I have thought much lately about the question “what moves us?”, and the answer seems to be far more illusive than one might think.
I started thinking about this as I was pondering Ethics, that is the philosophical study of Ethics, which I have a tendency to do when given a free moment to think deeply. I like to ponder on the “why” of people’s actions, as I believe this shows where our true allegiances lie, given that a person’s Ethic is supposed to be their compass, which leads them to act in a certain way. However, if one were to consider the reality of a compass and travel, then one would find that all a compass can do is point to true north. If a person should desire, for what ever reason, to head in a different direction, a compass that points north, and not to the person’s chosen destination, would not point the user into the direction they wish to go. This is only a helpful analogy in as far as one considers the directional output of the device.
When we compare this to a person’s Ethic, I believe we find the answer as to why people don’t always follow their chosen Ethic. The cardinal directions are set and North, is always, well… North. While this is great for a traveler heading, it doesn’t do much for those that aren’t interested in North at any given time. Now by North, I mean Right, or that which is good.
This brings in the question, “what moves you?” You see, I have come to understand that Ethical systems are only able to tell a person what they should do if they are sold out entirely to that system. That is to say that a particular ethical system is what moves a person. In reality, this could never work for the same reason that a compass can’t always be followed north, we are moved by many different things, and to different degrees, and north is not always the direction in which we are moved, even if it should be.
The different Ethical systems take into account a limited scope of motivations, i.e expediency, duty, “the good life” and so on. However, there are times in life that one or more of these move me in a direction, while I’m moved in other directions by different motivators at other times, and I suspect the same to be true of others. Therefore, it seems necessary to take them all together as an Ethical amalgam, which will lead us in the right direction, much like a navigation system does. GPS enabled devices take into account the many motivations of the traveler, i.e fastest route, or avoidance of specific roadway types. It is this sort of flexibility that is needed in a thoroughgoing Ethical system. I will in future write more about the Ethical System that I believe fulfills all the necessary functions a thoroughgoing system would need to fulfill.
In the meantime, I hope that whatever moves you directs your path in the ways Justice, Righteousness, and Beauty.