Jim I. Unah
Self-discovery leads to the development of the ethics of self-mastery. Many ethical systems prescribe how the individual could attain self-mastery by means of critical self-examination or self-analysis. Once such critical self-examination or self-analysis is successfully carried out, the individual begins to use himself, his personal preferences, as the standard of what is right or wrong. This is the background to the Confucian, Kantian and Existentialist ethics of categorical imperatives. Even in religious ethical systems that attribute the source of the moral law to divine authority, the individual still has to take a leap of faith to discover God’s purpose for his existence, which he then internalizes. In the final analysis, any ethics that truly works must issue forth from the self. Hence self-mastery is the absolutely fundamental premise upon which to erect a sound moral character.