I tried to research this on the internet and found that Albert Schweitzer put some thought into it. To me ethics can be broken down to our understanding of good and bad. When I was very young, I did not need to be told, I knew when I was doing something that was bad. The punishment that came from it merely reinforced my own sense of good and bad.
Like most of you I was born in the midst of a civilization. My unique perspective by being born in a United Nations camp was that I was a child of all the participating nations. Being too young to voice an opinion my parents brought me into the heart of western civilization and what we citizens call the United States of America.
My lesson came when my greed overcame my fear and I boldly went on a crime spree stuffing a shopping bag with all manner of aquarium goodies from the basement of a department store in San Francisco. This boldness had developed over time as I had previously managed to steal various items I could not afford. But I had never been this bold and I knew even as I placed item after item in the shopping bag that I had no intention of paying for any of them. Needless to say I was caught. I forget my exact age, but they called my mom and she sure was mad at me! Fortunately time has erased the means of punishment, but it was mostly effective.
My sense of bad was also tingling when I was around six years old and my friend Ronald Ramos whose father worked in a barber shop across the street from our apartment asked me to play with him in his dad’s station wagon parked on the street below our apartment (on 2nd floor). We were going to be like grownups and smoke some cigarettes! However we had no cigarettes, but we had paper which we rolled up and made them look like cigarettes, and got them smoking with the cigarette lighter. Ronald was behind the wheel and I was on the right side with my back against the door. We were smiling at one another and smirking about being big and bad each with an imitation smoking cigarette waving about in our right hand when something inexplicable happened. It was a very violent explosion. The car door blew open and I was suddenly outside being shaken and it took me a moment to realize my mom had caught us! I tried to explain they were not real cigarettes but she took no heed. I promised her I would never try to smoke another cigarette! How she saw us doing that from the second floor is still a puzzlement to me. However I never did take up smoking nor do I care to. Mama had shocked the desire to smoke clean out of me!
So ethics are the extension of our sense for good and bad. It is what allows civilization to exist. We must be mostly ethical. Nearly all of us know when we are doing bad. Plenty of us try to do good. But the real reason for laying this foundation in my blog will come soon enough. For now it is my recommendation to ponder how we all rely on one another to survive. Our trust in one another gave us both Ethics and Civilization.