by Fionn Zarubica
In a contemporary society we are faced with an increasingly complex set of ethical issues.
These are not on the scale of issues such as genocide, the environment or religious freedom; but a less obvious subset that nonetheless adds up to a potent contrast to our evolution as an enlightened society.
They are the ethical issues that have emerged as a result of social media.
Social media is a sharp sword that many are not prepared to handle safely. An alarming number do not realize its power or the destruction they can potentially cause to themselves and others if they misuse it.
Young people in particular, as well as some adults, see it as a harmless playground, posting their views and the most intimate things about themselves and others, with no concept of the potential reach or possible ramifications.
Today, the private individual is experiencing what public figures have dealt with for a long time – the destructive power of the media. The non-celebrity is finding out what it feels like to have no control over what is put out there about them; and, celebrities are discovering that their careers can be over in a blink with the press of a button.
For years we have tossed around terms like metaethics, normative ethics, and applied ethics. But today, we are looking at techno-ethics, the moral and ethical issues associated with technology in our society.
The fact that we have the power to take unlimited high-quality images and publish them for the world to see does not mean that it is in anyone’s best interests. Neither does the fact that we can make comments, from any device anywhere, absolve us of accountability for what we say.
We cannot legislate ethics or gain meaningful control over what is essentially uncontrollable, but we can align our intention with the higher good of all. This is an era of unprecedented freedom, but it is a freedom that is best approached from a position of mindfulness. Although we can no longer be silenced by an authority figure, now we have to learn how to silence ourselves, to make the care and protection of every human being our number one priority.
If what we want to publish does not come from a place of love, if we check in with ourselves by passing it through the heart filter and it does not feel right, then it probably isn’t. Publishing negative rhetoric about anything, anyone, any country, ethnicity, orientation or perspective does not further healing or create a space for peace; but drives more fear which gets us nowhere and perpetuates the very problems we claim to want to solve.
Techno-ethics, the moral and ethical issues associated with technology in society, call upon us to be thoughtful, respectful and loving; to protect the sanctity and the freedom of all people, even the ones we do not like; and to not allow those ideals to be quashed in favor of our own whims, beliefs, insatiability or inclinations.
Love is all that matters!