How important is ethics in today's society
Ethics and Conduct in Today's Society
Ethics is the basic principle according to which we should orient our behavior. It tells us what is right and good and thus gives us a guide for moral behavior. The regulations that religions give us for behavior towards our fellow human beings are based on ethical principles. But on closer inspection not only do different religions differ in their instructions, these instructions, or at least their interpretation, has changed again and again over time. The consensus on what is ethical behavior, i.e. what is morally right, is not shaped by religion. It is the product of the constantly changing society and its social norms. Every change in our life, every new invention and development that changes our everyday life also results in a change in our worldview. As a result, our perception of what is normal, right and ethical changes. But what does this mean for our time, in which many things seem to be changing faster than ever before?
Ethics and Conduct Today
As a result of digitization and constantly advancing globalization, our society is in a state of upheaval that we have not experienced since the industrial revolution. Many of the jobs we are familiar with up to now are being made unnecessary by computers or taken over by machines. Again and again we are told that new professions are or will be created in their place, that digitization will bring improvements in working life. But what we have actually experienced so far is, in most cases, increased pressure on the job market and at work. Fewer employees should always perform better in less time. Those who can't keep up are quickly replaced. The pressure of competition is tough and money and not ethics or morals determine everyday work.
A change is also noticeable in politics around the world. Where in the last few decades it was mostly a question of consensus and cooperation between people with different political convictions, and where attempts were made to find a way towards the center, there is now a strong tendency to the right in almost all countries. On the one hand, this seems to strengthen ethics. Right stands for traditional values and clear norms. This is also expressed in everyday behavior, in which violations of ethics are increasingly addressed and criticized. Those who deviate from the norm are pressured to reconsider and improve this behavior. At the same time, however, it also means a loss of tolerance. Xenophobia and social coldness, especially towards refugees, are increasing and the tone in politics itself is getting rougher and more and more unfair methods are being used against rivals. Despite the call for more morality, there is also a loss of ethical behavior.
Since our ethical ideas are shaped by the society and culture in which we live, the rapid change in our society is also leading to a very different characterization of today's children compared to those experienced by their parents. It is of course nothing new that the moral concepts and norms of behavior of different generations differ. Even in ancient Rome, the older generation complained about the freedom of movement and the apparent lack of morality of the youth of that time. But today we are often faced with a situation of complete failure to understand the other point of view. Ideas that have been shaped by a society that has changed so much that young people can no longer understand them seem downright angry to them. For the adults who were formed by them in their childhood, however, they are so natural that it is hardly possible for them to look at them from a different perspective and to understand the violent rejection of the younger ones.
A search for a new consensus
A changed society also needs changed values and an ethics that is appropriate to its possibilities. So the ethical conflict between the generations is inevitable. The new ethics of the digital society must emerge from it. It is to be hoped that we will be able to carry it out peacefully and come to a consensus that will give the society of the future values that enable a good and peaceful coexistence for all.
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