I'm in the middle of a three week, twice a night class, on Business Law, Regulations and Ethics. It would be a great class for any writer.
Basically, the course is teaching us to think through situations from an legal and ethical stance. It forces one to consider an alternate point of view, such as lying in order to achieve a greater good.
Is lying right or wrong? What if it creates a greater good? What is the greater good? How does it impact trust?
While we are thinking about it from a business point of view, my thoughts keep straying to some of my favorite villains and heroes, especially those found in Jim Butcher's Dresdyn Files.
Harry has a typically black and white stance on the world that is exaggerated by applying his own filter. He refuses, at times, to consider anyone else's point of view. But he tolerates one of the villains - Johnny Machone - who has a fair amount of good behind his bad behavior.
Putting characters into the morale dilemma works for Butcher. I love his books because of it, to see how Harry is challenged again and again.
The course is a required one for my program, as it is for many of the students in the class with me. Yet, I can't help but think that under different circumstances that this class would be fun. Instead, it's cramming as much information as possible into my head so that I can pass the test.
Which makes me wonder - is the college acting in an ethical manner by offering this course during interim, knowing that most students are going to cram and forget?
Of course, that idea potentially could be applied in a variety of ways. It's probably a slippery slope and one that I shouldn't start down.
But that's sort of the point too. Ethical violation usually start as a slippery slope that a small step leads to a big step (or several small ones that add up to a big one that cannot be recovered from.)
It's an interesting line of thinking.
What have you done to challenge your characters today?