Morality stems from our world religions and is a set standard of civil society embraced by communities. Ethics are tied to HUMANISTIC PHILOSOPHY not coming from a god/God but reasoned by individual feelings of what good and bad mean. This is why ethics change with new eras while our morals tied to religion have lasted thousands of years.
In the US through last century our ethics were tied to religious morals as REAL LEFT social progressives embraced ethics seeing 99% of US citizens as free and having rights and human dignity. These few decades of CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA have killing those ethics and installed far-right wing global corporate ethics meaning the GOOD was defined as good for corporate wealth and power---not people over profits.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct. The term ethics derives from Ancient Greek ἠθικός (ethikos), from ἦθος (ethos), meaning 'habit, custom'. The branch of philosophy axiology comprises the sub-branches of ethics and aesthetics, each concerned with values.
Ethics seeks to resolve questions of human morality by defining concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime. As a field of intellectual enquiry, moral philosophy also is related to the fields of moral psychology, descriptive ethics, and value theory.
Three major areas of study within ethics recognized today are:
Meta-ethics, concerning the theoretical meaning and reference of moral propositions, and how their truth values (if any) can be determined
Normative ethics, concerning the practical means of determining a moral course of action
Applied ethics, concerning what a person is obligated (or permitted) to do in a specific situation or a particular domain of action'.
You say morals, I say ethics – what’s the difference?
September 17, 2014 11.59pm EDT
Certain customs or behaviours are recognised as good and others as bad, and these collectively comprise morality – arguably the summation of our value system as human beings. So a conversation about ethical and moral decision-making is important.
But problems arise when the terms “ethics” or “morals” are used interchangeably.
The words derive respectively from the word in Greek (ethos, ethikos) and Latin (mores, moralis), variously translated as customs, manners or social norms. In fact, however, it is possible to differentiate the Greek root of ethics from the Latin root of morality in a way that may be practically helpful.
According to this understanding, “ethics” leans towards decisions based upon individual character, and the more subjective understanding of right and wrong by individuals – whereas “morals” emphasises the widely-shared communal or societal norms about right and wrong. Put another way, ethics is a more individual assessment of values as relatively good or bad, while morality is a more intersubjective community assessment of what is good, right or just for all.
The relevance of the distinction is seen when questions such as “how should I act?” and “what should I do?” are broadened to Socrates’ question, “how should we live?”. Granted modern society’s multiplicity of cultures and traditions, resulting in a diverse moral collage, with no single truth easily identifiable, the big moral question is surely, “how should we live together?”.
In approaching such a question, the individual ethical answer can be limited by its essential egotism. It can be restricted to one’s own worldview rather than being inherently aware of the existence and relevance of others. Since recognition of others is implicit to moral questions, according to the distinction made above, moral questions can and must be answered universally. This requires having a shared dialogue – precisely since these questions deal with good, right, and justice for all.
Put another way, moral decision-making relocates ethical decision-making away from an individualistic reflection on imperatives, utility or virtue, into a social space. In that space one is implicitly aware of the other, wherein we understand from the start that we need to have a dialogue. There is a difference between what I should do in an ethical dilemma, and what we should do in a moral dilemma.
In ethical dilemmas, individual decision-making may draw on the frameworks of “must-do” imperatives, utility consequences, the seeking of goodness, or a guiding framework from God.
But ethical decisions should recognise the context within which they are set. That is, they must recognise that duties can be ranked in a hierarchy (for example, to stop at an accident to render assistance trumps the promise of meeting for coffee); in a similar way, consequences can be ranked too.
In moral decisions, in which the importance of others and their actual situation in the world, is recognised, community decisions are based on dialogue between all those on whom the decision impacts. That dialogue should aim to be inclusive, non-coercive, self-reflective, and seek consensus among real people, rather than seek an elusive absolute moral truth.
As a simple example, consider the decision of which career I choose.
First I collect the facts (such as the pre-requisites I need in order to enrol in a course). Collecting the facts precedes any ethical or moral decision-making. The ethical dimension of the decision leads me to think about myself and recognise, say, that I have certain talents, or that I would like to maximise my work-life balance.
The moral dimension is added when I recognise my decision affects others – my family, the community in which I live – in terms of being able to serve others, rather than simply earn an income. Thus, I widen my own perspective and discuss with those around me how we should decide.
But it is contentious whether certain dilemmas are seen predominantly (or exclusively) as ethical or moral ones. Just consider euthanasia, homosexuality, suicide, or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to name a few.
Each may be seen by different observers as a dilemma either for the individual to make a decision about (an ethical dilemma), or for a society to make a decision about (a moral dilemma). How we see the dilemma in large part determines the approach we will take to the decision to be made. That is, whether I think about it via a monologue with myself, or whether we, all together, enter into a dialogue about it.
In short, there is a valuable difference between ethics and morals.
'The other point of confusion is that both law and morality come from being social animals. We can breed asocial species and make them social species–by selecting for traits connected to “passivity.” Being “social” as a species means developing things like “fairness,” “equity,” “empathy,” and “compassion.”'
The US was founded on Christian ideals no matter what those humanist and atheist FB friends want to say. We have laws against MURDER as THOU SHALT NOT KILL. We have laws against embezzlement and theft as THOU SHALT NOT STEAL or THOU SHALT NOT COVET THY NEIGHBORS HOUSE.
These founding principles were indeed tied to morality------legislation over 300 years brought in ETHICS as the quote above states. THOU SHALT NOT KILL in Christianity was tied to humanity yet we have ETHICAL TREATMENT OF ANIMALS.
Below we see other world religions have this same dynamic. Hindi place great moral ties to animals having spirit as do our US native Americans. MORALITY says kill animals respectfully only for sustenance.
'Hinduism places emphasis on the belief that God is present in all organisms. There are a select few that are definitely more auspicious than others. Cows, Tigers, Elephants etc., These are often associated with various deities or considered to be their manifestation.
However, like religion always does, the base value is often compromised for blind beliefs. Therefore, while select animals are considered very sacred, there is an abundance of violence on animals in countries with large Hindu populations (This is to say that I am not pointing fingers at a specific religion - but at a population in general)'.
The argument in US in whether to legislate morality is tied to the fact that morality was installed by founding fathers COMMON LAW followed by 300 years of ethical law-making. This is why in US the fight over exactly when CONCEPTION takes place is so heated. It is morality vs the ethics of women having rights over their own bodies.
What does it mean to “legislate morality”?
Viewer Mail Question: What does it mean to “legislate morality”? Isn’t any and all legislation a form of legislating morality? It seems to me that if we did not legislate morality, there would be no laws. We’ve determined that undermining ones welfare and liberty are wrong, and have outlined certain laws to strengthen individual liberty and welfare.
Response: Laws are just a set of rules to ensure the safe and harmonious interaction of society. Whether or not laws align with morality, has everything to do with your personal sense of moral values. But we don’t govern from morality, in the U.S. for example, but from a Constitution that was put forward by some people, as what was considered to be a good idea for governance. The Constitution does not tell anyone what is right or wrong. It talks only about governmental authority. Regulations aren’t morals.
A good example would be the food industry. They have food safety regulations. You might think it’s immoral to produce food in a way that makes it unsafe and potentially harms people. But that is NOT the reason for our food safety laws. The food safety laws are enacted because the government is tasked with looking after citizen safety. In short: It’s a bad idea to have your population eating poison. It causes a problem for your citizens, and therefore is a government concern, because the government wants to ensure the smooth function of society. Not because the government is telling people what is moral.
If our laws were based on “morality”–whose morality would we use? I know many people who believe it is morally incorrect to have an abortion, but hold to the legal ethic that it is a personal choice. So, a woman may, for example, think “I could never have an abortion, because I think it would be wrong to destroy my baby (some would not abort if their lives were in danger), but I understand not everyone sees it that way, and our basis for law indicates individual autonomy that requires each woman use her own judgement to decide what is best for herself.” The woman who thinks ‘I could never do that’ is not wrong. That’s her moral value. She’s just saying she couldn’t bring herself to do that–from a moral standpoint, based on how she views it. But legally she gets the law isn’t regulating morality, but ensuring individual rights/freedoms; and since she doesn’t want the law deciding what people do with their bodies (she gets she would not want the gov’t to force her to have an abortion), she extends that “right” to herself and her peers–legally. It has nothing to do with her morality.
The confusion happens, from what I’ve seen, when our laws and our morals overlap. People become confused thinking that this means laws are “based on” morality. But that leaves the door open for Sharia laws where people are convinced that is moral behavior. The law is best suited to balance society’s and the individual’s interests in a way that works for both–preferably optimally. There is a social contract between individuals and society whereby the society offers protection (generally) and the individual offers contribution and allegiance to the society. All social animals do this–not just humans.
Certainly a law may be immoral, and people may oppose it on moral grounds. There are laws in some Mid East nations that say you can’t honor kill, but the people often disregard it and honor kill anyway, because they believe they are morally obligated. Alternately, we have had laws that were morally opposed–such as slavery. However, the question of “should I be allowed to own slaves” in the U.S., is NOT determined by the morality of the law, but whether or not it aligns with Constitutional values–which are not moral statements but statements about the interplay between governmental authority vs. individual rights and freedoms. So, in the U.S., opposing slavery “because it’s immoral” would get you nowhere. Opposing it as an illegal imposition on the individual rights guaranteed in the Constitution is how you get it abolished. There are times when a particular behavior causes civil unrest, and if it’s not illegal, we may amend the laws to outlaw it, as well. In the U.S., when laws do cross over with morality–we get a huge mess and a lot of public controversy and problems–such as we saw with women’s votes, slavery, gay marriage and abortion. This is why erring on the side of “freedom” is best. That way the people who are morally comfortable with gay marriage can do what they please, those who aren’t don’t have to have a gay marriage. But those who make a moral case for these things to be outlawed are irrelevant. They must show a legal precedent, some realistic projections of sufficient social harm if these things are legal, or some conflict with the Constitution. “It’s against my morality” doesn’t fly to change laws, when you’re in the realm of law.
We have a lot of laws that have nothing whatsoever to do with morality. We have, for example, parking zones where I can sit my vehicle for only limited time periods. If I leave it for 2.5 hours rather than 2 hours–is that “immoral”? No, but it’s illegal. The laws are just about “how do we work well together,” not telling people what is right or wrong–but what society will allow or not allow. It’s two fundamentally different value starting points. Making abortion legal does nothing to make the people who don’t believe it’s morally correct change their minds. It only makes them (theoretically) respect the legal right of others to hold different values/morals and do what they like in the name of Constitutionally protected autonomy.
The other point of confusion is that both law and morality come from being social animals. We can breed asocial species and make them social species–by selecting for traits connected to “passivity.” Being “social” as a species means developing things like “fairness,” “equity,” “empathy,” and “compassion.” If we did not have these traits as a group (along with other social species), we wouldn’t even be able to think of “others” as part of our in-groups, and our societies (wolf packs, lion prides, human cultures) would break down. The fact that we are built to survive in groups means we have to have rules that govern interplay between individuals. And laws also, therefore, must deal with “fairness” and “equity” in the sense that they are trying to avoid problems in society–not because they’re judging morality. It’s that, in some aspects, morality and law are often based on similar social tendencies and needs, but exist for different reasons. It’s not that law is based on morality. Social species have the capacity to develop a personal sense of what is acceptable behavior, because we’re social (this is the reason you can train dogs–or children for that matter). But laws have to cover everyone–even the many people within the society who have very different moral positions than you do. The laws have to incorporate the reality that they must accommodate many diverse individuals–which is why maximum individual freedom is a good idea. That way you are allowed to have your own morality, and I have mine, and we can operate under our own moral senses without interference from the law–which only serves to help us function together as a society. The law merely does what it can to make sure that citizens operate well together as a group. Morality is about a personal sense of right and wrong.
I don’t know if that helps or answers your question, but that’s it in a nutshell.
'In approaching such a question, the individual ethical answer can be limited by its essential egotism. It can be restricted to one’s own worldview rather than being inherently aware of the existence and relevance of others'.
While morals are universal tied to world religions through thousands of years-----ETHICS is uniquely tied to that INDIVIDUAL SENSE OF REALITY ---not that organized community of religious ideals.
Throughout 300 years of US history our business ethics steered from LAISSEZ-FAIRE colonialism that exists to break all moral and ethical standards. Our domestic economy and small, regional businesses operated under US Rule of Law, business had ethics----BEST BUSINESS PRACTICES for free market domestic economy in US held to PEOPLE OVER PROFITS by regulating, providing oversight and accountability, equal protection laws with rights to opportunity and access -----all of this was tied to a LEFT SOCIAL PROGRESSIVE goal of building wealth and freedom for 99% of WE THE PEOPLE black, white, and brown citizens. Laissez-faire is always tied to global 1% and OLD WORLD MERCHANTS OF VENICE because they kill sovereign free markets, business ethics, moral ethics-----PROFITS OVER PEOPLE.
CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY when defined by corporations and global 1% are far different than CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY when defined by 99% EQUAL OPPORTUNITY AND ACCESS free market.
CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA took a thriving US sovereign free market expanding opportunity for all 99% and killed it with LAISSEZ-FAIRE NEO-LIBERALISM -----making business ethics tied only to corporate profiteering.
Moral Ethics Vs. Business Ethics
by Jeremy Bradley
Business ethics, when approached with care, can help your business succeed.
Think "ethics and business" are an oxymoron? Think again! Small business owners are realizing that the principles of moral ethics can be injected into business. Ethical businesses recognize the power of conducting business in socially responsible ways and they realize that doing so leads to increases in profit and customer satisfaction and decreases in employee turnover.
We all, whether knowingly or subconsciously, approach life with a moral and ethical framework. For many of us, this framework is cultivated early in life. We often tend to take on the beliefs and world view of our parents, our religious community, our friends at school and others who play an influential part in our upbringing. Nonetheless, as we grow and mature, our viewpoints change — sometimes becoming more liberal and sometimes more conservative. The moral frameworks we carry with us do not simply disappear when we start working or when we manage employees. In fact, the ethical frameworks of small business owners are incredibly important factors that shape how the organization is run.
Business ethics is concerned with applying a moral framework to the way organizations do business. From dealing with human resources issues to sales and marketing policies, ethical viewpoints can shape and change the way businesses operate. Business ethics has both normative and descriptive elements. The normative part of business ethics has to do with understanding how the behavior you and your employees exhibit is related to cultural issues or social upbringing. If you tend to be conservative with money, for example, you may be able to attribute this to being raised with "savers" as parents. The key to normative ethics for small business owners is to understand how your personal beliefs affect the choices you make as a business owner. The descriptive part of business ethics, on the other hand, is related to how you incorporate "best practices" into your organization's policies and procedures. Have you found, for example, that your employees and/or customers respond well to the observance of certain religious traditions or holidays? You may do well then to incorporate these things into your policies, keeping ever cognizant of the varying beliefs and ethical viewpoints of all your customers and employees.
Principled Approach to Ethics
Incorporating ethical frameworks into business has to be done with a great amount of respect and appreciation for others' viewpoints. The questions to ask yourself whenever you are thinking about incorporating an ethical principle into your business are: Will this principle help me better connect with my customers or employees? Will this principle ultimately help me to make more money or to increase my bottom line? Will I lose anything if I do not incorporate this principle? If you answer "no" to any of these questions, you may have a good reason NOT to implement the ethical practice. The key here is respect: All of your employees and customers come from various social and economic backgrounds, therefore any attempt to institutionalize an ethical principle must be balanced with a sense of respect for those you serve.
Corporate Social Responsibility
There are, nonetheless, several ethical principles that are important for businesses to implement. Failing to implement these principles may hurt your business. These ethical principles include a commitment to managing finances in a responsible way, to avoid fraud and misrepresentation in your operations, to treat employees and customers with respect and dignity, and to give back to the community in which you are located. This last point is extremely important for small businesses. Investing in local nonprofit organizations, school groups or community-service projects will increase your brand recognition in the community and will, if done right, bring in new customers to your business. It's a win-win situation: You build goodwill in the community and you simultaneously market your products and services. Business ethics can thus be a fruitful venture for small business owners who are willing to take the time to incorporate ethical principles with care and patience.
Nothing describes this MOVING FORWARD of US from sovereign business ethics tied to free markets with equal protection to OLD WORLD MERCHANTS OF VENICE GLOBAL 1% LAISSEZ-FAIRE business ethics for only wealth and corporate power than STEVE JOBS. Steve Jobs and APPLE have been touted as America's best in business and market development and growth. What we see in this article is typical OLD WORLD GLOBAL 1% FREEMASONRY in selling this transition away from strong egalitarian, moral and ethics American free market business ethics than tying STEVE JOBS to ZEN BUDDHISM. Here we see that blend of religious morality and ethics moving from a JUDEO-CHRISTIAN to Asian but as usual global banking CORRUPTS EVERYTHING tied to religious beliefs----especially ZEN BUDDHISM.
This article written by BUSINESS INSIDER is of course corrupts the ideals of ZEN and SIMPLICITY. Steve Jobs top goal was bringing back OLD WORLD MERCHANTS OF VENICE GLOBAL MARKETS, LAISSEZ-FAIRE enslavement for maximum profits, with that SCIENTIFIC goal of GENIUS IS SIMPLICITY.
'Do you believe that this quotation :"Simplicity is genius" is true/ correct? let us have your opinion, please?
See what Albert Einstein said
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.” '
So, Steve Jobs took the scientific approach of SIMPLICITY IS GENIUS making these goals sound ENLIGHTENED tied to ZEN BUDDHISM.
Let's look at what ZEN GOALS REALLY ARE---------------and what Steve Jobs does in claiming industrial simplicity to religious morals rather than economic gain.
Wabi – the Love of Poverty
What is wabi? Dr. Suzuki says that it translates to “aloneness”, “poverty”, or “not to be in the fashionable society of the time.” He puts that wabi “characterizes the entirety of Japanese culture reflecting the spirit of Zen.”
To be poor, that is, not to be dependent on things worldly – wealth, power and reputation – and yet to feel inwardly the presence of something of the highest value, above time and social position: this is what essentially constitutes wabi. Stated in terms of practical everyday life, wabi is to be satisfied with a little hut, a room of two or three tatami (mats), like the log cabin of Thoreau, and with a dish of vegetables picked in the neighboring fields, and perhaps to be listening to the pattering of a gentle spring rainfall.
Here's How Zen Meditation Changed Steve Jobs' Life And Sparked A Design Revolution
- Drake Baer
- Jan. 9, 2015, 11:31 AM
Follow Business Insider:
When Steve Jobs showed up at the San Francisco airport at the age of 19, his parents didn't recognize him.
Jobs, a Reed College dropout, had just spent a few months in India.
He had gone to meet the region's contemplative traditions — Hinduism, Buddhism — and the Indian sun had darkened his skin a few shades.
The trip changed him in less obvious ways, too.
Although you couldn't predict it then, his travels would end up changing the business world.
Back in the Bay Area, Jobs continued to cultivate his meditation practice. He was in the right place at the right time; 1970s San Francisco was where Zen Buddhism first began to flourish on American soil. He met Shunryu Suzuki, author of the groundbreaking "Zen Mind, Beginners Mind," and sought the teaching of one of Suzuki's students, Kobun Otogawa.
Jobs met with Otogawa almost every day, Walter Isaacson reported in his biography of Jobs. Every few months, they'd go on a meditation retreat together.
Zen Buddhism, and the practice of meditation it encouraged, were shaping Jobs' understanding of his own mental processes.
"If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is," Jobs told Isaacson. "If you try to calm it, it only makes things worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there's room to hear more subtle things — that's when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before. It's a discipline; you have to practice it."
Jobs felt such resonance with Zen that he considered moving to Japan to deepen his practice. But Otogawa told him he had work to do in California.
Evidently, Otogawa was a pretty insightful guy.
When you look back at Jobs' career, it's easy to spot the influence of Zen. For 1300 years, Zen has instilled in its practitioners a commitment to courage, resoluteness, and austerity — as well as rigorous simplicity.
Or, to put it into Apple argot, insane simplicity.
Zen is everywhere in the company's design.
Take, for instance, the evolution of the signature mouse:
It's the industrial design equivalent of the enso, or hand-drawn circle, the most fundamental form of Zen visual art.
But Zen didn't just inform the aesthetic that Jobs had an intense commitment to, it shaped the way he understood his customers. He famously said that his task wasn't to give people what they said they wanted; it was to give them what they didn't know they needed.
"Instead of relying on market research, [Jobs] honed his version of empathy — an intimate intuition about the desires of his customers," Isaacson said.
What's the quickest way to train your empathy muscles? As centuries of practitioners and an increasingly tall stack of studies suggest, it's meditation.
When you take that into account, it's easy to see that for Jobs, growing his business and cultivating his awareness weren't opposing endeavors.
When he died, the New York Times ran a stirring quote about what he did for society: "You touched an ugly world of technology and made it beautiful."
We can thank that time in India and on the meditation cushion for that beautiful, rigorous simplicity — one that sparked a design revolution.
We understand we may be offending a billion Buddhist religious believers in being OVERLY SIMPLISTIC and generalizing in making a point in US public policy. We define the difference in Western thought between religious morals and philosophical ethics as ethics being reasoned by individuals tied to what is a changing view of enlightenment-----ZEN is much like this where Buddhism is broadly moral.
'In very simple terms, the difference between Buddhism and Zen is that Zen offers a path to enlightenment through a process of discovering truths about the self while traditional Buddhism focuses more on others'.
Let's be frank-----Steve Jobs and his simplicity was tied to PATENTING HIS APPLE PRODUCTS AND in marketing what was the same product over and over and over forcing consumers to buy new hardware to access a new application. That was JOBS' sole purpose in SIMPLICITY OF DESIGN. We have patent right fights today over whether another company can use the simply rectangular body form of an APPLE for example. Simplicity expands PATENT PROTECTIONS. There is nothing moral or ethical in STEVE JOBS AND APPLE.
ZEN does tend towards our Western ideals of ethical philosophy. Introversion and reflection creates ideas of GOOD AND BAD-----which we call ETHICS.
The difference between Buddhism and Zen
August 1, 2012
A strong belief that enlightenment, a state known as Nirvana, comes from knowing true compassion for others is the basic tenet of the teachings of Buddha. The religion of Buddhism has sects evolved from traditional Tibetan Buddhism; Zen Buddhism is an offshoot of the original religion. A Buddhist seeks to offer consistency of word and deed; enlightenment stems from the art of doing the things you say you will do with compassion and thoughtfulness.
In very simple terms, the difference between Buddhism and Zen is that Zen offers a path to enlightenment through a process of discovering truths about the self while traditional Buddhism focuses more on others.
Tibetan Buddhism guides the practitioner through four specific Bodhisattva actions:
Generosity is the core of Buddhist philosophy, and students of Buddhism develop instinctual awareness of the needs of others and a selfless willingness to give aid to others.
The need to reduce pain and grief in others is part of the spiritual awareness of this goal.
Beneficial conduct is a requirement of Buddhism that allows one to make decisions based on what is the kind thing to do and on what will fit best with the Universe.
Pleasant speech is necessary to perform positive and warm relationships. No good will come of words said in anger and a desire to clear the mind of negative thoughts and energies is necessary for enlightenment.
DOES ANYONE SEE STEVE JOBS AND APPLE IN ANY OF THOSE POINTS ABOVE?????? A RAGING NAKED CAPITALIST NEO-LIBERAL FOR GOODNESS SAKE.
Zen Buddhism leads the learner through the same four activities with a stronger focus on the inner self and an ability to see through the mind’s eye to connect to the Universe.
Essentially, the difference between Buddhism and Zen Buddhism is the way practitioners use methods of visualization and breathing to meditate. Zen Buddhism turns a focus inward and to the self without external visualization while traditional Buddhism often relies on external visualizations to achieve a meditative state.
We discuss these distinctions in Asian and Western ethics because we have a few billion global labor pool immigrants coming from parts of the world tied to these morals and ethics. We want them to know WE THE PEOPLE THE US 99% understand that a global 1% CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA have CORRUPTED their religious and ethics beliefs as well as our own JUDEO-CHRISTIAN.
This discussion does a good job in blending what are an Asian system of morals and ethics with what our US system of JUDEO-CHRISTIAN should look like.
Zen Buddhism and Steve Jobs
Nov 26th, 2011 | By Dr. Jim Eckman
With the death of Apple founder, Steve Jobs, and the subsequent release of the biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, we have gained a new insight into the mind and heart of Apple CEO Steve Jobs. A few thoughts about this remarkable man.
- First, Steve Jobs was a man of much inner turmoil and unsettledness. He told Isaacson that “For most of my life, I’ve felt there must be more to our existence than meets the eye.” Much of his early childhood was spent searching for that “unseen something.” Isaacson relates that when he was 13 years old, he talked with a Lutheran pastor about human suffering and starving children. The pastor did not give him satisfactory answers so he refused to attend church again. He then turned to Eastern mysticism, to meditation and to even psychedelic drugs. He also began to study Zen Buddhism. He especially focused on the lectures of Shunryu Suzuki, a Zen master from America. In 1974, Jobs travelled to India in search of a guru that could serve him personally. According to Daniel Burke of USA Today, “Upon returning [from India] he found one in his hometown of Los Altos, California, where a Suzuki disciple, Kobun Chino Otagawa, had opened the Haiku Zen Center. Jobs and this Zen master quickly forged a bond, discussing life and Buddhism during midnight walks. ‘I ended up spending as much time with him as I could,’ Jobs told Isaacson. ‘Zen has been a deep influence in my life ever since.’” In 1976, Steve Jobs ended his regular practice of Zen Buddhism. His work at Apple was consuming more and more of his time. Nonetheless, his contact with Kobun continued. Indeed, Kobun officiated at his wedding in 1991. When Kobun died of drowning in 2002, evidence indicates that Jobs took this death very hard. According to Isaacson’s biography, as reported by Burke, Jobs believed that Zen meditation taught him to concentrate and ignore distractions: “He also learned to trust intuition and curiosity—what Buddhists call ‘beginner’s mind’—over analysis and preconceptions. More visibly, Apple’s sleek, minimalist designs reveal Jobs’s zeal for Zen aesthetics—the uncluttered lines of calligraphy and Japanese gardens, according to Isaacson’s book.”
Further, to boost creativity among Apple’s engineers, Jobs began offering meditation classes at Apple in 1999. However, Jobs was known as a ruthless, mean, manipulative and egocentric CEO, for, as Isaacson reports in his book, “Unfortunately, his Zen training never quite produced in him a Zen-like calm of inner serenity, and that is part of his legacy.” Isaacson quotes one of the meditation teachers in California as stating that “He got to the aesthetic part of Zen—the relationship between lines and spaces, the quality and craftsmanship, but he didn’t stay long enough to get the Buddhist part, the compassion part, the sensitivity part.” In short, Steve Jobs did not practice what he believed, a common struggle for all humans, due to sin. But sin is not part of the Zen equation. Enlightenment is gained by turning inward and when you do that, the Bible teaches, you find nothing but more darkness, not true enlightenment.
- Second, what exactly is Zen Buddhism? “Zen” is actually a Japanese word for meditation (in China it is Ch’an), a form of religion which developed out of, and in a reaction to Buddhism. It originated in India, rose to prominence in China and now flourishes in Japan. As you might expect, it is very difficult to arrive at a clear understanding of all that Zen Buddhism teaches. Each Zen leader has his own applications. Nonetheless, here are a few tenets that seem to apply to all Zen leaders:
- The Buddha-nature is in all men, so that all can become Buddhas; and the Buddha-mind is everywhere. Anything can occasion its realization at any time. Enlightenment (called satori) can be attained in ordinary living, under ordinary circumstances and in ordinary situations. Satori, sudden illumination, can occur at any point in life.
- According to one writer, satori involves a return to one’s original nature, to one’s original relations with the world of nature. This satori is not normally attained via rigorous asceticism (as in traditional Buddhism) and it is not conceptual in nature. In fact, concepts and ideas are not what motivate the Zen Buddhist. Instead, it is characterized by the absence of conceptions, the absence of thought.
- In fact, the power of Zen is released in the koan, a problem designed to baffle one’s ordinary intellectual apprehension, forcing a new orientation of awareness. The koan poses a dilemma capable of arresting the mind, of calling up analogies; but the point is to pass beyond this symbolic formulation, to move through the koan, emerging on its other side with a unity of mind and spirit one had not possessed before. When a koan is solved, typically a flash of enlightenment comes. With greater periods of enlightenment, one eventually becomes a “Buddha in this very body.”
- For the Zen Buddhist, meditation (called “Za-zen”) incorporates Yoga-like techniques to promote the atmosphere of inner peace, allowing the individual to conserve his psychic energy for the sake of concentrating attention more effectively in the struggle with his koan.
- The simplicity of Zen is reflected in architecture and painting in Japan and China. It is this that influenced Jobs and his designs at Apple.
- Third, how could one possibly reach someone like Steve Jobs, who was so influenced by Zen Buddhism? The ultimate reason for seeking an intelligent understanding of Zen Buddhism is to find bridges we can build to reach the Zen Buddhist with the gospel. Jesus did this constantly, as He regularly adapted His message to His hearers.
Bridge #1: First and foremost, consistency in what we believe is crucial. Our doctrinal convictions must be matched by the reality of the Christ-like life. Because Zen Buddhism is fundamentally an ethical faith with no real emphasis on the supernatural, the authentic life of Christ speaks volumes to the Zen Buddhist. Authenticity will get the Zen Buddhist’s attention. This is what Steve Jobs was seeking and what he failed to attain.
Bridge #2 is the issue of suffering. For the Zen Buddhist, suffering encompasses all of life from birth to death. Clinging to the pleasures of life is considered foolishness and vain to the Zen Buddhist. The Christian worldview harmonizes with Zen Buddhism on this point. Christianity recognizes the reality of suffering and ties it to the consequence of human sin (Genesis 3). For that reason the book of Ecclesiastes may be the best starting point, for it declares the futility of life “under the sun” (1:1-11). This book points out that life is unfair, futile, confusing, and transitory. It is only belief in a Sovereign, personal God that brings sense to all of this, declares the author. For that reason, life is seen, for the Christian, as a good gift from a good God, who ultimately makes sense even out of suffering. Perhaps books like Phillip Yancey’s Where is God When It Hurts? or C.S. Lewis’s The Problem of Pain, both of which deal with suffering, can be of help to the Buddhist.
Bridge #3: When the Zen Buddhist asks the question, “what is life all about?”, he turns inward and answers that it can be found within. When the Christian asks the same question, he turns outward and upward towards God for the answer. For that reason, the Zen Buddhist will focus so much on inward issues. The Zen Buddhist seeks to dwell on and master self in an effort to eradicate self. The haunting question for the Zen Buddhist is how does one achieve satori through occupation with self? It is a paradox. Jesus gave the solution to the paradox of Zen Buddhism: “He who has found his life shall lose it and he who has lost his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:39; Mark 8:35 and Luke 9:24). We find our true identity by losing ourselves in the One who created us, namely Jesus Christ.
Bridge #4: Zen Buddhism claims that all humans should be treated well. But why? There is no absolute standard in Zen Buddhism. Zen Buddhists practice respect and dignity for all life to gain personal peace, to live in harmony with the world. But perhaps a person could easily do evil to get ahead and attain personal peace. Why is that wrong? We must press the Zen Buddhist: “What is goodness? How do we know what is good?” Moral law points to a moral Lawgiver, namely the true God.
Bridge #5: For the Zen Buddhist, ultimate reality is within the human self. Self is the ultimate. But for the Christian, ultimate reality is in the absolute truth of a God who is outside of man and man knows that truth through revelation. For the Zen Buddhist, reality is thoroughly subjective and inner; for the Christian it is objective and God-centered. Ultimate reality is knowable only through Jesus Christ, Who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). This is ultimately the choice the Zen Buddhist must make–is it self or is it Christ?
Reaching a Zen Buddhist, such as Steve Jobs, with the gospel of Jesus Christ is difficult and problematic. These suggested bridges can be used by the Holy Spirit to pierce the heart of the Zen Buddhist. Fundamentally, both the Zen Buddhist and the Christian focus on the metaphor of light as being the path to truth. As the Zen Buddhist journeys into himself and as he learns to negate himself more and more, he is thereby enlightened. The Christian journeys into Jesus Christ, who is the light of the world. To find Jesus is to find true enlightenment. That is the message we must take to the Zen Buddhist.
What the global 1% CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA has done in MOVING FORWARD is made our US 5% to the 1% players black, white, and brown citizens think MOVING FORWARD is going back to our Western DARK AGES and even back to GREEK EMPIRE classical PLATONIC philosophy vs ARISTOTLE ROMAN philosophy.........this is why we have all those 5% FREEMASON/GREEKS.
We have discussed in detail the goal of ONE WORLD/ONE WORLD RELIGION as ending our world religions to create a new more pagan/deities system of moral philosophy. Global 1% want very badly to ELIMINATE MORAL AND ETHICAL WESTERN religion/ethics and philosophy.
National media and political think tanks always use the terms PRAGMATIC POLICY STANCE in describing these few decades and we keep shouting THERE IS NOTHING PRAGMATIC HAPPENING during ROBBER BARON fleecing of America. It has been pure NIHILISM ---the absence of religious morals. MOVING FORWARD has no connection to Western reason and logic-----
it is MAKE IT UP AS WE GO.
'Nihilism is the view that there is no such "thing" as "ethics" or "morality." What those terms designate is, depending upon the variation, a catch-all for certain attitudes people have. From this perspective, it makes no sense to talk about a "theory of ethics" (such as Utilitarianism or Kantian Ethics) because such terms presume there is something that is characteristically "moral" that permeates human activity'.
For the nihilist, what we call "moral" is actually some aspect of our mental functioning that reacts in a certain way to certain types of behavior. It may be an "intuition" or a "sentiment," or some such thing, but it is not some specific sort of mental activity that is different from mental activity in general'.
So, if MOVING FORWARD US CITIES DEEMED FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES were adopting an EASTERN PHILOSOPHY we would be heading towards morals and ethics actually more 99% WE THE PEOPLE- friendly than our RATIONALISM . We can see why GLOBAL 1% BANKING had to send in MAO to kill all that really good moral and ethical structure that was Chinese and Asian religion and ethics.
We are SURE our global 99% of Asian citizens would appreciate of 99% of US WE THE PEOPLE would stop allowing CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA corrupt their religious and ethical beliefs as was done to our Christian/Judeo beliefs.
Difference between Western and Eastern Ethics
Ethics is a branch of philosophy, also known as moral philosophy. It helps humans deal with human morality and concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime. The main difference between eastern and western ethics is the fact that Western Ethics is about finding truth, whereas Eastern Ethics are very much about the protocol, and showing of respect.Ethics is a branch of philosophy, also known as moral philosophy. It helps humans deal with human morality and concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime.
According to Dr. Richard Paul and Dr. Linda Elder of the Foundation for Critical Thinking, "most people confuse ethics with behaving in accordance with social conventions, religious beliefs and the law", and don't treat ethics as a stand-alone concept. Paul and Elder define ethics as "a set of concepts and principles that guide us in determining what behavior helps or harms sentient creatures".
However, culture, social conventions and upbringing has a major impact on ethics and morality. Hence, people from different cultures tend to have different sets of ethics. This is especially evident in ethics of groups of people from the Eastern culture as compared to people from the Western culture.
Ethics and morality are not inbuilt, they are taught. We learn moral and aspects of right or wrong from our parents, teachers, novels, films, and television. Watching them, we develop a set idea of what is right and wrong, but mainly of what is acceptable and what is not.
The main difference between eastern and western ethics is the fact that Western Ethics is about finding truth, whereas Eastern Ethics are very much about the protocol, and showing of respect. Eastern ethics is much more about doing what is right in terms of what is expected of you by your family, society and culture.
Western Ethics, on the other hand, has more of an emphasis on self and what is rationally or logically true. Furthermore, Western Ethics places more emphasis on law and justice, whereas Eastern Ethics states that one must do what is right and expected and the universe will take care of the rest.
Comparison between Western and Eastern Ethics:
Focus Finding Truth
Basis Rational Thought
Emphasis Logic, Cause and Effect.
Roots in Athens, Rome and JudeoChristianity
Good must triumph over Evil
Protocol and Respect
Respect towards family
Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism
Holistic and cultural
Conflict and Harmony
Good and Bad, Light and Dark all exist in equilibrium.