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Ethics, Morals and Human Behavior Published: Sunday, August 12, 2001 By: Dr. Manuel Ángel Morales

To be truly and profoundly human beings and not rats or fishes, we must think twice about what we do and decide, even three or four times, regardless of this time consuming ventures, and on special occasions where it seems more appropriate. The word “moral” is etymologically bound up with customs (the latin word mores) and also with rules. So to act, behave or decide in a correct manner is something more than following moral precepts that command you to do this or never think of doing this other thing. Believe it or not, there are rules and regulations that can be inadequate…

As philosophers have instructed, if we want to find what is truly moral we have to activate the freedom we have. Freedom is deciding and realizing in a responsible manner. The point is that the clear ethical position should have nothing to do with punishment and rewards granted by the system of institutions that configures any given society. If human beings do nothing more than staying out of punishment or seeking desperately for rewards handed out by the system to its own light, they are no more than poor slaves.

Moral denote the cluster or set of standards of behavior that thinking and reasonable people freely accept as valid. In the philosophical sense, ethics refers to our reflection as to why such standard denote a profound significance for us, and to our consideration of the system of values of different groups and other people. To the extent that there is tolerance, civic virtue, mutuality, respect and understanding we will be contributing to the quality and the art of living.

The core argument is that our lives consist of relationship with others (we are fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, friends, enemies, heirs, landowners, customer and suppliers). If someone tells you to do what he or she wants, the first and more opportune thing for you to do is to stop and think, think deeply about what is that you want. Many things appeal to human beings even if they are contradictory in nature. People will want to have many friends, but they don’t want to lose their privacy and independence. People will want to study, but they also want to have fun. The calling for us, human beings, is daring to go and search for the good life, without paying so much attention to the pessimistics or the destroyers.

Ethics is the hard and complex process of attempting, more or less rationally, to discover how to live a better and decent life. The promise is that good life pleases human beings. Achieving some degrees of such a condition delights human beings. But again, that good life is not the good life of a rat or a fish, but that of a good human being. Being a good human being, as we have deeply learned, consists mainly of having constructive relationships with other human beings. It is a state of great madness to want things at the expense of relations with other people…

In my personal case, and after many years of nervously claiming that I am a Lone Hanger or Robinson Crusoe, I have learned that few things keep their charm in solitude, and that in order to create yourself, you have to search for God’s wisdom and dare to live the good life with your family and other people as well.


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