Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Can we change our personal ethical beliefs?

What happens if we were not taught to be what others deem to be ethical in our youth? Is it too late or can we change?

I think that we are constantly changing in tweaking our minds, sometimes in large ways, usually in small ways.  As we grow and experience new things, and acquire new information, we are able to process this in our minds.  Once the new information has been analyzed we can decide (subconsciously or not), whether or not it is something that we wish to align with our values or ethics.  Surviving a horrific car accident with a drunk driver or being hit by a drunk driver may alter your ethical view of the situation.  You may look at drunk driving, road safety rules and even car safety rules in a new way, or you may hold onto the same ethics.  If you find yourself or someone close to you in an abusive relationship, you may have a new look at the situation.  If you are raped and have to look at possible pro-choice options, it may change your views again.  As someone in a hostile or wartime environment, the experiences you are immersed in are always evolving your ethical view of the world.  We are given a basic ethical blueprint as children, but each layer of life expounds upon and at times changes the ethical values that we hold dear. 

I know that I personally have a strong ethical view of different things to do with women; specifically topics such as abuse, alcoholism, codependence, lack of standing up for oneself, parenting values, marriage, etc.  Living with certain experiences within my own families and of those of close relatives shapes my ethical values of basic things.  I saw a lot of people doing things or not doing things when they should be that felt wrong to the core of my being.  Witnessing this and living through first-hand accounts largely shaped my basic core of ethical values.  However, someone experiencing the exact same things may have come up with completely different ethical values.  While my father is a recovering alcoholic, he did go to treatment and remained in remission for decades, I attended AA meetings with him and learned a lot about the disease that he fought, this helped me know the dilemma in an intimate way.  I could have instead become desensitized to this issue if handled or viewed from another way and not have seen alcoholism as an issue, but rather as a way of life.  There are very few things in our society that do not, in one way or another, include alcohol.  Does that make me anti-alcohol, no, but it could have for someone else.  Our personal ethical beliefs are comprised of the totality of our personal experiences, knowledge and our perception of such.

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