing education

Piety: maintaining hearth religion, being a leader in community religion

Vision: planning for personal/family future, helping guide the community

Courage: over-coming mundane fears and facing the normal challenges of life

Persistence: resilience in the face of the general stresses of life, encouraging the community to continue on

Integrity: keeping one’s word, honoring the responsibility of one’s power/skill/position, continually striving to cleave to one’s ethics

Hospitality: being as generous a host as one can afford and always being a gracious, helpful guest; practicing the same level of hospitality at the community level

Creativity: excelling at one’s craft/trade/vocation to the point of it becoming an Art; using whatever artistic skill one has to honor the Kindreds in religious practice

Moderation: practicing moderation in all things, not abusing the rewards of one’s station

Again, these are just rough ideas of what (hypothetically) people operating in different Functions could do to practice some form of hierarchical ethics. The important point was to start of with a level of ethics that the common man and woman could attain, and then build up higher for those who positions required a higher bar. This is not say that the common man or woman can’t strive for a higher level of ethical practice, just that in this scenario it wouldn’t be expected of them.

So, dear readers, what ideas might you have?

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~ by crow365 on April 20, 2011.

One Response to “Ethics”

  1. I think you can take First Function much further. For example Courage should include making the hard decisions needed for the betterment of the tribe, Integrity–upholding values and traditions of the tribe despite fickle political winds of change, Hospitality–engaging in diplomacy, treating other leaders/religions with respect.

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