Moral Philosophy-Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics
In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle argues that there is a high good that every human being aims at and this high good is usually happiness. People engage in actions either good or bad in order to attain a certain goal. The movie the “Flight” starring Denzel Washington is a story about a pilot who is addicted to drugs and alcohol and during one of his flight; he is involved in a car crash. From the movie, the pilot seems to like drugs and alcohol but he convinces himself that he can still fly an aeroplane. However, the flight ends up in a crash that kills several passengers on board. According to Aristotle, “The self-indulgent man craves for all pleasant things… and is led by his appetite to choose these at the cost of everything else.” (Aristotle 114). In the movie “Flight”, the pilot seems to be craving for the happiness that comes with the use of drugs and alcohol and he does this while still knowing that he is putting his passengers in danger.
The main issue that was being addressed in the cultural event was the use of use of recreational drugs, alcohol and other performance impairing substances in the aviation industry and how it affects aviation safety. The movie “Flight” involves a flight crash and a pilot who clearly has a problem with use of drugs. The cultural event was meant to encourage filmmakers in Hollywood and around the world to address the impacts of recreational drugs in aviation safety. The use of drugs and alcohol is amoral issue in the society and it is considered unethical for people to use recreational drugs at the workplace. According to Aristotle, every action has a characteristic function in which it is properly done. The act of doing good involves the human life as a whole and doing good should always come from deep down. This means that people should always act rationally and so achieving virtue is always important than seeking satisfaction of desires. In the movie, the pilot of the plane chose his personal desires which are drugs and alcohol over his job and safety of the passengers.
In The Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle says, “Happiness, then, is found to be something perfect and self-sufficient, being the end to which our actions are directed.” (Aristotle 15). This means that the ultimate aim of human beings is to always achieve something that is satisfying and most often, it is happiness. In the movie “Flight”, the pilot seems to be quite unhappy but he finds solace in drugs and alcohol as he seems to enjoy drugs and alcohol. Doing drugs seems like the ultimate happiness to him. However, this is not the case in the movie because in the end, things turn out tragic as the plane is involved in a crash that kills several people.
While the pilot tries his best to land the plane safely, the plane crashes, leading to deaths of several passengers. Even though the pilot was still under influence of alcohol, he tries to save the plane from crashing but it still crashes. However, some passengers including the pilot himself survives the crash. According to Aristotle, “…virtue is not merely a state in conformity with the right principle, but one that implies the right principle; and the right principle in moral conduct is prudence” (165). This means that doing the right thing is related to principle and that moral and intellectual goodness go hand in hand. In the movie, the pilot chooses to do the bad thing by taking the drugs before the flight. Even though he tries to save the plane, he is not able to save all the passengers as he already made a mistake of using performance impairing substances.
According to Aristotle, “Bad people…are in conflict with themselves; they desire one thing and will another, like the incontinent who choose harmful pleasures instead of what they themselves believe to be good.” (105). This means that people who are considered wrong or bad always have a choice of doing good or bad. However, they always tend to choose to act in ways that would bring more harm than good. In the movie “Flight”, the pilot knows that due to the nature of his job, he is not supposed to be using drugs, alcohol or other performance impairing substances. However, he still uses the substances and the following day, he has a flight. Even though he is still under influence of the drugs, he still chooses to go on with the flight which results in a crash.
Aristotle also says that “For contemplation is both the highest form of activity (since the intellect is the highest thing in us, and the objects that it apprehends are the highest things that can be known), and also it is the most continuous, because we are more capable of continuous contemplation than we are of any practical activity.” (Aristotle 270). This means that contemplation is necessary when it comes to doing human good. People should always act rationally while contemplating their actions. In the movie, the pilot did not contemplate his actions and this resulted in a lot of harm on himself and the passengers in his plane. Those who work in the aviation industry as well as other industries whereby safety is necessary out to act rationally and engage in continuous contemplation so that their actions do not hurt others.
In conclusion, The Nicomachean Ethics talks about personal morality and how people should always act. Even though people are always seeking personal satisfaction and happiness, they should never do it at the expense of other people’s happiness or safety. This is what happened in the movie “Flight” whereby the pilot chooses his personal pleasures over the safety of his passengers. The movie ends in a tragic note as everyone is harmed by the actions of a single person.