Aug. 22, 2022

Ethics and the world of Good and Evil, and Right and Wrong

Ethics  and the world of Good and Evil, and Right and Wrong

Ethics is that weird branch of philosophy that concerns itself with conduct and questions of good and evil and right and wrong. And those four words good and evil, and right and wrong sound like they should be like, oh yes, good is right. And evil is wrong, but there are always shades of gray in between. You can do an evil act in the cause of right. You can do a good act in the cause of wrong. Welcome to the weird world of ethics and how it touches our friendships.
This episode explores how we can help each other, and how remembering the art of friendship can help you in the midst of the turmoil of ethics, evil, and kindness. 
How can you prevail with kindness and not have anything else come into your circle? And just have it be a kind happy world.


Ethics is that weird branch of philosophy that concerns itself with conduct and questions of good and evil and right and wrong. And those four words good and evil, and right and wrong sound like they should be like, oh yes, good is right. And evil is wrong, but there are always shades of gray in between. You can do an evil act in the cause of right. You can do a good act in the cause of wrong. Welcome to the weird world of ethics and how it touches our friendships.

This episode explores how we can help each other, and how remembering the art of friendship can help you in the midst of the turmoil of ethics, evil, and kindness. 

How can you prevail with kindness and not have anything else come into your circle? And just have it be a kind happy world.

 

Transcript

Ethics 2 TRANSCRIPT

[00:00:00] Fawn: Welcome back everybody.

[00:00:01] Matt: Hello

[00:00:02] Fawn: hi, good morning. And good evening. Good afternoon. Good all. Good all. All is well. All is

well.

[00:00:12] Matt: So we gonna put our,

[00:00:13] Fawn: no matter what,

[00:00:14] Matt: we're gonna put our college caps on today and talk about ethics.

[00:00:16] Fawn: Yeah,

we started a, we started a thing actually. We're letting you in on really the conversations we have in our kitchen, or when we go out for coffee.

Inevitably. It always turns into the ethical dilemma.

[00:00:33] Matt: I love, I love the game ethical dilemma, because very scary. You can split the hair and all of a sudden somebody's gonna do something god awful.

[00:00:41] Fawn: And it makes me when we play ethical dilemma, it makes me wanna flip the table over. I don't like it. I feel very depressed, but it's very interesting and it's very important to, get yourself thinking in, in a way it allows you to step into someone else's shoes. Yes. So we did a couple episodes very briefly on ethics and we want to do a whole series. You actually studied ethics.

[00:01:07] Matt: I took a class in ethics in college,

[00:01:09] Fawn: not a class, but like a whole semester. Like you studied ethics, right? Well, yes. So we talked about how I looked up the word ethical and it was, we learned it was derived from the Greek word ethos, which means character.

And it also comes from the Latin ward, Mores M O R E S, which basically means customs. And interestingly enough, when you put those together, they combine to define how individuals choose to interact with one another. So very in sync with our our friendly world here.

[00:01:48] Matt: And let's not forget about, uh, where we draw our inspiration for friendship from, and that's, Aristotles, everything is Greek Nicomachean Ethics Greece.

But anyways, yes, ethics is that weird branch of philosophy that concerns itself with conduct and questions of good and evil and right and wrong. And those four words good and evil, and right and wrong sound like they should be like, oh yes, good is right. And evil is wrong, but there's always shades of gray in between.

[00:02:20] Fawn: Always. Yeah. There's no good. There's no bad. First of all. So how do you maneuver? I don't know about that. Well, we talked about this. Is it good? I don't know. Is it bad? I don't know. You never know. You never know how the road, where it takes you. You don't

[00:02:38] Matt: know. Well, see, you're you're, you're talking about good and.

You're not talking about good and evil, is it evil or good? Oh, different. And, and that's the difference. It, you can do an evil act in the cause of right. You can do a good act in the cause of wrong. Gotcha. Welcome to the weird world of ethics.

[00:02:57] Fawn: Right. So what's considered evil?

[00:02:59] Matt: Exactly. That's and what is considered evil and actually, uh, and we're gonna be talking about this strictly, sadly on many levels from kind of a Western, perspective, because it.

It's it's well defined and it's well understood. So it makes it easier. And that's certainly what I studied was the Western tradition. So we're gonna stay away sadly, unfortunately, from all the other

traditions

[00:03:21] Fawn: today, today, maybe we'll get into that later

[00:03:23] Matt: and it is possible. Yes.

[00:03:24] Fawn: Yeah, we should, we should totally get into it.

[00:03:26] Matt: It's less familiar. So it's, it's very tricky. That's

[00:03:29] Fawn: what, that's why we need to bring expert friends to talk about those aspects truth. But I'm curious when you started. You don't, I guess you don't remember cuz it was a while ago, but I often wonder what the very first class was like, if you had a great professor, was it a good professor?

It was

[00:03:44] Matt: a good professor and I'm sure not see professor professors. It was a La Maestra actually it was a female, uh, professor.

[00:03:53] Fawn: Oh, fantastic.

[00:03:54] Matt: But anyways, yes. And, and this was in, in Santa Cruz and of course this was in hippy dippy, Santa

Cruz,

[00:03:59] Fawn: hippie college hippie university.

[00:04:02] Matt: But anyways, from a historical perspective, you can almost see the beginnings of ethics coming, being basically laid down by God.

Told please. No, I'm serious. No, this is the interpretation of the, The Code of Hammurabi, was passed down by, uh, Babylonian God, the 10 commandments were passed down by God, in the old Testament to Moses. And there's even a legend that has Zeus giving. Um, Basically something similar to, uh, a code of conduct,

[00:04:35] Fawn: a code of con to the Greeks, right?

So are they pretty much the same? Like the 10 commandments and all these other things. Everybody

[00:04:41] Matt: says The Code of Hammurabi and the 10 commandments are almost carbon copies of each other. I'm not gonna get into that, but

[00:04:47] Fawn: which is older?

[00:04:48] Matt: Uh, Code of Hammurabi

[00:04:49] Fawn: really? Yes. Older than Moses. Yes.

[00:04:52] Matt: Wow. Well, think about what, think about it, Moses.

God. Okay. So you had the Egyptian empire that had enslaved the Jews mm-hmm and Moses led them away. Babylon. Around Iraq was around a lot, a lot older than that. I believe so. Yes. Um, and actually, yeah, and that takes us into folklore a whole bunch of other fun things, but I don't, I don't wanna go there either.

But what's interesting is, this code of ethics kind of supersedes everything, because it's passed down by God. How do you argue with God? That's very painful.

[00:05:26] Fawn: I argue with

God all the time.

[00:05:27] Matt: Well, hold on. And then later on, getting into, yes, indeed the ancient Greek tradition. I know, I know. I said Zeus passed down a code of ethics as well but you have Plato coming in and saying, uh, he actually started really challenging that. And he talked about, there is a transcendent good and evil that is separated from religion. And so

[00:05:48] Fawn: what does that mean?

[00:05:49] Matt: Well, he's saying that certain things are good and certain things are, are, are evil.

[00:05:53] Fawn: Like what do you know?

[00:05:55] Matt: Um,

[00:05:57] Fawn: well,

when is evil?

[00:05:58] Matt: Exactly stealing stealings. Stealing's a real easy one.

[00:06:04] Fawn: So all artists who are like you go through that book, everyone's reading steal, like an artist mm-hmm like, that's what artists should do. That's evil?

[00:06:12] Matt: Yes. Although I think they were talking not so much stealing ideas, but stealing like physical things.

So steal has gotten, uh, maybe a bigger context, but when

[00:06:24] Fawn: we played ethical dilemma, we got into stealing and you said, well, to feed a family,

[00:06:29] Matt: it's still, it's still evil.

[00:06:31] Fawn: It's still evil. It's still evil to, to save someone's life.

[00:06:35] Matt: I mean, do I pick your terms and definitions here? Good and evil right and wrong.

And these are distinct words. Is it right to steal, to feed my family? If that's the only way I can make that happen, it is right. But it's also evil. Now you can choose the other, other set of words and you can say it's good to steal, to feel my family, but it is wrong because of course it's against law, et cetera, et cetera, cetera.

But it's also one of these transcendent good and evil things according to Plato. And then people started to get people started to get twisted and try and figure out where things come from and they try and understand kind of a pre societal man, where did ethics really come from? And the only way we can look at, uh, not prehistoric, but even pre pre prehistoric is to look at animals and how animals choose to arrange themselves.

[00:07:27] Fawn: Well, I know animals don't kill for fun and people kill for fun.

[00:07:31] Matt: So that's very interesting. Right? And you're also, you also look at things like, um, baboons, like the strong male baboons will protect the weaker women and children when they're fleeing from an enemy. There have been documented cases of dolphins.

If dolphin a is sick, dolphin B will swim underneath him and push him up to the surface so he can breathe.

[00:07:56] Fawn: Mm.

[00:07:57] Matt: you've also got again and, you know, we're dealing with what are considered the more intelligent animals, because then they, they, they tend to arrange themselves in societies.

[00:08:07] Fawn: All animals are intelligent.

All life is intelligent. If we

[00:08:10] Matt: take a look at an ant colony, it's not the same. It

[00:08:13] Fawn: is They are supremely intelligent.

[00:08:15] Matt: Yes, ma but you have a queen who bosses around

[00:08:17] Fawn: everybody. That's the way it should be enough with the patriarchy anyway, with the bees.

The ants, the bees,

[00:08:25] Matt: I was gonna get to my next point about the

[00:08:27] Fawn: get things.

[00:08:27] Matt: Okay. Go on about the monkeys, where like they will, you know, they'll help each other out by like picking out parasites, you know, like, you know, right. Groom me and I'll groom you. And they've actually studied and they've determined that, selfishness generally gets punished in these, societies. And so everybody's working for the good of every.

And another thing they've determined is typically the typical behavior. And, and I think the dolphin is a very atypical behavior by the way, as far as this goes, but a very typical behavior is, the amount of effort that it requires to help somebody out versus the reward you get when they do a solid for you.

You know, it's, it's either proportional or it's heavily weighed in the favor of you get so much more than you give. Because you're just spending five minutes picking parasites outta somebody who cares, but by the same token, when they do that for you, it's like, oh my God, I don't have these parasites leeching my blood, et cetera, cetera, et cetera.

So it's, it becomes, a very limited, a very small kind of engagement for a big reward.

[00:09:31] Fawn: Right? Well, it's always the small things that make such a big difference. Someone can just give you a smile. Mm-hmm that will completely soothe you. Someone could just utter a sound when you're telling them something that happened that is troubling you, that you're trying to figure out one sound from that person can be a healing.

Yes. And it's enough for you for whatever happened to you to be deleted out of your spirit. Right? Right. Absolutely. But, and it also works the other way around, right? One, one evil glare, one evil word,

[00:10:07] Matt: mess you up

[00:10:08] Fawn: forever.

[00:10:09] Matt: Possibly possibly. Yes. So then continuing down the thought of, again, keeping it strictly into an animal world and trying to figure out where our ethics come from, then they also noted kin bias, which means that I'm going to sacrifice myself for my children.

Like the jelly

[00:10:25] Fawn: fish. Was it the jellyfish? Well, I think it's no, the octopus.

[00:10:28] Matt: I think it's a lot of animals will protect their, their offspring in order. Uh, even if it means like bad

[00:10:35] Fawn: stuff for them. But remember we saw that movie about the octopus, my friend, the octopus, what was it called? It was like "My Teacher the Octopus", my teacher.

It was an Oscar winner. And it was about, he, he, he just followed this octopus around the lifespan and he noted. The society worked and how the friendship worked. And when the octopus finally got to a stage of having children, what the octopus goes through, basically when you do, you, you give all of your life force mm-hmm to your, your children, right.

And the octopus dies. Right. Sorry to, to ruin the movie for you, but it's like total selfess behavior. Right.

[00:11:22] Matt: But in as much as man is the social animal and man is, oh, the only animal that uses tools, which of course is a fallacy, such

[00:11:29] Fawn: a fallacy it's so stupid. But anyways, to say men

[00:11:32] Matt: in taking a look at, um, you know, how we, how kind of build ourselves together as a society, because ethics is basically, it's almost like you can see ethics on some level is this is how we can all live together.

These are the rules. These are the common rules that we're all going to adopt so that we can all live together and prosper as a group. So

[00:11:55] Fawn: Matt are ethics, manmade rules, or is it like a spiritual

[00:12:00] Matt: rule? And that's just, it Plato believed they were transcended. So it was, and it was not divine. It was not part of a religion.

It was a something else. It was a universal truth. Whereas you would've asked Moses and Moses would say it it's divine. It comes from God. So yeah, that's the fun

[00:12:21] Fawn: part. Right? So what's the difference between what Plato said and what Moses would say

[00:12:26] Matt: Plato divorced himself from, from religion. I like that. You know, I like that.

All of a sudden now you don't have an interpreter. You don't have a,

[00:12:35] Fawn: a middle man,

[00:12:35] Matt: a wise man, a,

[00:12:37] Fawn: a middle man,

[00:12:38] Matt: a pastor, a,

[00:12:39] Fawn: a middle man,

[00:12:40] Matt: Imam, a anything else?

[00:12:41] Fawn: Middle man

[00:12:41] Matt: interpreting what is good and evil. Thank

[00:12:43] Fawn: you. That's what I was saying in a previous episode is like enough with these voices, you know, in your heart, you have all that information.

Right? So explain to me again, what Plato said.

[00:12:54] Matt: Plato believed that, good and evil transcends everything that they're universal. True. There, there is universal actions that are good and universal actions that

[00:13:03] Fawn: are, that are evil. And how, how did he come to the point of saying, okay, well, this is how you figure out what is evil, what is

[00:13:10] Matt: okay.

Well, I don't think that he necessarily came to a good point, cuz he just put out that statement. He put out that statement and he put out and dropped the mic, his beliefs because let's not forget in ancient Greece. there was a lot of slavery going on. There was a lot of subjugation of women. There was a lot of, there was a lot of, a lot of what's.

He was, he was merely saying that there are universal mm-hmm truths. Mm-hmm you know, and he, and he was, he, you know, defined some, but, you know, he, uh, I think a lot of his thoughts would, we would consider them just ridiculous now, you know, that's all.

[00:13:49] Fawn: Well, all right. Can you give me an example, an example of, I don't know, like the whole evil thing.

It, it can, I mean, you can be a lawyer about it and break it down. I think the act of evil, I think there's only one act of evil. No, maybe there's two. I think if, if you hurt someone else's life, it is evil. Especially when, you know, it's hurting that person. That is evil. You can unconsciously do something and it's still an evil act, but once you become aware of it and you still do it, if the person tells you, or if you hear that this is hurting someone's life force mm-hmm , I think that's evil.

[00:14:39] Matt: So back to the stealing bread example, The only way you can feed your family is to steal bread. The baker will be adversely affected by you stealing the bread. He will make less money. He will be less able to provide for his family. Is the action good or evil? Aha.

[00:14:59] Fawn: Ethical dilemma. Well, what if you ask the baker for help

[00:15:03] Matt: and what if he says I can't do it because screw you

[00:15:06] Fawn: it's evil.

[00:15:08] Matt: The baker is acting evil. Sure. But if you try

your best, but the baker says, you know, I, I, I'm sorry, I can't help you. I can't hire you. I can't give you bread because I need all this just for my family. And, and, and that happens to be a true statement. Cuz that's one of those things you can't necessarily identify in the moment.

[00:15:29] Fawn: I think there's always a way I think if you seek it, there's always a way to help and

[00:15:35] Matt: that's the kind heart and that's, and that's your kind empathic heart. Sometimes there isn't. You know, that's the whole point of ethical dilemma is

[00:15:44] Fawn: getting that point of, but that's when you turn to friends, that's by friends.

I mean, other people that can be friendly. that's when the baker can say, look, everybody, I need

[00:15:55] Matt: some help. Yes. But that takes us away. We're no, we're no longer talking about

[00:15:59] Fawn: ethics. Now. It is a, it is about ethics. I'm just saying that instead of saying no and hurting the other person, you're hurting the life force of the person who is starving, what the baker can do is look okay.

Um, I'm not able. To maybe give this bread. Maybe he, he can't, maybe he truly cannot, but he can turn to other people like in Italy, there's that you buy two cups of coffee if you're buying one for someone who needs it, who doesn't have the money, do you know what I'm saying? You turn to friendship, you turn to the village and you come together and you can always make something work together.

[00:16:39] Matt: That is true. But. The rest of society's unwilling to do that.

[00:16:43] Fawn: That's evil. Ah, okay. Then, because they're not willing to, I think you can, because we all have different expertise. If it's not bread, someone can say, you know what? I know how to, um, find seeds and plants from the forest that will feed you. And it's better than having carbs.

There you go. do you know what I'm saying?

[00:17:07] Matt: No, and trust me, I completely get it. And you're in the process now of defining your own school of

[00:17:12] Fawn: ethics. Well, yeah, my own school of ethics is our friendly world. And I'm saying, Hey, this is what I think is happening. I think this is one way to look at it is if we come together, we can help each other out.

And that's the art of friendship. You're not in it by yourself. The baker is not alone. You're baking for a village there there's guaranteed someone who can figure something. Or together we can figure something out to help the ones that have no food. Just

[00:17:45] Matt: like yes. Just like the baboons. Absolutely.

[00:17:49] Fawn: So let's, let's ethics is a huge deal.

It is. So let's just stop it here

[00:17:54] Matt: for today. Let's stop it here. We will be talking more about stoic and Epicuren and. The, the Christian philosophies and, and we'll, we'll, we'll circle back certainly then to back to the Nicomachean why

[00:18:08] Fawn: is it always the Christian? What, you know, we definitely need to get all the other beliefs and traditions involved once we're done talking.

You're your perspective as a, are you a wasp? What are

[00:18:21] Matt: you white? Anglo-Saxon Protestant? Yes. Is that where you're

[00:18:24] Fawn: I suppose. Oh my goodness. Okay. You know what I'm saying, though? We definitely should get the whole picture eventually as time goes on. But for today, let's talk about how we can help each other, how remembering the art of friendship can help you in the midst of the turmoil of ethics, evil and kindness.

How can you prevail with the kindness and not have anything else come into your circle? And just have it be a kind happy world. All right. Yes, boss. All right, love you guys. Thank you for listening. Go to our friendly world podcast.com. Reach out to us. Give us your thoughts. If you wanna come on our show, let us know.

All right. Just go to the contact button. It'll emails me differently. We'll talk to you soon. We love you so much. Take care. Be well.