Languages Contents Introduction

Chapter 1

2. Fundamentals of ethics

The mere fact, that nature springs from God, in a way even is God, provides us with one of the fundamentals of ethics: respect for nature, for lifeless nature, for plants and animals; respect for oneself and mutual respect between people. Looking at the basic rules in living nature will make that even clearer: they are fast, effective, restricted violence, and balance.

All animals eat either plants or animals. All animals (except for those that feed on carrion, but they too, indirectly) must kill to stay alive. But the lion kills rapidly, and causes only brief suffering. It torments its prey only in the rare occasion that it captures one without being hungry. Also, even a lion cannot kill unrestrictedly despite of [sic] vigour and speed: young, healthy animals, if not taken by surprise, are often too fast for it. Thus, the balance is preserved, and animals both with and without claws can live next to each other.

But man, through the intelligence he inherited from God, endangers the balance. People destroy nature, expand unrestrained, root out whole animal species, oust peoples, try to exterminate peoples. All this man does, because he fails to adapt his vital urge, his natural proclivity to violence, to the power that God gave to him.

Animals of the same species act violently towards each other, when they defend a territory, or fix ranks. But then they usually need only symbolic, bloodless violence. Man however in such situations destroys whole cities, and murders thousands if not millions of people. Modern terrorist methods are even more degenerate: people who are not even involved in the conflict are mutilated or killed in assaults, or mentally injured by holding them hostage for years.

Man’s power and intelligence force him to accept two new basic rules: self-restriction and mutual respect. That is the only way to keep the balance, and that is necessary, not only because God has imposed that upon us as a principle of life, but also in our own interest.

Man must learn to distinguish between short-term and long-term interests. In the long run it will be advantageous to only partially exercise his power. By seeing that, a human quality that is always considered evil, namely that of egoism, can turn to be a virtue, for if man strives after his own interest, he strives for peace.

Chapter 1 Chapter 3.1

Copyright 1988, 1989, 2013, R. Harmsen, all rights reserved.