“To build a global ethic of nonviolence, coexistence, gender equity and peace by facilitating secular processes that cultivate personal and social ethical values.” (FUR)
“To promote universal responsibility in a manner that respects difference and encourages a diversity of beliefs, practices and approaches.” (FUR)
“To enrich educational paradigms that tap the transformative potential of the human mind.” (FUR)
I have always enjoyed philosophy and during my undergraduate years at Simon Fraser University I had the privilege of attending some of the early meetings of the SFU Philosophers Cafe. Sometime around 2009 I had the further privilege of starting a Philosophers Cafe in Squamish BC with the support and moderation of Jill Fellows who was teaching at Quest University at the time. One of our last topics for discussion was “Universal/Global Ethics: Is there such a thing? What would they look like?“. Although the topic and discussion was at times philosophically technical, the underlying meaning of the topic is universal and easily recognizable. The population of the world continues to increase, and boundaries between countries, governments, communities and communications continue to dissolve. These population growth and technologically driven communication changes are bringing together people of widely different values, ethics, laws and perspectives on life and community. One of the important questions that arises with this growth and increasing connection and interaction with diverse populations is “how can we possibly create a harmonious and sustainable future living together on this crowded planet if we all have different ideas as to what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’?” Many believe the only way we can attain such a harmonious and sustainable future is through the the development and adoption of Universal Ethics & Responsibility. A set of personal and global values which we all recognize as important and worth promoting and adopting as guides to living our lives, how we behave, and how we treat others. Although the notion of Universal Ethics & Responsibility is undeniably complex and likely to take hundreds if not thousands of years to attain, and will require a level of global cooperation yet to be seen, there is much to be gained by beginning discussions, and trying to adopt some of these values now.
In 1989 when the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, he donated a portion of the 1/2 million dollar award to many facing starvation in various parts of the world; a portion to some of the leprosy programs in India, a portion to some existing peace programs and a portion to start the Foundation for Universal Responsibility. I believe the Dalai Lama, along with remarkable human beings like Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela and many others, have already shown us how to create a better world through the universal values of compassion, respect, tolerance and love for one another. Each and every one of us can begin laying the foundation for a world we wish to leave behind for our children and future generations, by adopting some or all of these values right now. I am trying to do my own very, very small part by learning about these great people, their powerful and universal ideas and finding new ways not only to spread their ideas, but to adopt them into my own life on a day-to-day basis.
Although this topic is far too complex to cover adequately in one blog posting, what follows is the outline for the Philosopher’s Cafe talk on Universal & Global Ethics which was originally written by Jill Fellows along with a few edits, additions and paragraphs of my own. I believe it makes for reasonable starting point, from a philosophical standpoint, for a discussion on some of the perspectives on Universal Ethics. Continue Reading »
Tags: Ethics, Morality, Philosophy, Spirituality, Universal Responsibility