Education is the art of making man more ethical.

I sat with this aphorism for awhile, trying to sort through the permutations that are implicitly created, starting with: is it only an educated process that makes a human being compassionate? 

The animal kingdom demonstrates compassion inter-species and intra-species.  Social media is resplendently populated with images of caring animals nurturing an entirely different animal in sweet and loving ways. Is that behavior taught?

So, rather than get caught on that first precept, I put compassion on the sideline and looked at ethics. If we accept the definition of ethics as: ”moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity,” then the concept of ethics stands on a cornerstone of morality.   So, that requires the definition of morality: “a particular system of values and principles of conduct, especially one held by a specified person or society.” 

If you dissect that definition of morality:  “a particular system of values and principles of conduct, especially one held by a specified person or society,” the flaw in in the perspective lies in the word “specified.”  That legal disclaimer eradicates the obvious objective perspective in favor of a prejudicial subjective perspective.

So when our founding fathers drafted The Declaration of Independence, they were very clear to insert specific language that eradicates the subjective perspective in morality:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

This beautifully-phrased statement most certainly helps move the discussion in the right direction and might almost have been perfect, were it not written by slaveowners. 

So, 245 years later, we are still bringing trials like the one surrounding the death of George Floyd, to call out the illegal and heinous activities of those who are not schooled in the ethics and morality that the majority (barely) of our country seems to profess.

Coming back to today’s aphorism, education truly is the art of making man more ethical. But, this must be qualified by evaluating the word education because if you are being schooled by people who do  not stem from your moral fiber, you run the risk of having your subjective perspective slanted by the education you are receiving. This can, of course, be interpreted in both directions.  it is just as valid to call out the education that is bringing people closer to your definition of morality as it is to call out the education that is leading people further away from the same concept.

And, as a final note, even if something is expressed appropriately and fairly such as, “we hold these truths to be self evident,“  does not mean that the appropriate ethical behavior is going to actually be employed (Watch what they do, not what they say), otherwise, Jefferson would have gone home and freed his slaves.

Expected ethical behavior is only a concept (a very fragile one) and it will only last if we, as a species, continue to discuss the topic and to call out the perpetrators of unethical behavior as being such, so that future generations might improve on ethics at large, and therefore elevate society in general. 

And to add the final point of the aphorism above… doing all of that is truly an art.

Happy Saturday.🌟

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Written by Brian Weiner
When I was 5 years old, I discovered that the lemon tree in the backyard + dixie cups + water and sugar and I was in business. I have been hooked on that ever since. In 1979, I borrowed $14,000 to create a brand new product... photographic greeting cards with no text on the inside, called Paradise Photography. That was the start of The Illusion Factory. Since then, The Illusion Factory has been entrusted by all of the major studios and broadcasters with the advertising and marketing of over $7 billion in filmed, live, broadcast, gaming, AR, VR and regulated gaming forms of entertainment, generating more than $100 Billion in revenue and 265 awards for creativity and technology for our clients. When I took a break from film school at UCLA to move to Hawaii, my mother did not lecture me. Instead, she took 150 of her favorite aphorisms and in her beautiful calligraphy, wrote them artistically throughout a blank journal. That is the origin of the Lessons from the Mountain series. Since then, on my journeys to the top of a mountain to watch the sunrise, I have spent countless hours contemplating words of wisdom from the sages of all races, genders and political persuasions, constantly accumulating the thoughts to guide me on my life path. I hope you enjoy my books. Please let me know your thoughts, as I highly value your feedback!