WEEK 1 REFLECTION DIARY
My Fundamental Understanding of Ethics
The discourse of ethics is one of the most diverse, deep and complex subjects; and exactly defining the common borders of ethics across different societies is extremely challenging. Since, Albukhary International University students and lecturers come from various cultural backgrounds, mentioning early Greece philosophers as ethics champions will not make the discussion fair and just; as hundreds of thousands of prophets, to mention a few, were sent down by the creator to teach the people the spiritual and the physical ethics.
I tried my best to follow the lecture but I could not get the most out of it as the lecture was not directly going deeper into the subject. Although, two activities were carried out; it was on Thursday, January 31st, that I got a glimpse towards the direction; this course is going to follow throughout this trimester. Lecturer Johnpritto described, ethics in a manageable and an understandable approach, as the art and science of judging the good or bad, right or wrong after carefully and critically assessing the serious consequences (harming or rewarding), it can have on the human’s and environment’s wellbeing through deep thinking and discussion by the elites of a particular society in time, taking the surrounding influence and interaction with other beings into consideration.
Furthermore, ethics practiced by a particular group actually takes a long time to develop. A total transformation of a society’s ethics can only occur in a short period of time with the help of the divine intervention. By carefully analysing the first and the second arguments, it took thousands of years for the communities in Egypt, Arabian Peninsula, Eastern Africa and Persia to develop their own framework of ethics. However, after the introduction of the Muslim faith in Makkah and Medinah (small desert towns at that time), Islam spread out and shifted many people’s ethical paradigm by enriching their culture with new and fresh codes of conduct. Their measurement and judgement of what is right and wrong which was based on a mere debate by their elites was replaced by careful analysis, discussion and deep thinking within and into the framework of Islam by a group of knowledgeable Ulama (Sheikhs). This complete transformation took 23 years only in Arabia and Northernmost coasts of East Africa followed by 25 yearlong neutralization of the threat from the surrounding Roman and Persian empires.
Since, ethics is the art and science of judging moral behaviour. There are many different schools of thought around the world and even with in Islam, as society’s intra-action and interaction becomes even more complex. These various schools influence each and every community’s moral values. The challenge comes in when these different schools of thought clash. It can only be averted if each side avoids asserting their ethical dimension forcefully over the other. In the case of acceptance, mutual respect and intercultural marriage, the development of middle ground ethical framework comes into existence.
By the way, what is the current effect of Globalisation on peoples’ ethics under the narrow observation of their cultures? The availability of large amounts of unethical materials, on the mass media, have led to an ethical dilemma in many societies around the world. In that sense, many cultures have been crushed so as their code of ethics. Taking my country as an example, although the skeleton of their ethics is still intact but it is not effective as it used to be 60 years ago. Due to the absence of mass media, the old people at that time resisted any change driven by the British protectorate to the extent that the British could not break up the unwavering honesty and commitment of the old clandestine chieftains, Sheikhs and elites to their community. Then, the protectorate office in Aden launched a new strategy known as divide and rule by trying to provide some tribal elders and chiefs with money, guns and all sorts of privileges, it could. This action was known by the British as luring the chiefs and intellectuals. A proverb says, “A mouth, that has eaten, is shy” which means if a person gives you money, wealth, and all sorts of privileges there should be a reason behind it. So this wisdom is guiding us to question and look before we leap so as to avoid entrapping ourselves and ending up serving the unethical interests of the unscrupulous people.
In conclusion, today many teenagers are facing an ethical dilemma. Before the 1950s people used to talk, interact and consult with their elder brothers and sisters, parents, religious/spiritual leaders, elders, and all the available elites that they can get access to. Now, the rapid technological advancement, for example the internet revolution, has caused a historical paradigm shift. Most of the youth are consulting with Google and interacting with virtual world, so their thinking and judgement changes frequently in the blink of an eye. This leads to a confused and traumatized generation which I personally call generation zero because of their weak moral values.