Sunday, 28 February 2016

The Art Of Ethics

We live in a universe of options, choices, decisions and behaviours - life is complex and complicated and talking about ethics is no less so.

Ethics is like a Rorschach test - the art in ethics is an active experience of socially constructed behaviours, decisions and actions framed in a specific context and time.

We paint our picture of ethics together.

Group and societal ethics are like a common painting made from the brush strokes of individuals but exist only where brush strokes overlap.

Personal ethics are the individual brushstrokes we all make - influenced by and influencing the work of others and both separate and part of the whole 

Ethics is like a Venn diagram of overlapping constructions - the art of ethics about where you place the frame and its interpretations, decisions, choices and guiding principles or ethos (the distinguishing character, sentiment, moral nature, or guiding beliefs of a person, group, community or institution). 

The Venn diagram of overlapping ethics are like the petals of a flower. The sunflowers of Vincent Van Gogh are a perfect image and symbol for the art of ethics.

Vincent Van Gogh's artwork vividly brings into the frame of ethics the intensity of emotional experience of being human - that ethics cannot simply be reduced to logic and rationality alone.

Van Gogh expressed a deep understanding of relativity this through instinct for colour and colour combinations:

"There is no blue without yellow and without orange" ~Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh appreciated the significance of even small actions in everyday life:

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together” ~Vincent Van Gogh

In Van Gogh's work there is something for everyone - Leo Jansen, a curator at the Van Gogh Museum describes the attraction of the sunflowers:

“The popularity of the Sunflowers is a combination of, on the one hand, their beauty, emotional impact and a touch of the human condition, and on the other hand the public’s fascination with fame, money and myth. There’s something there for everyone.” ~  Leo Jansen, a curator at the Van Gogh Museum

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