Tigers With Wings

My brother told me to do it.

Category: humanity

Why ethics matters to modern lovers

What is ethics or morals, and how does what matters in life depend on it?

At the most straightforward level ethics is values. Ethics say what is of value and how to value it.
The values we hold are what ascribe meaning to our existence; ethics provide a framework for purpose and meaning.

Valuing cannot be neutral. There is no way to appreciate the value of anything without implicit judgment.

As soon as there is value, there is a hierarchy. There are many object-gradations between: trash and treasure; friendship and loneliness; wisdom and ignorance. There are also subject-gradations, for example between: like and unlike; need and indifference. These gradations of value and valuing are dependent on evaluations and judgments.

Therefore, to care about anything is to be moral.
This is why many argue that love is the highest moral value, and it makes sense because love is our ultimate expression of valuing.

Even though love is hard to define, and it seems to mean different things to different people, what cuts through its ambiguity is that it stands for our highest form of valuing. What I love, is what I value above all else.

The problem with placing love itself at the top of the moral hierarchy of values is that love is subjective. Everyone loves differently. As the cliche goes “One person’s trash is another’s treasure.” Giving the moral throne to love as the summit of all values is the cause for the avalanche of reasoning that buries many well-intentioned lovers in the nihilistic rubble of moral relativism.

Why do I argue that valuing life is more valuable than valuing love? Actually, I would prefer to say, “valuing life is more purposeful than valuing love,” or to put it another way: to love life is more ethical than to love love. Because life is objective.

I must be alive to… anything: to think, to feel and even to be and especially to love. To be alive is the pre-prerequisite for any value. Anchoring value to anything but life is at the root of all moral confusion.
Why is it so hard to see that the love of life is the ground of all value? Even love is just a boat without a sail on a sea without land if it is the love of love itself. To love, or to value greatly, is meaningless without Being.

Why ehics matters to modern lovers

To value life above all else is the ultimate expression of love. To love life is the essential purpose of all beings. The love of life is a simple and universal moral code that applies equally to aliens, dogs, intelligent A.I.s, mothers and modern lovers because the “ing” of all beings is life.

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Is the right to life human?

Who here wants to be good?
Who thinks this is the same as being a good human?
Is the highest good for humanity whatever benefits the human species?

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Is there universal good?
Is there a state of goodness that would include living beings from other solar systems and dimensions?

Who here thinks they would change if they learned something about themselves that turned out to undermine their standing as someone who wants to be good?

Is killing a Nobel laureate worse than killing a homeless person?

If what makes killing wrong is not the mental or social status of the victim, then what about their state of being self-aware justifies killing non-human beings?

We only take life in war because we see no other option. Many have sacrificed their own lives to defended our right to life. This contradiction points to universal values that go beyond the utilitarian view of morals.
The difference between killing in war and taking life when there is a choice is not subtle.
We who want to be good, know that needless killing is the deepest wrong.

We know intuitively and rationally that taking life does profound harm to goodness. What is the value of a world without good?
When there is no other option but to kill, we do not say that killing itself is right. All killing holds the shadow of an incompatible action that is only provisionally justified by the good lives we must then live – a burden that is too bright for many war heroes to bear the sight of.

What if the right to life is not ours because of our arguably undefinable state of self-aware consciousness?
What is our right to life, if it is not conferred on us by our superior evolutionary status?

Without technology how human would Steven Hawking be?

Do superior powers: of thought, of tech, of strength, or of awareness, bestow on their holder special exemptions from moral responsibility?
Or, do responsibilities increase with these abilities?
What ethical decisions come with the gift of our consciousness.

Is it morally wrong to normalize unnecessary death?
Is “humane” defined as “kind to all humans” or “kind to all”?
Is “humane killing” humane if it is unnecessary for humans?

Is the right to life weighted by the degree to which a member of “species X” fits into his/her own self-defined criteria of “species X”-ness?
Humanness is mired in circular solipsism.

What technology tells us about non-human animals is that they are also beautiful and complex, challenging our understanding no less than the mysteries of our own human species.

When we discover an exoplanetary alien species with complex brains and senses equivalent to those of farm animals, will we be moved to celebrate them and marvel at the wonder of their lives?
Would we be justified in taking alien life to sustain human life? What if they were incapable of defending themselves? What if we could eat beans instead and live in peace?

How much intellect does it take to leap beyond human biases to the simple insight that the universe is better with living beings than without? A respect for life is the universe respecting itself.
Respect for our own lives is morally inconsistent with disrespecting the lives of others.

Is it wrong to inflict unnecessary suffering and death on beings who’s only deficiency is their inability to defend themselves from us?

Is normalizing the taking of lives that lack higher consciousness compatible with my own right to life while I am sleeping?