We now live in a situation of high social tension, gripped in a vice that leaves us no room to breathe. On the one hand, the barbarity of the recent attacks and conflicts on our doorstep, with all the distress they bring, and on the other hand, the economic crisis that, each day, increasingly feeds our sense of insecurity and uncertainty, having even cast doubt over our ability to meet our basic needs and keep the roof over our heads.
This huge pressure is an indicator of how capable we are maintaining the foundations of civilisation. These foundations, evolved over centuries, are of course based on rules and rights, but also, and above all, on ways of being and ways of doing.
The real challenge we now face is to be able, despite this disturbing scenario, to consider others and their suffering, maintaining and expressing our humanity, and not to end up feeding a selfish and self-involved view of life, justified by the fear of threats to our own wellbeing.
Migrants fleeing zones of war and desperation have shattered “the illusion”: of thinking that disasters of this kind are a thing of the past. The reality we see today, however, increasingly resembles a “living nightmare” and is resurrecting the old spectres of violence, despair, hunger and death. Fortunately, it is in these darkest moments that unknown possibilities and unexpected resources manage to emerge (as the philosopher Edgar Morin would say). They are the deep seeds of humanity that are just asking to flower at the right time.
As evidence of this, recent studies in neuroscience are bringing reassuring news and even pointing to a “bright” horizon; a hope, that perhaps unwittingly recalls the promise of future calm decreed by the ancient scriptures. But is this horizon really so close? That time when the states of consciousness described by philosophy and humanistic thought, also representing the essence of the Buddhist tradition and the Christian concept of sanctity, will finally move from the level of theory to actually being understood and lived? That time when values such as respect, acceptance, understanding, assertiveness, cooperation, consideration for others, focus on the common good, and aware and non-conflictual relationships, will pass from utopia to “integrated” reality and will become ways of being and existing within human society.
To use a scientific metaphor, we could compare this moment to the “prodigious” stage in which the electron passes from wave function to particle by means of a quantum collapse. In the same way, Ethics could now have its own “quantum collapse“, moving from concept to realisation, becoming real, “integrated”, able to manifest itself and expand. Far from the notion of morality, which was created and developed through cultural layers, this form of Ethics is a tangible sign of humanity that rises and sets off toward its destiny to be realised, valuing the uniqueness of every individual.
Neuroscience is demonstrating that genuinely compassionate, aware and therefore “ethical” behaviour manifests itself when we stimulate the pre-frontal cortex, and when we are able to develop the higher pathways of our brain. This stimulation starts a process of dealing with the impulses that feed our unconscious systems, automatisms and the factors that distance us most from our humanity.
However, the integration of Ethics requires the capacity to make continual choices. Indeed, all individuals find themselves continually faced with a dilemma: on the one hand, to follow their ego-driven instinct; on the other hand, to stimulate the higher, human centred functions of the brain. Once this capacity to choose and discern has been strengthened, ethics will need to be revealed, applied in schools, companies, hospitals, courts, in couples and in the family, and only then will it be possible to trigger a virtuous circle.
So, going from theoretical to integrated ethics requires a genuine transformation of thinking that can gradually be oriented towards a complex vision. This vision can develop by considering the whole, omitting the reductive and limiting details that interfere with the systemic perception of reality.
Our brain has possessed these qualities since the dawn of time. The difference compared to then is that today we have the tools to achieve that “quantum leap” and to direct our lives towards expressing a Consciousness. Only by taking this path will we be able to free ourselves from the obsession of having and be able to progress to a dimension of Being, thus restoring a sense of fullness in our lives.
And it is this understanding of the urgency of facilitating this transition that has driven us at the FIVE Foundation to make Integrated Ethics our mission. Through the Ethics of Human Relationships method, we work to enable every individual to truly achieve full recognition of social conditioning by getting in touch with and developing their potential, along with a personal realisation that considers others and their expression. For us, Ethics is the common good par excellence that must be constantly cultivated, nurtured and expressed. It is the only true remedy to the barbarism of our time.
Indeed, these dark times no longer leave us much choice: chaos on one side with all its destructive potential; Ethics on the other, that reveals man to himself and the beauty of his humanity. It’s up to us to choose.