It is said that morals are how you treat the people you know, and ethics are how you treat the people that you don't know. It is also said that how you treat people is a reflection of who you are.
We should be able to understand that who we are cannot simply be what it is that we speak with our mouths. We cannot solely define ourselves on verbal terms. We must be able to see a reflection of who we say we are in our actions and our choices. Others must also perceive some type of relationship between what we espouse or claim to be and how we act, speak, behave. Cognitive dissonance is the discrepancy between what you say you believe and what beliefs your choices reflect. It indicates an imbalance between who you wish you were and who you truly are.
We emphasize morals and ethics in the Kemetic tradition, particularly in the Serudj Tawi Ketem, and some may think this is because we are lacking the depth of metaphysical knowledge or the historical scholarship associated with a profound thought process. Learning is essential to personal and spiritual development, but how we are meant to treat one another is a lesson that very few feel compelled to teach. Too many take morals and ethics for granted, declaring that we should inherently know what to do without ever verifying that anyone actually does, without verifying that anyone truly accepts the charge to live and act in truth and righteousness.
Without teaching and reinforcing this, we risk being a community of people who are without moral standing and unclear on basic etiquette. A people who do not realize the value of ethical living; a people who are not ready to be self-governing, independent, interdependent. There is an abundance of evidence that proves it is too easy to avoid doing what we know is right. We know it is not right to murder, and yet there are murderers. We know it is not right to rape, and yet there are rapists. Even on a less severe level, we know it is not right to bootleg the works of others, and yet there are bootleggers; we know it is not right to cheat, and yet we scam the government for a larger tax payout or more social benefits. You may make whatever argument you wish about not hurting anyone with copied DVDs or how the government owes Afrikan people reparations and therefore your scam is justified in the karmic scheme of things. Morals and ethics are not about what other people deserve. Morals and ethics are about who YOU are.
Morals and ethics are increasingly important to me, as matriarch of a growing spiritual community. I want the people who I am surrounded by to be men and and women of honor. I want to be able to trust their words. I want them to know that they are safe with one another, that their children and spouses and loved ones are safe. I want to know that we will respect each other, even when we don't agree with one another, even when we want different things. I want to be able to go forth in peace and satisfaction at all times and from all interactions, even the most unpleasant ones. I want to be a reflection of what I say matters to me.
We can talk rather every day of the week about the genetic codes of Afrikan people and the creation of the universe. We can have lengthy discussions about the migration of the original man across various land masses and the development of culture throughout the Continent and abroad. We can theorize about the creation of the universe and the relationship between science, metaphysics, and mythology in traditional Afrikan spirituality. It is morals and ethics that will determine if those discussions are fruitful. You will hear me because I respectfully listened to you, or you will ignore me because I made you feel ignored. You will be open to further dialogue because I honored your intellect and your feelings, or you will end our conversation abruptly, without future opportunity to build. Morals and ethics make the debate productive; the lack of makes the debate a useless exercise in futility. Speaking on ethics is the most essential discussion we can have.