Tuesday, 16 October 2012

On not studying ethics.

I am having an argument with myself at the moment. It goes something like this...

Last year was spent happily doing the Introduction to Philosophy course at Philosophy Pathways run by the wonderful Geoffrey Klempner. I have been struggling to find the mental energy to do the next course which is an ethics course. I seem to have run out of steam.

 Partly this is because the Central Pain Syndrome, with which I struggle,  has become so much worse. The pain medication I take knocks me out - we have great days out, but without them I couldn't cope at all, as they serve as distraction therapy, as does dyeing wool, crafting, reading and just gently pottering around the house which is something I enjoy doing as well. Pottering is a good description. Some of this and some of that.

I feel that to study ethics is to study human nature. I am not entirely convinced that there can be any one conclusion about any situation - but then there has been so much lately that has been, in my eyes, morally reprehensible, from governments to individuals, and perhaps there is no point in studying moral philosophy as nobody appears to behave in a moral way.
If ethics can't change the selfish way in which we live, then what is the point of studying ethics?

And if the bad people always get away with it - whatever it may be - then is there any point at all in being good?

Of course, if you are Lance Armstrong you might not think that being bad has actually succeeded, but of course in some sense it has, because the whole sport that he represented has now been tainted with the scandal. Jimmy Saville's name is becoming synonymous with nastiness. Our millionaire politicians have no idea whatsoever about how people really live and our PM used the death of his own son (unbelievable) to make his party trust him whilst he and his fellows in government make the lives of disabled, sick and vulnerable people even worse.

Meanwhile the party in the Middle East goes on apace. And Barak Obama is fighting for his job in the USA and heaven help us if Romney wins.

Where does classical ethics fit in to all of this? And will it even begin to answer the question that always haunts me - how to come to terms with the Holocaust? What meaning can possibly be derived from the loss of so many people? And so many others who died in that war?

So I open the course material and I think - yes it is interesting, and yes I can understand most of it, but how does it actually help me to navigate the life I actually live? Perhaps it is not merely a lack of energy that holds me back but a growing sense of futility.

I will have to decide what to do soon. I would hate to give in or give up so I will have to find my way through all of this mental obfuscation.

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