Ethics and moral principles go way beyond what we read in books, it’s the internal intellect that’s carved within all of us before we attain knowledge.

Think about it for a second, do you really need to cram a whole chapter of marketing to know what kind of advertising is good or bad? No. Ethics lies somewhere within our imagination, which Einstein once said ‘is more important than knowledge’. I believe that language helps to rejuvenate the moral views we have. However, knowing whether or not something is good/bad or right/wrong is simply not enough, that’s where language comes in handy.

Does language imprint ethical information into our brain? No, we do, using our imagination. However, language helps activate the information our imagination generates so that we can question it and through the answers, gain a sense of belonging. For example, many of us believe that religious discrimination or gender inequality is wrong, why do we believe so? Is it because that’s what we read in books and see on TV? Or is it because that’s what we truly believe to be morally and ethically incorrect? Would we still believe it to be morally wrong even though the whole world believed otherwise? Are we our own voice, or a shadow, a replica of everyone else’s belief system?

Ethics raises many important questions and unlike many other subjects, it can have several different answers. In this context, I believe that it is applicable to compare a human brain to a computer system. For instance, a computer’s Central Processing Unit – CPU (also known as the computer brain) consists of two distinct parts: a control unit and an ‘arithmetic and logical’ unit. The control unit coordinates the flow of data from input devices to output devices – similarly, a human brain takes in what we hear (ear) and see (eyes) [input devices] and allows for the output of information through our words [mouth] or through our actions (arms and legs) [output devices]. The ‘arithmetic and logical’ unit performs mathematical and logical operations to solve problems – likewise, the human brain uses the knowledge we have to answer pending queries and raise questions.

Moreover, I believe that we have a ‘logical unit’ stored in our brain to determine whether something is ethically wrong or right. As a result, I am convinced that a CPU and human brain function similarly. Now, the CPU, as illustrated above, needs a source of electrical power to function. Similarly, I believe that language of any kind is the power, the energy that galvanizes our brain cells. With language, our brain is able to function efficiently so that we are able to make fundamental ethical choices.

– Eden Tadesse