In terms of "Social Reality", the best way to think about "What is real
?" is the blind men and the elephant
Think of the human condition as an elephant (a cute one, to keep you interested). Imagine the six boxes in the chart as six blind men representing six ethical perspectives, each feeling the elephant and only perceiving one aspect. One feels the side and says "the elephant is like a wall", another feels a leg and says, "the elephant is like a tree" etc. Combining all six perspectives gives a more complete view of the ethics of the human condition than any one perspective.
The point of this is that all six perspectives are useful when dealing with the full range of the human condition and no "one-size-fits-all" perspective gives us an adequate system of ethics.
Expect to find multiple perspectives: do not try to optimize just one principle, but try to find a balance and synergy between several principles.
Life is a system, not a line; linear thinking is inadequate. Things cause each other.
Most theory about humans can be improved by using the word and instead of or. So instead of asking me to choose between Rand or "Consequentialism", I prefer to choose both Rand and Consequentialism since motives and results are both important.
1)Look for areas of agreement, for example between empathy and thinking, or between what many of the various world religions and ethical systems have in common such as the idea of adult individual growth and improvement through several developmental levels or levels of awareness.
2) The task of each individual is to evolve and advance to the next developmental level. In previous cultures, it was the role of myth to help the individual to not only grow up, but also to keep growing and developing beyond the conventional person's point of view, knowledge and ethics.
3) Each persons life's work is to develop his or her potential. For me this is to develop my insight, empathy, thinking ability, and understanding of human social and individual psychology. In Jungian terms, while still working on my intuition and thinking, I am ready to work on my third function, feeling.
4) "Life is a classroom"; if you don't learn your lesson, you have to repeat the class. If you don't learn from your failures, you will repeat them.