Here’s my list of what I currently have as my ethical principles.
Note that I don’t adopt any other person or god’s list of principles, so almost everyone else will differ from me; also that this list isn’t identical with what I would have given even ten years ago, let alone when I was in my late 20s.
Instead of using the word “morals”, I choose “ethics”, partly to get away from the recent American distortion, and partly because it is then connected to the various schools of philosophy in Athens about two thousand three hundred years ago, illustrating that: equally authentic and respectable people can differ in their ethical/moral stance.
· So here’s my list (the order is only as it comes to mind):
v-=# David MacClement’s Ethics list, as of August 31, 2005 #=-v
1) Humans are a different (more complex) but not better species than other primates, other mammals, other animals (including snakes, insects, spiders etc), other living things like big trees, other plants, algae and microbes.
2) In the same way that, in a flourishing ecology, there are niches which come to be filled by whatever species can do that (e.g. Darwin’s Galápagos finches, and NZ’s birds filling ground-dwelling-species’ niches), humans have their own niche, their own *raison d’être*, their own “place in creation” in religious terms; we are fully entitled to that much of the earth’s bounty.
3) Our niche is that of a mobile/sedentary – scavenger/omnivore/cultivator which modifies our habitat, and has an effect on the other species we share this planet with, similar to the modifications/effects other similar-size-and-mobility species have.
4) Like other species of primate, we act occasionally as predator, killing and eating other animals, and preferably doing it ourself, but no further than at one-remove (the hunter or farmer kills and butchers, then we take it from those hands, to cook and eat).
5) Death is not strange, it may even be welcomed, but actively deciding-to, then carrying-out, the killing of another human is abhorrent; just as chimpanzees find it abhorrent.
6) As elements of our ecology (think of elements in a matrix, though an ecology is fuzzy, flexible), an individual person affects the whole ecology:
(a) when they are born,
(b) when they die,
(c) when they decide-to (and actually do) procreate,
(d) when they consume something, whether object, energy or food,
· and when they refrain from doing any of those things.
7) Humans make mistakes (I’m sure other primates and some sea-mammals do too); individually this is a normal part of living, but when mistakes are institutionalised (i.e. a social structure is created to perpetuate the process which is severely faulty), such mistaken institutions can ruin the ecology those people are part of. I consider that the institutionalising of exploitative-and-excessive-production-and-consumption is such a mistake.
· My ethical choice is to have as little contact as possible, with this.
8) My personal *bête noir* is waste. Examples:
· I am increasingly happy as we two throw out (because we’ve bought) less and less;
· I abhor the waste of fossil long-chain hydrocarbon when it’s being broken up ans burned as fuel (either in electric power stations or vehicles: 70 percent of the original energy is wasted in the heat-engine); thermodynamics tells me that such long-chain hydrocarbon should (ethically) be built-on, used to create something which is very useful and has a long life (decades-in-use), like what are currently specialised plastics.
· The majority of crops grown for food and feed is wasted. Unconscionable!
9) I believe that a small number of animal species have an ethical sense.
For this reason I want them treated ethically, so:
(α) either I or someone I deal directly with, should be who kills the sheep or cow (or pet), and:
(β) I choose the nearest to an ethical process for farming, organic, as my source of food. I see almost no reason for pesticides, and very little reason for quite-specific fertilisers (not nitrogen or phosphorus, but probably selenium etc. for element-deficient soils).
^-=# David MacClement’s Ethics list, as of August 31, 2005 #=-^
— David MacClement, http://davd.i8.com/EFquiz_DsResponses-080515.html#up
http://mitglied.lycos.de/davd/#earths I’m in Greenhithe North Shore NZ
earth our home: http://www.abc.net.au/reslib/200710/r194556_737903.jpg