The color of ethics is green

April 21, 2019

The second core moral aim of Intelligent Ethics is:

   1-xviii.ii   The nurturing of humanity

And the third:

   1-xviii.iii  The nurturing of all life *

The flourishing of humanity and of all life are subject to and dependent upon a flourishing environment. Given this, the ethical are necessarily environmentalists. If you are committed to the nurturing of humanity and to the nurturing of all life, then you must also commit yourself to the nurturing of the environment. The former are dependent upon the latter. Almost by definition, the colour of ethics is green.

Many scientists, climatologists and environmentalists are now certain that if climate change continues at its present rate our planet will experience either:

  • a failure in multiple ecosystems leading to the death of a significant proportion of humanity and the potential collapse of our civilisation;

or,

  • the extinction of all complex life on Earth, including ourselves.

For those who wish to see humanity flourish in a flourishing natural world these are dire warnings.

As ethical environmentalists, and in fact for all humanity in the 21st Century, there is therefore no environmental issue more important than climate change. If we wish to be ethical, then it is essential we also become climate aware and active on behalf of the environment.

But what of objectors? There are some who claim that the climatologists are mistaken and the risks exaggerated.

Our answer to this must be, “Is there any possibility that these predictions are right?” And the clear conclusion: “The possibility cannot be dismissed.”

No one can categorically demonstrate that there is no such risk.

Therefore, if we care about humanity and the future of our children, our duty is the same as if the worst of these predictions were correct. We must apply the precautionary principle. Our duty is to take every necessary measure to make sure these appalling eventualities do not and cannot come about. If we care about humanity and the future of our children there is no wriggle room. We must tackle this risk head on.

 

*See Ethical Intelligence:

UK

www.amazon.co.uk/Intelligent-Ethics-Luke-Andreski/dp/1794618732

US

www.amazon.com/Intelligent-Ethics-Luke-Andreski/dp/1794618732

And… http://www.ethicalintelligence.org

 

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Intelligent Ethics – My Story

April 8, 2019

A Good Person

For much of my life I’ve puzzled over the question of what it means to be good. How do you become a good person? How should a good person behave in our complex and confusing, highly integrated and yet intensely conflicted 21st Century world? And how should I behave, with my particular abilities, limitations and experiences, if I want to be or to do good?

Towards the end of 2017, a year into the Trump presidency and a year and a half after the Brexit vote, I realised that there was one thing that I couldn’t go on doing whatever my definition of goodness might be… and that was to go on doing nothing.

Admittedly, I hadn’t been doing absolutely nothing. I’d held down a well-paid job. I’d shared in bringing up a family. I’d written a couple of books… But I wasn’t able to say I’d done anything particularly worthwhile for my community, anything particularly unusual or beneficial for the society into which I was born.

Within weeks of this realisation I gave in my notice at work and by March 2018 I was unemployed.

I was ready to become a different person. I was ready to start doing good.

 

A Divided Life

I’ve written all my life. While at school I scandalised my family with poetry that was so blood-thirsty and apocalyptic it was only a cat’s whisker away from self-parody (if that). Later I wrote science fiction, emulating writers like Ursula Le Guin, John Brunner and Philip K. Dick. From there I moved on to more literary work, completing my novel To The Bridge, a love story set in modern day Bristol but with a walk-on part for Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Yet all of this was only one aspect of a divided life. I wrote in the evenings, at weekends and between jobs, and in my real life I supported myself and my family through a frequently stressful but often enjoyable career in IT.

But I wasn’t going to live a divided life anymore. I was now settled on one life: a life that contributed significantly to others, a life where I tried to be a better person.

The only problem was, I still didn’t know what ‘being a better person’ really meant.

 

A Change Of Direction

Looking around me at the world of Brexit, the world of Trump, at our fears of climate change and global warming, at populism, inequality and the proliferation of fake news, I wondered whether I was alone in feeling that we live in a realm of ethical quicksand, where one person’s good is another person’s bad and where just about everyone across the world seems to have their own interpretation of which is which.

It came to me then, fairly unexpectedly, that perhaps I could do a little good by using the time I now had  to document what ‘doing good’ actually means for our turbulent moment in human history.

By April 2018 I’d settled down to serious research. I was jobless; there were few distractions; and I had enough savings to tide myself and my family through. My project quickly became a passion. I worked twelve and fourteen hour days. I read countless books, from Yuval Harari to Rutger Bregman, from Aristotle to Mary Warnock. I quizzed friends and contacts about their feelings about morality, about how our world could change for the better. I wrote, discarded, wrote, re-wrote. I continued at this pace for almost a year, injuring my shoulders and back from the weeks spent huddled over my laptop, yet ploughing on regardless. And it was all worthwhile. By February 2019 I had completed not one book but two – and developed the outlines for several more that I wanted to write.

 

Ethics Reimagined

Both my completed books were fairly ambitious – which isn’t surprising given the field I’d chosen to explore. In the first, Intelligent Ethics, I attempted to reconstruct an ethics capable of tackling the key risks and opportunities of our times: the dangerous and yet potentially wonderful technological transformation overtaking our lives; the demand for beneficial political change versus the uprise of populism and fake news; the frightening prospect of climate change.

In the early chapters of this book I consider the very basics of what it means for our lives to have meaning, and how the fact of life itself, of being alive, creates meaning – and I construct from these foundations what I hope is a coherent and encompassing moral code. I try to show that an ethical code is necessary for social cohesion and flourishing, but that any successful ethical code must also have a source of powerful moral authority. And I attempt to find just such a source…

This is no small challenge – yet there is no need for people to agree with the specific source of moral authority which I identify; they can still agree with the core moral aims I derive from it, moral aims which appear to me to be crucial to re-establishing trust and cohesion in our conflicted world:

  • To nurture others
  • To nurture our species as a whole
  • To nurture all life
  • To share life with the empty reaches of the stars

The first two of these aims – the nurturing of humans as individuals and the nurturing of humanity as a whole – are not unusual. They are found in many ethical systems of the past. They are what allow us to trust one another. The moral person does not just look out for themselves, they look out for the people around them, also. The moral person doesn’t just care about their own isolated community of neighbours and friends, they recognise that we are all in the same boat, all part of the same species, and that for a child to suffer on the other side of the world is as bad as for a child to suffer in our neighbour’s home.

The third moral aim of Intelligent Ethics is the nurturing of all life. This is an aim which it is essential for us to embrace if our biosphere is to be restored to good health, if we are to prevent life-threatening climate change. In asserting this aim, we assert that we must value not just the thriving of each other and of our species, but also the thriving of all the life around us, of the biological world upon which our civilisation and potentially the very survival of our species depends. This is a core moral aim now embraced by a multitude of people and organisations across the globe, from Greenpeace to the IPCC, from the Vatican to the young climate strikers in our schools.

And the fourth?  Imagine if we are able to renew our world, if we are able to create an Eden of justice and sustainability upon Earth. It’s a marvellous ambition, and many would say unattainable – but just imagine if it were possible – what then? Humans are not built to idle away their lives in Utopia, even if such a Utopia is achievable. Our species needs a project, and what greater project could there be, after we have resolved our issues at home, than the sharing of life with the dead spaces beyond the boundaries of our world? Life gives meaning to a universe of dead matter. Why not take that meaning to places where none has been before?

smaller compass

The moral compass of Intelligent Ethics

 

A New Way Of Seeing

So far so good. A great number of people will agree with the majority of these aims. But is asserting our commitment to humans, to humanity and to all life enough, if we are still trapped in a world of propaganda, of manipulative language and of dishonesty and division? If we want our society to flourish, or even just to survive, if we are keen to reorganise our world along ethical lines, then we need to be able to penetrate the barrage of information, disinformation, fake news and spin which presents itself to us every day of our lives.

My second book, Ethical Intelligence, outlines techniques for seeing the world clearly and ethically. These can be summarised as follows:

  • Think first

And why not? This has to be preferable to waiting until someone or something else – be it person, algorithm or AI – does your thinking for you.

  • Place your thinking in the moral context

If we are to become more ethical then it is essential to question, from a moral perspective, what our social media, our politicians, our news sources and even our friends are encouraging us to agree with or do. How does what is being asked of us fit into what ‘being a moral person’ or ‘behaving with integrity’ means?

  • Use the language of understanding

In Ethical Intelligence I argue for the importance of using the language of understanding rather than that of dogmatic opinion or belief. Language such as “My understanding is this…” Or “With the information I have so far it looks as if…” Or even “Help me to understand…”

After all, ‘understanding’ has a built-in implication of tolerance. It encourages communication rather than the use of words to bludgeon or bully. The suggestion is that together we can achieve a mutual understanding. If we have disagreements we can reassess the basics of our understanding, the evidence on which it is based, and reach an improved understanding on which we both agree.

  • Be ambitious in your thinking

Why stick with the way things are now or the way “they’ve always been”? Humanity has accomplished wonders and we’ve only just begun. Why not create the beautiful, the astounding, the original? Why not turn our world around and make it work in brand new ways?

  • Be honest

In both my books I suggest that honesty is integral to morality. I argue that we must value honesty in our words, in our thinking, in our self-awareness and our actions. We must also value it in the words and actions of others and, particularly, in our leaders and politicians. A dishonest person cannot be moral. A person does not have integrity if they lie. An unethical politician is not a politician in whom to place your trust. A dishonest person is almost by definition a person who may very well let you down.

  • Root your thinking in reality

An essential aspect of understanding is its basis on the evidence. The more closely our personal ‘map of the world’ meshes with reality, the more empowered we are in owning our own lives, in understanding what is influencing us, in controlling that influence and in being empowered to contribute to an ethical world.

  • Aim for ever greater understanding

Lastly, a central characteristic of understanding is that it can always improve. The rapidly changing world in which we live is one where total, inflexible certainty about just about anything is usually a mistake. Far better to be alert to new evidence and prepared to adapt and improve.

7 Disciplines inner circle

The seven disciplines of Ethical Intelligence

 

An Ethical Toolkit

I hope that with these two books I have created a toolkit capable of helping people navigate their way through our polarized and conflicted world. I touch on many other issues: the tricks we need to be alert to in propaganda; the lies we tell ourselves; the internal logic of morality, and the social transformation we will need to embrace if we are to be moral. I touch on free will and equality, on the importance of integrity and involvement.

I know that my investigations into what ‘goodness’ means have already changed me. While writing these books I became a vegetarian – not for dietary or health reasons but for ethical ones. I’ve become more politically involved and not just an armchair observer. I’ve begun to attend political meetings and to participate in demonstrations. My determination to try to be a better person has, if anything, increased.

My books are now available on Amazon, and I’m encouraging all those I can reach out to to read them, to share them and to respond to me with their own thoughts and observations about what it means to be moral in the 21st Century. My main social platform is LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/luke-andreski-52166b33) but I have just set up the Twitter account @ethicalrenewal and I can be contacted by email on ie (at) ethicalintelligence (dot) org.

Next on my agenda? To campaign for teaching ethics in schools… and to write a version of my books which children might enjoy.

 

Luke Andreski

April 2019

 

Ethical Intelligence:

www.amazon.co.uk/Ethical-Intelligence-Luke-Andreski/dp/179580579X

Intelligent Ethics:

www.amazon.co.uk/Intelligent-Ethics-Luke-Andreski/dp/1794618732

www.ethicalintelligence.org


What is the point of ethics in the Age of Trump?

March 6, 2019

 

We are living in an age of moral ambiguity, polarised opinion, media bias and political spin. So-called fake news, disinformation and a monumental overload of data add to our confusion. How can we tell what is true or what is false in such a world? How can anyone know what is right or what is wrong? And why should we care?

Answering these questions is precisely the point of ethics.

It is because of questions like these at times like this that ethics needs to exist.

 

Morality first!

Morality trumps all other frameworks of human action or thought. All human action is subject to moral assessment. No human activity or artefact can evade its moral context. Morality trumps ideology. Morality trumps politics. Morality trumps even religion. No matter how righteous you may appear to be, or how prestigious, no matter how powerful, how famous or how wealthy, it is the morality of your behaviour that counts. If you are immoral, whether out in the open or behind closed doors, then every success to which you lay claim, no matter how greatly or widely admired, is tainted, its value profoundly devalued.

 

Humanity first!

Intelligent Ethics is about how we are all in this together. It is about how the whole of humanity are in the same boat.

These are dangerous times. We face a perfect storm of economic uncertainty, political distrust, technological disruption, catastrophic climate change. A moral compass is needed to guide us through these treacherous waters – and then to lead us onward, towards a new and better world. Intelligent Ethics defines this moral compass, ethical intelligence shows us our direction of travel, and our shared humanity sets us upon our course.

 

Honesty first!

Honesty is elemental to morality. How could it not be? Can a moral person be dishonest? Can a person be moral without integrity? Yet we have come to a point in human history when dishonesty reigns supreme. We have lost trust in our politicians, our elites, in our journalists, in experts of all kinds. Repeatedly they ask us, “How can your trust be restored? What can we do to regain your trust?”

There is a simple answer to this question.

You can trust a moral person.

You can trust a moral person because a moral person cares about you as well as about themselves. A moral person tells you the truth. A moral person does not seek wealth, power and prestige to the detriment of others. Their morality is their guarantor.

Morality justifies our trust.

Honesty, morality and integrity, in our politicians, our journalists and our experts, are the necessary stepping stones to any possible renewal of trust.

 

Life first!

Intelligent Ethics puts life at the heart of human action and endeavour: the lives of the humans around us; the life of humanity as a species; the lives of all the creatures that live beside us upon our beautiful world.

But why make this commitment to life? Why commit ourselves to the essence of what we are?

…Because there is nothing that trumps life.

…Because there is nothing that is simpler than the affirmation of life.

Occam’s Razor applies to ethics as it does to science. The simplest answer is probably the best one. Intelligent Ethics affirms life because without life there is no sense, no meaning, no morality. Life is the source of meaning, of sense. A universe of dead matter is a universe without meaning, morality or significance. Life is what drives us. Life is what imbues us with agency, urgency, motive, cognition. And a commitment to life, an affirmation of our duty as being to life itself, needs no fairy tale explanation, no labyrinthine justification. It does not ask us to leave our rationality at the door. Here is a morality which embraces our intelligence, our compassion, our empathy and our humanity. Why look further?

 

Make humanity great again!

For much of human existence we have been asking the wrong question. Again and again we have asked, “What is the meaning of life?”

Our question should have been, “What meaning is there without life?”

Life is our meaning.

We must nurture life, and make of it what we can.

Our potential is astounding… With our technology, our numbers, our energy, our natural human genius, why shouldn’t we be capable of creating a sustainable and just world, a renaissance of human culture and civilisation? Why shouldn’t we live up to our incredible potential and promise?

 

Intelligent Ethics

My book, Intelligent Ethics, is about

  • the importance and necessity of ethics
  • a radical new morality for the 21st Century, capable of addressing the risks of inequality, climate change, technological disruption, social upheaval
  • what we must do as a society to put a morality along these lines into action.

Key themes in Intelligent Ethics are

  • the redirection of human purpose towards humanity and life
  • the centrality of action not words
  • the critical need for structural social change
  • the need to make human artefacts – from AI to armaments, from institutions to constitutions – subservient to humans and humanity, not the reverse.

 

Ethical Intelligence

My book, Ethical Intelligence, is about

  • how to think clearly in a world of disinformation, bias and spin
  • how to protect our identities from algorithm-assisted and increasingly sophisticated media manipulation and control
  • how to affirm our moral purpose in a morally ambiguous world
  • how to decipher and disempower propaganda and deceit.

Key themes in Ethical Intelligence are

  • human freedom and how to become more free
  • the thought-mode of understanding and how this can replace the thought patterns of belief
  • the reality of the real and the universality of the good.

 

The point of ethics in the Age of Trump?

The point of ethics in the Age of Trump is

Morality first!

Humanity – and all life – first!

Honesty first!

And…

Making humanity great again.

 

Links to my books are:

United States and International

www.amazon.com/Ethical-Intelligence-Luke-Andreski/dp/179580579X

www.amazon.com/Intelligent-Ethics-Luke-Andreski/dp/1794618732

UK

www.amazon.co.uk/Ethical-Intelligence-Luke-Andreski/dp/179580579X

www.amazon.co.uk/Intelligent-Ethics-Luke-Andreski/dp/1794618732

 

 


Who would not want to live in an ethical world?

February 26, 2019

In March 2018, in the context of political, social and environmental upheaval all across the world, I began work on two books of ethics. In the intervening year our circumstances have only increased in their seriousness: storms, droughts and fires have raged across our planet, both environmentally, in real and frightening terms, and metaphorically: droughts of truth, droughts of compassion, storms of disinformation, wildfires of opinion and belief.

My two books are an answer to these events.

The first, Intelligent Ethics, defines a radical new morality for our times, one capable of addressing both the risks and dangers of the modern world while also embracing the astounding technological and social opportunities opening out before us.

The second, Ethical Intelligence, supplements this ethical code with guidance on effective thinking in a media landscape dominated by fake news, political spin, populism and propaganda.

Together these books provide a toolkit for survival in the face of a perfect storm of economic instability, inequality and potentially catastrophic climate change. They are a call to arms to those who hunger for an ethical – and sustainable – world.

If you would like to read more, the Amazon links are:

UK:

Paperback

Ethical Intelligence:

www.amazon.co.uk/Ethical-Intelligence-Luke-Andreski/dp/179580579X

Intelligent Ethics:

www.amazon.co.uk/Intelligent-Ethics-Luke-Andreski/dp/1794618732

ebook

Ethical Intelligence:

www.amazon.co.uk/Ethical-Intelligence-Luke-Andreski-ebook/dp/B07P1CCCW6

Intelligent Ethics:

www.amazon.co.uk/Intelligent-Ethics-Luke-Andreski-ebook/dp/B07NZ7CMRT

US and International:

Paperback

Ethical Intelligence:

www.amazon.com/Ethical-Intelligence-Luke-Andreski/dp/179580579X

Intelligent Ethics:

www.amazon.com/Intelligent-Ethics-Luke-Andreski/dp/1794618732

ebook

Ethical Intelligence:

www.amazon.com/Ethical-Intelligence-Luke-Andreski-ebook/dp/B07P1CCCW6

Intelligent Ethics:

www.amazon.com/Intelligent-Ethics-Luke-Andreski-ebook/dp/B07NZ7CMRT

 

 


Ethical Intelligence: A toolkit for survival in the Age of Trump

December 9, 2018

Our modern age is desperate for a renewal of trust: trust in our systems of governance, in our media, in our legislature, in our journalists and in our journalism… I have written two books which show how this renewal can be achieved:

  • Intelligent Ethics – defining a provocative new ethics for the 21st Century; and
  • Ethical Intelligence, a guide to effective and ethical thinking in our world of fake news, internet propaganda and the polarization of belief.

Together these books provide a toolkit for survival in today’s perfect storm of economic instability, isolationist nationalism and potentially catastrophic climate change.

I am looking to launch these books, and begin the exciting mission of encouraging an ethical renewal, early next year. If you are interested in assisting me in this project, please get in touch via the comments below or LinkedIn.

#ethics

#climatechange


The Age of Reason

November 23, 2011

 

“The age of reason and imagination will replace the age of selfishness and greed. The wind and the tide, gravity and light, will power our society. Sailing ships, built by the best of human science, will once again carry cargo across our seas. We will wrest control of our technology from the power-hungry and the greedy and create a new world…”

   –   William Tarkovsky, The Book of New Creation

 

William Tarkovsky: www.williamtarkovsky.com

The Book of New Creation: www.thebookofnewcreation.com

A Green Philosophy: www.agreenphilosophy.net

 


The biosphere electric

November 2, 2011

 

Posted today on Facebook by William Tarkovsky:

“I sing the biosphere electric, the interplay of fin and wing, of limb and exoskeletal jaw, the overwhelming joy of physical existence, the unutterable thrill of existential life. I sing evolution’s scaling splendour, venom, sting and claw. I sing our place as evolution’s mentor, it’s guardian at the door.”

See www.williamtarkovsky.com