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To what extent would emotion affects the ethics?


June 10, 2016 by lisactt


During the CAS trip in Qingdao, I taught the kids who have mental disabilities such as amentia and autism. I really enjoyed the stay with them. However, at the same time I found that they have to tolerate other people’s discrimination. Some people dislike them and other disability people would forget their morality and say something bad about them. We always say that all life is equal and the discrimination is not right, but it is really hard to achieve the justice and eliminate the prejudices.

The situation they faced also remind me about a news I read several weeks ago. There is a zoo in the U.S. One day a kid climbed through the barriers and fell into the gorilla’s moat. In order to protect the kid from hurting by the gorilla, which is deemed critically endangered by WWF, the zoo had to shot and kill it. This leads to many people use Internet violence toward that family. Though they have some fault, the extreme anger makes people forget their ethics and blame a kid.

This leads me to have a question that to what extent would emotion affects one’s ethics?

I think this is mainly decided by ethics. Individual’s experience, religion and etc. would all influences their own morality. Some ethics rule is untouchable for one, but there are other rules, which might be relatively weak for one to observe. The anger, anxieties, fear, envy and other strong emotion would all ‘help’ them to break the ethics rule.

I find that there are two main emotions that make us to observe our morality. One of them is fear. We are afraid of to break the rule. This kind of fear may cause by different reasons. Many feared the punishment by the family, school or company, society. Others are afraid of the punishment of the religions. Some religions would tell people that they would get punishment in the future or after the death.

Another emotion is the feeling of guilty. This is an outcome of self-introspection. The negative feeling they got. This is also related to the reasoning. The education one received may leads to different action toward the same event. There are also many other factors as family, personal experience and etc. The feeling of guilty would also have different levels of influence for each person.

However, when there is another emotion, which is much stronger than the original feeling we have about the ethics. This would change our actions and in a big possibility the impulsive action we do would cause a negative impact. I used watched a movie called Seven. In the end of the film, the extreme let the main character shot the criminal. This is a typical example that the impulse and strong feeling cover the morality and finally leads to the avoidable crime happened.

In conclusion, the ethics is highly relied on the emotion. Ethics is able to restrain the action is because of the emotion. But if there is a stronger emotion appeal, the original morality might lose some of its influences.


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