In Heaven there are no ethics. Heaven can be a spiritual afterlife or world peace on Earth. But wherever Heaven is found, ethics are certainly not there.
Please allow me to explain.
The Katz reading blames ethics for setting grounds to stand upon. A synopsis of the reading might state: because one claims to be ethical, they are acting unethical. No matter the particular goal, we often proceed if we believe the act to be ethically sound. And as Katz points out, sometimes those ethics approve Jewish deaths.
So it is in this way, I understand ethics to be self serving and damningly paradoxical.
One doesn’t need to look far back to understand why humans created ethics. The first written code, Hammurabi’s “eye for an eye,” already had laws in place. So why did we need ethics? Well, the short answer comes from thinkers. These philosophers thought about their ancient world. But they didn’t have Google, so they dialoged at great speculation with themselves. They thought symmetry to be pretty; thus funding a future of philosophical waxings about beauty (what’s pretty art, literature, ethics, etc.). And in the ancient world binary thinking was all the rage. So to Plato and the others, if there was an evil, there had to be a good. If there was an ugly, there was a pretty. And sadly, this simplistic thinking continues today; for we find a Republican to think not only himself to be right, but his opponents must be wrong. Or as Einstein’s letter to FDR explains, if we don’t build the bomb, then they will. And so ethics approved deforming people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. All thanks to our chauvinistic ethics.
A spiritual thinker may say, we’ve traded heaven on Earth for Hell in the afterlife…
On my travels I’ve seen evil. And I’ve seen warfare. In fact, Ive participated at great length with both. And both have one thing in common: passion. That’s right! Most of the killers I’ve observed are fueled by passion. To be victorious, the soldier must conjure passion–or believe me they will lose to the soldier that finds the fire to kill. Passion is fueled only by a foundation of personal ethics. If we know ourselves to be True and with a True cause, then we proceed. It is in this way the ancient Christians and Muslims began fighting the Crusades that continue to this day. Thousands of years of bloodshed, all in the name of ethics.
Many of those lives and the Jewish souls of millions, walk today if we had never imagined a moral grounds to kill. Or better yet, if ethics had never been created the notion of justice fades away. Our oldest stories begin with a short snippet of how a protagonist has been wronged. Perhaps their parents were killed or their property raped. And then, the other 3/4 of the story involves bloody retribution. Our movies today follow this exact guideline. We need to feel good about watching violence and so we’ve conjured justice. That binary thought of ‘right and wrong’ breed division — because we clearly understand who the bad guy and the good guy is. The good guy always kills the main bad guy last, slowly, and gruesomely, so we, the audience feel satisfied. Here ethics exploits our mammalian drive for competition.
Now lets talk about Heaven. Either Heaven gives us the full knowledge needed to solve an ethical dilemma, or ethics don’t exist. There can be no middle ground here. No balancing act or middle path will do. This is because world peace and Heaven describe everyone as being righteous or simply keeping to themselves. And its without and only without a perceived moral ground to stand upon, that a crusade can’t be launched.
And to say we will learn how to categorize ethics properly as prescribed in the Johnson-Sheehan reading is foolish. How can one properly triage ethics from an objective standpoint? We’ve already talked at length about objectivity either being impossible or an impossibly endless balancing act. The act only becomes easier as we learn more about others. And so, proper triage assumes we are all infallibly smart and experts of other cultures. Insurance wouldn’t exist if we were smart. And wars disappear if we become experts of foreign culture. But nay, insurance is quite alive and very expensive because people fuck up. And wars rage this very second because of compassion’s vacancy. All that means is different people set different expectations for their own set of ethics:
“Keep in mind that readers from other countries may have very different sets of values. If you are communicating with international readers, make sure you are aware of their ethical values” (p. 78).
That means unless we become experts of every single culture on Earth along with their sub-cultures and so on, expectations will go unsatisfied, breeding contempt. And in our current era, globalization means we will offend others. Just as we become offended when our American expectations aren’t met. Communism, Terrorism, and Socialism are examples of offenses to our State. Yet Socialism, Communism, and even Terrorism loves the ethics of utility — but they love utility to a fault for the red-blooded American, right?
Destroying ethics, destroys reasons to kill, dislike, or divide. But my call is not for lawlessness or anarchy. No, I’m simply denouncing unnecessary static from interfering with the only morality humans need: the GOLDEN RULE. The Golden Rule has no predetermined expectations; for acting as we wish others to treat us, sets a concrete example of how an individual acts. But of most importance, I conclude by stating how the Golden Rule allows actions to speak for themselves; disregarding the lies inherent to rhetoric. The Golden Rule illustrates compassion. Ethics merely talk about it.
Katz, S.(1992). The Ethics of Expediency. College English, Volume 54, number 3.
Johnson-Sheehan, R. (2005). Technical Communication Today (1st ed.). Boston: Pearson.