Somerville, M. (2021). Could "The Wonder Equation" help us to be more ethical? A personal reflection. Ethics and Behavior, Early View (Online First).
This is a personal reflection on what I have learnt as an academic, researching, teaching and participating in the public square in Bioethics for over four decades. I describe a helix metaphor for understanding the evolution of values and the current “culture wars” between “progressive” and “conservative” values adherents, the uncertainty people’s “mixed values packages” engender, and disagreement in prioritizing individual rights and the “common good”. I propose, as a way forward, that individual and collective experiences of “amazement, wonder and awe” have the power to enrich our lives, help us to find meaning and sometimes to bridge the secular/ religious divide and experience a shared moral universe. They can change our worldview, our decisions regarding values and ethics, and whether we live our lives mainly as just an individual – a “me” – or also as a member of a larger community – a “We”. I summarize in an equation – “The Wonder Equation” – what is necessary to reduce or resolve some current hostile values conflicts in order to facilitate such a transition. It will require revisiting and reaffirming the traditional values we still need as both individuals and societies and accommodating them with certain contemporary “progressive„ values.
values conflicts, “amazement, wonder and awe”, common good, individualism, physical and metaphysical ecosystems
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Available for download on Tuesday, January 18, 2022