“Situational Ethics takes into account the particular context of an act when evaluating it ethically, rather than judging it according to absolute moral standards. It is not a universal law that is to be followed, but the law of love.” In each moment seek the truth. When trying to control/force/win, it is even possible to mute the sound of your own conscious. Situational Ethics is about listening with an open mind and heart, it is about looking beyond the labels. I don’t believe humans need to be told they are bad/sinners to do good. I believe humans want to do good. Humans want to connect, to participate, to belong, to be listened to and confided in. Yet we often use shame and guilt to get others to do “right” and that does nothing but create a society of bullies/fear. I am bully sometimes too btw. I try to control my environment and sometimes the people within my vicinity get the brunt of that.
I watched a TED talk about addiction. You might have seen it where they gave rats the choice of drinking water contaminated with drugs or ordinary water. The rats living in poor conditions with limited interactions took the drugs, the rats who were mentally stimulated and allowed to build relationships preferred the plain water and did not develop addiction. So often we shame people with addictions and mental illnesses for being weak, denying them the connections and opportunities they need to make a better life for themselves. If you take everything away from a person is it really so strange that they continue fighting to survive and in so doing seek out artificial means of comfort/connection?
This is where I diverge a bit from Shinto. They talk about not disturbing society (at least the later Nationalistic Shinto). But sometimes society needs to be disturbed and I do not mean with violence. Often we look at society as being a force outside of ourselves, almost God-like but we are the ones that built the system (and we feed it with our beliefs/practices). We are also the only one who can transform it. So the next time you find yourself cautioning someone against expressing themselves because you are worried about their safety/reputation take a minute to evaluate that. If they are not allowed to be themselves can they build genuine relationships/connections? Will they be happy living in a cell, however, secure the prison? Will they receive enough stimulation for growth? Are they even in danger? And from whom? You?