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Basic ethics
June 11th, 2015
Basic ethics

   Thinking you're different is a dangerous ethical proposition, based on a delusion of separateness (separate from the crowd, separate from influence, separate from human frailty…).

   The buddhist teachings on selflessness are very 'applied'. The application might start with "when you think something applies to others, start by assuming that it might affect you too… then seek to confirm this, instead of trying to narrate why you're special, different, above the cut…"

   Mind traps, defilements, erroneous views, and indeed biases, are easily shared. When you understand that it's not about people but about defilements and views and biases, then you don't need to claim to be separate… you simply engage with what arises.
   If what appears is a defilement that others have manifested, it doesn't make you a bad person… it simply calls for an appropriate response, and 'denial' isn't one! An appropriate response is ethical (not to be confused with thinking yourself the centre of the moral universe), wholesome, constructive for all, with a focus on causality and on the wide-ranging consequences of your present intentions and acts.

   Start by assuming you're not  separate, that's the applied teachings of selflessness.
   Start by assuming that you might fall for any defilement, therefore be mindful of your intentions, speech and acts, instead of assuming you're above human. Awareness might be beyond human, while denial and self-serving voluntary ignorance (refusal to even look) are not worth living: we already know that denial doesn't solve anything and doesn't cease dissatisfaction.

see also
by Russ Abbott:
When physicians receive gifts from pharmaceutical companies, they may claim that the gifts do not affect their decisions about what medicine to prescribe because they have no memory of the gifts biasing their prescriptions. However, if you ask them whether a gift might unconsciously bias the decisions of other physicians, most will agree that other physicians are unconsciously biased by the gifts, while continuing to believe that their own decisions are not. This disparity is the bias blind spot, and occurs for everyone, for many different types of judgments and decisions.