Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Building new ethics

Building new ethics on various types of symmetries allow us to re-discover old values such as equality, reciprocity, truth, proportionality, responsibility etc. The new structures of ethics which I am proposing are analogous to those of Nature. This is no accident for Nature has a marked preference for slightly broken symmetries as they foster life and its diversity. This new ethics should guide our actions towards it.  Unlike ancient ethics which determined a target to be reached, this one is merely describing a path worth taking, even if the goal is unattainable.

Slightly broken symmetry is embodied in a symbol of life synonymous with good.  An action going in the opposite direction, i.e. towards asymmetry, would lead us from good to evil. Severe asymmetry represents evil:  disease, hatred, violence, social inequalities, imbalances of all kinds, irresponsibility, withdrawal into oneself, death etc.. This new ethics system can therefore be summarized as follows:

  1. A real and objective reference like life itself and its potential evolution triggered by light breaks in symmetry. (Away from the old idealistic references like honor or purity or God !)
  2. There is also a need to help institutions with a clear referential system. Old ethics were designed to help individuals. When they gained their “freedom of conscience” in Northern Europe, individuals could still detect what is good and what is evil just by looking at each others face to face. A subjective system of reference was OK. With the globalisation and its change of scale, the system no longer works because large groups and institutions have no conscience. These institutions badly need an objective set of references.
  3. This new ethical system values actions freely chosen towards slightly broken symmetries. Here there is no injunction, because the individual’s responsibility is complete and one’s individual freedom is respected.

This freedom is given to us spontaneously by nature. This is one of its intrinsic properties: providing space and time for evolution to occur. In any case, we must keep in mind that we are currently in an evolving system in which absolute determinism is no longer valid. In the real and living world, our values and actions are not predetermined, because they depend in part on circumstances; they may vary according to the place, time, or context. These new ethics are thus partially undetermined.

I leave you with the pleasure and honor of defining your own values within the framework set by the following symmetries in the chapters: Equality, Reciprocity, Proportionnality, Responsibility.

Next