The Summum Bonum
The term “Summum Bonum” is the philosophical jargon that describe about the good and highest degree of good that can be achieved by the human being. According to the definition, “(Philosophy) the principle of goodness in which all moral values are included or from which they are derived; highest or supreme good”. ("Free Dictionary")
The question is that what is the definition of good and/or happiness, in some society, having girl friend and boy friend is the norm but in some societies, these relations are the signs of bad and vulgarity. In ancient era such as the old civilization of Egypt the sacrificing of men was the norm and it used to use as the way to have achieve good and happiness. These type of concepts can also be seen in the current time period such as in the some parts of Asia where the wife of dead men is burnt with her husband dead body by assuming (obviously false) that it is the way to pursue the good. Furthermore, in the same piece of land, the cow, elephant, snake and even mouse are served as the gourmet while according to some other’s viewpoint these are the key symbols that guide to have the good. ("rediff.com")
If it is talked about the America, before the era of 1691, Miscegenation and interracial sexual relationship used to discourage and considered as the socially deviant issue. However, historically, there were varied legal restrictions in varied American States but the Virginia was the first state that inked to legislation the first statue in the connection of miscegenation. The notion that was propagated in support of anti interracial sexual relationship and marriage can easily be understood by the wordings of Francis Galton who present his ideology in 1863, according to him “if talented people only married other talented people, the result would be measurably better offspring." (Riggs).The rules and regulation about the interracial love and marriage were in the quest until the 1967 and then these legislations and practices had to face the outlaws by the US congress.
Therefore, according to thesis statement, does the notion of Summum Bonum really depicts the highest or supreme good and is there any sturdy relationship among the Summum Bonum and ethical and human values.
The above discussion depicts that moral and good has multidimensional meaning and aspects in different societies and cultures. However, there is no need to further explore the history, the phenomena of global warming is also the outcome of blind pursuit to have good by using the pseudonym of development and economical benefits.
However, to understand the Summum Bonum it will be useful to have information about the Utilitarianism concept. The reason behind the suggestion of Utilitarianism concept is that the Utilitarianism theory supports the idea of seeking and devising the win-win situation means that it is backed the idea of happy solution and happy ending. Therefore, the secret of Summum Bonum is hidden in seeking and devising the win-win situation for the all human being.
However, one aspect that is obvious, the definition of Summum Bonum is varied in different cultures and societies, but to set any type of Summum Bonum, the core idea should be to serve the humanity because careless attitude may cause to catastrophes. ("Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophy").
In that connection, it would be useful to link the concept of Global Warming in perspective of Utilitarianism that is the catalyst to understand the Summum Bonum. The increase of temperature was mainly contributed by the relentless release of toxic greenhouse gases and excessive usage of materials such as Chloro Floro Carbons (CFCs) and aerosols are considered as prime agents in the depletion of Ozone layer that prevents harmful radiations like the ultraviolet rays to penetrate the surface of the Earth. The shock waves of the Global Warming quake reverberate in the form of eye-diseases such as cataracts and increased droughts and floods which in turn beget to the creation of more deserts. (Maslin, 2007)
The Global Warming is the outcome of over-exploitation of resources, merciless deforestation and hysterical emission of toxic gases such as Carbon Dioxide, etc. destruction of wildlife and dumping of contaminated waste into the water resources and inside the lands. The risk that is behind the adoption of this concept is the phenomenon that the common human being and their relentless activities to roughly uses the natural resources are the catalysts that gave birth, nurture and develop that critical issue that now become the question of this planet’s survival. The human being did all these activities just by using the pseudonym of development and economical benefits without seriously considering that what they will have to repay in term of environment and its safety.
The essence of utilitarianism in the perspective of above discussed issue is that the whole globe is the community that is directly or indirectly affected by the global warming. According to Bentham, we need not consider the state as a separate affected party, so that we can change the standard to read: An action ought to be done if and only if it maximizes the pleasure of those people affected by the action. Therefore, the essence of summum bonum is that the human values and to respect the humanity should be the central idea than to just blindly pursuit to have the tailored notion of summum bonum.
There is also the entangled relation between the happiness and summum bonum, “The vertical and horizontal direction of human existence is geared toward the total liberation from selfishness and ignorance. And the only way to attain it is to get involved with humanity and environment. The involvement presupposes commitment and respect for human life and environment toward the Summum Bonum or the highest good of humanity.
Transcendent Happiness, based on the principle of Summum Bonum, is a state of well-being and contentment shared by every member of the community. It is a rational experience of joy and fulfillment that something is benignly just or right in the context of freedom and social justice.
As a communal experience, its transcendent effect cannot be contained in a box to be enjoyed by a single person. Because the very essence of happiness is contagious, it has to flow and radiate to everyone and like daylight, it is shared and experienced by every living creature on the planet.
‘The happiness that I so long desired is not an exclusive pursuit, but also the pursuit of others. Even if I were the happiest person in the world, everything would be meaningless if others are wallowing in despair and desolation. If my pursuit for happiness is self-centered; then, it is not complete happiness at all because it is supposed to be shared and lived by everyone within the parameters of my freedom and existence.” (CASTILLONES SILLADA)
The question is that, is there any way to achieve the Summum Bonum as it is already discussed that it has different definition in different perspectives. In that connection, the good example that could be discussed is the scenario that is published on that website: http://www.bioethics.net/articles.php?viewCat=7&articleId=133.
Basically it is about seeking the best possible solution or alternate about the dilemma that is became the riddle in front of the nurse Carol Hathaway, the dilemma is about the breaking of the confidentiality of the Patient (Andrea) who diagnosed as the patient of HPV, a kind of STD (sexually transmitted disease) and cervical cancer.
As far as article’s story is concerned about the Andrea diagnosed disease and its consequences, in my opinion it is the case that should be care with extra care because on one side it is the matter of one human life that could be finished via suicide attempt and/or completely disturbed by the community reactions. On the other side, as it is obvious that Andrea is identified as a victim of sexually transmitted disease (STD) and as the patient of cervical cancer. Furthermore, during the study it also discovered that Andrea have been involved in participating the “sex parties” and connected with several partners. Therefore, in my opinion, it is necessary to breach the confidentiality but with customization means that the issue because of its severity should be exposed in front of only related authorities and her parents without making it as the propaganda scheme because the open publicity will act as a poison that could eroded the whole patient life. To be concluded, customized breach of confidentiality is advisable without informing the patient.
As far as the concept of Summum Bonum is concerned, the position that I stand is fall under the categories of The Common Good Approach and with some extent of the Rights Approach. As I suggested that because of the severity of the disease and its STD characteristic, it is inevitable to inform about it to the only relevant authorities and personals so that the society could be prevented from this criticality that depict my standing towards to follow The Common Good Approach. Furthermore, I also suggested, informing about this information without informing the patient that portray my approach to follow the Rights Approach because In my opinion, informing to the patient that your confidentiality is going to be breach will/may cause a highly negative psychological effect that could be lead to suicide attempt or disturb the patient life.
To follow my suggestions, I would like to recommend the proper counseling to the patient that how and in which way she should behave and treat others so that the society could not be more suffered. This counseling will act as a catalyst to practice the cautious approach by the patient that automatically eroded the patient sensitivity, how others are behaving with me. Therefore, I can say that my position is the amalgam of The Utilitarian Approach, The Rights Approach and The Common Good Approach. (Nathanson)
It should be borne in mind that the reason to use the combination of The Utilitarian Approach, The Rights Approach and The Common Good Approach is to attain the Summum Bonum for both the patient, the society and for the nurse as well.
Furthermore, the dilemma of Carol Hathaway is about to breach the confidentiality of Andrea or not. She is perplexed that what should be done or not because as responsible person on the service of humanity it is her responsibility to seek the win-win solution means that to seek the Summum Bonum.
The above mentioned dilemma that is the riddle in some extent as well. To clear the ambiguity, ethical theories can help to approach the climax of Summum Bonum. As far as the theories is concerned, the commonly used theories are: Deontology, Utilitarianism, Natural Law, Right and Virtue Theory etc. to approach the climax of Summum Bonum I would like to suggest the Utilitarianism and Right theory that has the characteristics to solve the discussed issue as describe in the article. The reason behind the suggestion of these two theories is that the Utilitarianism theory supports the idea of seeking and devising the win-win situation means that it is backed the idea of happy solution and happy ending while the right theory portray to cater the rights that practice and follow in any particular society, therefore, with the help of that theories and above mentioned amalgam of different approaches or selected collaborative approaches, Nurse (Carol Hathaway) can easily approach to the climax of Summum Bonum. ("Descriptions of Ethical Theories and Principles")
Therefore, above discussed scenario about the Nurse (Carol Hathaway) depicts that the status of Summum Bonum can be achieved by solely focusing on the human values and humanity, however, it is still the issue what is factor that derive the status of happiness and status of Summum Bonum. The simple potion that can easily be used is the human perception about the happiness and towards the life. However, the point that should keep focus is the values and their worth, in the connection of defining the happiness and to set the barometer to gauge the climax of Summum Bonum.
The reason to place the values and specially the human values on the top is that, criminal mind can also define their own perception about the Summum Bonum as the victim of antisocial personality disorder does by teasing and harassing other, as the drug addicts can claim to enjoy the climax of happiness after fulfilling their addictive desire and as the sex offenders/addicts can claim to reach the pinnacle of happiness after having the activities.
But the question is that are all these claims the true catalysts to develop the win-win situation. To be precise, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the sexual behaviors of American adolescents/teens is a "major public health problem”, and "earlier sexual initiation is associated with negative health outcomes." The regret feelings about to have early sex adversely affect on the health, motivation and positive emotions, these regret feelings are the major catalyst to create barrier on the path of success that only required good health, positive motivation and emotions (Pediatrics 2008).
There is a sturdy relationship between early sexual activity and in other negative and risky behaviors. each year, as per estimated one in four teens who sexually active contracts an sexually transmitted disease like Hepatitis, Autism, HIV and Aids, and teen pregnancy is two to ten times additional prevalent in the United States than in other likewise developed countries. ("Kaiser Family Foundation’s").
Some studies have described that, engaging in sex is the key factor of higher levels of stress and depression. Among sexually active 15- to 19-year-olds, 83% of females and 91% of males confirms, using of at least one method of birth control from the last sex that is also the cause of stress, depression and tension ("Sexual health statistics," 2006).
The central idea and the conclusion of the whole discussion is that Summum Bonum that is the synonym of highest or supreme good is not just the name of having happiness and pleasure without regarding the moral and ethical values. Therefore, the notion of Summum Bonum depicts the highest or supreme good and there is the sturdy relationship among the Summum Bonum and ethical and human values as the above discussion defends that concept. In other words, the notion of Summum Bonum depicts the climax of happiness by keenly following the moral and ethical values that has the core focus to save, promote and to nurture the humanity.