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Ethics vs Emotion - A Guide to Avoid Unethical Decisions

Ethics is a complicated topic that will make or break our lives. Defining ethical principles is hard. Staying grounded in ethics is even harder. When emotions interfere, ethics becomes the hardest.

Can emotions change our ethics? Yes, it happens a lot. But is it acceptable? It's debatable.


The purpose of ethics is to set to help us make better decisions. It puts forward some guidelines that anyone can follow. No matter who we are, where we are from, and what situation we are in, ethics will guide us to take the best decision. But often, what happens is that our emotions supersede everything else. Whether it's anger, happiness, fear, love, or whatever it is, it influences everything else. It transforms truth to false and false to the truth. It transforms acceptable to unacceptable and unacceptable to acceptable. For example, when our life is in danger, we will be willing to do anything to save ourselves even if it doesn't save the other person. When we see a person we love suffering, we will be willing to solve their suffering even though it will affect someone else badly. When we are afraid that something bad will happen, we will be willing to take a lot of unacceptable decisions to prevent it from happening. In a nutshell, everything gets justified in a biased way.


So, what can we do when emotions supersede ethics? What can we do when we are forced to take an unethical decision to satisfy our emotions? The best approach might be to focus on the problem, not the decision. When we focus on the problem and the cause, we explore ways to eliminate the problem or solve it holistically. So, in the end, it won't be the controversial decision A or B we will be taking, but it will be a decision C that was completely out of the picture. Considering our earlier examples, when our life is in danger and we are forced to take an unethical decision, we need to focus on eliminating the danger for all. When we try to solve the suffering of our loved one which causes suffering to others, we need to focus on solving for all. When we are afraid of the bad things that will happen, get rid of that fear.


So, can emotions change our ethics?

-Yes.


But is it acceptable?

-No.


How to resolve it?

-Focus on the problem.


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