Morals Vs. Ethics

In my past work experience, I got rather cynical on what the business world chose to define as moral, legal & ethical –

I had a good grounding in cynicism, given my upbringing by those who pointed out the hypocrisy or cherry-picking examples of things surrounding our family in various venues –

I have recently been gifted with a ‘shared with family’ profile for Netflix – which is really great, as there have long been things on my ‘list’ to re-watch, or see, that are only available at Netflix (sans me purchasing, simply because the entertainment & paid for education budget was ‘gutted’ back in January, given various challenges that showed up in me personal life – 🙂 )

Madam Secretary came on my radar recently…

Suffice to say, after my re-watching of Aaron Sorkin’s “The West Wing” series, and my revisiting of “NCIS” & Gibbs, what should appear on my ‘intro feed’ but Madam Secretary and after a few episodes, I said, “yup, good pick – for once – on an algorithm – rather nice to see one work!”

Yes, there are many, many algorithms on many fronts (chat bots too!) in my world of work/personal that fail over and over again – 🙂

That said, there was one scene, during which, Madam Secretary’s husband was in interview and answered a call in regarding ‘morals’ and how could he DARE to show up and speak on such a topic when his own daughter had…….(some viral, social media/news outlet frenzy feed)

…and of course, I loved the dialogue written by the story creators – –

Yes, yes, I’ll share it here in a moment!

It spoke to so many things I’ve long pondered in my soul and mind –

It reminded me of my passionate outrage when folks told me, “It’s legal” and I hotly replied, “but is it right? Is this the best we can do for this situation, in this moment, just now? Really?”

Sometimes, what folks chose to see as legal, or ethical, or moral, felt like justification and cherry picking to me, so I simply walked away – refused to be a part of it – I’m not really concerned, nor do I have regrets, still, in walking away…

The only regrets I ever run into, here and there, is my failing to not just walk away, but to do so very, very fast – at a sprint if need be…from support and energy given to those times/places/people I should have walked away from sooner –

And those lessons are the ones I try to remember as I go forward….

Sometimes, since I first learned the gifts of just saying no/walking away, I may be guilty of walking away too soon – perhaps by having some fortitude I could have made a difference if I was willing to hang around for the discourse/conversation –

Sometimes, STILL, I hang around a little too long, instead of simply sticking to my listening to the inner urgency blaring out warning signals – –

For, you know, I might be bumping up against my comfort zone – – I might be a little too stubborn on this – I might be closing the window that opened when a different door slammed shut – –

Yes, being a self-analyzer is no picnic. While I think it can be our greatest gift, it can also be our greatest vulnerability and can lead to stagnation, blocking, and overall, some really not pleasant outcomes…

I get that – and, since I have no problem sitting with my dark side here and there, or sometimes get ‘lost in it’ when I’m under great stress – um…yeah – takes the work of creatives to get me ‘shoved out of the quicksand and onto solid ground’ to move forth in my journey –

The Main Quote I took away from the Scene:

You ask an interesting question, Jeff. And I’d like to start by making a distinction that I usually make on the very first day of my morals and ethics class. A lot of people say that morals are how we treat the people we know, and ethics are how we treat the people we don’t know.

So, morals are what make us a good parent, a good friend, a nice neighbor.

But ethics are how we build a society. That’s the true test of our higher self.

Character Henry McCord, during televised interview, responding to caller’s question, from series, “Madam Secretary” –

Where & How do we choose to draw the boundary lines?

And so, this one little quote reminded me of our duties, individually, to walk the boundary lines that ebb and flow – – as we walk from our moral stance, to our ethical stance – both of which, inform and then create, our legal/regulatory stances – and how we choose to make those ideas into ‘law for everyone’.

Here, for me, in my place in time/space…

It’s a major election year – that got ramped up, then disrupted and became an even bigger field of chaos as COVID-19 made it’s rounds highlighting the long standing issues of many of our systems in place –

Those who are experts or have dove deep in education/work in various topics and fronts, continue to pound their long held pulpit on ‘how it should be’ –

Others, many, many others, are choosing to say, “Okay, we disagree on our personal morals, we glimpse in each other the ethics we hold in common – we are choosing to take part in the discourse, with each other, to find a way forward, before mandating it for everyone….

These folks may not make Headline/Breaking news Or the Viral Social Media Feeds….

But sometimes, they do – usually in a variety of overlapping areas of concern –

Why? Because those folks manage to find the common ground so many hold in their heart…. and open the discourse with THAT – instead of their ‘idea of how it should be” –

They own their own morals, while still moving into their ethics’ train of thought – and own that train too.

Then they put their shoulder to the wheel to have the tough conversations in many a room with others, who might not hold a single solitary thing in common with them, other than, “this is a problem – let’s brainstorm it and find which way is best to proceed, or what step helps the most, and hurts the fewest” –

These folks are showing up from local levels immediately observable to me, all the way to national print easily found/observed here an there – dependent upon which fronts and ‘forums’ one chooses to peruse –

And then there are the ‘others’

In my mind…who is labeled, “others”? In my whole natural way I’ve not yet quite out grown regarding the dichotomy of ‘us vs. them’ instead of total “need it be either/or? Can we look at both/and?”

Well, to me, currently, anyone that truly thinks a 2.5 second sound byte, or a silver bullet exists to deal with all these challenges coming in waves…. those who think ‘staying the course’ they inherited from what worked ages ago, but hasn’t for many, for a long time, and are being fairly stubborn about even having a conversation about ‘possibilities’….

Yup – local to world stage, I have my little ‘labels’ too – maybe informed, maybe not – but I try hard to hold the space for asking myself, truly, “Now why did you just shut the door on that idea/person? WHY?”

I fail at this, often –

Also, in my ‘labeled as others’ little internal setting

I see those who can do nothing but ensure the conversation is shut down before ever having it or allowing it to happen – because, for me, there are conversations I would rather not have….

with folks I have yet to see or grasp what we may have in common, or hold as sacred ‘ground’ – where we have each chosen to dedicate our energy to, individually –

I am continuing to wax and wane, in and out of my comfort zone – to show up for the conversations that aren’t always pleasant, but if I’m in a good space, personally, I can at least attempt to be brave enough to show up and ask –

I still sit and observe, and I have my own little reactions on various fronts – that are less than open to conversation or generous when I think of others – I’m still working on that part of me….

But, I confess, to secretly….well, now publicly… stating, I really liked the rest of that fictional dialogue written, too:

…But what happens, Jeff, when society is ruled by the subjective morals of say, you and your family, and you choose to project taht onto complete strangers is that all we end up with is a society that’s governed by self-aggrandizement. So, really, by calling to make sure you’re the first little peasant to jump off your chair and teach me a lesson with smug superiority about your own particular moral point of view when you know precisely nothing of the situation, you’ve done your part to contribute to the erosion of our entire social fabric. Pat yourself on the back – Bravo!” [heavy sarcasm inflection]

Sigh – I rather lost it in on Social media some weeks ago – regarding a funny meme that to me, on farming front, was not funny – and I wrote, re-wrote, and posted it – because I was TAGGED in it – and though I didn’t accept for my timeline – GASP! Now anyone searching me/my tags might label me as ‘oblivious to the various challenges that have been facing our food producers for decades! And that’s NOT ME!

Suffice to say – I had to log back in later, apologize for my ardent response, and a family relationship wasn’t totally destroyed and lots of graciousness and forgiveness flew back and forth on that front, though I’m not certain I had done anything EVER to deserve it – – but it reminded me – –

There are times we just need a laugh – we need to try to find humor in the dark chaos that seems to surround us – and we can only do that when we seek it out – and often, not entirely our fault that we don’t understand why it’s not funny to someone else or on other fronts.

We don’t know because their ardent morals, ethics and the legislation they’ve supported is unknown fully to us –

We haven’t walked a mile in their moccasins, as it is said.

And often, even given the opportunity, those moccasins and the path they are walking, is so viscerally negative to us, or fearful to us, it’s easier to shut them up, shut them down, make fun of them, whatever it takes – just to avoid having to hear or contemplate showing up for the conversation….

For me?

Well, I’m spending energy on only showing up for the conversations I really must have now, because they knock at my door, or show up in my front yard – and cannot be avoided, all while trying to better educate myself on what the ‘others’ have to say about various topics –

And trying to remember humility when I show up, ask questions, or say things I feel very strongly about, realizing, I may see as a priority, but it might not be the top challenge for someone else, just now –

I fail often at this, too – and sometimes I go dark, and sometimes I go silent, and sometimes, my brain says, “Not worth wasting your energy on, just now.”

But I’m becoming ever more aware of walking away from those who cannot have the discussion and aligning with those who are, here and there, willing to.

Even when it’s not pleasant for either of us, overall – and, I guess, in the end, that has been the greatest gift to me over the past few months – when my body, spirit and mind hit the wall and could go no further on known fronts, and instead, plopped in my lap various other conversations that I realized,

I’m being called upon to have this conversation OR at the very least, listen to it…

I don’t have to show up for every single conversation going on – in fact, many of the ones taking place on national discourse (via trending stats) are ones I sincerely believe are making a tempest out of a teapot by focusing on the tip of the iceberg, instead of the mass hidden below the water line –

– BUT if I DO show up, either covertly or publicly, well, isn’t it my job to come to it in an exploration set of mind and not personal attachment to me own little “I know” agenda when the conversation isn’t just about me and one other person, but many?

Isn’t that my duty? As a human being?

And what if I can’t?

I figure, Not my job/time just now, to be a part of the discourse, until I get myself better suited up for wading into the fray – – cuz I’ll just bring in more chaos, instead of possibilities – –

Yes, I just blogged for my ‘journal time’ today – to keep a ‘mid day break of something other than plowing through work to-do list’ in every single day –

I had a lunch planned for today – both my work front and my friend’s, who I have seen in person for ever so ever long, both blew up and neither of us could ‘do’ –

Fortunately, for me, she is rather a work ethics person too, and doesn’t diss me for being a ‘poor friend’ because I was the first to say “All heck broke loose here – won’t make it unless you know for sure you can – “

Why did I not fear breaking plans…again?

Cuz she said she would know on her front for the schedule of the day, by 9:30 or so – that came and went – which told me, she hadn’t forgotten, her day had blown up too….

Why? Because we have hard discussions – we don’t baby each other, we tell it as we see it, but also say, “Hmm…never thought to look at it that way – I must ponder for awhile, can we revisit in the future…?”

We hold the space for our very different worlds to converge and for my part, it works – and she indicates it works for her too.

May my public way of doing my inner work not be too filled with typos, errors, and may I have trucked out a glimpse of it that simply shares, rather than hurts.

All in the name of, “Hmm…I have sorta caught up here, and need to update my blog a tad – when last did I write? really?” and have a flying break from my moral, ethical and legal obligations to work through my ‘to-do list’ –

I needed a mid-day break – we shall see if my ‘break from the to-do’ lists breaks others or was just the ‘time-out’ I needed – 🙂

Remains to be seen…. as always…

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