Ethics are rules for good living in society; if you’re Robinson Crusoe, alone on an island, ethics are largely irrelevant, because there is no one to do right or wrong to. Although I would also consider plants and animals, in that I believe all living things should be treated properly. In society, however, if you break the rules – that is, if you behave unethically – you definitely increase the chances of someone responding with force. Treating others ethically decreases the odds of violent conflict and increases the odds of pleasant and profitable interaction. Ethics are a survival mechanism. They help make life less solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
.. Ethics are, in fact, essential tools for survival for social beings like humans. That’s the difference between a decent human being and a criminal; the criminal doesn’t understand this.
.. No matter what people wind up believing, though, it should be the product of their own thinking and experience. Not something they believe because they were brought up that way or someone scared them into believing. But free thinkers are few and far between, I fear. It accounts for the degraded state of things on this planet.
.. Aesthetics help make life worth living, especially since I don’t think life has meaning in itself. You have to endow it with meaning. The cosmos may have a life of its own, but you’re totally in charge of your life, even if they’re going to throw you in a dungeon or execute you tomorrow morning.