I Believe: A Code of Ethics


by
PHIL 301

Fall Semester, 1996
I believe in the power of Mind...
I believe pitchers should bat...
I believe Oswald was a patsy...
I believe everything is a conspiracy...
I believe that people are responsible for their own actions...
I believe that The Who is the greatest rock band of all time...
I believe in tolerance...
I believe in capitalism...
I believe we are who we want to be...
I believe in choice...
I believe in love...
I believe that Bert and Ernie are televisions first gay couple...
I believe that the 1979 Orioles were robbed...
I believe that people who say they like Indian food are just trying
to be cool...
I believe that people get the kind of government they deserve...
I believe in the power of having no god...
I believe I can fly...
I believe that Barney is the purple Messiah...
I believe that the bible was a novel, written for profit...
I believe in the mother ship...
I believe the Mona Lisa was framed...
I believe in Pez...
I believe Darwin...
I believe in beauty...
I believe we have the worst justice system in the world with the
exception of every other system...
I believe in Wally and the Beaver...
I believe I didn\'t learn anything in kindergarten...
I believe we are all in this together...
I believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day...
I believe the ozone layer is just fine...
I believe in dedication...
I believe my daughter is a prodigy...
I believe that Kathy Lee is the Anti-Christ...
I believe my dad can still beat me at arm wrestling...
I believe I wouldn\'t want to beat him...
I believe you shouldn\'t believe everything you breath...
I believe in the power of love to warp mens minds and make men
great...
I believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the seventh inning
stretch...
I believe in me...

I believe I\'m done now...


Developing a code of ethics is the most important thing a person can do.
Such a code is necessary for humans because of our capacity to reason. Our
ability to apply rational thought to the conduct of our lives is what makes
mankind more than just an animal with an interesting thumb. These rational
thoughts could very easily lead us to terrible acts, for what is in our best
interest is often harmful to others. However there is another ability, peculiar
to humans alone, that keeps most of us on the right path. Our ability to know
what is right and what is wrong. It is our beliefs on this subject that make
up our ethics. And the best way to know what those beliefs are is to develop a
personal code of ethics.
My own code is one that defies definition by the standards of most of
the well known ethical theories. It consists of four simple and straight
forward rules, rules that do not alter or change with the shift of societies
values or the passing of time. The four rules are easy to remember but may need
a bit of explanation.

1) Mine first.
2) Serve the greater good (unless it violates rule number one).
3) Serve justice and obey the law unless the law does not serve
justice.
4) Respect the divinity of Mind.

The first rule, "Mine first" sounds harsh and egoist and to some extent
it is akin to enlightened egoism. What this rule means is that my wife and
daughter and what is best for them comes before any other consideration without
exception. This dedication to family is not a popular idea in these "it takes a
village" times. Today, people seem to have bought into the idea that there will
always be someone else around to take care of our responsibilities if we fail.
The government, charities or strangers on the street, many people today feel
that their responsibilities are those of someone else as well. But there is no
room for such ideas in my life. I do for mine. If that means that others must
do without so that my family can prosper, than that is how it must be.
Example: Suppose my daughter wanted a Tickle Me Elmo Doll this Christmas.
And suppose I found myself at the door to Toys-R-Us, next to a wheelchair bound
woman who was also trying to purchase an Elmo for her child. The