Why is there sometimes a discrepancy between having intellectual knowledge of ethics, and actually being an ethical person? The reason is that while intellect alone can discern ethical principles, it imparts no moral characteristics without the principle of care. In other words, a person must actually value ethics, integrity and a good character in order to choose the kind of actions which contribute to an ethical life. Intellect alone is a rational, left brain prison, which has created destructive technologies like the atomic bomb. Knowledge and integrity must grow simultaneously. If intellect outstrips integrity, imbalance and arrogance often follow.
There are three primary reasons why some individuals who understand ethics intellectually do not always choose ethical actions: some people don’t think that the rules apply to them, some people don’t think that there are rules, and some people are just not impressed with primacy of ethics. While the causes vary, character education on the part of both parents and schools can help create children with both intelligence and integrity.