Everyday Ethics

Hillary Fields is a born-and-bred New Yorker, brought up on the not-so-mean streets of Manhattan's Upper East Side. She attended St. John's College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she studied classics and philosophy, and then respectfully declined to spend the rest of her life in an ivory tower. Instead, she turned to the life of a writer and editor, penning three romance novels published by St. Martin's Press and contributing features to such periodicals as Cosmopolitan magazine. Her fascination with the moral dilemmas that crop up in everyday life--and the many intriguing ways people handle them--has always colored her writings. Now, that interest is leading her to take the discussion online; where, hopefully, the addition of reader feedback will bring these quotidian quandaries--and their potential solutions--vibrantly to life.

When she's not plumbing the ethical mysteries of humanity, her passions include cooking (especially baking), origami, kittens, reading, watching really bad television and playing online scrabble. (And no, she doesn't cheat... much.)

Raise your hand if you’re familiar with  Chances are, there’s one that serves your community.  And it’s extremely handy for job listings, housing, dating, selling your old crap or buying new old crap. Really, it’s ingenious.  But why’s it …Read More

So, I’m of the ethos that if you don’t like your meal, you send it back. It’s how I was raised, and I don’t have any sense of shame about that. When you pay for something, you should get your …Read More

Paying a decent gratuity to each person on my list takes a huge chunk out of my funds just when I need money most to treat my family to a pleasant holiday. Honestly the whole practice makes me – and I’m not proud of this – just a bit resentful. Here’s how I overcome my Grinch attitude.

For myself, I see ethics as easily separable from religion. Steve argues, if I’m understanding him aright, that we are accountable ultimately to God, and that that is the only true source of our morality and moral obligations. Without a supreme being, our actions are meaningless: ‘without moral weight’. If we are accidental, we have no need to concern ourselves with ethics.
I would argue, on the contrary, that our accountability to our fellow humans quite suffices to encourage our desire to behave in ways that ensure society functions properly. But more than that, I believe it’s in our nature as humans to want to do good (as well as bad).

Today, gentle readers, I had myself the most hilarious luncheon I can recall in many a day. ‘Twas racy, ’twas raunchy… ’twas vegetarian Indian cuisine. It began innocently enough…

Sure, I joined Facebook groups. I wrote passionately in support of it. But I’m wondering if, had I gotten more involved – joining protests, writing to my crappy, unsupportive state senators – I might have had some, perhaps miniscule, more influence on the outcome.

Beliefnet’s got a wonderful feature this month, called Most Inspiring Person of 2009 – also known as MIPY for short. I don’t know about you, but lately, I could use some inspiration.

I’m saddened by my own lack of faith in humanity, and by my lack of charitable behavior. The instinct to help is still there, but I’m just too jaded to take much of a risk. How about you?

Right now, I could use to focus on what’s going right, when so much around me is about what is going wrong. My hope is that in doing so, I will remember to be the sort of person who appreciates her life and behaves in accordance with that attitude.

Sometimes it sure feels like we are. In an essay I wrote for’s “Your Comeback” blog, I discuss the fabled biological clock, why mine doesn’t seem to be ticking, and whether it’s ethical to bring babies into the world …Read More