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The Help Principle

The author of the essay derives a universal moral law from a moral
field study.
Although some human moral laws are inherently referred to cultural
facts and adaptations to ways of life, there are moral laws which
derived from human instincts and which are present wherever people
live, the developed Occident or the South Sudan Jungle.

People living in the jungle adopt behaviors which can be ethically

rejected in the western countries, for example, the marriage of young
girls, the polygamy or the death penalty. However, moral
considerations from occidentals are not the same with respect to any
of these cases. People coming from western countries would not
marry their daughters as young as the girls in South Sudan do, and
obviously would not be polygamous, but they can accept the fact that
people in Sudan practice polygamy or the marriage between
teenagers. However, the death penalty is considered repulsive. The
reason of this difference of criteria is of adaptation order.
It is certain that in areas where survival is difficult, areas without the
existence of a developed medicine or hygiene, with high infant
mortality or maternal mortality rates, the polygamy can enable the
proliferation of births and the teen marriage increases the procreative
age. Therefore people from Occident can consider those customs as a
survival imperative; however, for most of these people, the death
penalty is not accepted.
An immediate conclusion follows; uncivilized regions adopt laws in
concordance with the biological characteristics of the human beings.
First, the marriage takes place when the reproductive age initiates.
Second, as regard with the polygamy, the explanation is clear. A

family with a man and several women procreates children where

maternity and paternity is considered defined, but a family with a
woman and several men is less proliferative and the maternity is
defined but the paternity is not. The monogamy is then a civilized and
cultural fact.
With respect to the death penalty, even the most primitive social
groups develop rules and laws to punish the crimes. The distinction
between the wrong and the right is a question which immediately
derives of the living together. The fact if punishments are in
proportion to the crimes is a different question. However, an
infrastructure is required for the administration of justice: judges, law
counsel and defendant, a jail, guards... These become difficult in
basic social groups. Then, the punishment was the exile or in case of
a murder or severe crime, the death penalty seems to be the only
solution and the only deterrent effect. The way in which the
administration of justice is managed is too a question of instinct.
Then, once again, the administration of justice, in the way we know
and appreciate in the developed countries, is too a question of culture
and civilization.
Later, Iain King finds a universal moral with application there in the
jungle as in the developed countries: the help principle that is a basic
principle of Ethics.
The general consideration in the help principle is that we should help
someone if our time and effort is worth more to them than it is to us.
The genesis of the help principle derives from the empathy that
everybody feels when another human being is suffering and from the
fact that this one who is watching the situation can modify the results
becoming involved in it. The empathy is inherent to everybody except
the psychopathic, the 1% of people in the world who lack this
capacity. The empathy is in our minds, the same as the idea of the
wrong and the right.
The help principle is not only based on the own previous experience
about the happening fact, the empathy exists due to the ability of
everybody to be in the shoes of the other. We imagine ourselves in
the mind of one other person at a time past, present or future or even
imagine our relatives in such a situation and then, we offer our help in
an unselfish way. It is a consequence of the mutual aid, of the instinct
that the chances of survival increase with the mutual aid: it is my turn
today, and it will be yours tomorrow.

The help principle is one-to-one and then avoids the utilitarism as a

way to find the general happiness, a moral concept which can derive
in human rights vulneration or crimes. The individual aid remains the
central objective.
The help principle can derive in general principles according to people
moral intuitions, (such as the consideration of the wrong and the
right), because our norms and instinct can be extended through
logical process, the same in the developed countries as in the remote
The empathy is considered a human mind process since we imagine
ourselves in the position of other people, and therefore we act to
avoid the conflictive situation if our time and effort is worth more to
them than it is to us. However, it is to clear that this way of
proceeding is observable in the nature too. With respect to certain
species of animals, when predators persecute an individual, the rest
of the flock moves away but the young animals are protected by the
own mothers through distraction or intervention actions, just to the
moment in which maternal efforts and risks are worth to the little
animals. It is a consequence of the survival and protection instinct.
Then, the help principle is an instinct which is present too in some
animal, though in humans have reached perfection through moral
considerations and it is of universal character except for the above
mentioned psychopathic, the 1% of people in the world who lack this
However, it is clear that the utilitarism idea is not present in helping
the other, that the help principles becomes to perfection through
ethic considerations and therefore is extended through logical
processes and derive into ethical principles.

Further Benefits of the Help Principle

The help principle is extended to other aspects.

First, the way in which people can manage the lies. The consideration
of the fact that our risks and efforts to manage the lies is worth more
to the other than the true (white lies), the fact that lies can be in our
benefit as long as no one can find out the true, or even the fact that
the risk of telling lies can be discovered and the subsequent
deception or lost of trust, can derivate in a change of our behaviour.
With respect to the empathy, the consideration of it derives in the
blind and deterrent application of justice. People imagine themselves
in the position of the injured or in the position of the accused. It
means that punishment should issue which fit both to the victim and
the criminal. Then, it derives in a justice and fair treatment.
Moreover, the help principle expand into coherent set of ethic
principles based on the wrong and the right and the virtue of empathy
manage the human being lifes and transcend the three main schools
of ethics systems.
Finally, the help principle intuitively explain our ideas about the wrong
and the right, derive our conducts to fit this principle and answer the
most basic question of the moral philosophy What should I do? .
The use of the white lie as a help principle is ethically accepted
though unfortunately can hide other interests of part. In case of net
purposes, the use of the white lie should contemplate the benefit of
the occultation and the pain that the lost of trust or deception can
cause. With respect to the use of the lie to obtain a benefit as long as
no one finds it out, usually derives in ones problems or cause
problems to others.
It is evident that only the use of the empathy drives to a fair
application of the justice and the issuing of suitable rules and penal
It is evident too that the help principle is presented and transcended
the main school of ethic systems because the searching of the wrong
and the right is in the own essence of the philosophy.