Ethics 1, Question 2
Self-awareness is key to the implementation of professional ethics. Discuss how your personal morals, values, bias and ability to maintain adequate boundaries, confidentiality and determine right from wrong might both positively and negatively impact your professional relationships. (200 words minimum)
I'm a trained historian before I am most anything else: there's a part of me that will always seek to identify the bias in any work, statement, or action, and this includes my own. I'm very hard on myself regarding bias and virtue, which I have alwasys seen as a protective measure: go a bit too far in being hard on yourself to prevent the sorts of issues which come up if you're too easy on yourself. I have values similar to most Pagans, I tend to think, though there are some places where those values are slightly "off" from the norm, particularly ones involving sex (I'm simply disinterested in sex with other ADF members, though I see nothing at all wrong with sex or sensuality in general and think of myself as a sexual/sensual person) and gossip (I'm very careful about gossip, and do my best not to allow myself to say anything that may become gossip, though I have virtually no issue with gossip springing up about me, and have been known to encourage it). In both cases, my values are slightly off, again as a defense mechanism, to prevent me from crossing sexual boundaries or breaching confidentiality.
In many ways, my notion of ADF members being "off limits" for sex and relationships deeper than friendship causes me to not think of them as "potential partners" and more like "people I'd just like to hang out with." I am, speaking honestly, not interested in sex with ADF members. I do occasionally engage in relationships that are deeper than "just friendship," but they are asexual relationships (though they may be physically close), and they are rare. This helps keep me from overstepping my boundaries with most people.
One thing that is not related to morals, values, or bias at all but affects my boundaries is my general lack of real social skills: I have great difficulty interacting with people in general, and pick up very poorly on social cues, which (when compounded by my severe shyness) can sometimes lead to missing a boundary or a cue that should tell me "that's far enough." As a result, I have become more "reactive" than "proactive" in my relationships, generally only deepening my friendships with people who work hard to deepen their friendship with me, first. It is the only way I can be positive that I am not overstepping a boundary, socially.
Everyone has weak moments where they let their guard down, where they speak candidly to someone about things that bother them. This is normal and should not be unexpected. That said, I work very hard to keep my candid moments between myself and a person who I trust, rather than letting them get out of hand and affect others. Since becoming an ADF Priest, my own commitment to confidentiality has become very rigid and even the candid moments are almost all gone: I don't even have them with my girlfirend anymore. I rarely drink at festivals, which probably helps me keep my mouth shut about things I shouldn't talk about in the first place, and when I do drink, it is only in moderation (and has been since I became an ADF Priest).
In many ways, my idea of what is right or wrong is informed primarily by the Nine Pagan Virtues: I view them as a screen to be looked through, and each action is viewed through many screens. I take careful stock of every e-mail I send, and very, very rarely send something out without careful consideration of how it can be taken.¹ I understand how my words can sometimes be taken by our members, and so I work hard to ensure that I represent ADF well at all times, too. . . and I know that when I'm among other, non-ADF Pagans, my words and actions reflect back on the whole of ADF: this may be the thing that keeps me most conscious of what is right and what is wrong: I could never bear to hurt something I love as deeply as I love ADF.
¹ - Okay, I still regret sending out an e-mail asking West if a Dumezil ate his baby. I am fortunate, however, that he found humour in it. It's a good example of how I can slip up from time to time.
Content © 2003-2009, Michael J Dangler
Updated on 08/08/2009. Site Credits / Email Me!
Basic site design from ADF.org
(Yes, I stole it!)