Only when one has had enough experience of the world to have done something for which one feels remorse, something for which one cannot effectively make reparations or undo the damage, is one truly prepared to think seriously about ethics. A conﬁdence betrayed, a heinous lie revealed, or a friendship ruined teaches one, in a way that no story or theory can, the weight of one’s actions and the importance of ﬁnding a right way to live.
This is powerfully put, but I wonder whether it’s true. I don’t think I’ve ever done something especially awful in my life, at least not yet (I’m twenty one). I’d be tempted to tweak this so that it says you realise the importance of ethics when you either perpetrate or are the victim of deep immorality, but I don’t think that’s quite right either. I’ve been gravely deceived, and it affected me intensely. But my strong interest in moral philosophy preceded that. Perhaps disinterested contemplation can uncover the value of ethics after all.