What’s the Point of Ethics and Morality These Days?

As I look out from what often seems like a parallel universe perspective and wonder more and more whether I actually belong to this planet I find myself asking what it is that we can rely on. It’s so hard to find the truth about anything. It seems in many ways anything goes if you have the power and inclination to go for it – from destroying whole forests to manipulating the economy, to building walls between countries.

I’m lucky in many ways as I have a strong and long-standing spiritual practise which supports me in navigating the world we have created. It helps me find my equilibrium and my peace of mind – not through passivity but through conscious action.

Putting spirituality aside though and reflecting on the more ‘everyday’ aspects of life I ask myself what can I rely on? And who can I rely on? At the heart of my exploration of reliability are factors like integrity, truth, morality, ethics, goodness. They could seem a bit ‘old-fashioned’ in many ways. They have a slight ‘stuffiness’ about them – maybe even a religious or pious overtone – and I don’t consider myself the least bit religious.

However, if we look at all the major positive advances in the evolution of human rights they came about through leaders who had these qualities – Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi…

We don’t have to be equal to these giants in terms of the global impact that we have. We do however as leaders, have to be equal in terms of our code of conduct and our core ethos.

We are facing a huge battle for the heart and soul of humanity at this time. Whether that’s in business, the workplace, democracy, social justice, the economy and, most fundamentally, the survival of the planet.

All of these are deeply and inextricably interlinked and if we ever feel the challenge is too big for us to do anything or that we are too small to matter, we need to think again. Whilst we don’t have to be Gandhi or Mandela we do have to be equal to them in terms of how we show up in our lives. Living from, and standing up for, truth, morality, ethics and a will to good is what will change our world for the better.


Lorraine Flower
Lorraine Flower
As a Corporate change agent, consultant, coach and mentor Lorraine founded azzur and is completely transparent about the spiritual principles on which it operates. Alongside her 18 years as azzur’s founder, Lorraine brings 20 years' service industry experience to bear through her senior leadership roles at British Airways (BA) and Great North Eastern Railway (GNER). It is Lorraine's belief in individual and organisational power for good that gives azzur its raison d'etre. azzur and Lorraine specifically has worked with clients across the business spectrum from financial services, to retail and transport to healthcare an in both the public and private sectors. azzur is focused on developing contemporary, spirited leadership capability, and organisations built on inspiring purpose, empowering cultures and a powerful vision and values. She is championing new models of leadership and organisational development founded on the principles of conscious leadership and writes extensively on these topics.She is a member of a number of global spiritual groups and communities serving the greater good of Humanity and the planet. She works and studies extensively in developing and exploring conscious leadership believing that business leaders are key players in transforming the well-being of the planet and humanity as a whole.

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  1. Lorraine, you have posed a very significant thought-provoking question.

    The matter of ethics and morality is an extremely difficult subject to address. Culture, Religious beliefs, thought processes intertwined with 101 different factors makes it difficult to generalize.

    I understand that “Ethics” are the standards and practices expected in a particular profession. “Morality” deals with questions of right or wrong in general. Morality comes from a personal conscience or G*d, and ethics comes from society, so they are actually quite different in source from each other though many confuse the two, and think they are similar.

    I feel that Morals can influence ethics, but ethics will never influence morals, for morals are a deeper knowledge of right and wrong, an objective truth which is universal and the same regardless of people, culture, history or any other physical changes. Morals usually deal with principles and a much larger picture than ethics.

    Ethics, on the other hand, are far more simple, practical and are likely to change. Ethics do not deal with bigger question or principles, but rather with social behavior, culture, success and relationships with short-term consequences in mind. Ethics is about what is right and wrong in society and will deal with issues such as taboos, reputation, laws, customs, status and society.

    We need to understand and practice all the good and positive values, and not only one of them. We need to understand how these values interact with one another. Often, speaking the truth and nothing but the absolute truth is neither wise nor kind. Many times, the inability to prioritize kindness and love for life, over truthfulness when it was necessary to do so, can cause much grief and pain and will disrupt things on multiple levels – including our personal inner peace.

  2. Lorraine, I am sure that your musings resonate with many just as they did with me. However, I am a firm believer that spirituality cannot be ever put aside because it should fire all that we say and do. That honesty should be a precondition of any activity … and make it happen is not an idealist’s dream.

    What we need to do is act not merely reflect on and write about what we all feel strongly about and cherish. I invite you to read:

    Thank you for sharing. Sunday blessings.

    • From Lorraine – many thanks Noemi – I think we are on the same page – I too believe we need act to create abetter world and I passionately believe that spirituality or greater consciousness sits at the heart of right action. Ethics and morality are in my view a language that enables us to bridge into spirituality as the underpinning of their action – for many the notion of spirituality doesn’t work whereas the fundamentals of ethics and morality have more universal connection.