THE BILL OF ETHICS
Robert Podolsky and Gregory Sulliger wrote the document below in 1993. It is an interpretation and extension of the work of John David Garcia as presented so thoroughly and clearly in his book, Creative Transformation. Organizations of all types can use it to amend or define their founding constitutions or by-laws.
We, the undersigned officers constituting a quorum of (Name of organization) ___________________________________________________ do hereby adopt the following “Bill of Ethics” as the highest priority policy for governing all our future actions and procedures, both in our dealings with those outside our organization and in our relationships with members and/or employees within our ranks. Henceforth all other written and unwritten rules of conduct for persons associated with this organization shall be understood, reinterpreted, or if need be revised to conform to the definitions and principles stated herein.
ARTICLE 1: PHILOSOPHY & RATIONALE
- 1.1 WHEREAS this organization exists for the pursuit of ethical purposes by ethical means;
- 1.2 WHEREAS the charter of this organization establishes the right of its officers to alter and reform governing policies as they may think proper; and
- 1.3 WHEREAS the officers and members and of this organization have expressed their belief that the establishment of a Bill of Ethics would substantially promote the rights and well-being of all who come in contact with this organization;
- 1.4 THEREFORE the policy of this organization is hereby amended, this document being appended thereto.
ARTICLE 2: DEFINITIONS
- 2.1 We believe it to be self evident that people are neither “good” nor “evil” except as their acts are “good” or “evil” ;
- 2.2 And that a person’s actions are “good” (or equivalently “just” or “ethical”) if they increase the creativity of at least one person, including the person acting, without limiting or diminishing the creativity of any person, including the person acting.
- 2.3 Since creativity is the product of ethical awareness and intelligence (as symbolized by the equation: C=E*I) there are two ways an act may increase creativity.
- 2.3.1 An act may increase creativity by increasing someone’s ethical awareness, degree of personal evolution, love, and/or growth, these creativity enhancers being logical equivalents of one another, in that any act which increases one of them must necessarily increase the others, and vice-versa;
- 2.3.2 An act may increase creativity by increasing the intelligence of any person who uses their intelligence creatively rather than destructively; where access to objective truth, access to energy, and freedom are enhancers of intelligence, since they increase one’s ability to predict and control the environment or to initiate and maintain causal relationships between events in the observable world.
- 2.4 The lists of equivalent creativity enhancers given above are incomplete. There may in fact be an unlimited number of such equivalencies that apply. Hereinafter we shall use the words, “ethical awareness” to include all of its logical equivalents, and the word “intelligence” to similarly encompass all of its logical equivalents. The word “creativity” will be used to encompass both the preceding sets of resources, the distinctions between the two sets being duly noted.
- 2.5 From the preceding it follows logically that it is ethical to limit or reduce a person’s intelligence in order to stop or prevent that person from acting destructively (unethically). This is generally accomplished ethically by limiting or reducing that individual’s access to intelligence enhancers.
- 2.6 Where by “person” is meant any being having awareness of its own awareness… thus excluding those lower forms of life whose actions are merely “natural”;
- 2.7 And acts which limit or reduce another person’s creativity (or any of the equivalent resources listed in Section 2.2 above) are… with the exception explained in Section 2.5 above …generally “bad”, or equivalently “evil”, “unethical”, or “entropic”;
- 2.8 And further, that good and evil acts by aware beings fall on an ethical continuum… where the best (most ethical) acts are those which contribute the most to the evolution of an individual or a group… and the worst (most unethical) are those which most increase the entropy (chaos or disorder) thereof;
- 2.9 And still further, that acts which are not “ethical” according to Section 2.2 above and which are not “unethical” according to Section 2.7 above may be said to be “ethically neutral”, “innocent”, “trivial”, or merely “natural”.
ARTICLE 3: PRINCIPLES
- 3.01 From the foregoing self-evident truths we infer that to act ethically each person must do his/her utmost to maximize creativity and its equivalents;
- 3.02 That ethical actions always increase someone’s creativity;
- 3.03 And that ethical actions never destroy, limit, or diminish anyone’s creativity except as described in Section 2.5 above.
- 3.04 And from the foregoing we infer that unethical means can never achieve ethical ends… this principle rejecting the notion that we can ethically sacrifice the creativity of the individual for the “greater good” of society, the “many”, and so forth; from which it follows that:
- 3.05 Unethical means always produce unethical results (ends); trivial means always produce trivial results at best; and similarly
- 3.06 Means which are not ethical ends in themselves are never ethical;
- 3.07 From the foregoing it is also apparent that inaction is unethical. Creativity cannot be passively expanded or increased… this must be done actively to overcome entropic destruction inherent in the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This principle is basically equivalent to the adage that, “For evil to triumph it is only necessary for good men to do nothing.”;
- 3.08 It also follows that it is unethical to tolerate unethical behavior. To do so is to violate Section 3.07 above. For this reason we are ethically bound to defend ourselves and others actively against injury or deceit when we or they are imminently imperiled by another’s unethical behavior; from which:
- 3.08.1 It follows that it is unethical to augment the creativity of anyone whom one reasonably believes will use such augmented resources unethically… and it is therefore ethical to withhold the augmentation of creative resources from anyone whose ethical commitment one reasonably distrusts; and furthermore:
- 3.09 It is ethical to learn and unethical to be certain. When we close our minds on a subject we cease to learn… to increase our own awareness and creativity. Learning always increases creativity; and
- 3.10 It is ethical to doubt. Ceasing to have doubts about a subject we become certain about it and have ceased to learn. Doubts create new questions …some of which yield new answers. Doubt is one of the cornerstones of creativity.
ARTICLE 4: LAWS, RULES AND REGULATIONS
- 4.1 Be it understood that the proper role of an organization’s laws, rules and regulations is to empower those people acting singly or in concert who would embrace the foregoing DEFINITIONS and PRINCIPLES set forth in Articles 2 and 3 above and who are willing to make the moral commitment to live their lives as ethically as they can… as suggested by Section 3.01.;
- 4.2 And it is also the proper role of laws, rules and regulations to prohibit by the most ethical means possible any actions which are unethical as defined above;
- 4.3 Nor is it ever the proper role of rules and regulations to intrude, coerce, or interfere, in the lives of any people except as is truly necessary in order to accomplish the aims of Sections 4.1 and 4.2 above …such intrusion even then to be that which is minimally required;
- 4.4 Moreover, whenever the laws, rules and regulations of an organization are in conflict with said DEFINITIONS and PRINCIPLES the ethics shall prevail …the rules being deemed to exist solely as the servant of the ETHICS, the latter being always superior to the rules.
- 4.5 RESPONSIBILITY for actions: Under the aegis of ethical rules and regulations:
- 4.5.1 All people are responsible for their own actions and the consequences which result from those actions. In determining who shall bear the burden of financial or other costs when someone’s actions result in harm to another person, ultimate (though not sole or total) responsibility rests with the individual who had the last available opportunity to prevent such undesirable effects from occurring.
- 4.5.2 Also, responsibility under ethical rules is not mitigated by the failure of an individual to understand, comprehend, rationalize, or anticipate the consequences of his or her acts… except as such failure may alter the availability of opportunities to prevent harm from occurring.
- 4.5.3 In any case, persons who enact harm on others in a self-induced state of mental incompetence (e.g. intoxicated) may still be required to bear the costs of the consequences of their actions when the act of inducing such incompetence was the chronologically last opportunity anyone had to prevent the unethical act from being performed.
- 4.5.4 Harm enacted by one person on another is solely justifiable when necessary in self or another’s defense against the person harmed.
ARTICLE 5: COOPERATION OF OFFICIALS
5.1 NON-INTERFERENCE: No elected or appointed Official, officer, or employee shall take direct or indirect action or exert direct or indirect influence which would result in the circumvention, deflection, abrogation, evasion of or interference with the purpose of this policy amendment.
- 5.2 PENALTY: Any person found to be violating Section 5.1 above shall be reprimanded or removed from their position office or appointment as determined by the authority cited below.
- 5.3 JURISDICTION: Jurisdiction for purposes of this policy amendment, shall be with the board of directors of this organization.
ARTICLE 6: PREVIOUSLY EXISTING RULES AND POLICIES
- 6.1 CONFORMITY: Henceforth all the rules, regulations, and policies of this organization, whether they originate at board, executive, managerial, supervisory level or below shall be brought into compliance with this amendment within (time period)__________of this date. Wherever this amendment conflicts with or contradicts other rules, regulations, or policies, be they written or unwritten, this measure shall supersede and take precedence over the other, it being the ultimate touchstone for valid procedural regulation throughout this organization.
Officers’ Signatures: Date: