Morality and ethics (quotes)

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What are ethics and morals?

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Ethics and morals are principles that govern behaviour 

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Ethics are external while morals are internal 

  • Ethics and morals both relate to “right” and “wrong” conduct. However, ethics refer to the series of rules provided to an individual by an external source. e.g. their profession. On the other hand, morals refer to an individual’s own principles regarding right and wrong.  Dictionary.com
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Without morals and ethics, humanity and society is bound to struggle 

  • Men of integrity, by their very existence, rekindle the belief that as a people we can live above the level of moral squalor. We need that belief; a cynical community is a corrupt community. John W. Gardner 
  • A person educated in mind and not in morals is a menace to society. Juanita Kidd Stout
  • Without civic morality communities perish; without personal morality their survival has no value. Bertrand Russell 
  • Without ethics, everything happens as if we were all five billion passengers on a big machinery and nobody is driving the machinery. And it’s going faster and faster, but we don’t know where. Jacques Cousteau
  • The world has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. Our is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. General Omar Bradley
  • Without man and his potential for moral progress, the whole of reality would be a mere wilderness, a thing in vain, and have no final purpose. Immanuel Kant
  • Freedom of conscience entails more dangers than authority and despotism. Michel Foucault
  • Courage without conscience is a wild beast. Robert Green Ingersoll
  • A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world. Manly Hall
  • Without ‘ethical culture’ there is no salvation for humanity. Albert Einstein
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Morality is about practice; not lip service

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Ethics and morality is about what you do, not what you say 

  • The act of acting morally is behaving as if everything we do matters. Gloria Steinem
  • Action indeed is the sole medium of expression for ethics. Jane Addams
  • The most important human endeavor is the striving for morality in our actions. Our inner balance and even our very existence depend on it. Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to life. Albert Einstein 
  • We become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions. Aristotle
  • The ethics of excellence are grounded in action – what you actually do, rather than what you say you believe. Talk, as the saying goes, is cheap. Price Pritchett
  • Right action
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In fact, preaching morals that you do not practice is the very antithesis of morality 

  • The essence of immorality is the tendency to make an exception of myself. Jane Addams
  • People are very inclined to set moral standards for others. Elizabeth Drew
  • We have two kinds of morality side by side: one which we preach but do not practice and another which we practice but seldom preach.  Bertrand Russell
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Our ethics is expressed in every choice and decision we make 

  • Your life is a trajectory. Every choice you make alters that trajectory, in a positive or negative way. Will you categorize that dinner with friends as a business expense? Will you be honest with your daughter? Will you take more credit than you’re due? These are just the small questions that we face every day, and little by little, the answers influence the trajectory of our lives and beings. Donald Van de Mark
  • Make ethical choices in what we buy, do, and watch. In a consumer-driven society our individual choices, used collectively for the good of animals and nature, can change the world faster than laws. Marc Bekoff
  • The answer is that there is no good answer. So as parents, as doctors, as judges, and as a society, we fumble through and make decisions that allow us to sleep at night–because morals are more important than ethics, and love is more important than law. Jodi Picoult
  • ChoiceDecision making
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True morality does the right thing no matter what

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Morality concerns doing what is right and good… 

  • Because you’re able to do it and because you have the right to do it doesn’t mean it’s right to do it. Laura Schlessinger
  • When it comes to practicing good ethics, saying no to a vice is not good enough. A quality life is never achieved by focusing on the elimination of what is wrong. True success requires you to focus your mental, emotional, and spiritual energies on pursuing that which is right and good. Trying to become virtuous merely by excluding vice is as unrealistic as trying to cultivate roses simply by eliminating weeds. Gary Ryan Blair 
  • Cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?.” Vanity asks the question, “Is it popular?.” But, conscience asks the question, “Is it right?.” And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right. Martin Luther King
  • Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do. Potter Stewart
  • Conscience … is the impulse to do right because it is right, regardless of personal ends. Margaret C. Graham
  • GoodnessVirtue
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… even when no one is looking… 

  • Do the thing that is right even when the boss isn’t looking, because the boss isn’t a criterion – the real boss is standing alongside you every moment of your life. Alfred P. Haake
  • Integrity is doing the right thing, even if nobody is watching. Jim Stovall
  • Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught.  C. Watts
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… even when it is inconvenient … 

  • Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour … If at my convenience I might break them, what would be their worth? Charlotte Brontë
  • There is no moral precept that does not have something inconvenient about it. Denis Diderot
  • What is right is often forgotten by what is convenient. Bodie Thoene
  • Character is doing the right thing even when it costs more than you want to pay. Michael Josephson
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… especially when no one is forcing you 

  • Freedom, morality, and the human dignity of the individual consists precisely in this; that he does good not because he is forced to do so, but because he freely conceives it, wants it, and loves it. Mikhail Bakunin
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True morality does not follow the herd

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True morality is following our own heart and conscience, not simply the majority 

  • What’s right for most people in most situations isn’t right for everyone in every situation. Real morality lies in following one’s own heart. Embeth Davidtz
  • True morality consists not in following the beaten track, but in finding out the true path for ourselves and fearlessly following it. Mohandas K. Gandhi
  • The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience. Harper Lee
  • In matters of conscience, the law of majority has no place. Mahatma Gandhi
  • How much time he gains who does not look to see what his neighbour says or does or thinks, but only at what he does himself, to make it just and holy. Marcus Aurelius
  • Do what you feel in your heart to be right. You’ll be criticized anyway. Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Do what you think is right. Don’t let people make the decision of right or wrong for you. Steve Maraboli
  • I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions. Lillian Hellman
  • I should love to satisfy all, if I possibly can; but in trying to satisfy all, I may be able to satisfy none. I have, therefore, arrived at the conclusion that the best course is to satisfy one’s own conscience and leave the world to form its own judgment, favorable or otherwise. Mohandas K. Gandhi 
  • Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it. Leo Tolstoy
  • Immorality sanctified by tradition is still immorality. Bernard E. Rollin
  • You can’t put someone else in charge of your morals. Ethics is a personal discipline. Price Pritchett
  • Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what’s right. Isaac Asimov
  • Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing wonder and awe – the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me. Immanuel Kant
  • Conscience
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Otherwise, morality simply becomes a form of control, submission and peer pressure 

  • Morality is the best of all devices for leading mankind by the nose. Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Without doubt half the ethical rules they din into our ears are designed to keep us at work. Llewelyn Powys
  • The laws of conscience, which we pretend to be derived from nature, proceed from custom. Michel de Montaigne
  • What we call “morals” is simply blind obedience to words of command. Havelock Ellis
  • What is morality in any given time or place? It is what the majority then and there happen to like, and immorality is what they dislike.  Alfred North Whitehead
  • The disappearance of a sense of responsibility is the most far-reaching consequence of submission to authority. Stanley Milgram
  • Never do anything against conscience, even if the state demands it. Albert Einstein 
  • Conformity
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True morality speaks out

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Morality is not just about doing right but also protesting against injustice and cruelty 

  • There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. Elie Wiesel
  • The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm but because of those who look at it without doing anything. Albert Einstein
  • There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right. Martin Luther King Jr.
  • To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men. Abraham Lincoln
  • The thinking (person) must oppose all cruel customs, no matter how deeply rooted in tradition and surrounded by a halo. When we have a choice, we must avoid bringing torment and injury into the life of another. Albert Schweitzer
  • The world needs anger. The world often continues to allow evil because it is not angry enough. Bede Jarret
  • Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good. Mahatma Gandhi
  • He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.  Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality. Dante Alighieri
  • InjusticeCruelty
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Morality is married to integrity and compassion

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Living according to your own internal sense of what is right is the essence of personal integrity 

  • Observe that before the issue of integrity can even be raised we need principles of behaviour—moral convictions about what is and is not appropriate—judgments about right and wrong action. If we do not yet hold standards, we are on too low a developmental rung even to be accused of hypocrisy. In such a case, our problems are too severe to be described merely as lack of integrity. Nathaniel Branden
  • The highest morality is personal integrity—living in harmony with your own value system. Alan Cohen
  • Integrity
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Compassion is at the heart of true morality

  • I can do no other than be reverent before everything that is called life. I can do no other than to have compassion for all that is called life. That is the beginning and the foundation of all ethics. Albert Schweitzer
  • Compassion
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The rewards of doing what is right

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Having a clear conscience brings peace and happiness 

  • There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience. French Proverb
  • Conscience, as a mentor, the guide and compass of every act, leads ever to happiness. When the individual can stay alone with his conscience and get its approval, without knowing force of specious knowledge, then he begins to know what real Happiness is. William G. Jordan
  • Friends, books, a cheerful heart, and conscience clear are the most choice companions we have here. William Mather
  • One is happy as a result of one’s own efforts–once one knows the necessary ingredients of happiness– simple tastes, a certain degree of courage, self-denial to a point, love of work, and above all, a clear conscience.  George Sand
  • There is only one way to achieve happiness on this terrestrial ball, and that is to have either a clear conscience or none at all. Ogden Nash
  • Clear conscience never fears midnight knocking. Chinese Proverb
  • A good conscience is the best looking-glass of heaven. Ralph Cudworth
  • The conscience is the sacred haven of the liberty of man. Napoleon
  • A good conscience is to the soul what health is to the body; it preserves constant ease and serenity within us; and more than countervails all the calamities and afflictions which can befall us from without. Joseph Addison
  • Inner peaceHappiness
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Doing what is right strengthens you 

  • “Not only is there often a right and wrong, but what goes around does come around, Karma exists, chickens do come home to roost, and as my mother, Phyllis, liked to say, “There is always a day of reckoning.” The good among the great understand that every choice we make adds to the strength or weakness of our spirits—ourselves, or to use an old fashioned word for the same idea, our souls. That is every human’s life work: to construct an identity bit by bit, to walk a path step by step, to live a life that is worthy of something higher, lighter, more fulfilling, and maybe even everlasting. Donald Van de Mark
  • Strength
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More rewards of ethical living 

  • Your ethical muscle grows stronger every time you choose right over wrong. Price Pritchett
  • Ethical living is the indispensable condition of all that is most worthwhile in the world. Ernest Caldecott
  • Two things fill my mind with ever-increasing wonder and awe: … The starry skies above me and the moral law within me. Immanuel Kant
  • Nothing is more beautiful or powerful than an individual acting out of his conscience, helping to bring the collective conscience to life. Norman Cousins
  • The most important human endeavor is the striving for morality in our actions. Our inner balance and even our very existence depend on it. Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to life. To make this a living force and bring it to clear consciousness is perhaps the foremost task of education. Albert Einstein
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Not following your conscience leads to pain and clouded vision 

  • Conscience warns us as a friend before it punishes us as a judge. Leszczynski Stanislaw
  • Each wrong act brings with it its own anaesthetic, dulling the conscience and blinding it against further light, and sometimes for years. Rose Macaulay
  • Conscience is the window of our spirit, evil is the curtain. Doug Horton
  • The torture of a bad conscience is the hell of a living soul. John Calvin
  • No guilt is forgotten so long as the conscience still knows of it. Stefan Zweig
  • There is no witness so dreadful, no accuser so terrible as the conscience that dwells in the heart of every man. Polybius
  • The person that loses their conscience has nothing left worth keeping. Izaak Walton
  • Conscience is a thousand swords. William Shakespeare
  • PainVision
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Listen to your conscience and act accordingly

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Listen deeply to your conscience… 

  • Heed the still, small voice that so seldom leads us wrong, and never into folly. Marquise Marie de Vichy chamrond Du Deffand
  • The voice of conscience is so delicate that it is easy to stifle it; but it is also so clear that it is impossible to mistake it. De Stael
  • Whenever conscience speaks with a divided, uncertain, and disputed voice, it is not the voice of God. Descend still deeper into yourself, until you hear nothing but a clear, undivided voice, a voice which does away with doubt and brings with it persuasion, light, and serenity. Henri F. Amiel
  • Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness. Listen to it carefully.  Richard Bach
  • Through pride we are ever deceiving ourselves. But deep down below the surface of the average conscience a still, small voice says to us, something is out of tune. Carl Jung
  • Conscience is the light by which we interpret the will of God in our own lives. Thomas 
  • The human voice can never reach the distance that is covered by the still small voice of conscience. Mahatma Gandhi
  • Conscience
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… for it is the voice of the soul… 

  • Conscience is the voice of the soul; the passions are the voice of the body. Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • Conscience is nothing but the echo of God’s voice within the soul. B. Hall
  • Conscience is thus explained only as the voice of God in the soul. Peter Kreeft
  • God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world. S. Lewis
  • Conscience is the mirror of our souls, which represents the errors of our lives in their full shape. George Bancroft
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… and a great mentor… 

  • Conscience, as a mentor, the guide and compass of every act, leads ever to happiness. William G. Jordan
  • A disciplined conscience is a man’s best friend. It may not be his most amiable, but it is his most faithful mentor. Austin Phelps
  • Conscience is a man’s compass. Vincent van Gogh
  • Conscience is the only clue that will eternally guide a man clear of all doubts and inconsistencies. Thomas Jefferson
  • The only guide to a man is his conscience. Winston Churchill
  • The conscience interprets life honestly and realistically. The same cannot be said about the ego. Shantidasa
  • Conscience is our unerring judge until we finally stifle it. Honor de Balzac
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… and the only master worth having 

  • The only tyrant I accept in this world is the ‘still small voice’ within me. And even though I have to face the prospect of being a minority of one, I humbly believe I have the courage to be in such a hopeless minority. Mahatma Gandhi
  • Be the master of your will, and the slave of your conscience. Yiddish Proverb
  • It is neither right nor safe to go against my conscience. Martin Luther
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Conscience is our compass, reason our chart 

  • Conscience that isn’t hitched up to common sense is a mighty dangerous thing. Margaret Deland
  • Reason often makes mistakes, but conscience never does. Josh Billings
  • Even the most rational approach to ethics is defenceless if there isn’t the will to do what is right. Alexander Solzhenitsyn
  • Ethics is not definable, is not implementable, because it is not conscious; it involves not only our thinking, but also our feeling. Valdemar W. Setzer
  • Conscience is our magnetic compass; reason our chart. Joseph Cook
  • Conscience is the purest substract of reasoning. Caio Lemos
  • Acting responsibly is not a matter of strengthening our reason but of deepening our feelings for the welfare of others. Jostein Gaarder
  • ConscienceReason
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Living ethically requires courage 

  • The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment, but it is no less than a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy. People do what they must–in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures–and that is the basis of all human morality. John F. Kennedy
  • Conscience is the root of all true courage; if a man would be brave let him obey his conscience. James Freeman Clarke
  • A good conscience is eight parts of courage. Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Courage
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Some important ethics

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An important ethic is to recognise the sanctity of life and not harm another 

  • Let me give you a definition of ethics: It is good to maintain and further life; it is bad to damage and destroy life. Albert Schweitzer
  • Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages. Alva Edison
  • The recognition of the sanctity of the life of every man is the first and only basis of all morality. Leo Tolstoy 
  • “The law of evolution is that the strongest survives!’ ‘Yes, and the strongest, in the existence of any social species, are those who are most social. In human terms, most ethical…There is no strength to be gained from hurting one another. Only weakness.” Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Ethics is nothing else than reverence for life. Albert Schweitzer
  • A man is truly ethical only when he obeys the compulsion to help all life which he is able to assist, and shrinks from injuring anything that lives. Albert Schweitzer
  • The only moral lesson which is suited for a child–the most important lesson for every time of his or her life–is this: Never hurt anybody.  Jean Jacques Rousseau
  • The first step in the evolution of ethics is a sense of solidarity with other human beings. Albert Schweitzer
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Another ethic precept is to care for and serve others 

  • To care for anyone else enough to make their problems one’s own, is ever the beginning of one’s real ethical development. Felix Adler
  • The simplest and shortest ethical precept is to be served as little as possible . . . and to serve others as much as possible. Count Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoi or Tolstoy
  • What is the nature of true morality? I have argued … that it must be a kind of ethics involving letting go of one’s own interest on behalf of others, being ready if necessary to sacrifice one’s own interests for them, even on behalf of an enemy. George Ellis
  • Service
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Morality and religion

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Some say religion is important for ethics and morality to exist 

  • People need religion. It’s a vehicle for a moral tradition. A crucial role. Nothing can take its place. Irving Kristol
  • Piety and morality are but the same spirit differently manifested. Piety is religion with its fact toward God; morality is religion with its fact toward the world. Tryon Edwards
  • But for this book we could not know right from wrong. Abraham Lincoln
  • A conscience without God is like a court without a judge. Alphonse De Lamartine
  • Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. George Washington
  • Whether we believe in God or karma, ethics is the foundation of every religion. The Dalai Lama
  • Religion
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Others disagree 

  • We keep on being told that religion, whatever its imperfections, at least instills morality. On every side, there is conclusive evidence that the contrary is the case and that faith causes people to be more mean, more selfish, and perhaps above all, more stupid. Christopher Hitchens
  • What I’m asking you to entertain is that there is nothing we need to believe on insufficient evidence in order to have deeply ethical and spiritual lives. Sam Harris
  • I do not believe in the immortality of the individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern without any superhuman authority behind it. Albert Einstein
  • A man’s ethical behaviour should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death. Albert Einstein
  • A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hopes of reward after death. It is therefore easy to see why the churches have always fought science and persecuted its devotees. Albert Einstein
  • One of the greatest tragedies in mankind’s entire history may be that morality was hijacked by religion. Arthur C. Clarke
  • There seems to be a terrible misunderstanding on the part of a great many people to the effect that when you cease to believe you may cease
  • Religion is no more the parent of morality than an incubator is the mother of a chicken. Lemuel K. Washburn
  • What would our world be like if we ceased to worry about “right” and “wrong,” or “good” and “evil,” and simply acted so as to maximize well-being, our own and that of others? Would we lose anything important? Sam Harris
  • The cosmos is neither moral or immoral; only people are. He who would move the world must first move himself. Edward Ericson
  • A heart needs only its own voice to do what is right. Vanna Bonta
  • Religions are many and diverse, but reason and goodness are one. Elbert Hubbard
  • Just because I do not accept the teachings of the devotaries does not mean I’ve discarded a belief in right and wrong.” “But the Almighty determines what is right!”    “Must someone, some unseen thing, declare what is right for it to be right? I believe that my own morality — which answers only to my heart — is more sure and true than the morality of those who do right only because they fear retribution.   Brandon Sanderson
  • Harvard’s Jerome Kagan proposes this mental exercise to make a simple point about human nature: the sum total of goodness vastly outweighs that of meanness. ‘Although humans inherit a biological bias that permits them to feel anger, jealousy, selfishness and envy, and to be rude, aggressive or violent,’ Kagan notes, ‘they inherit an even stronger biological bias for kindness, compassion, cooperation, love and nurture – especially toward those in need.’ This inbuilt ethical sense, he adds, ‘is a biological feature of our species.’  Daniel Goleman
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Morality and education

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It is important for education to instil positive values and morals 

  • Education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals. Martin Luther King Jr.
  • I’m worried that students will take their obedient place in society and look to become successful cogs in the wheel – let the wheel spin them around as it wants without taking a look at what they’re doing. I’m concerned that students not become passive acceptors of the official doctrine that’s handed down to them from the White House, the media, textbooks, teachers and preachers. Howard Zinn
  • True education does not consist merely in the acquiring of a few facts of science, history, literature, or art, but in the development of character. David O. McKay
  • We pay a price when we deprive children of the exposure to the values, principles, and education they need to make them good citizens. Sandra Day O’Connor
  • Developing the mind is important, but developing a conscience is the most precious gift parents can give their children. John Gray
  • Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil. S. Lewis
  • Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all. Aristotle
  • EducationValuesPrinciples
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Morals are universal and absolute – or are they?

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There are those who are cynical about morality… 

  • The world of empirical morality consists for the most part of nothing but ill will and envyJohann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • The Seven Deadly Sins are a litany of victimless crimes, compiled to distract attention from the bloody felonies of the righteous. Robert Brault
  • Morality comes with the sad wisdom of age, when the sense of curiosity has withered. Graham Greene
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… saying that morals are not absolute and change with time… 

  • What one generation finds ridiculous, the next accepts; and the third shudders when it looks back on what the first did. Peter Singer
  • Ethics change with technology. Larry Niven
  • At every period of history, people have believed things that were just ridiculous, and believed them so strongly that you risked ostracism or even violence by saying otherwise. If our own time were any different, that would be remarkable. As far as I can tell it isn’t. Paul Graham
  • Morality is neither rational nor absolute nor natural. The world has known many moral systems, each of which advances claims universality; all moral systems are therefore particular, serving a specific purpose for their propagators or creators, and enforcing a certain regime that disciplines human beings for social life by narrowing our perspectives and limiting our horizons. Friedrich Nietzsche
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However, while there are no truly universal ethics, many societies do share the same virtues 

  • Perhaps, indeed, there are no truly universal ethics: or to put it more precisely, the ways in which ethical principles are interpreted will inevitably differ across cultures and eras. Yet, these differences arise chiefly at the margins. All known societies embrace the virtues of truthfulness, integrity, loyalty, fairness; none explicitly endorse falsehood, dishonesty, disloyalty, gross inequity. Howard Gardner
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Live by a moral code

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Question double standards in the world around you 

  • It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets. Voltaire
  • We live in a system that espouses merit, equality, and a level playing field, but exalts those with wealth, power, and celebrity, however gained. Derrick A. Bell
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Be aware how easy it can be to corrupt your own morals 

  • We endeavor to make a virtue of the faults we are unwilling to correct. François de La Rochefoucauld
  • Do not do an immoral thing for moral reasons. Thomas Hardy
  • What is morally wrong can never be advantageous, even when it enables you to make some gain that you believe to be to your advantage. The mere act of believing that some wrongful course of action constitutes an advantage is pernicious. Marcus Tullius Cicero
  • Conscience is the internal perception of the reaction of a particular wish operating within us. Sigmund Freud
  • We colour and mould according to the wants within us whatever our eyes bring in. Thomas Hardy
  • Conscience is thoroughly well-bred and soon leaves off talking to those who do not wish to hear it. Samuel Butler
  • Most of us follow our conscience as we follow a wheelbarrow. We push it in front of us in the direction we want to go. Billy Graham
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Final thoughts

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Ethics and the law 

  • Morality cannot be legislated but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless. Martin Luther King, Jr.  
  • Laws control the lesser man. Right conduct controls the greater one.  Chinese Proverb
  • I consider ethics, as well as religion, as supplements to law in the government of man. Thomas Jefferson
  • In law, a man is guilty when he violates the rights of another. In ethics he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so. Immanuel Kant
  • Justice is a temporary thing that must at last come to an end; but the conscience is eternal and will never die. Martin Luther
  • In civilized life, law floats in a sea of ethics. Earl Warren
  • The more prohibitions you have, the less virtuous people will be. The more weapons you have, the less secure people will be. Lao- tzu
  • Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws. Plato
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Ethics and politics 

  • Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong. Daniel O’Connell
  • The moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life–the children; those who are in the twilight of life– the aged; and those who are in the shadows of life–the sick, the needy and the handicapped.  Hubert Humphrey 
  • Conscience has no more to do with gallantry than it has with politics. Richard Brinsley Sheridan
  • Whenever governments adopt a moral tone – as opposed to an ethical one – you know something is wrong. John Ralston Saul
  • Politics
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Ethics and Science 

  • Science cannot stop while ethics catches up – and nobody should expect scientists to do all the thinking for the country. Elvin Stackman
  • Science without conscience is the soul’s perdition. François Rabelais
  • Change is one thing, progress is another. “Change” is scientific, “progress” is ethical; change is indubitable, whereas progress is a matter of controversy. Bertrand Arthur William Russell
  • We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living. Omar Nelson Bradley
  • Science
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Ethics and money 

  • Good conscience is sometimes sold for money, but never bought with it. James H. Aughey
  • Comforts corrode our consciences. Steve Constable
  • No matter how big a house you have or how slick a car you drive, the only thing you can take with you at the end of your life is your conscience. Robin S. Sharma
  • When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit loses. Shirley Chisholm
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On a lighter note

  • An ethical man is a Christian holding four aces.  Mark Twain
  • Business is an establishment that gives you the legal even though unethical right to screw the naive – right left and in the middle.   C. Fields
  • Easy is an adjective used to describe a woman who has the sexual morals of a man. Nancy Linn- Desmond
  • Ethics are so annoying. I avoid them on principle. Darby Conley
  • France had neither winter nor summer nor morals – apart from these drawbacks it is a fine country. Mark Twain
  • He combines the manners of a Marquis with the morals of a Methodist.  S. Gilbert
  • I like the English. They have the most rigid code of immorality in the world. Malcolm Bradbury
  • Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating. Simone Weil
  • Immorality: The morality of those who are having a better time.  L. Mencken
  • Many a man gets a big reputation for Virtue and Morality, when if the truth were known, the poor boob was simply scared of getting caught. Robert Elliott Gonzales
  • Morality like art means a drawing a line someplace.  Oscar Wilde
  • Morality: An instinctive sense of right and wrong that tells some people how everyone else should behave.
  • Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.  Isaac Asimov
  • Peter Marshall: According to Billy Graham is immorality contagious? Paul Lynde: I know he was down with it for about a month.  Paul Lynde
  • There are two types of people in this world, good and bad. The good sleep better, but the bad seem to enjoy the waking hours much more. Woody Allen
  • What is the difference between unethical and ethical advertising? Unethical advertising uses falsehoods to deceive the public; ethical advertising uses truth to deceive the public. Vilhjalmur Stefansson
  • When an irresistible force meets an immovable object an unethical lawyer will immediately appear.  Law of Resistance
  • When the sun comes up, I have morals again.  Elayne Boosler