I never took a course in Ethics in college (or in high school). I know that I would find the material fascinating and eye-opening, but also frustratingly lofty in how it is difficult to ground or quantify. I grew up in a family that didn’t have religion as a backbone for deontology; right and wrong were not prescribed by a book or story to me, but by trial and error, socialization, and my parent’s scolding (and teaching). In this regard I feel very fortunate, because what I have seen of religion is shaming and blaming, and I feel there’s enough of that in this world (and I know that’s going to make a lot of good people mad, but I do believe that religion does less good than bad).
Consequently, this means I’ have had my sense of ethics instilled in me, but in an invisible way. I believe everyone has to dig deep to find their values and beliefs, but I’ve been very good about keeping them tucked inside, and not giving them much thought. This has been a coping mechanism for me; it’s difficult to look within, but I’m learning to embrace this difficulty, to find the compassion for myself, for others, and to set boundaries for my actions and the actions of others that don’t align with my own. This is a difficult but necessary journey to embark on. I’m a little amazed it has taken me this long to turn my attention to, but I also recognize it is a process and not an edict I can set.