ETHICS IN ART AND TEXT

The following pieces of artwork are all somehow related to the topic of ethics. Ethics are the moral principles in which we tend to shape our lives and actions around. Many think of ethics as what is wrong or right, or good verse bad. It is not quite as simple as people make it seem, in fact it is very broad yet complex topic. These moral principles, ethics, often help define us or at least shed light on some of the characteristics we possess. It is concept that is present in almost everything we do and can be related to just about anything, such as the artwork in this gallery. 

"Leone Marciano andante" represents the ethical choices that we are faced with. This creature, half bird, half lion, represents the ethical ability and options each of us possess. We have the ability to be moral and immoral, just as this creature has the ability to be a lion or a bird.
"The Birth of Venus" is a wonderful representation of the influences that take place on our ethical decisions. On either side of the naked woman are clothed characters. These characters represent the influences we face with each decision. The influences seem to commonly be moral and immoral, or as we often see, the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. A common influence is greed or money, "...whereas injustice is a man's own profit and interest." (The Republic, Book 1)
"Gabrielle and Jean" depicts a woman spending time with her child, possibly teaching him new knowledge. Ethics is a concept we are taught from our early childhood. From the time we are tiny babies, our parents and teachers try to teach what is right and wrong. "In this way: you know that there are certain principles about justice and honour, which were taught us in childhood, and under their parental authority we have been brought up, obeying and honouring them." (The Republic, Book 7)
"Sketch of Poor Old Man with a Fur Cap" seems to resemble a poor man, but just because he is monetarily poor, it does not mean he is not rich with happiness. Ethics can play a large role in ones mental health and wealth. Book 9 of The Republic states, "justest is also the happiest... and that the worst and most unjust man is also the most miserable..."
In the first part of The Discourse on Inequality, Rousseau states, "...nature alone operates in all the operations of the beast, whereas man, as a free agent, has a share in his. One chooses by instinct; the other by an act of liberty..." This piece of work, "Caiman and snake," represents the animals, who have no moral capabilities. In nature, animals do not understand the concept of ethics, they act to survive. A civilized man on the other hand, has freedom in all of this decisions, which makes man a participant in the realm of ethics.
Morality and ethics are taught to us starting at a very young age, often before we can speak or walk. As we gain a sense of morality as young beings, we start basing our decisions off of these principles and sense of morality we have acquired. "...that as a sense of morality began to insinuate itself into human actions..." (Discourse on Inequality, Part 2)
The piece "Holy Family with St. Anne and the Infant St. John" shows a family. Relationships in a family are based on love and extremely strong. In the Manifesto of Communism, Marx explores the Bourgeois family relations. He talks of how parents' greed has caused them to do unethical things, such as exploit their children. "Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty." As discussed previously, there are many influences that sway one's decisions to be ethical or unethical. This goes to show that greed is such a powerful influence that it can ruin one of the most sacred relationships, parent and child. Marx makes it obvious that the Bourgeois are a very unethical group.
Though this piece, "Community Sharing Class," seems to be quite different from the other pieces, the reason I chose it is all very relevant to ethics. The book, "Vindication of Women's Rights" states, "Without knowledge there can be no morality!" This statement is short but well said. Just like this picture depicts children learning, people need to learn, or be taught what is wrong and right in order to know whether something is wrong and right. We need to be taught about ethics in order to make ethical decisions.
Credits: All media
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