It’s difficult being good. But not impossible. Tell us how. June 16, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
Reading this by Eva Wiseman on the ‘dilemmas of trying to live ethically’ it reminded me of debates we’ve had on this site in the past and efforts to list resources that – well, shall we say, most positive for workers or have other principled aspects.
Wiseman is correct in part:
As I read about the ethical problems with Airbnb, Uber and every other smiling company that makes our lives easier, I am under no illusions about my own goodness. I believe it is almost impossible to live ethically as a human being. There is no way for humans to inhabit the world, is there, without spoiling something crucial. We are massive ruiners.
I think there is something in that. We live on pyramids enmeshed in threads, unseen for the most part, of exploitation that stretch around the planet. We who live in Europe or North America in particular, but everywhere and everyone does.
Wiseman asks (rhetorically):
And when we do act ethically, isn’t the main gain simply a “sense of wellbeing”, perhaps the most vanilla of the senses?
Perhaps so, and yet the effort has to be made. It is possible to minimise that exploitation. Wiseman is correct that ‘surely the responsibility shouldn’t all be ours’.
Products and services should not come to market if there is any chance they have passed through the hands of a slave. It doesn’t sound like too much to ask. And shouldn’t there be an equivalent to the nutritional facts on tins, a label with quantities of evil? We’d be able to budget more effectively – an Amazon Prime here, a speak-up-when-an-acquaintance-makes-a-racist-joke there. That’s how I’m learning to live. A charity bake sale, an Uber home. A meat-free day, but wearing a really cheap T-shirt.
Putting down that book has made me look at how much I choose not to see. It’s no revolutionary realisation, but as we find increasingly meaningless ways to balance our ethical chequebooks, I am embracing my limits. As long as we try not to be the complete worst and accept our scumminess, then there is little point in asking how to be good. The answer, surely, is to try and simply be good enough.
Fair enough, but it does require effort.
So, any suggestions on how to live that bit more ethically in these and other areas? All suggestions gratefully accepted.