Ethics model questions (8)
Ethics model questions 2013
Q5. [B] What is meant by ‘crisis of conscience’? Narrate one incident in your life when you were faced with such a crisis and how you resolved the same. (10 marks| 150 words)
Ans: A crisis of conscience refers to a situation where an individual experiences a significant internal conflict between their moral values, beliefs, and actions. It occurs when a person faces a difficult decision that conflicts with their personal values or ethical principles, leading them to question their beliefs and feel a sense of moral distress.
During a crisis of conscience, individuals may feel a great deal of emotional and psychological turmoil as they try to reconcile conflicting beliefs and make decisions that align with their values. They may experience feelings of guilt, shame, and anxiety as they struggle to determine the right course of action.
Examples of situations that can trigger a crisis of conscience include ethical dilemmas related to healthcare decisions, business practices, political choices, and personal relationships. In these situations, individuals may feel torn between their moral compass and external pressures or expectations.
There have been many historical examples of individuals facing a crisis of conscience, often related to significant social, political, or moral issues of their time. Here are a few notable examples:
• Martin Luther: In the 16th century, the German theologian Martin Luther became increasingly disillusioned with the Catholic Church's practices, particularly its sale of indulgences. Luther's crisis of conscience culminated in his posting of the Ninety-Five Theses in 1517, which challenged the Church's authority and laid the groundwork for the Protestant Reformation.
• Mahatma Gandhi: The Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi experienced a crisis of conscience early in his legal career when he was asked to represent a wealthy merchant accused of assault. Gandhi struggled to reconcile his commitment to nonviolence with the need to defend his client, ultimately deciding to withdraw from the case and pursue a path of nonviolent resistance.
• Harriet Beecher Stowe: The American author Harriet Beecher Stowe experienced a crisis of conscience in the 1850s while writing her novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin." The book's depiction of the horrors of slavery caused a stir and helped to galvanise anti-slavery sentiment in the North, but Stowe also struggled with the potential consequences of her work, including the possibility of causing harm to enslaved people through increased violence and repression.
• Albert Schweitzer: The German-French philosopher and humanitarian Albert Schweitzer experienced a crisis of conscience in the early 20th century when he realised the extent of the suffering in Africa, where he had previously served as a medical missionary. Schweitzer ultimately gave up his successful career as a theologian and musician to return to Africa as a doctor and humanitarian.
• Rachel Carson: The American biologist and writer Rachel Carson faced a crisis of conscience in the 1950s and 60s while researching the environmental effects of pesticides. Her book "Silent Spring" helped to spark the modern environmental movement, but Carson also faced backlash and criticism from powerful industry interests.
• Desmond Tutu: The South African Anglican bishop Desmond Tutu faced a crisis of conscience during the apartheid era, when he advocated for nonviolent resistance and human rights for black South Africans. Tutu's moral courage and commitment to reconciliation helped to bring an end to apartheid and establish a new era of democracy in South Africa.
• Thomas More: The English lawyer and statesman Thomas More experienced a crisis of conscience in the 16th century when he refused to support King Henry VIII's break from the Catholic Church. More's steadfast commitment to his beliefs ultimately led to his execution for treason, but he is now revered as a martyr and saint in the Catholic Church.
• Dr. B.R. Ambedkar's Conversion to Buddhism: Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution and a Dalit leader, converted to Buddhism in 1956. He did so after experiencing a crisis of conscience due to the caste discrimination faced by Dalits in Hinduism. He felt that Buddhism provided an alternative to the oppressive caste system and offered a path to liberation and equality.
• Satyendra Dubey's Whistleblowing: Satyendra Dubey was an Indian engineer who blew the whistle on corruption in the construction of the Golden Quadrilateral highway project. He faced a crisis of conscience when he discovered that the project was riddled with corruption and substandard work. He reported the wrongdoing to higher authorities but was later killed in 2003 for his actions. Dubey's case highlights the difficult choices whistleblowers face and the dangers they may encounter when speaking out against corruption.
• Anna Hazare's Hunger Strike: Anna Hazare, an Indian social activist, experienced a crisis of conscience when he saw the rampant corruption in the Indian government. In 2011, he went on a hunger strike to demand the creation of an anti-corruption ombudsman, the Lokpal. Hazare's fast gained national attention and forced the government to pass the Lokpal bill in 2013.
Q6. Given below are three quotations of great moral thinkers/philosophers. For each of these quotations, bring out what it means to you in the present context: [A.]“There is enough on this earth for every one’s need but for no one’s greed.” Mahatma Gandhi.
Ans: Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation, was a great moral thinker and philosopher. His ideas on non-violence, truth, and social justice continue to inspire people all over the world. One of his famous quotes, "There is enough on this earth for everyone's need but for no one's greed," emphasizes the importance of living a simple and sustainable life. This quote is more relevant than ever in today's world, where the greed for material possessions is leading to environmental degradation and social inequality.
What does this quote mean to me in the present context?
• The Need for Sustainability: This quote highlights the importance of living a sustainable life and being mindful of our consumption patterns. In today's world, where overconsumption and waste are causing environmental problems, it is crucial to adopt sustainable practices and live within our means.
• Addressing Social Inequality: The quote also points towards the issue of social inequality, where a few individuals have amassed wealth at the expense of others. In the present context, where the gap between the rich and the poor is widening, it is important to address this issue and work towards a more equitable society.
• Embracing Simplicity: This quote emphasises the need to embrace simplicity and lead a life that is not driven by materialistic pursuits. In the present context, where social media and advertising bombard us with messages that encourage us to consume more, it is important to remind ourselves of the importance of living a simple and meaningful life.
In conclusion, Mahatma Gandhi's quote, "There is enough on this earth for everyone's need but for no one's greed," holds immense relevance in the present context. It reminds us of the need for sustainability, the importance of addressing social inequality, and the value of embracing simplicity in our lives. By adopting these principles, we can create a world that is more just, equitable, and sustainable for all.