Untihgjffjjghftled-1You know the difference between right and wrong. You learned it when you were a kid. You are quite happy and quite comfortable with your morals. You can take on any ethical dilemma with ease. You go through your life fully knowing how you would tackle any problem that came your way with barely a second of thought.

You have your philosophy. It works for you. It’s worked so far. Why would you ever want to change it?

Well, congratulations. You seem to have discovered a way of living that the rest of the world can’t even imagine.

Because the rest of the world is caught up in emotional turmoil. In moral and ethical confusion. Wars are fought over the right way to govern, to worship, to live.

There are too many imponderables in our huge world to be able to know every side of every story whenever there is a conflict of morals. There is no black-and-white answer you can fall back on when things start to get difficult, no matter how much people might like there to be.

No matter how much people might insist there is.

No matter how sure you are of your moral code – whether it comes from some kind of established guidance or is one you’ve developed based on only your experience – you can never be totally sure that it is applicable to every situation.

If your morals are so rigid, they will never work.

No moral code can hope to flourish with such inflexibility. It needs to be able to adapt to the changes in modern culture. There is no ancient scripture, for instance, that can possibly give explicit guidance when considering the proper ways to use and regulate the internet.

Most, however, do give advice about the proper way to treat your slaves.

Remember that anything you hold to be a fundamental moral value has been dictated by the circumstances of your birth, by where you grew up, by how you were raised, by the things you consumed in the media during your childhood and developmental years. If you were born somewhere else – be that the other side of the world or the other side of the street – you would think differently. Even if that difference is very tiny.

In order to be content that you are doing the right thing in every given situation, you need to be able to see each instance separately. The guidelines you set yourself for how to behave need to be able to take into account any extenuating circumstances. They need to be able to consider each moral dilemma fully, without resorting to stiff, unconditional commandments.

As long as you have your priorities right – what you value most and what you want to achieve out of a situation – you will be able to tackle ethical issues without the need for strict rules. As long as you remember what is important and focus on making the absolute best out of a problem, you can depend on your instincts and your ability to reason calmly every time.

Without being ready to consider the reasons behind people’s actions, you can never be a good judge of character or behaviour.

As long as you are willing to take everything into account – as long as you have that flexibility with your judgement – you will ever be a fair and moral authority

Kirstie Summers,

Daily Zen.