Monday, 29 March 2010

Political Ethics with Mary Warnock

Morality starts in the home, according to politician and ethicist Mary Warnock, and yet an ideal social system of ethics does not derive from cultural or religious context, but is somehow naturally evident in our common humanity.  Values such as truth, compassion, and trustworthiness need to be instilled when we are young if we are to self-regulate and always seek out the "moral route". 

I'm not sure if it's practical to take Warnock's basic theory of values (existing outside of political, social, and religious structures and being that which is just "the way people want to be treated themselves") and infer that this is a morality which people wish to share. 

A far easier task early on a Monday morning is to take her premise that we wish to live up to the moral standards demonstrated by family when we were young, and consider what has been carried through to adulthood today.  

From my mother: Materialism = Self-Love
Always shop when you are unhappy; it provides a sense of purpose and lifts the spirits.  When seeking the perfect shoe, remember that possessing such an item is secondary to the pursuit of the footwear: the journey rather than the destination gives one greatest satisfaction.

From my father (a man of the cloth no less): Self-sacrifice = Happiness 
You can never be truly happy or free unless you give up all your interests and time for other people.  A sense of self is less important than a sense of what other people want and need: discover this, give it to them, and a blissful existence shall be yours.

Mary Warnock was at the School of Life's Sunday sermon, Conway Hall.

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