Ostomy Memories of Ethics vs. Morals

Jan 12, 2023 8:21 am

ON SOME SUBJECTS, A DICTIONARY barely touches the surface.  Morals, my dictionary says, are a person’s standards of behavior, while ethics are said to be moral principles that govern behavior.  Sounds kind of the same, but in common usage they have come to be distinguishable.  Neither have any particular relationship with religion.  Some of the most ethical and moral people I’ve met are non-religious, and reading about religious persons getting caught committing immoral acts is nothing new.  Ethics has taken on a broad implication of a person who is strictly honorable with regard to the truth and financial matters.  An ethical person neither lies nor cheats.  Having high morals, on the other hand, implies that one is not guilty of sexual laxity and does not condone it in others.  The problem comes in, of course, with respect to what is sexually acceptable behavior.  A restricted perspective may not be very permissive, while a free thinker might believe that, if it’s physically possible, there’s nothing wrong with it.  Perhaps H. L. Mencken said it best:  “Immorality is the morality of those who are having a better time.”

Jan 12, 2023 9:54 am

I'm gonna take the higher road and stay quiet on this subject because I can see myself getting into trouble with a reply. So, is that ethically or morally correct? &zwj

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Jan 12, 2023 10:19 am

"Immorality: the morality of those who are having a better time." H. L. Mencken

Jan 12, 2023 10:34 am

Hello HenryM. 
Thanks again for a great subject to start the little grey cells working this morning. 
I cannot recall addressing this subject in rhyme before, so you have motivated me to give it a go today. Thanks!
Best wishes




Ethics are principles of mind
that guide some people to be kind,
and thus, they often set the scene, 
preventing folks from being mean.

Whilst principles can be belief
in what to do to avoid grief,
they’re just an ideology
expressing a philosophy.

Based on faith and deep conviction
principles might mean prescription,
where people are ‘told’ what to do,
which may not suit their point of view.

Prescripted principles are fine,
for all those folks who toe the line,
but for those folks who fail to follow,
prescriptions often will ring hollow.

Most independent thinkers will
utilise their thinking skill
and know what good and bad’s about
so, figure their own ethics out.

Morals reflect the way we act 
so, one could say they mimic fact,
and are not just a formal law
but represent a whole lot more.

Evolving from an inner voice 
they’re derived from personal choice,
which guides our actions everyday
and keeps us on the right pathway. 

Morals help us all to know,
morals are the way to go,
with morality in mind,
we’re much more likely to be kind.
                                            B. Withers 2023

Jan 12, 2023 11:53 am
Reply to AlexT

It's neither ethically nor morally correct... it's called better safe than sorry.  Apparently, I don't inspire you like I inspire ol' Bill.  But that's okay.  In truth, I rather inspire a youthful looking blonde with loose morals and sound ethics.  

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Jan 12, 2023 12:55 pm
Reply to AlexT

It's Smarticus

Jan 12, 2023 1:08 pm

Jan 12, 2023 1:45 pm
Reply to Bill


Jan 12, 2023 5:31 pm
Reply to HenryM

I wonder if there are any ladies on here like that. Damn it, Henry, you got me going now.

Jan 12, 2023 10:22 pm

Hi Henry, what a great subject! Morals often do seem to revolve around sex, don't they, but what is considered decent or morally acceptable in one culture would not be in another. Ethics have more to do with honesty, being someone who is true to their word and not susceptible to corruption. You could say that a prostitute is morally bankrupt, simply by the fact that she (or he) is a prostitute, but ethically above reproach because she would never cheat her customers and gives good value for the money she earns.


Jan 12, 2023 10:49 pm
Reply to TerryLT

Prostitutes of either gender are not morally bankrupt. It's usually adversity that makes them practice the oldest profession in the world, but I know what you mean. Ethics! You ain't seen nothing yet till you visit a third world country.

Jan 13, 2023 9:14 pm
Reply to bowsprit

I totally agree with you. I've worked with many women who have spent time working as prostitutes. Most of them came from disadvantaged or abusive homes and had poor role models growing up. Many were addicted to drugs, and saw no other means to support their habit. There are always the anomalies, like the girl I went to high school with. She came from a wealthy, seemingly happy, and functional family, and was expected to go on to university, paid for by her parents, but chose instead to become a high-priced call girl. I always wondered what might have been going on behind closed doors in that family.


Jan 13, 2023 9:19 pm
Reply to TerryLT

I wonder as well. Why would anyone choose that?

Jan 13, 2023 9:21 pm
Reply to SallyK

Money, power, excitement, etc.

Jan 13, 2023 11:19 pm
Reply to TerryLT

The high-priced ones are on a different level altogether, and so is their clientele. It is a cruel and unfair world sometimes. They don't stay in that life for long and many are happily married. How do I know? I read "Mayflower Madam," that famous case in NYC, and I did walk past its location a number of times. The owner was what they call a high-class lady. Apparently, there is a lot of money in it, that brings us back to Henry's post, Ethics vs Morals.

Jan 14, 2023 8:49 pm
Reply to AlexT

Money and power, I can buy, but excitement? Letting a bunch of old rich guys use me to live out their sexual fantasies, no thanks! I would have many terms to describe that but exciting wouldn't be one of them.


Jan 14, 2023 9:07 pm
Reply to TerryLT

Totally agree with you, Terry!

Jan 15, 2023 7:41 pm

I've never seen morals or ethics as primarily sexual guidelines. In any case, different contexts influence morality and ethics. Ethical rules come from a whole community or organization establishing a set of beliefs to decide what is right and wrong. On the other hand, moral codes exist on a personal level, as individuals internally create a set of values to form what they believe is morally correct. For example, a defense lawyer chooses to defend their client even if it contradicts their moral beliefs due to their ethical code as a lawyer.

Lucky for me -- and you -- I dropped 20k to go back to college at age 66 so I can write a brainy-sounding post for Meet An Ostomate.

Jan 17, 2023 11:25 am
Reply to AlexT

It's ethical. I suspect it's your own morality that would cause the trouble.

Jan 27, 2023 10:06 pm

Thanks Henry for encouraging me to think. The older I get, the more questions I have and some of them come from my inability to define the words I'm hearing or reading. What they mean to me might be different from the writer's or speaker's definition. Just the difference between good and bad might have very different meanings to different people. I overheard a conversation in which the guy was boasting about how good he was. His words were something like, “I'm a good person! I go to church almost every Sunday, I never park in a handicapped space, I always stay below the speed limit and almost always stop at a stop sign”. The other guy asked, “Do you give to charities, volunteer anywhere, help your neighbors or do anything for others?” “Nah, they could take care of themselves” he said. Now I'm guessing here's a guy who uses his understanding of religion and, especially, the bible to justify all his actions we might call “immoral” or “unethical”.

Then there are the guys and gals who know they're good because they “Keep the faith”. Faith in what? I worked with a couple of guys who believed in a Supreme Being, admired Charles Darwin's works, disbelieved almost everything written in whatever bible, cussed whenever possible, spit on sidewalks when they couldn't reach the gutter, coughed in their hands (sometimes wiping their hands on their pants) and would literally give the shirt off their backs to someone in need. They probably couldn't come close to defining morals or ethics but they knew the difference between right and wrong and realized that kindness is not a weakness and turning the other cheek just gives license to the bad folks to continue being bad at good people's expense.

I don't like where we are today as a country and I wonder if “We the people” really are “We the people” whom our forefathers had in their minds way back when.