What is your true personal ethos right now?

First, some definitions:

So, what is your*** true*** personal ethos at this point in your life? In other words, what is the genuine feeling or belief which underlies what you actually do, not what you want to do, try to do, mean to do, hope to do, plan to do, or wish you did - just what you actually did/do.

The ethos of The Straight Dope is claimed to be fighting ignorance. The actions support that claim, however imperfectly.

Many people, if asked this question, would claim that their ethos is love, primarily of family. And they may wish it to be, but I’m sure we all know immediately what action supports that claim and what belies it. And I’m not saying people are assholes if they fail to live up to the ethos they wish they had, I think most of us spend a good portion of our lives striving to align our actions with our highest ideals. But until the actions and the ideals actually do align, there is another ethos driving the actions that supplant the actions that would reflect a genuine committed ethos of loving one’s family, and often we don’t stop to consider what it is. I believe that doing so can only help one achieve ideal/action alignment.

So. Right now, at this point in your life, what is the true ethos that informs most of your action? If you’d like to share…if not, then I hope you do consider the question personally…

If it’s stupid and it works, it ain’t stupid.

I have never heard “ethos” used in this way. As your last definition says, it does not really mean a belief or set of beliefs, but something vaguer, a “sentiment”, and as all your definitions strongly imply, its usual and primary application is not to individuals but to a community, organization, or other organic grouping of people. To suggest that it means a person’s most fundamental beliefs is to misrepresent its meaning by cherry-picking secondary aspects of from three slightly clumsy attempts to define this rather difficult and nebulous term.

Someone who said that their ethos was love of family (or, come to that, love of money, or whatever) would be misusing the word, in my opinion. What they should say, to express the underlying idea, is something like that what they most value is love of family (or money, or whatever).

my credo, if you have to have a credo, is, y’know, “go for it”

Don’t fake the funk on the nasty dunk.

Pretty simple: treat people how you want to be treated.

What is hateful to you, do not do to others.

It may be unfamiliar to you, but it is entirely correct. I did not suggest that it means a person’s fundamental beliefs, I stated and I mean that one’s personal ethos refers to the beliefs/attitudes/feelings that drive one’s behavior.

As this blogger puts it:

Asking someone what their values are will frequently lead to answers that do not clearly relate very much to a person’s behavior, and that is really the distinction here, and precisely the reason I chose the word.

Example: a person might say that they value cleanliness and order. They might believe it, want to, etc.

But that same person creates filth and chaos everywhere because they spend every single spare moment they can squeeze out of their lives on playing basketball, and being clean and neat takes more time than being a slob.

In that case, their ethos is their feelings about their time and their desire to play basketball, because it drives what they actually do, overriding their still-genuine desire to have a clean and ordered environment.

It’s about integrity, which at its most basic simply means living an “integrated” life: your actions and your conscious, chosen values mirror each other. But we all have perfect integrity when examined from the perspective of our personal ethos, because we all have feelings and beliefs that motivate us to choose Action B over Action E, even though we wish we would choose action C - our actions are perfectly integrated with the beliefs, desires, emotions that make up our personal ethos, or we wouldn’t have taken them.

So if we find that we are often frustrated with ourselves because we wish we had done something different than what we actually did, then it’s time to dig down and figure out what is driving us to do things which do not match the values we think we have. When we figure it out, we will know what our personal ethos is.

KneadToKnow’s Law of Escape: Never run up in a building, never run down in a boat.

It may be correct, but is it right?


Really makes you think.

I’m not sure I understand this, but the thought that is with me constantly and has shaped most of my decision of late is suicide. I want to end my life. I have given away belongings and ended friendships to minimize the impact of my decision. I have a plan and I know when & where. The only thing keeping me here is not wanting to hurt my mother.

Do you care enough about your mother to get professional help? Getting help is less of an inconvenience to others than killing yourself.

So I’d try the professional help thing first, because with that option you can always change your mind afterwards, and you’re less likely to screw up and end up a drooling vegetable and burden on your poor mother.

It’s hip to know, ya gknow.

The Big Lebowski supports this usage of “ethos” so I will allow it

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

Even if it’s not “correct” or accurate in specific fields of study, I think it’s intended to be a more colloquial phrase for the average person to use. I dug Stoid’s rap and I’m giving it a ponder.

Also, this:

Immediately brought to mind:

Foggy my dear, you’ve been a member of the community for a long time and we’ve weathered a lot together, all of us, including you.

There have been times we have had to put you on sabbatical because while we care about what happens to you – because we do care about what happens to you – letting this go unaddressed is not useful to you or your friends here or the community at large.

We’ll put you on sabbatical again if that’s necessary but before we go there I want you to consider getting some help and being seen in a medical setting, maybe even on an emergency basis – some intervention is in order.

It’s not just your mother – there are people who hope for your betterment here. Work with us. Pick up the phone and make an appointment, go the ER, go be seen. Today. Please.

I was going to be glib and respond with something (hopefully) funny. But goddammit, I gave the OP serious thought and I can honestly say - I have not the slightest fucking idea.

Is that bad?

Everything I do is because I want to feel good. Sometimes you have to rationalize it a bit: “if you clean up the house you will feel better at the end than you would if you spent the time slacking off” sort of stuff, but in the end I’m all about the hedonism. The thing is, pleasure comes in all sorts of forms - even martyrdom can be a pleasure to the right personality. So it’s a thing I think drives a lot more people than they realize or care to admit.

I find a lot of people mismatch what they say and do - they really have no idea what’s actually driving them. Sometimes when they do figure it out they forget to stop and think about it every 2 years or so and see if they’re actually still doing what they say they want to do.