It is generally considered that Ethics means moral conduct. That's simple enough, right? But one person's morality is another person's Honor Killing? Besides, who considers ethics or morality with every waking breath? No one. Apparently, the world can live without ethics. Trump waives ethics with impunity. The world mostly ignores it.

Do you remember that PBS show on ethics which featured a serious-type moderator walking back and forth and posing ethical questions to a panel of experts? You got the impression that ethics was a matter of nuance. There was nothing simple about it.

Expertise is required if you want to be ethical. Isn't there a simple way to say how we should behave?

We have been taught not to be ethical

Our dominant mode of thinking precludes a universal form of ethics that would move the world toward more moral behavior. We think mainly in binary terms. We think in terms of this or that, yes or no. This means that our actions and expressions rise from us with little or no application of what our consciences might contribute. We certainly do not accept any universal standard of what is right and what is wrong.

We suppress truth that is in us all

The result of our general refusal to consider right and wrong with every breath is that we tell ourselves that right and wrong is subjective, diverse, impossible to pin down.

So an honor killing over there is a capital offense in my neighborhood and a war over there is not my business in my pacifist household. The hard truth, concealed from those with no universal sensibility, is that there is one ethic and that it applies to all. It can be laid out simply and it can fuel the conscience of every living being.

The reason it is not known is that the powers that be would be rearranged if it was acknowledged. It would create a less harmful world. It would allow for some flexibility in how we treat people. It would, in short, be considerate.

The heart of ethics

At the very center of a universal ethic is the command to do no harm. Harm is evil and if you do not like that language say that harm is wrong.

Reducing harm is the heart of ethical behavior. Goodness is a hierarchy that starts with self-respect and ends up at being loving and free. A universal ethic can be suggested by perusing the following embed, a chart that features values from the worst to the best.

Ethics is missing because we do not take the trouble to look within and converse with our consciences and experience ourselves as potentially decent. Anyone who does this has taken a giant step toward being all he or she can be. We live in a world that ignores ethics and therefore is often intolerant and woefully unhelpful. As Willie Nelson once suggested in one of his flawless lyrics, it's not supposed to be that way.