Recently I recalled one of the funnier lines in the original Pirates of The Caribbean movie, that in retrospect carries a serious undertone:
“The Code is more what you’d call guidelines than actual rules.”
The First Mate Mr. Gibbs said this when he was confronted about his earlier declaration as to how things were done among pirates. When forced to abide by the presumed truism of his previous statement, he proceeded to qualify the meaning behind it.
We have all been guilty of this. By what standard(s) do we live our lives? Personal religious beliefs? Our country’s political or legal system? Our wealth (or lack thereof)? We are forever justifying our innate shortcomings and inability to grasp certain truths, by stating that it must not be so. All because things do not fit within our perspectives.
Within the human race, there are diverse people groups who claim fealty to a certain code of conduct. There are conscious and sub-conscious standards by which the adroitness and appropriateness of their walk through life is gauged. It goes without saying that not everyone sees eye to eye. Some will be outright antagonistic to those who do not fit or conform to their established way of thinking. While there are many examples of rules that can be reviewed, here are a few to consider that exist in Canada (and by and large encapsulating a fairly accurate overview of all of North America).
- Speed Limits
- Prevention of harm or damage to persons or property
- Paying taxes
Social / Ethical Rules
- Not cheating on your spouse
- Dealing with Corporate or Political Nepotism
- Not going naked in public places (The French Riviera notwithstanding)
Some rules in life have been put in place for our safety and well-being. An argument can be made that those who voluntarily choose to be guided by them, have more freedom compared to those who feel restricted by them. Following this reasoning, I believe this would be dependent on what the particular rule is in place for. Some social rules are based on legal depositions, while some legal rules are in place because of unethical decisions. Yes, we risk opening a veritable Pandora’s Box by following this train of thought, but are we doing ourselves any favours by attempting to avoid messy postulations?
The majority of North American society (and I believe a good percentage of the rest of the world) desire to have what is Genuine and True in their lives. Virtue, Honour, Responsibility among others, are all high ideals to strive for, but how do we go about converting certain ideas or concepts into reality, that are oftentimes tenuous at best and difficult to understand? In addition, how do we go about determining what is to be considered a bedrock for truth in society?
Historically speaking we have indicators that help to shed some light on what truth is not:
- Truth does not engage in or promote genocide
- Truth does not support human trafficking (that includes forcible prostitution and child slavery)
- Truth does not revel in the application of torture and abuse
The list of course can be much longer, but my position is this; there has to be Truth. Whether that shows up in some form of binding legal statute, or is made plain in contrast to society’s current social mores is beside the point. The fact that we can identify what truth is not, gives credence to the affirmation that it exists.
Regardless of following a Code of Conduct or a Code of Ethics; whether self-generated or imposed upon us, our DNA is already primed to receive and build upon Truth.