Western ethics by Hodo Hersi

It was the third week that our beloved lecturers started to teach us different ethics of the world aiming to promote our understanding of the subject. The first ethics we discussed was the western ethics which is mainly derived from the ancient Greeks. I was very lucky because I got the chance to learn ancient ethics of Greek and how life looked like those days from a Greek born lecturer, Prof Evangalos.

He shared with us how Greeks interacted with other communities and how they achieved to set up colonies in many parts of the world.  He told us that Greeks used to trade with other people and live with them.  They achieved this because Greeks were one of the first people on this planet who established their own ethics and they found that people have different perspectives so to intermingle and intermarry from other communities they tried to understand and appreciate their ethics and cultures. This plan worked very well and enabled the Greeks to set up colonies in many parts of the world.

In addition, we learnt some of the greatest philosophers of Greeks in the ancient times. A good example of this was Socrates, who was one of the most famous philosophers of all the time. Promoting good ethical values and noble morals was the concern of ancient Greek philosophers. Not only Greeks but most of the ancient communities developed their own ethical values based on their experiences.  It is fact that during those eras people were primitive and they were not technologically advanced as we are now, however ethics and more judgments were well kept and developed.

So the question that everyone should ask is that, can we say that humanity and good ethical values are progressing?  The next paragraphs will examine the question and highlight some of the important points during the discussion in the lecture. I will first put forward the arguments of the lecturers as well as my class mates, and then I will share my point of view.

America spent millions of US dollars to kill a so-called terrorist, and later on claimed that they did this for the benefit of the Muslim people was said by Evangalos who opened the discussion. He continued that using such huge amount of money to help the people who are in need is justifiable rather than using it for someone’s own purposes. From this example and many others, he stated the humanity is far from progressing.

Besides Evangalos, some students presented their ideas suggesting that the increase of crime rate, social problems and other issues are the facts that humanity is not making good progress. However, in my opinion, there are some ways in which humanity progressed like the number of charity donors are increasing day after day.  There are many people in the world who are trying to promote good values and it is unfair for them to say that humanity has not progressed.

On the contrary, it has not developed in some ways and to me the root cause is that the current educational systems lack the quality to teach the youngsters the importance of having good ethical values. Many colleges and universities teach them how to earn money, how to defend their countries and many other things while making trivial the ethical values.  In summary, we cannot say humanity has not made any kind of progress instead we might say that it has not made the required progress. Therefore, the solution to achieve better progress is by relooking our educational systems and teaching people the importance of good values and morals. They should be started from the kinder garden schools to universities.

Killing is more harmful than Lying

Our third week’s lecture was quite boring for me as it only talks about the past and somehow exaggerated the western philosophy. I was wondering the question that weren’t other communities in those days have their own ethical values and philosophers. Of course, they did and I completely agreed with our lecturer Mr. John who said all the communities have their own ethics and views. However, what I did not admire in the lecture was that, it gave more than what the western people believe and it makes them as the first people to set up codes of ethics in different contexts. Despite being an informative lecture, the lecture lacked the practicality since no other ethical values were discussed.  Nevertheless, it was the tutorial lecture that made the topic of the week interesting as our lecture brought a very practical and modern day ethical issue.  The topic was which is more harmful lying or killing, and I will share my stand in the following paragraphs.

Lying causes many problems to people and it greatly harms its victims. It has immense negative impacts and for these reasons it is discouraged in many cultures and religions. For instance, in Islam it is prohibited and many verses of the sacred book, Quran states that a real Muslim should stay it away as far as possible. On the contrary, killing which means taking someone’s life is the worst thing on earth. Because everyone has the right to live, but when you simply take that life from a person that action is irreversible and that person is gone forever. Hence, lying is a very bad habit, but it cannot be compared to killing. A liar may decide to stop lying and change his mind, but a killer is always a murderer and whatever he/she does, there is no way of undoing the action.

#HodoHersi

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