Ethics as an Idiom

This weekend, I had a chance to read Scott Perry’s ebook Be Creative on Purpose. (Visit him here for a free copy and to see his other work. I particularly recommend the best advice he received in 2018, which he was generous enough to share with all of us.)

I like so many ideas in that book, but one of my favorite things about it is how up-front Scott is with his ethical claims.

That was personally refreshing to me, since it reminded me in the reading how near and dear that idiom is to my heart. I also think it’s important in general for people to demonstrate their ethics in their work — and, when they have the generosity to show their work in the way that Scott does, it can help the rest of us see how valuable this is, and how we so often leave ethical claims implicit.

Generosity, for example, is a one-word meme that contains the germ of a much larger set of beliefs about how the world works and how we’re meant to work within it. It sounds attractive (and I happen to think a more generous world would be a better one, and therefore that more generous work is worth it), but it really helps to think through that idea aloud to ensure we have a chance to see it, test it, and decide whether and how to accept it.

On that note, I hope more creatives have this conversation more publicly. Creation, after all, is a deeply ethical act with lots of ethical consequences. In order to realize the promise of a creative, entrepreneurial culture and economy, we need to be clear with each other about the kind of culture we want to create and how our work is helping to create it.