Aug. 15, 2022

The Ethical Dilemma

The Ethical Dilemma

In philosophy, ethical dilemmas, also called ethical paradoxes or moral dilemmas, are situations in which an agent stands under two conflicting moral requirements, none of which overrides the other. A closely related definition characterizes ethical dilemmas as situations in which every available choice is wrong.
We explore ethics and friendship and how ethics have shaped our society.
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In philosophy, ethical dilemmas, also called ethical paradoxes or moral dilemmas, are situations in which an agent stands under two conflicting moral requirements, none of which overrides the other. A closely related definition characterizes ethical dilemmas as situations in which every available choice is wrong.

We explore ethics and friendship and how ethics have shaped our society.

Connect with Fawn and Matt:

Loved this episode? Leave us a review and rating here:


Ethics Transcript
[00:00:00] Fawn: Welcome back, everyone. 
[00:00:01] Matt: Hello 
[00:00:02] Fawn: again hello again. So our last conversation we got into things and one of the things we left off on was ethics. Good. So let's do a show on the ethical friend and the train of thought that leads to that aside from . Yeah, it's what we ended our talk with last time was talking about ethics or we brought up ethics, just kind of just brought it up
[00:00:30] Matt: little tiny subject.
[00:00:31] Fawn: Now you studied this, 
[00:00:32] Matt: I did in college no less, 
[00:00:33] Fawn: which is scary because if you hang out with Matt and you tell Matt your belief, he'll break it down. And you'll, it is just maddening. 
[00:00:41] Matt: Not 
necessarily I can be 
[00:00:44] Fawn: but anyway, and then the train of thought went to. I was saying, do you think it was our friend Mark, we saw at the store that we've been seeing every week.
Do you think that's actually Mark 
[00:00:55] Matt: and it isn't. 
[00:00:57] Fawn: It could be though, because it led to talking about so many of our friends can't recognize each other anymore coming out of the pandemic. Everybody looks different or even during the pandemic I heard some friends talking to me about their experiences and they would be talking to someone for like 15 minutes.
They both had masks on not realizing it was someone they knew, but because you couldn't see their entire face and we've all been through stuff that things change in us. And we're no longer recognizable the way that we were before something happened that was of huge consequence. Right?
 So that led to remember, we were trying to make friends. We lived in this little town on this island, in the Pacific Northwest, and we would go to this grocery store and everyone was very Caucasian. And so I was always on the lookout for a brother or a sister and we found somebody and I was so excited.
So both Matt and I went up to this person and we were trying to strike up a conversation. So we're like, hi, how are you? I'm Fawn. This is Matt. Where are you from? We've never seen you before. Do you live around here? Um, you know, where, where are you from? Like we, we were asking 
[00:02:17] Matt: typical puppy stuff, puppy jumping up and 
[00:02:20] Fawn: Yeah. We were so excited to meet someone that was like one of us
[00:02:25] Matt: had some flavor 
[00:02:28] Fawn: and so we were asking so many questions, rapid fire. We were so excited. Yeah. We were like puppy dogs, like, hi, hi. I love you. Where are you from? And he was very standoffish, but you could tell he really wanted to talk to us too, but he was standoffish, like I said, and it turned out long story short.
It turned out that he was undercover at the grocery store. He was like a cop
[00:02:55] Matt: loss 
is what they call it.
[00:02:56] Fawn: Loss prevention. 
[00:02:59] Matt: God help me. Why do I know this? I just know this 
[00:03:01] Fawn: So it turns out that he was like, look guys, I'm not really a friend. I'm like, I'm working right now.
[00:03:10] Matt: so we're like, cool. This guy's looking at us. We can't swipe. So, okay. . No 
[00:03:15] Fawn: So he had to give himself away, like, say, look, I'm not really a customer. I'm, I'm working, I'm looking for thieves. I'm like, oh, it was kind of like, I think I've done this too. Like trying to become friends with someone that's um, what do you call those people on the airplanes?
Um, you know, the, the marshal oh, right. Like you're, you're like trying to strike up a conversation. I remember this one guy now in this particular case, I wasn't sure if he was an actual marshal or not, but he was definitely very, Martial artsy let's say like though his whole vibe mm-hmm so I'm like, oh, do you practice?
Like, oh, what's do you do you work out? I was just like, I, well that, and he also had one of our books in his hand. Do you know what I'm saying? And now come to think of it. I don't think he was actually reading it. He just had a book to look like he was a passenger holding a book like cool. You know, he was just way too cool.
Especially when the turbulence started happening, he was just. Cool. Like I was freaking out. I'm like, is the, what what's happening with the plane? what ha what happened anyway, trying to become friends with people that are like, anyway, what does this have to do with ethics? Anyway, there was the train of thought that led to stealing and the grocery store and ethics.
And I remember. Remember when we moved to Port Townsend? Port Townsend is this beautiful little town, pretty much at the tip of the continent in the United States. When we lived there a long time ago, they were very, the people there were so special in that they were so quirky and creative and free thinking and they, they were delightful.
 At a drop of a dime there was a parade that would happen for anything. They had amazing festivals, amazing community, like really nice, friendly. However, they were also very quirky in ways that were. That made us go" what?!" What, like, they were very paranoid about like society changing all of a sudden.
So they were ready for anything. They were ready to take a boat to another country last second. They had things like supplies under their stairs. Like they, I don't know. They were like, what do you call those people? Like prepared for anything? should anything go down? They were on it and it scared us a little bit that they would even think like dooms day like that, or think like stuff could go down and this is what we're gonna 
[00:05:58] Matt: do well.
Yeah. But understand that they were living in an environment where when the submarines came to Seattle, they had to drop off their nuclear weapons. And there was a very clear understanding of that. And so , it tends to change things a little bit. And also there's a big wooden boat community there.
And people who say live aboard boats, or go sailing a lot. They tend to have a different worldview than land 
[00:06:26] Fawn: That is true. And one of the things we would discuss was if you had to, would you steal? And then here comes Mr. Ethics, the study of ethics, Matt, cuz I would say no and you were like, yeah, you would.
So this brings us to ethics. We hold onto so much. Like last time we were talking about holding onto the material and it could be material could be ideas. Material could be a belief system that you're so set on demanding or feeling entitled to, things that you feel like you should own. I think that's one of the problems with the lack of friendships that we have in our society is that kind of mentality of I'm right you're wrong. I'm holding onto this belief, no matter what. I'm holding onto this idea, this land, this property, this material object, no matter what, this is me, my identity, like it's very low level.
And I think that's what causes a lot of problems. That way of attachment. And then we were talking about the Buddhists and non-attachment and you went way to the other side of it and I'm like, whoa, can we just have baby steps and not bring Hitler into the situation?
[00:07:42] Matt: Sorry, folks,
[00:07:43] Fawn: or the KKK? Can we just find ways 
[00:07:46] Matt: you brought KKK in?
[00:07:47] Fawn: I didn't say you. I just said, can we have a conversation and try to have baby steps to improve our relationships without bringing up the extremes from point a, do you know what I'm saying? 
[00:08:02] Matt: Yes. 
[00:08:02] Fawn: Let's start with baby steps and easily transform into a better situation. And then we can learn how to deal with the Hitler and the KKK.
Am I wrong? You 
[00:08:13] Matt: are completely correct. It's we're, you're talking about how to, I'm talking about the, what. 
[00:08:21] Fawn: Which is why having an ethical kind of conversation with you or a conversation that leads to ethics 
[00:08:30] Matt: and my favorite game folks, 
ethical dilemma, 
[00:08:32] Fawn: ethical dilemma. So in Port Townsend, the idea, they were like very dooms day, like ready.
And so the idea came up of like stealing. Would you steal, would you do this thing that you think you'd never do? But you can't be attached to anything because for example, we're vegan. But if we were starving, if our children were starving yeah. We would kill the cow. We would if it's life or death, I think when we have our own ethical, morals, When we're in a rich kind of society, we're able to make these different choices and live a certain way and go, this is my belief.
This is what I'm choosing to live. So we're choosing to live as vegans. We don't touch anything that harms an animal. We only touch things that harm plants. . You know, you're still harming plants, plants have feelings too. 
[00:09:31] Matt: Exactly. You know, and to, and to take it to a less extreme state. I mean, if we were in a position which, you know, we're not where we were accepting government subsidies and they gave us cheese, we would eat the cheese.
[00:09:43] Fawn: So, I mean, when you come down to it, you're gonna do what, whatever you have to do. It's a luxury. Well, it's 
[00:09:50] Matt: the, it's the pyramid of. 
[00:09:52] Fawn: I think we're in a state of such great luxury in our society that we can live that. But I think what's happening is that things, our systems, so many different systems are breaking down.
And I think why there's so much strife and turmoil is because everything is being knocked around. We all have to do things that we never thought we would do. So people are upset and triggered and fighting and nothing seems, set anymore; the way that we believed they were set, nothing is ever set, right.
Life is always ever flowing, ever changing. Anyway, so lemme get back to ethical. The word ethics is derived from the Greek word ethos, which means character and from the Latin word Mores, which means customs. Together, they combine to define how individuals choose to interact with one another.
Isn't that interesting? Going back to friendship. Mm-hmm so the ethical friend. I'll say it again. Ethics is derived from the Greek word ethos, which means character and from the Latin word Mores, which means customs. Together, they combine to define how individuals choose to interact with one another. So going back to ethics, Matt.
Can you refresh on, on what we were saying and how, what we were saying led to ethics 
[00:11:22] Matt: to me, it's again, back to the core of the onion and that the center of the onion are your deepest held beliefs and ethics help guide and dictate what you're deepest beliefs really are. There's a variety of different schools of ethics, there's hedonism and utilitarianism.
And one I can't talk about right now, which is stoicism and a whole bunch of others, which is really fascinating, cuz I wait, why can't 
[00:11:46] Fawn: you talk about it? Cause I don't remember what it is. Okay. 
[00:11:49] Matt: anyways, um, hedonism is I I'm for pleasure. Let the world burn I'm for my own. and utilitarian is greatest good, greatest number. These are very easy to define. These are absolute, it's simple. It's where you get into relativism, that it turns out when you actually start delving into it relativism doesn't really exist, which is a fun, little proof to go through. And then I argued in a paper that it did, and I got an a on the paper, so God knows, but anyways, I digress.
 The center of the onion really kind of centers around one of these deep held ethical beliefs. So most people actually adhere to the greatest, good, greatest number, which star Trek gave us the good of the many versus the good of the few. This is why Spock sacrificed himself to save the ship.
You know, you're willing to make sacrifices in order to bring good for the greatest number. That's a tricky, sticky business 
[00:12:47] Fawn: and it's happening. Speaking of business, it's happening on so many levels, because for example, self-driving cars years ago, just when the thought was coming out, you were pointing out that, yeah, it's coders, computer programmers who are making all this happen and they have to make ethical decisions.
So the car has to look at, and it depends on what culture you're from, but the car will look at a baby and an old person and you have to code which one you're gonna kill. Well, 
[00:13:19] Matt: and, and that's, that's the impossible choice, cuz that's an impossible choice, but you know, um, top gear, Jeremy Clarkson said it, you know, your car at some point will be programmed to kill you.
[00:13:31] Fawn: What? 
[00:13:31] Matt: Well, if it's me hitting a brick wall or me crashing into a school bus. Is probably gonna pick Rammy into the, uh, into the concrete wall. So your car will be programmed 
to kill you. 
[00:13:45] Fawn: I hate ethical conversations. Exactly. Let's make this a short episode. You ha I know you hate you. Bring it out. Can we bring it to a happy place?
Once we get into the nitty gritty please. You're gonna have to do it. Not me. Cause I don't know. Apparently I'm not ethical. I don't know. I ain't. You all? No, I don't know. I don't know. So explain how it just seems very doomsday. because whenever we talk about, if you talk about ethics, you just make human beings seem terrible.
[00:14:16] Matt: but that's just it. Whether ethics only become interesting on some level where like it is life or death. It's easier to get a clear view of how theoretically you would act you should act. And you know what people act immorally all the time, you know, I specifically choose to crash through the busload of nuns, for instance so as not to die myself or whatever. People make interesting, uncomfortable, immoral choices all the time. And the irony is, is then our brain is so hardwired that we have to figure out our brain has to figure out how that's the moral 
[00:14:56] Fawn: Listen, I don't know if this relates, but as you were saying that it made me think of this.
I was, I have been listening to different conversations lately. and, you know, when you think of something, you tend to attract what you're thinking about? Ever since the pandemic started mm-hmm and I've been on so many zoom calls and I've been on so many webinars mm-hmm and the kind of webinars that I'm on, have to do with business, but it's business combined with moral viewpoint of how you want society to be based on what you offer in business mm-hmm so it's, it's more like it's combined with spirituality and like the common, you know, the good of the people, the good of the planet, all of that. Right. And really exploring our compassion and our connections, thinking a way that's different from how the patriarchy normally works.
Is is how I'm seeing it. Right. What I noticed from the very beginning is every webinar that I was on, it was 99% women from business to creative writing, , situations to, even like so many different areas of, of work and life. Mm. I've been on webinars where there have been thousands of people on at the same time, 90% women.
And I was thinking to myself, what is happening? Where are the men? And are the men not here because of the type of conversation that we're having, or the type of business that we're trying to create, right. That the man is not here for it. And I, and I heard this conversation actually yesterday. About this very thing.
Like, what is it, how come the men aren't there? And it was actually Carolyn Myss, who was saying, the men are not here because the women are attracted to the hunter. The hunter gatherer, the, the one who will fight the, the bad guy. Not necessarily bad guy. She didn't use the word bad guy. I, I don't think, but she used the word 
like the word, like, um, you know, the man we're expecting the man, if you look at it, like, 
archetype. Way in an archetypal way. If you look at things in an archetypical
way, mm-hmm that we expect the man to go hunt and gather, 
[00:17:34] Matt: well, we expect the man to go hunt. 
[00:17:37] Fawn: Right? We gather the women gather if you look at cave, man, gather and nurture, right. So we, unless that changes. Unless we stop thinking of the man like that, you know, as the provider go get it, make it happen, which still exists that they will never be a part of this conversation where it's about nurturing.
Because until we stop that mentality, that that nurturing quality will not exist. . Unless we change it. If we do change that mentality, that ethical, it does come back to ethics, right? Society will be violent the way it is because we're not, we're not letting that nurturing, compassionate, soft man
be the one that we're attracted to as stereotypical women. Does that make sense 
[00:18:40] Matt: you, man? Oh, no. Yeah. That totally makes sense. You're you're, you're absolutely right. 
[00:18:45] Fawn: I mean, well, I mean, it's not me 
[00:18:46] Matt: what she was saying from, from, you know, from, from cradle, you know, there, there have been studies boys and girls are treated differently and you know, if it's a boy it's a Slugger and all the rest of it and, and you can point back and say, oh yeah, that's a fifties, you know, moree that doesn't exist anymore to throw Moray around.
 But it still does. And, and you know, oh, well, Math is hard little girl, you know, you, you keep hearing about these stereotypes and you keep hearing about these singular cases that break them, but you don't hear about, it being a major shift or a major change. It's all about, well, yeah, he's at home raising the kids while she's off earning the bacon.
It's almost like split it's either or. It becomes noteworthy because of that case. And that's, that's a hard thing. It's, it's more acceptable for that to happen, but it's still not really that acceptable 
[00:19:41] Fawn: and it is changing. It is. And remember when we became parents, we were tripping on the fact that like, first of all, you and I were fighting over, who gets to carry the baby.
And we were like, isn't that interesting? Cause our parents would never have this conversation. The man would never carry the baby in a sling and go shopping. So things are changing hopefully, but I feel like there's, like you say, there's always a pendulum and I think it's like swinging back to the man, the man, the tough guy, you know, getting things done a certain way.
I think it's going back to that all of a sudden, like it it's, it's like society sensed that there may be a softening happening. We saw boys putting on nail Polish and like wearing dresses. And I think it scared society. And it's like going way back to the extreme, patriarchal way of having men be this way.
Well, when, and having women not have any rights and not having a say in anything and basically being shut down, It also goes back to what I noticed at the playground. Remember when the kids were babies, I always noticed that it was always the little boys and I still noticed it actually like last month when, when we were on an airplane, I watched how baby boys or toddler boys acted and were treated as opposed to little girls, the toddlers, the boys.
Demanded attention nonstop. 
[00:21:19] Matt: Well, that one did, 
[00:21:22] Fawn: it was insane. And what the mother put up with, but the girls, no, and I'm talking about toddlers mm-hmm . And what I noticed when our kids were toddlers and babies was at the playground, I would notice little, little, little boys slapping their mothers and the mothers.
And these were Caucasian mothers by the. The mothers wouldn't correct the little boy ever. So I got to see lots of little boys learning it's okay to hit women and mistreat women and disrespect them, their moms and their moms wouldn't do anything to correct that behavior. So, yeah. I don't know how this goes into ethics.
I'm sorry. I totally went off on a tangent. Well, we're, 
[00:22:07] Matt: we're we're we're now getting tied up into gender roles and again, it's it. You know, kind of a core onion thing again, cuz everybody wants to believe that the way they're acting or is moral and right. And so a concentration camp guard, cuz of course we gotta bring in the Nazis cuz it's just, it it's more easily, easily understood that way there's less gray, but a concentration guard, a concentration camp guard has to figure out how to make this moral has to figure out how to make this right.
How in, in their own head. Even if it's so abrobiously wrong and, and that's how we are wired. In one way you can make it O I guess. Okay. And, and we're getting into real dangerous ground here is I'm feeding my family and my family's more important than anything else. So shine everyone else. Which takes us into ethics, cuz now all of a sudden, my small circle is more important than society 
at large 
[00:22:59] Fawn: and you see that's where friendship comes in.
And that's why I think what we're trying to do here is really big and important. As fluffy as it sounds, we gotta learn the art of friendship again, because if you have friends, you're not in it by yourself. You don't have to fight for your family survival. You're going to help each. You will always have a place to live because we can make that happen together.
You're never gonna be alone . We are here together, but I think once we lose that art of friendship, then we make very questionable decisions. 
[00:23:34] Matt: And I honestly think that we find friendship wherever we can. And if the only people who will accept me are so far beyond, you know, They're all right.
They're all left. But they accept me then I it's almost like, I feel I have a moral obligation to support their worldview. 
[00:23:54] Fawn: Isn't that extreme though? 
[00:23:56] Matt: Well, this is the radicalization of folks, you know, because I mean, is that a true friend? Get, we get back to martyrdom because they, they have either real or imagined persecution and then that brings them closer.
[00:24:09] Fawn: But that's not true friendship. That's friendship out of desperation. 
[00:24:12] Matt: And you know what, sometimes early man, again, we're dealing with the wiring. Right? Right. So if we are being hunted because. There's saber-toothed tigers or because there's another tribe that wants our land or whatever it is, we band together and form emotional attachments to these people because they're keeping me alive.
Yeah. But, and it's hard 
to let that go.
[00:24:33] Fawn: It is hard to let that go, but once we create a sense of wellbeing and safety, then you can choose, like you can choose to be vegan now because there's plenty of food. Do you understand what I'm saying? What I'm trying to say is we need to establish a sense of, calm and nurturing and safety. So that, and how, how 
[00:24:56] Matt: can we do this when we've got, you know, live coverage of, you know, January 6th stuff where we have, um, you know, Fox news reporting, a completely different story on the whole thing.
Mm-hmm where Trump had offered to send 10,000 troops to the Capitol the day before he was due to give his speech. It's like, we're not all dealing with the same deck of facts 
[00:25:21] Fawn: here. Yeah. And it's not just that either everything, the climate, it's, everything, everything is on fire. Right. Everything is dangerous.
Mm-hmm so we don't have that comfort. 
[00:25:32] Matt: Right. And the word pandemic is so certainly, I 
[00:25:35] Fawn: mean the only on a present. Yeah. Yeah. And, and we think this pandemic is becoming more controllable and now there's another one. 
[00:25:45] Matt: Maybe, maybe not right. 
[00:25:47] Fawn: So, okay. This just leads me back. Let's just close the show off on getting to a point of comfort is the key.
And I remember, and I've said this before, and I'll remind you again, but the best piece of advice I heard actually came from Martha Stewart right after nine 11, and everybody was asking, what are we gonna do? How are we gonna ever feel safe or calm in the midst of all the bad things that are happening.
And she said, go find a flower or something that is beautiful to be right in front of you. Wherever you are, no matter wherever you are, no matter what make it as beautiful as you can. And just be. So bringing it back down. I remember I was going through something terrible. I had a stalker after me and I had to go on a photo shoot the next day.
I hadn't slept. I had to deal with the sheriff and all this the night before it was, it was a very scary situation. And the guy was out on like at large, in this tiny little town. And so everybody was finding out like what was happening. And I had to go to work. I was on a photo shoot. in the small town.
One of the executives that I was working with, she was helping me with a photo shoot was smiling at me and she was like, these were her exact words. And she was not like religious like that, but she was like this. She was like, Child of God. Are you happy? And she was smiling at me.
I'm like, are you insane? what, what the heck are you talking about? Am I happy? And why are you smiling at me like that? Like everything's okay. And she kept repeating that question and I'm like, okay, Carol you've officially are insane to me right now. I can we just forget it just let's do, do the shoot. And she said, no, no.
I want you to stop right here and look around in this precise second, are you not happy right now? Are you? I'm like, no, I'm not happy. And she's like, look at you. You look beautiful. I'm like, thanks. she's like, are you not in this beautiful room that we're about to photograph? I'm like, yeah.
She's like, don't you smell this in the air. I'm like, yeah, it was like muffins and also nature. It was like lovely muffins. basically, she made me stand in that precise. She broke it down to exactly where we were mm-hmm and nothing else mattered. Nothing else actually existed. Mm-hmm other than this precise breath that you're taking right now, are you able to breathe your breathing right?
You're taking in a breath right now. You are totally safe right now. You're surrounded by safety right now. Like she just pointed out everything and brought me down right. To the exact moments mm-hmm present time and I'm like, yeah. Okay. I see your point. So I think maybe that's what we can start off with as a baby step in the midst
all this crazy stuff. 
[00:28:58] Matt: And there you go. And there's, there's a, there's a saying and move with that. There's a saying, you know, Lord grant me the courage to change the things that I can, the ability to understand the things that I can't change and the wisdom to know the difference. So we don't focus on the things we can't change.
[00:29:25] Fawn: I guess for me, I would say finding ways to being grateful for every breath that you have and for where you are,
as long as, I mean, I'm, I'm sorry. My brain is going to like war and like things being blown up and that that's my fault folks. Okay. So those are the baby steps. And what does that have to do with ethics? Again? I think that that gives us the opportunity to feel sense of calm so that we can make better decisions that we're not making the ethical decisions that may not be so moral that could also benefit us and others at the same time.
[00:30:06] Matt: And it allows us to reach out to people who don't necessarily share a hundred percent of our world view. So it opens us up and it opens them up too in, in, you know, in hindsight. And we're 
[00:30:17] Fawn: not so desperate. So we seek out friends just because we are feeling that they can protect us or that we're fighting against a common thing.
The term key term being fighting. Right. Right. The key term should be joy and, celebrate.
And being grateful . That's our thought for today? What do you think? Let us know if you wanna come on the show and talk to us and be on the show with us and explore some of these ideas. Go to Yay. I got it right this time, guys. Go to contact and send us an email and also pick up the free workbook.
That's there, "The Ikigai of Friendship" all right. Loves, thank you for listening. We'll talk to you in just a few days. Be well, let us know what you think. What do you think? Okay. Bye.