This blog outlines the author’s concept of ethics («objective ethics», OE), which refers to the purpose, meaning and principles of both the proper behavior of the intelligent being and the properly arranged society of intelligent beings. The blog demonstrates why OE is the only true ethics. Its truth (and objectivity) stems from the fact that its source is in objective reality independent of any possible moral actor. Objective ethics is the basis of the public sphere of society, i.e. the basis for actions of and relations between any intelligent beings not connected personally. It has nothing to do with religion, traditions or science. The foundations of OE are purely metaphysical although its practical norms are found and formed through a trusted fair contract between free moral actors. However, OE is not based on the contract. Rather it is the contract that based on this ethics. Universal common ground for consensus, its goal and condition is freedom, and in order to achieve it OE demands the elimination of all forms of violence, coercion, oppression, influence and the like that may violate free expression of the will. Therefore OE leads (and has led earlier) humanity to a free and just society that is a moral alternative to the modern oppressive order. OE brings no practical benefits, goods or utility, and its ultimate goal is absolute (metaphysical) freedom even if it is unreachable. OE helps find the objective truth and distinguish the objectively good from the objectively bad in everyday life.
Here are the main theses of objective ethics.
1) Freedom is an objective property of the universe opposite to determinism; it is responsible for the development of the universe (evolution) and at the same time is the aim of this development. Determinism is repeatability, regularity, certainty. It feels like a necessity, inevitability, compulsion, violence.
2) Freedom is fundamentally unknowable; the question of the existence of freedom is insolvable. Determinism is learned by observations and reflections. Determinism predetermines the future but freedom makes the future unpredictable and unknowable by denying determinism.
3) Freedom is perceived as Good and determinism as Evil. Freedom begets all other values. The duty of man, the purpose and meaning of human existence is to overcome determinism and to make the world freer. Cognition is part of this process. Knowledge entails responsibility; the criterion of truth is movement to freedom.
4) The man is one who follows his moral duty, who is striving to freedom. The motive of duty, the free will, is guided by the «feeling» of freedom. The unwillingness or inability of a sentient being to be a man brings it down to the level of animals. The animal follows the laws of the universe, submits to forces without trying to overcome them.
5) There is no absolute moral law; ethical norms are derived from the general contract. The basis, goal and condition of the consent is rejection of all forms of violence. The requirements of ethics cover conclusion of the contract (honesty, openness, objectivity) and compliance with it (fidelity to given word, adherence to rules, responsibility for violation).
6) Ethical norms (prohibitions) are formal; they are constantly improving; the old are replaced by new, more free and fair — this is the essence of moral progress. The meaning of the norms is to stimulate creative and constructive activities by limiting violence. The ethics treats people as abstractions; all private is ignored.
7) A special case of the contract is the exchange of man with society by the results of his activities. Ethics requires a fair (equivalent) retribution for both the harm and benefit brought by the man. Universal practical value units, money, express the value of freedom.
8) Personal relations are governed by a sacrificial morality (emotions, love, care, etc.), and catastrophic situations by a heroic morality. Both types of morality are informal, positive, limited in space and time, and require a clear separation from the public space (non-personal relations) governed by the ethics.
Objective ethics: Manifesto
This Manifesto proclaims the universal principles of objective ethics.
Purpose and meaning of the activities of a free man is to maximize common good.
Common good is freedom from any determinism, both natural and social. Common good is achieved by cooperation of all free people. Everyone brings their own personal creative contribution to this common cause. Recognition of the contribution by others is the only objective source of its value.
Natural determinism is needs, threats and any limitations imposed by nature on man. This includes physical needs (favorable habitat conditions, including movement in space), biological (destruction of sources of fear, hunger, disease), psychological and cultural (satisfaction of curiosity, boredom, the need for variety, knowledge and beauty). Overcoming natural determinism requires changing the world.
Social determinism is any kind of violence, coercion, pressure and injustice, which may affect the creative result of a person. In the process of cooperation, free people, by consensus, develop formal rules that allow them to overcome social determinism. Consensus is reached on the basis of openness, trust and honest account of the interests and opinions of all people, each of which is the same party in common contract. Those reasonable people who deliberately withdraws from the contract are considered by others as part of the natural environment (natural determinism).
Formal rules govern the activities of people in the public sphere of society, which includes the interaction between strangers. Morality of personal relationships is informal and out of place in the public sphere. Free man draws a clear line between the spheres. He prohibits any conflicts of interest between personal and public. Personal sphere of everyone is completely closed to strangers, objective ethics does not apply to it.
Possible types of violence prohibited by objective ethics:
1. Physical, both individual and collective (including violence of power and majority), including indirect (creating dangers to life and health, exposure to risk).
2. Economic and financial:
— Fraud, cheating, theft, misappropriation;
— Exploitation, vandalism, freeloading;
— Use of market power, unfair competition;
— Inequitable distribution of shared resources;
— Manipulation of value of money, speculations, shifting risks to others.
— Deception, distraction;
— Distortion, imposition, withholding information;
— Overflow by information, ignoring, silencing;
— Generation of confusing terms and meanings;
— Imprinting brands, slogans, symbols, names and faces.
4. Moral and ideological:
— Imposition of moral norms, values, traditions and customs;
— Inculcation of religious beliefs and unreasonable metaphysical ideas;
— Instilling a sense of guilt, responsibility, worship;
— Calls for a universal brotherly love, for sacrifice in the name of «thy neighbor» or any other group of people;
— Indoctrination, brainwashing, subjection.
— Threats, blackmail;
— Temptation, flattery;
— Harassment, molestation, intimidation, humiliation, mobbing;
— Libel, slander, disclosure of personal information;
— Intellectual pressure, reference to authority, formal education, general opinion, truism, incompetence.
6. Emotional: The deliberate evocation of feelings of pity, shame, desire, sympathy, hatred,resentment, disgust, etc.
7. Propagation of the morality of personal relationships to the public sphere:
— Corruption, collusion, bribery, kickbacks;
— Clanship, friendship, kinship and other personal relationships in public companies or institutions;
— Corporate culture, team spirit, forced collective responsibility;
— Concealment, mutual service;
— Tips, handouts, rewards for «personal» service.
8. Group morality, the opposition of «friend or foe» and discrimination on this basis:
— Nationalism, racism, regionalism, patriotism;
— Ethnic and cultural bonds;
— Moral and religious superiority;
— Conceptual, ideological or other worldview affinity;
— Professional and class solidarity;
— Closed formal communities (special/secret services, orders, lodges, etc.).
Free man is not only guided by the described principles, but he also looks for ways of their widespread practical implementation through education and promotion of non-violence and universal equitable social contract. The Manifesto serves this purpose.
Only ethics makes people free!