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

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Short Film Competition 2012 – The Winners

May 9, 2013

The

Dark Green Books

Short Film and Video Competition 2012

Results

 

Winners

 Winner – First Place: Passive Tense by Erin Gaddi from the US http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6aKXddSQVI&feature=plcp

Erin Gaddi writes, “I am a junior business management major at Canisius College located in Buffalo, NY.  I was born and raised here in Buffalo.  I began filmmaking in my senior year of high school and followed my dream through college.  What drew me into filmmaking was my senior year film class.  It changed the way I saw films.  Movies like Chinatown, Casablanca, In Bruges, and Apocalypse Now sparked a fire inside.  From the composition to lighting to pace to all of the million little things that create the mood of a scene, I wanted to do it.”

The judges saw this work as a beautiful visualization of Luke Andreski’s poem Passive Tense, effectively dramatizing the themes dealing with the mysteries of love. They felt that the ultra-widescreen image was attractive, with a good use of music to enhance the words of the poetry and the images on the screen.

A fine piece of film making well deserving of its winning position.

Winner – Second Place: Orphan by Carolina Villarreal from Mexico http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QsM298fMhs

Carolina Villarreal writes, “The concept behind my Orphan video is the result of the combination of three ideas from the poem by Luke Andreski. To start at the beginning, at Luke Andreski’s website, where I tried to find the “ideal” passage that I could use for the film. With all honesty I can say that “Orphan” was not the poem that I wanted to use for my work because it didn’t grab my attention at the beginning and I believed that it was going to be complicated to use.

 “After reading all the poems I was not able to choose an alternative and for that reason I looked back at the Orphan poem – and that was the moment when I became captivated – trying to analyze all the poem line by line, looking for an emotion or an image that I could use to reflect the words. I even tried to visualize who was narrating the story: a child? an adult? what was the biggest wish of a happy family? After that the ideas started to appear in my mind and I became excited by the possibilities that this poem had. And because of this I made a list based on the emotions that the poem transmitted, and the “hidden” meaning in each line.

“My conclusion was that the wish of the orphan was to have a happy family, to live with his parents, because we all in the end have that desire with our own families. After that what I needed to do was to summaries all the ideas and images in my mind to transmit the message. Because of all the possibilities it became almost impossible to work properly. My solution to that problem was to take a break.

“The next day when I was on my way to College I was very calm and listening to music without thinking about the meaning of the song. And in that moment the idea came to me: Why not try to show a man remembering the best moments of his life? Why not use photos to show all his life? All that I needed to do was to show all his life and show how he got his “perfect” life… but at the end all those images are shattered by another image of a lonely boy with a completely shallow album, with no “real” memory.

“To summarize, it was a very beautiful personal experience to try to make a connection between the people that were going to watch the video and the ‘being’ in the video.”

The judges felt that this was a powerful, insightful dramatization of the themes of Luke Andreski’s poem Orphan, especially notable for using the visuals with only music and sound effects but no narration or on-screen titles with the words of the poem. The first-person imagery was seen as especially effective. They liked the rough cutting feel and handheld effects.

An excellent selection for second place in the 2012 competition.

 

Winner – Third Place (Tie): Passive Tense by CityVarsity from Cape Town, SA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyGpKKO4m5o&feature=plcp

Cape Town’s CityVarsity write, “Our 1st Year animation students (diploma class of 2012) combined as a group to create a mixed media cut out sequence for The Dark Green Books Short Film and Video Competition 2012. The students were split into six groups and each group was tasked to interpret and then animate a passage from Luke Andreski’s poem “Passive Tense”. We felt with such a powerful poem containing such a variety of emotions and potential visual tones that an organic form of motion graphics would work well. The process of cut out animation is a traditional one which truly allows the student to have a very connected feel with the text. We are very grateful to Dark Green Books for this competition and for the encouragement and support of the author.” (See Author’s Choice, below.)

The judges considered the cut-out animation of the poem’s words and various appropriate shapes to be well made and clever, getting ever better as the film progressed. One judge said he loved the fish hook and the heart-shaped sweet towards the end of the film.

A resonant combination of images and words – well deserving of third place against strong competition.

 

Winner – Third Place  (Tie): Orphan by Andrew Sieciencski from the US http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aA006X1tdyc

Andrew Sieciencski writes, “I first became interested in film production while attending a digital video editing class in my freshman year of high school several years ago. I began producing videos for clients a few years back and have only recently begun to participate in competitions. I am in college now for Communications and Multimedia and I plan to continue my pursuits not only in film but in music production as well.”

The judges viewed Andrew Sieciencski’s film as a touching visualization of the sad poem Orphan. They found the imagery lovely, with an effective switch from black-and-white to colour, and the use of music intensifying the emotion of the words and images. Luke Andreski also says, ‘I would like to mention an utterly stunning shot in the graveyard scene halfway through Andrew Siecienski’s film, beautifully framed by autumnal-coloured trees’.

A very beautiful, evocative and deserving winner.

 

Author’s Choice: Passive Tense by CityVarsity http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyGpKKO4m5o&feature=plcp

Luke Andreski writes, ‘When I first saw CityVarsity’s Passive Tense I was knocked out by the thought of these brilliant students pooling their talents to create this video!’

 

Special Mention: Touch Me by Gregory Metcalfe from Bristol, UK http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D69vnSWE4ds&feature=plcp

The judges viewed Gregory Metcalfe’s film as compact, original and well made. They describe it as a well-paced and crafted video which matched the words and sound effectively. They liked the device of the constant human figure and face at the centre of the video and felt that the end graphics were excellent.

 

The Prizes

Passive Tense by Erin Gaddi won $700 plus seven free downloads from www.lukeandreski.com

Orphan by Carolina Villarreal won $200 (US) plus three free downloads from www.lukeandreski.com

Orphan by Andrew Sieciencski won $100 (US) plus two free downloads from www.lukeandreski.com

Passive Tense by CityVarsity won $100 (US) plus two free downloads from www.lukeandreski.com

 

The Judges

Christopher P. Jacobs

Christopher Jacobs is a film instructor and filmmaker based in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Since 1995 he has taught one or more sections of Intro to Film at the University of North Dakota, and occasional other film-related courses such as Creative Movie Production and the UND Summer Movie Camp. He is also the Movies Editor for the High Plains Reader.

Christopher Jacobs has been a film buff and collector since his junior high school days, with a particular interest in the silent cinema. The lure of film history eventually took precedence over an equal interest in filmmaking, although he has made several short films on 8mm and 16mm, and several feature-length movies on video (both analog and digital). He earned a Master’s Degree in Film and Dramatic Production Criticism from the University of North Dakota. He has taught a Creative Writing class focusing on screenwriting and currently teaches an Art of Moviemaking course covering screenwriting and production techniques.

Timothy Eastop

Tim Eastop, formerly Acting Director of Visual Arts for Arts Council England, specialises in artists’ research, commissions, and organisational development. His most recent clients include Calvert 22 Foundation, Institute of Contemporary Art, Cultural Leadership Programme, National Trust, Royal Society of the Arts, University of Arts London and the University for the Creative Arts. He is also co-Director for two initiatives: Difference Exchange, a partnership of associates working across disciplines placing critical artistic practice in disruptive contexts; and The Collective, a scheme providing professional advice on how to build art collections in groups.

Tim has worked with national and international institutes: Ashmolean; Arts Council of Wales; A Foundation; British Council; British Antarctic Survey; Contemporary Arts Society; Courtauld; King’s College; Rijksakademie; Pistoletto Foundation; Tate; Triangle Trust; and Visiting Arts.

 

Source Material

The poems on which these films are based can be found in Luke Andreski’s collection Being Left Behind, available from www.lukeandreski.com or Amazon.

 

Short Film and Video Competition 2013

If you have students, colleagues, family or friends with a talent for film production, please tell them about the Dark Green Books Short Film and Video Competition 2013!

The competition is easy to access, open to submissions from anywhere in the world and free to enter.

Submissions from schools, colleges and universities are welcome, as are multiple submissions.

To view last year’s winning entries take a look at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6aKXddSQVI&feature=plcp (from the US)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QsM298fMhs (from Mexico)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyGpKKO4m5o&feature=plcp (from Cape Town, SA)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aA006X1tdyc (from the US)

The caliber we are seeking speaks for itself.

For the 2013 competition rules visit: http://wp.me/p2pCeG-S.

The First Prize is $700 / Second Prize $200 / Third Prize $100.

If you have any queries please email info@darkgreenbooks.co.uk.

 

Short Film and Video Competition 2014

The 2014 competition will be similar to the two earlier competitions but will use the work of multiple authors to form the basis of the submitted short films and videos. If you or an author you represent would like to participate in this competition please email videocomp@darkgreenbooks.co.uk. Participants will contribute to the prize.

 


Winner to be announced

January 6, 2013

 

The winner of the Dark Green Books Short Film and Video Competition is shortly to be announced (10th Jan!).

 

Here are some examples of the wonderful shortlisted entries:

 

From Cape Town, SA:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyGpKKO4m5o&feature=plcp

 

From the US:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6aKXddSQVI&feature=plcp

 

From Bristol, UK:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D69vnSWE4ds&feature=plcp

 

For more videos see http://www.youtube.com/user/VideoAndFilmComp2012.

 

The First Prize is $700 / Second Prize $200 / Third Prize $100.

 

More news to follow!

http://www.youtube.com/user/VideoAndFilmComp2012

www.lukeandreski.com

 


A poem for Obama

November 11, 2012

 

One for a beautiful life

 

Two for a beautiful wife

 

Three for children who laugh

 

Four for a welcoming hearth

 

Five for a poem that sings

 

Six for a love without strings

 

Seven for wisdom and health

 

Eight for liberty and wealth

 

Nine for a homeland without prophets or kings

 

Ten for the man who has all of these things

 

 

Luke Andreski

www.lukeandreski.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyGpKKO4m5o&feature=plcp

http://soundcloud.com/luke-andreski

https://lukeandreski.wordpress.com

http://angiesdiary.com/lifestyle/luke-andreski-the-dgb-video-competition/

and…

www.hunchthenovel.comwww.greenmessiah.comwww.tothebridge.infowww.nowwearegreen.comwww.portnoysdefence.comwww.agreenphilosophy.net;   www.beingleftbehind.comwww.thebookofnewcreation.comwww.speakinginamonotone.com;   www.swogstongue.comwww.theoutskirtsofmymind.com, www.amazon.com, www.amazon.co.uk.


A Three Minute Indie Flick

September 8, 2012

Dear friends, colleagues and fellow lovers of the written word, a brief dispatch from the frontier between writing and film:

We have just uploaded a new film onto the channel for the Dark Green Books video competition. The link for this three minute indie flick by Erin Gaddi and Nick Breeser is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6aKXddSQVI&feature=plcp . I would love you to take a look. Please ‘like’ and share freely!

The prizes for the competition are:

First Prize $700

Second Prize $200

Third Prize $100

The competition rules and submission guidelines are available from http://shortfilmandvideoaward.wordpress.com/ .

Please let your budding film-maker friends know all about it!

With thanks and best wishes,

Luke

Luke Andreski
www.lukeandreski.com
http://www.youtube.com/user/LukeAndreski?feature=watch
http://soundcloud.com/luke-andreski
https://lukeandreski.wordpress.com
and…
www.hunchthenovel.com ; www.greenmessiah.com ; www.tothebridge.info ; www.nowwearegreen.com ; www.portnoysdefence.com ; www.agreenphilosophy.net ; www.beingleftbehind.com ; www.thebookofnewcreation.com ; www.speakinginamonotone.com ; www.swogstongue.com ; www.theoutskirtsofmymind.com , www.amazon.com , www.amazon.co.uk .


We are alive!

March 20, 2012

 

“We are alive! Miraculously alive! I can hear the beating of my heart! Barefoot I stride across the surface of the earth. We are alive!”

–     William Tarkovsky, Facebook, tonight

 

William Tarkovsky – www.williamtarkovsky.com

Luke Andreski – www.lukeandreski.com

 


Dark Green Books Fiction Competition 2012

March 15, 2012

Announcing the

Dark Green Books

Fiction Prize 2012

The Dark Green Books Fiction Prize 2012 will be awarded to the writer who submits the best first two chapters and complete Chapter Plan for a novel based upon the concepts and characters within one of Luke Andreski’s six short stories available on www.lukeandreski.com, namely:

 Armada

 Speedboard

 Skiophanes’ Proof

 Sitting in the high chair

 Man of Iron, Man of Wood

 Self-chaining Simulated Worlds, Recursive Virtual Realities

The competition will run from April 2 2012 to November 30 2012. The closing date for submissions is midnight, UK time, on November 30 2012. The winner of the competition will be declared before midnight, UK time, on January 10, 2013.

The prize will be:

  • £201 sterling
  • Ten hours of editorial consultancy byLuke Andreskiof the winner’s final work
  • Contractual permission to utilise the concepts on which the proposed novel will be based

Full details of how to enter the competition are available on the www.lukeandreski.com Terms and Conditions page.