KVE301/KVE401 Universal Human Values and Professional Ethics
Chapter 12: Providing the basis for Universal Human Values and Ethical Human Conduct
Ethical Human Conduct
The right understanding gained through self-exploration also enables us to identify the definitiveness of human conduct which may also be called ethical human conduct. It is the same for all human beings. So we are also able to understand the universality of ethical human conduct which aligns with universal human values. Accordingly, all debates and confusion such as what is ethical for one may not be ethical for others, also lose their base. Let us now understand the salient features of this definite human conduct i.e. the ethical human conduct.
Each one of us wants to have definite conduct but presently we may not be able to ensure that. This is because we are presently living on the basis of our pre-conditionings or assumptions which are not in consonance with the truth or the right understanding. But, this situation neither gives satisfaction to us nor to others. We do see human beings struggling to find out what the right conduct is and in the process, exhibiting a wide variety of attributes. We also see people debating endlessly about what they consider to be ethical. But unless we have the right understanding, we are not able to identify the definitiveness of ethical human conduct.
Definite human conduct is the sum total of the state of harmony within, expressing itself and participating in harmony with the outside world. The harmony in the Self is naturally expressed and extended at all levels of our being as follows:
Definiteness in Living
Harmony at the level of Self
Harmony of the Self with the Body
Health at the level of body
Harmony in the family, in human-human relationship
Mutual Happiness, Justice, Fearlessness
Harmony with the rest of nature
Mutual prosperity – prosperity in human being and preservation of the rest of nature
Harmony with the whole of nature/existence
Co-existence (mutual fulfillment)
It can be understood in terms of the following:
- Values (Mulya)
- Policy (Niti)
- Character (Charitra)
1. Values (Mulya)
Competence of living in accordance with universal human values or the participation of a unit in the larger order- its natural characteristics or Svabhav. Values are a part of our ethical conduct. They are the natural outcome of realization and right understanding, which are always definite. Values need not be imposed through fear, greed, or blind belief. The values of a human being can be enumerated as thirty, which are listed below:
a) Values in self (Jivan Mulya)
The values are:
- Happiness (Sukha): Definiteness of expectation (selecting/ tasting) based on definiteness of thought manifests as happiness.
- Peace (Shanti): The definiteness of thought based on the definiteness of desire manifests as peace.
- Satisfaction (Santosh): The definiteness of desire based on understanding manifests as satisfaction.
- Bliss (Ananda): Understanding based on realization manifests as bliss.
b) Values in Human – Human Relationship (Sambandh Mulya)
The values are:
- Established Value (Sthapit Mulya): The established values are in self or I and manifest as expressed values in behavior with other humans. The established values are nine.
- Expressed Value (Shisht Mulya): The way of expression of established values in behavior is called expressed value. For example, if we have the feeling of trust established in us, it gets expressed as complimentariness in behavior with others. The expressed values are also nine.
We will show them in the table below:
Established – Values
Expressed – Values
What we need to have is the established value; the expressed value is a natural outcome.
c) Values of a Human Being in its Participation in Universal Human Order (Manav Mulya)
The values are:
- Perseverance (Dhirata): Being assured that the all-encompassing solution is to understand and live in harmony at all four levels.
- Bravery (Veerta): Being assured that the all-encompassing solution is to understand and live in harmony at all four levels, and I am ready to help the other getting assured of it.
- Generosity(Udarta): Being assured that the all-encompassing solution is to understand and live in harmony at all four levels and I am ready to help the other getting assured of it, and I am also ready to invest my self, body, and wealth to help the other getting assured of it.
- Kindness (Daya): If a person has the ability but does not have the means to fulfill his or her needs, the participation in relation to making available the means to fulfill the needs is known as kindness.
- Beneficence (Kripa): If a person has the means to fulfill his or her needs, but does not have the ability (competence) to utilize them, the participation in relation to imbibe the ability in him/ her, is beneficence.
- Compassion (Karuna): If a person neither has the ability nor has the means to fulfill his/her needs, the participation in relation to making available the body is compassion.
d) Values of Human Being in the Interaction with the Rest of Nature (Vastu Mulya)
The Vastu Mulya is the participation of the human being with the rest of nature. It is further categorized as:
- Utility Value (Upyogita Mulya): The participation of human beings in ensuring the role of the physical facility in nurture, protection, and providing means for the body.
- Artistic value (Kala Mulya): The participation of a human being in ensuring the role of the physical facility to help and preserve its utility. Proper preparation and presentation are the artistic value. We must note that if a thing has utility value then only we think about the artistic value.
2. Policy (Niti)
Having been convinced about the values and about the inherent harmony in the existence, I am able to develop an ethical sense in all my pursuits. I always think, behave and work towards nurturing this harmony. It leads us to adopt policies conducive to human welfare- conducive to enrichment, protection, and right utilization of mind, body, and wealth. This is an outcome of the definiteness of my desire, thought, and expectation (selection) as guided by the right understanding. In other words, the decision (plan, program, implementation, results, evaluation) about the enrichment, protection, and right utilization of the resources (self, body, and wealth – man, tan, and dhan). The policy has three parts:
a) Economic Policy (Artha Niti): The policy for the enrichment of wealth
b) Political Policy (Rajya Niti): The policy of protection of body and wealth
c) Policy for Universal Human Order (Dharma Niti): The policy for right utilization of mind, body and wealth.
3. Character (Charitra)
The definiteness of my desire, thought, and selection gives definiteness to my living. The definitiveness of character is the outcome of the definiteness of my behavior and work. This can be mainly characterized in terms of the following:
a) Chastity in conjugal relationship i.e. chastity in husband-wife relationship (sva nari, sva purus).
b) Rightful production, acquisition, and utilization of wealth (sva dhan)
c) Kindness in behavior and work (dayapurna vyavahar and karya)
This definitiveness of human conduct in terms of values, policies, and character is termed as ethics. The ethics in the living of an individual can be imbibed only through the inculcation of values, policies, and character, and this is possible through the process of ensuring the right understanding through self-exploration.
In other words ethics (also known as moral philosophy) is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality – that is, concepts such as good vs. bad, noble vs. ignoble, right vs. wrong, and matters of justice, love, peace, and virtue.
A human being with ethical human conduct coupled with requisite professional skills only can be a good professional, namely, a good engineer, a good manager, a good teacher and researcher, a good technocrat, etc.
- Ethical conduct implies that it is naturally acceptable to me and does not give rise to conflict within.
- Ethical conduct implies that it is in consonance with the right understanding of reality – the underlying harmony at all levels.
- Ethical conduct implies that it leads to mutual fulfillment with other people and mutual enrichment with the rest of nature.
Thus, ethical conduct is self-satisfying, people-friendly, eco-friendly, and universal.