- Kohji Yamada, Ph.D.
Research and Development Center, Showa Sangyo Co. Ltd.
2-20-2 Hinode, Funabashi, Chiba 273, JAPAN
Everyone has their own way of action and thinking which depend on the environment the person grows up in. This situation can be expanded to a society, or a country. It is sustained by observances and customs established before "we" were born. One example of the environment is religion. Every religion tells us a method to seek peace and be happy. Thus they will have many common phrases as Dr. Leavitt revealed in the comparison between Buddhism and Judaism. Some of them were the same as those I took through my life. Then I think we can make (or find) common sense when we investigate ourselves and our daily lives deeper.
Each religion is established in its area according to the time, and the historical racial, political, geographical and climate background. It may the same for a person. In other words, all of our ideas and actions will appear through the processor called "the environment".
This makes it difficult for us to apply the idea in one country to another, and sometimes to discuss itself. From this point, I think it is impossible to have world-wide actual common sense for all of us to agree to basic universal principles that Dr. Macer mentioned. The principles will take our own form when they actually appear in each of our daily lives.
It is like how we take different methods to move on the ground and in the water. We study (or learn) how to walk and how to swim. Practice will educate our ability to walk and swim. It is better to do practice according to textbooks or teachers. Otherwise it will generally take a long time and may fail. We need a different text book for swimming and walking.
From another view, this means we need a new textbook when the background changes. The time has changed from when religions for example, were established and spread.
If major religions cannot make a common religion,, then religion is not so useful to make a new text although we can learn good from them of course. Bioethics stands out of and/or beyond religions. It will give us the information to choose and also to utilize. An old Japanese scholar said a person is already a saint when they trying to be one. The information and the sudden change may confuse and mislead us. Then we must be careful, but not cowardly.
We cannot take an eternal right way because what is "right" is also changed by its background (mainly by humans, and this means we can change it by ourselves). What we can do is to take the proper way and take a right way now for each part. I believe in the holiness and wisdom of humans and that we can educate ourselves in the future.