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What steps can we take so our work is carried out in the best interest of all? This talk reviews a framework for scientists and lay people alike.
How do we know our work is carried in the best interest of all involved? Even with our best intentions, both personally and socially, we can cause harm. How can we build a framework for action with an eye toward intention, care, and repair? This presentation brings to the Genetic Engineering and Society Center an ethical framework rooted in the Right Use of Power. Power is the capacity to have an influence, effect a change, or transform situations. Ethical decision-making can come in two forms, ordinary and complex. Both kinds are essential to deepening trust and maintaining relationships. Both involve an integration of personal integrity with professional responsibility. Most ethical decisions, however, are made moment-to-moment, based on our personal integrity, making it difficult to meet professional responsibility standards. This presentation reviews common misunderstandings of power as limited to unwanted oppression, control, and violence. Power can also enable responsibility, guidance, support, empowerment of others, and care. Power can reflect core values of compassion, wisdom, clarity, and connection. Power can be used skillfully, consciously, responsibly, and with care, or carelessly, selfishly, and destructively. The difference lies in using power appropriately, a skill that must be learned. Our clarity around the use of power is often complicated by shame and blame, two characteristics that are often at work in institutional settings.
Tenku Ruff is a Soto Zen Buddhist priest and past President of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association who trained for five years in Zen monasteries in Japan, along with additional training in North America. Tenku holds a Master of Divinity degree from Maitripa College, a Tibetan Buddhist graduate school in Portland, Oregon. She is also a board certified chaplain (BCC) with the Association of Professional Chaplains and works as a hospice chaplain and a palliative care chaplain. Tenku brings to discussions of ethics in Genetic Engineering and Society sustained interests in interfaith dialogue and equity and inclusion. These interests that led her to undergo Right Use of Power training with Cedar Barstow.