Ethics for emotion

Ethics for emotion

The goal of emotional development is the ennoblement of feelings which means the purification from negative, selfish emotional complexes that we created as habits during our lives.

Ethics, or morality, is always both: on the one hand a timeless, fundamental, universal, generic conception of right common to all people, and on the other hand a body of relative conventions inherent only to a specific time and a specific culture.

Reality is vast and there is always room for universal ethics as well as relative social conventions. Absolute values and relativism are not contradictions. They both exist beside each other at any time.

a definition of ethics

Ethics (morality) is a conception of right human behaviour in our interactions with each other. Ethics, or morality, is a mental system of values providing a basis for how we should treat one another. Values derive from our world and life views which vary across cultures and over generations.

Although many ethical concepts and social norms change over time, it is crucial for social development to seek objective and universal ethical standards. A timeless, generic conception of right can only be based on objective facts about human nature. Anything else would be (and has always been) deceptive and distorting. In the following we look at ethical implications resulting from human emotionality and mentality.

Universal ethics should provide a generic framework for the conception of right based on objective facts about the world and human nature. Overlaying this universal ethics there's also a more relativistic layer of social conventions which then can and do change over time, because there are always countless ways of expressing the generic ethics in more specific conventions.

Conventions (relative ethics) can be objectively wrong, get corrupted or distorted, but universal ethics should be less prone to error due to its being based on objective, factual standards.

Aristotelian view of emotions


Human development is about gaining control of the various emotional and mental parts of our personality. Will is the power to direct attention, so the goal is to be able to direct attention to things that you want to think and feel.

Emotional-mental qualities of an adult person arise naturally from personal experience in a healthy and balanced way. But if life conditions are full of difficulties as they always are, such as social pressure, bad education, bad upbringing, bad influence, traumas etc., a child develops unconscious defence mechanisms and emotional-mental complexes to cope with personal hardship. The coping structures are only poor substitutes for the actual qualities. They only corrupt the natural, unfolding character of a young person.

A physically oriented person fears for their body, as the body can be hurt and killed. Survival is the basic instinct of life, and if confronted with prospects of annihilation or injury, the ego as a coping mechanism fears for the loss of its existence. Every action is then a reaction out of fear of loss and a struggle to survive. As a result we feel obliged to hurt other people if we have to assert ourselves in our imaginative fight for existence.


During our lives we experience a lot of negative (unpleasant) feelings such as hatred, anger, envy, fear, sadness etc. We express them more or less willingly when circumstances force us to do so. The feelings and moods come and go throughout the day. In many situations we swing between the extremes and feel passively exposed to the daily emotional fluctuations. What we tend to forget is that the mind can control emotions. We can experience feelings passively, and we can also create them actively. That’s why any undesired negativity that we feel at the mercy of is, at the end of the day, self-inflicted due to mental neglect.

When we unconsciously foster a negative feeling during a lifetime, we respond more easily to the circumstances that stimulate us to express that particular negative feeling. In this way emotional complexes can grow strong and tint our perception of the world. Our mind which is meant to reflect reality misinterprets our social experiences due to the presence of coping mechanisms and negative complexes. We unconsciously create false beliefs about ourselves and the world and our thinking becomes full of fictions and illusions.

Over time it becomes increasingly difficult to control the inner negativity and we become slaves to our character flaws. The emotional development is about purifying inner life from such negative feelings in a process of ennoblement, so that our overall temperament becomes balanced and we gain a conscious control of our emotional behaviour.


All human problems are the result of ignorance. Knowledge is not considered a value worth striving for. Ignorance is the result of a weak intellect which rots intellectually if it focuses only on bodily pleasures and emotional delusions.

If we strive only for physical pleasures and comfort, while neglecting our abstract mental faculties, we soon feel disconnected and separate from anyone else in our pursuits. This behaviour or attitude is called egoism.


This way of thinking is the origin of egoism and of all the negative defence mechanisms and coping structures that hinder the natural emotional development. The goal is to overcome the egoistic complexes, to develop more understanding and reach unity with everyone and everything by cultivating the noblest feelings such as compassion, joy, love, admiration etc.

Ennobling Ideals

The overcoming of emotional negativity and the cultivation of positive feelings is achieved by striving after ideals. Ideals are goals for emotional development that can be best reached by following role models or idols that represent certain emotional features or feelings.

The most profound human experiences are the highest emotional levels that people can achieve, each according to their own psychological abilities.

Admiration, compassion and love are some of the names for the lofty emotional ideals we should strive after.

When mentality is undeveloped, the thinking is less abstract and more concrete, and the ideals are represented by specific people or idols - a basis for admiration and worship.

Idols are desirable and sometimes necessary for some people at certain stages in their development. An example would be teenagers who find their role models from sports or music. They look up to adult people in search of idols they can adore, because they seek to orientate themselves in the world by observation and imitation.

Religions also utilise the power of idols. Virgin Mary, Christ, Mohammed, Krishna, Buddha, Moses, countless saints and spirits from various faiths symbolise certain ideals that religious people strive to realise through their emotional devotion and admiration. The believers are supposed to be inspired by the good examples and strive to imitate their idols.


It's the strong inner emotional stimulation that many people derive from their devotion and worship which lets them step out of their daily routine to experience something much more profound and elevating.

People at this stage of development might be self-delusional with regard to understanding reality and their minds might be filled with dogmas of various kinds. However, the strong devotion in their emotional religious or secular zeal lends some meaning to their lives and taking it away from them would strip them of a cause for their motivation.


We must be ready to embrace our emotional development and recognise that there’s no knowledge to be derived from emotionality. However, wonderful devotional experiences shall inspire us to think the noblest thoughts and feel the noblest feelings we are capable of. Then the noblest actions will follow suit.


What does it mean to serve? Service means to make a contribution which is directed at other people, thus being self-less. That doesn't mean that service doesn't benefit the individual - on the contrary, it always benefits the individual, but in a much more wider sense than a mere and immediate satisfaction of bodily urges and emotional desires.

Common Good

Service is about doing work for a larger unit than just oneself. It's a contribution to the wellbeing of another person or a group which one is an integral part of. Making sure anyone else is taken care of means that the individual is performing the best service to both the group and him-/herself, as individuals can only thrive if the collective unit (society) thrives as well. That's why the highest good that one can do to oneself is to serve others. It's a sublime circle of mutual beneficence called common good.


Related to service is the concept of duty which means responsibility from an individual. Duty is what you have to do in specific circumstances of life and in specific relations to fulfil a task. A narrow-minded attitude considers duty a burden. A mature outlook recognises that duty is a necessity in a harmonious society.

Duty is not just a necessity. It should always be an act of self-expression and thus a cause for happiness. And this is so because genuine duties should be self-chosen. And the greatest duty we assume in life is the choice of profession.


Through our profession we benefit society in one way or another. Doing our daily job is just another word for performing our duty, or serving. And this should always be self-chosen as a result of our knowledge of what we can do best. This is so because what we can do best is what gives us most happiness. This is so because it is our human nature to express ourselves in activity. And being able to express yourself generates a feeling of profound inner satisfaction.

There are different ways of self-expression to benefit society, but all of them can be summarised as intellectual, emotional or practical types. Intelligentsia spread knowledge through science, philosophy and research. Emotional people create culture through music, fine art, performance and literature. And practical types of people help with specific product or service-oriented, hands-on tasks, such as craftsmen, sellers etc.

There are countless ways to serve society. Individual and common well-being are one and the same thing and depend on each other. It’s absurd to violate people’s personal freedom by demanding from individuals to sacrifice themselves without their consent or to force duties on them that they aren’t suitable for.