Monday, March 19, 2012

Is Morality Dead?

So did you see anything in the mirror?  Did you look?  (See previous post).  As for me there were several things that came to mind not all of them necessarily complimentary or positive, including the necessity to make some decisions that have been a long time in coming and are well overdo. 

Last post I discussed the increasing belief that living a pleasing life and getting whatever we wanted had been transformed into a right and the growing number and kinds of justifications that allowed us to continue doing whatever it took to make this happen.  I also mentioned how we have learned to stretch of the “within reason” boundary to include what never would have been previously.  The more “modern” we become the better we get at compartmentalizing such that what was wrong yesterday just may be right today.
Yet as things always flow downhill, we couldn't stop rolling and gaining momentum until we shattered the boundary of a dual polarity categorization of morality - that of right and wrong.  This gave birth to the doing-allowing distinction.  The distinction here is between doing something bad ourselves and standing aside while allowing something bad to happen. 
The former, we decided is far worse than the latter.  Murdering someone is horrific, not preventing someone from being murdered - not actually so bad.  That made things far simpler.  Most of us can go about our lives doing what we need to do without murdering anyone.  Yet working towards preventing all those who are dying for lack of food or medical care around the world by joining Doctors Without Borders, well now we’ve just made things a whole lot more difficult.  But we had entered an era where it was considered perfectly fine to say, “I’d prefer to stick with door #1 please, Alex.”
There are those who are extremely socially adept, able to read exactly what another wants to hear, use an innate ability to act in a way that attracts attention.  They can cause others to become attached to them by gaining trust until they are automatically and instantly believed even when contradicting themselves.  Many such individuals are so desperate for the attention this behavior attracts that they are willing to create a hated other, causing the social network they are within to come to see the person based on whatever they were told. 

In terms of the doing-allowing distinction, for such individuals, it isn’t enough that they don’t use their skills to manipulate other, or  hurt others in the process, to obtain the attention and reputation they desire. Unless they do everything they can to use truthful, accurate information and deal fairly with others based on who they really are not who they pretend to be, rectifying any perceptions that are falsehoods, they are failing and badly.

Being good, or moral – doing the right thing – isn’t necessarily going to get you what you want or make you happy all the time.    Plus it’s hard predominantly because doing the right thing doesn’t just mean not doing the wrong thing.  It means taking definitive action to prevent yourself and others when appropriate from acting in a manner that is wrong.   
At times that may mean we don’t get what we want or are unhappy.  

When others are treating us badly for doing the right thing, we realize that the reality is that this idea we have that doing the right thing always results in positive outcomes is a bunch of bunk.  It sucks to be abused for taking the high ground.  Those rewards we all seek – most often it’s not the virtuous they go to but those who seemingly have no conscience.  Sometimes the life of being the good guy is miserable and incomprehensible.

I suppose it all boils down to one thing – who do you want to be?  Are you willing to become one of the immoral beings walking this earth illogicality your calling card, the prospect of hurting others to get what you want easily justified?  Or will you refuse to give in to your baser nature refusing to sink down to the level which may seem at times to be where everyone around you is hanging out? 

Who among us has the strength to become and remain this morally grounded person?  The truth will out.  

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