Due to the current situation we have unfortunately not been able to hold any live events and have therefore focused more on other activities.
For the 3rd quarter of 2020 we would like to report on 3 topics
1. Podcast interview by ROCK YOUR LIFE!
2. Ethical Literacy, Generation Corona and Design Your Life!
3. Ethics of small steps
What is ROCK YOUR LIFE!? It is a network of volunteer students, motivated schoolchildren, socially responsible companies and ROCK YOUR LIFE! as an umbrella organization that actively fights for educational justice and equal opportunities for young people. Their mentoring program builds bridges between schoolchildren, students and companies. ROCK YOUR LIFE! is convinced that every student has valuable knowledge that they can pass on to others. ROCK YOUR LIFE! believes that companies have a social responsibility and their success highly relies on skilled employees. ROCK YOUR LIFE! is a network in which goals are achieved jointly.
Ethica Rationalis supports ROCK YOUR LIFE! in order to promote ethical competence among young people and students who, in turn, act as mentors.
Interview with Aria Djamschidi from Ethica Rationalis
As part of the podcast program of ROCK YOUR LIFE! Aria Djamschidi of Ethica Rationalis was a “special” interview guest for the topic “Why ethics is something very common”. Ethics - that sounds like a difficult word or a school subject. Ethics and ethical behavior take place in our everyday life. Among other things, Aria talked about what ethics actually mean and how one can practice ethics in everyday life.
ROCK YOUR LIFE! summarized the conversation with Aria: Ethics are not abstract, not big, but concrete and can be found in the details of our actions. They need to be honed through mindfulness, reflection, and training. Ethical behavior serves us as well as others. What goes around, comes around.
Some excerpts from the podcast:
ROCK YOUR LIFE!: “What is ethics for you and how do you spot it in everyday life?"
Aria: “Elisabeth, I hope I can do justice to this question. Perhaps I will start with a very concrete experience of mine. ... The practice of ethics happens in the laboratory of our daily lives, in the midst of society. There I am tested hundreds of times a day. ... I'll give an example: often when I was in the coffee kitchen with my colleagues (before the Corona period), gossip would regularly arise about colleagues or superiors. That's when I can act ethically by control my own impulse to contribute, by taking pause and deciding to not participate. Perhaps even being so brave to say something positive about the person who is the target of the gossip, putting a different spin on the conversation. ... "
ROCK YOUR LIFE!: “What is ethical behavior? Could we say that ethical behavior is behavior that includes others?"
Aria: “… ethical behavior and involving others - empathy, yes. I think for me it was important that I first reflect, first try to really get to know myself by better understanding the forcesactive within me. What are my weak points? ... How can I rationally work on these weak points every day? For example, by working specifically against my egocentricity, for example by letting others speak, by pausing, questioning the impulses behind my actions.
It really is like a practical exercise. For example, today I plan to pause at least three times and to truly focus on the person I am speaking with. To interrupt my impulses and listen to them, to actively listen, to be interested in their viewpoint. But how do I do that? You have to train it like a muscle - every day. Then you will notice that empathy gradually gains more space over egocentricity. If I do not work on this consciously, the egocentricity will make gains again. So, working specifically within myself against my weak points and on the other hand strengthening virtues, which of course I also have. Putting a priority on these virtues in order to build a bridge to others by acting humane, becoming a true human.
Ethical Literacy, Generation Corona and Design Your Life! – by Angela Poech & Cynthia Potter
Founded in 2005, NeuroPsychoEconomics is the first scientific platform at the interface of neuroscience, psychology, economics, and marketing. Angela Poech, Professor for Entrepreneurship at the University of Applied Sciences Munich, focused in her presentation on the question: Why is it particularly important for this generation of children, teens, and young adults to acquire ethical literacy? She obviously hit a nerve with this question, as the positive reactions of the other conference members showed. The lecture  was recorded in the context of the conference and is now available on our Ethica Rationalis YouTube channel.]
 The conference paper is included in the Conference Proceedings under the title: „Ethical Literacy: Design Thinking as a Pathway to Teach and Acquire Ethical Competencies“. The two authors are Angela Poech, Munich University of Applied Sciences, and Cynthia Potter, American University, Washington DC. Contact address: firstname.lastname@example.org]
Ethics of small steps
When we set the statutes for Ethics Rationalis, it was clear what our goals should be: With our work we help to translate the topic of ethics (the science of morality) into everyday life in the midst of society. So we formulated the following guiding principle for our association's purpose: "We promote the scientific research and development of rational and objective ethical principles, especially with regard to human rights and human obligations. The aim is to examine those aspects of ethics that are truly universal and that are generally recognized by everyone - regardless of origin, religious affiliation, gender or social and cultural background."
We would like to give you an insight into our work by briefly describing what universal, applied and rational mean for us in connection with ethics and everyday ethics.
Our concern therefore pertains to ethics that are valid beyond culture, nationality, gender and religion. The basic principles of ethics are universal because human nature is universal. In an unbiased exchange with others in formats such as the PhiloBrunch, we seek to jointly develop solutions for difficult ethical issues.
The essential question is how one can think, speak or act in accordance with ethical principles in everyday life. We are less interested in conducting theoretical discussions on the subject of ethics (although these are also necessary), but rather finding out how the practical and concrete implementation of ethical principles can take place. Do only truly heroic deeds ethically count? What are the obstacles stopping us from ethical action - are they inside and / or outside of us? When and how shouldI act ethically? What difficulties might I face if I behave ethically? Do I have to give up all my worldly possessions and my social position? How can this be reconciled with work, family and friends?
Day by day, minute by minute, we are confronted with challenges that provide insight into our inner attitudeand our character. Based on scientific knowledge from psychology, philosophy, law, medicine and other areas, we can develop methods to better deal with ethical dilemmas. This rational approach is one of the three pillars of our work.
In one of our first articles we provided a definition of what we mean by “everyday ethics”. It is the behavior that can be practiced every day and at every moment, behavior that requires neither great preparation nor supernatural efforts or sacrifices. But how can this actually be implemented? The approach that most succinctly sums up the basic idea is likely to be the golden rule: “Treat others as you would to be treated; and what you would not wish for yourself, you should not do unto others." Let us remember situations when others did something for us ... the support of a dear friend at a moment when we needed encouragement; the hospitality of strangers or the friendly greeting of a colleague who was previously unknown; the nice lady who gave us detailed directions ... gestures that seem insignificant to us at first, but which give us the feeling of being valued and perceived as human beings.
With that definition of ethical behavior, the 'field of activity' or 'laboratory' in which one can practice ethical behavior is almost unlimited. This laboratory encompasses all areas of daily life, whether you are at work, with family or friends, on the road or on vacation, etc. - there are always opportunities to behave politely, honestly, tolerantly and considerately. And, as we have all experienced, these actions are not without effect. That is why we also speak of 'ethics of small steps': it is these seemingly insignificant words,gestures and deeds that, taken together, have a significant impact on living together.
In the following, we would like to present our very personal and individual thoughts on the ethics of small steps:
"In conversations I pay attention to words and gestures: Do I let the other person finish? Am I really listening? Am I conveying appreciation? Am I ready to defend others? My goal is to create islands of humanity in my environment."
"For me, a prerequisite for everyday ethics is to think about which ethical principles I would like to apply in contact with others. Then I implement these principles in small steps: Being careful not to hurt others with my words; defending someone who is being slandered; remaining objective in arguments and controlling my emotions; letting others finish speaking, etc. It helps me if I consciously put myself in their shoes and asking: if the roles were reversed, how would I want to be treated?"
"Through the intensive study of practical ethics, I realized that in exchange with others I sometimes reach my limits and become impatient. After trying the 'classic' methods (counting up to 10 ...) for a while, I took a different approach. I asked myself what the deeper reason for my impatience could be. Gradually I realized how I can better mentally prepare myself for 'impatient situations', and I learned to assess myself and my surroundings more realistically, and to get a better grip on my my emotions. This analysis has made me much more relaxed."
"For me, everyday ethics are the many small ethical deeds: greeting neighbors in a friendly manner, helping a colleague, paying attention to family members, expressing consolation and encouragement, donating something. At the same time, it is about what I need to avoid: making too much noise, marginalizing others, slandering colleagues. In short: How can I contribute to making it more pleasant for the people around me?"
"I implement everyday ethics in such a way that I ask myself multiple times a day: is what I am about to say or do right now ethical or not? This is a double task: I have to be honest with myself (someone needs my help) and I have to overcome my resistance to doing something that I may not have the time nor the inclination to do (I am currently under stress). The key is to see my well-being at the moment as equal or subordinate to that of my counterpart - and then to act, even if it is uncomfortable."
"In my professional environment, it is quite common to position yourself in a good light and to seek recognition. I practice taking pause and focusing on my colleagues: do I for example support new teammates with positive feedback in order to acknowledge their achievements and to strengthen their self-confidence. The art is to sharpen our 'ethical senses' and spot those moments through practice."