“The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.” — Galt’s Speech, in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged
Morality is a code of values that an individual must choose to follow to live one’s life in reality. Individuals need a moral code as knowledge for human beings on how to survive, unlike the other animals, is not automatic. Unlike other organisms — bacteria, elephants or apes which act by instinct — humans beings have no automatic knowledge and must discover the principles needed to survive.
A value is that for which one acts to gain and keep to sustain one’s life.
The highest value (which determines the hierarchy of one’s other values) is one’s own life.
Virtue(s) are the actions necessary to sustain one’s life and achieve happiness; i.e., one’s method of obtaining values.
The fundamental virtue is rationality as reason is an individual’s means of survival. All other virtues (productivity, integrity, etc.) are applications/corollaries of this fundamental principle.
The good is that which sustains one’s life.
The evil is that which destroys one’s life.
As used here, ethics are those rules of behavior in relating to other individuals; ethics is individual morality applied to living life in society.
To hold one’s life as the highest value is to be egoistic (that is self-interested, and self-ish).
To hold the lives of others as more important than one’s own life is to be altruistic (otherism) and unself-ish.