Growing up as a child, teenager and young adult, I have never been very religious. My family and I would occasionally attend church, pray before meals and celebrate every religious event but yet waking up every Sunday morning was never a must. With this said, I still fully believe in our Creator.
I believe my sense of morality was informed through my upbringing by my parents and family. They taught me what is morally right and wrong and from that I was sensible and strong enough to believe in who and what I want to be.
I use the word strong because many of us have good upbringings yet our choices we make as individuals are out of our parents/caregivers control and we let outside influences change our behaviour. What keeps my morality informed is my individual perspective of what is morally correct and incorrect.
I believe that all behaviour stems from a powerful belief system. Through my research on this topic, this was assured by Mr Farouk Radwan, who has his MSc in Psychology, as he stated, “With a positive and powerful belief system there is no limit to what you can achieve in this world.”
As I mentioned above, the relationship between morality and professional behaviour comes from oneself as one grows and learns for themselves, what is morally correct and incorrect, apart from what they believe and should follow.
Lawrence Kohlberg claimed that “without judgment, an action, no matter how beneficial, would not be moral”.
From the 1920s to the 1950s behaviourism was the dominant paradigm in psychology and it was assumed that teaching children moral virtues and social norms of their culture makes them moral. It was not until Lawrence Kohlberg first published results from his follow-up study of the development of moral judgments that it was more widely acknowledged that even children have their own morality and they make moral judgments which are not internalized from parents, teachers, or peers. Consequently, according to Kohlberg morality is constructed by the person her/himself.
I find the question “is it possible to be perfectly ethical?” very intriguing because I am sure most professionals would like to know that they are practicing in a perfectly ethical way. We also know that to be “perfect” in anything is impossible yet aiming to be the best and most perfect we can be is possible.
I came across a blog from Lori Bedell which I found to be interesting and made me understand how unethical we can act on a day to day basis, apart from the work place. It read:
“ Obviously, anything produced by people who are exploited and abused is unethical. Anything that degrades our environment is unethical. And so some of my choices are clear. In an all or nothing scenario, however, there are some murky areas where I feel I’m a bit tied down. Is it realistic to investigate every purchase I make or store or restaurant I patronize? I suppose it’s possible…And then there’s the matter of opinion or values of varying weight. For example, some would argue that it’s better to buy local than organic. Some would argue the other direction. If I buy clothes at a second-hand store but those clothes were still made in a sweatshop somewhere, am I immune from responsibility? I kind of think, “No.” Here, my values will be differently ethical from someone else’s. ”
With that said, it is evident that as individuals, what we see as ethically correct and incorrect varies. So being perfectly ethical is impossible. However, becoming close to perfectly ethical for yourself according to your own morals and beliefs is achievable, hoping of course, that your morals and beliefs are ones that others would dream of following.