Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Morality... and lack thereof

Initially I wanted to do a bit on fame, but concerning a few recent events in my life and of the general world I will rant on morality.

Prelude. Definitions ~dictionary.com
Morality –noun,
1. conformity to the rules of right conduct; moral or virtuous conduct.
2. moral quality or character.
3. virtue in sexual matters; chastity.
4. a doctrine or system of morals.
5. moral instruction; a moral lesson, precept, discourse, or utterance.

Main body
So, "Why morality?" you would ask. Well the answer is simple. It has long been my creed to follow a personal moral code, a code of principles I adhere to as, please excuse the pun, religiously as I can. This article, or if you will allow me the gall to say "lecture", is more towards the separation between religious morality, social morality and personal morality.

Here's my theory. You see, there was a time, when dinosaurs ruled the earth, and men and women thought natural leaves were fashionable. At that time and place, people were savages. They thought nothing was wrong in killing, stealing and all the other stuff animals normally do. After seeing how annoying this is to most people (because nobody would actually hunt and in that case, there would be no food for others to steal), someone had the bright idea to invent laws. Sure, that worked for a while, because people were afraid of the punishments that came after being discovered. But then, the human nature kicked in, and people devised methods of not being caught. Sure, less people stole now, but still, a considerable amount. Then, one or more bright men had the idea of creating the world's greatest lie in order to save humanity from starvation and in essence, self destruction.

Gods. Any type of gods. Most of the religions have one sort or other of afterlife in which you get rewarded for being a "good" person in your lifetime (I use "good" in the loose term of the word. It applies to whatever religion thought was good). Some of them even have the "Be good and you'll be reborn something awesome. Be bad and you'll be reborn a spider, or a toad or a worm.". But this lie, this elaborate millenniums old hoax caught up so badly, mostly because people did not want to be held responsible for their mistakes or shortcomings. Most people simply needed someone to blame for their troubles, explain the unexplained and more importantly give them a reason for existence. Sure, there are those people who thank their "gods" for both the good and the bad things that happen to them, and I truly respect those people, because it takes a great amount of faith in order to throw your own hard worked accomplishments at the feet of a benevolent deity along with your misfortunes.

But by now you would be asking yourself, "Sure, that's all fine and dandy, but what does that have to do with morality?". I'll be getting to that right now

Many forms of aforementioned prehistoric hoax exist and are evident today in their most evolved and complex forms. As humanity evolved so did the hoax and with it came all sorts of notions which were used to make humans feel above their peers. Many if not all had faith. So how do you differentiate, physically between two individuals of the same faith and in its extended definition to other faiths? Out comes morality, like a stripper out of a big cake at a bachelor party. So, here is this new notion that allows us to differentiate between people, but with no notion of how to implement it, people searched for the answers. So they looked in the most obvious place possible. Not the laws of the state, obviously, because, states are a worldly creation and we all know divinity > man. So they copied what their religion, which by now was a complex hoax with a shitload of added content that was unnecessary to fulfill its primordial task and copy/pasted those into a "moral code", and tried to apply this code to people of other faith.

So finally we get to the matter at hand. Morality. Should we have it. If yes, why. And after why how do we define it considering the wall of text from above. From now on it's an IF - THEN - ELSE logical structure which all human beings, in my opinion, should adhere to.

Religious morality.
IF - You are religious.
THEN - Apply this at the outermost layer of your moral code. GO TO social morality.
ELSE - GO TO social morality.

Religious morality, as its name suggests is the moral code of conduct your religion dictates. Considering the number of religions in existence, as well as lack of religions in some cases, this should not be applied as a social moral.

Social morality.
IF - You are part of a society (the answer to this is most definitely yes)
THEN - Apply this at the in between layer of your moral code. Change in accordance to the society you live in.
ELSE - You will be persecuted.

I define social morality as a code of conduct within a special society, such as a nation. Considering a nation is a place where more than one religious groups of people meet, it is obvious that social moral codes should be considerate of those that do not share the same religious beliefs.
In a perfect world, this code should not change even if you change the society you are in, and also in a perfect world it would be equivalent with the nation's laws (again assuming that the nation's laws are perfect).

Personal morality.
IF - You are a human being (and I stress human being - this does not apply to aliens or other things )
THEN - HAVE ONE, and apply it to the innermost of your moral code and live by it.

Okay, now, by my stance in the passage above you probably guessed that I feel very strongly concerning personal morality. This is something special. This is something personal. This should be something that is well thought of beforehand. But most importantly this MUST NOT BE APPLIED TO ANYONE ELSE BUT YOU. Personal morality, in my opinion, should consist of answers to the questions "Would I like that to be done to me?".

1. Would I like someone else to steal from me?
NO. Then I won't steal.

2. Would I like someone to lie to me?
NO. Then I won't lie.

3. Would I like someone to give me the chair in a bus if I am old?
YES. Then while I'm young I will give old people my chair.

The list goes on. While there are a plethora of such questions in existence today the personal moral code should answer to the most common, as well as things that you personally feel strongly about. I will take my own personal moral code as an example further.

4. Would I like someone to impose their religion on me?
NO. Then I won't impose my lack of religion on them.

5. Would I like someone to steal my girlfriend?
NO. Then I won't steal someone's girlfriend.

6. Would I like to be betrayed by my friends?
NO. Then I won't betray my friends.

NO. Then I won't impose mine.

Again, the list can go on a bit more, but that would loose the point of this lecture.

So, towards the end I would like to point out some things.
First of all, I will point out a relationship between these three types of moralities. First of all, religious morality cannot be changed. That is generated by your religion and even then you apply that layer only if you want to, with no repercussions "in this life". Still concerning religious morality, it should NOT be used to create social morality.
Secondly, social morality, should be independently thought out by a group of open-minded people that are willing to listen to the needs of all the people (Yes, I mean perfectly honest politicians. I am aware that these are a myth but still. This is a lecture, not a reality portrait.).
Finally, personal morality should be thought by oneself. It should contain, as an axiom, respect the social morality of the society you are in (again, I remind you that I am working with a perfect scenario of social morality).

So, where exactly am I trying to go with this. The message is simple. It's actually not even a sentence.

Think about anything, think about everything, but just think. Use that brain you evolved over the eons. Think for yourself. Think!

What if...? Why...? When...? How...?. These questions should be asked every time you encounter new information.

Create your own damn personal moral code. Don't let others do the thinking. If you are reading this and are understanding what I am trying to say, you have the capacity to think for yourself. It doesn't matter whether you agree or not. You can think. Create your own moral code, and then stick by it. Don't let it go. Don't compromise. It is your core fundamental belief, and renouncing it would be like loosing your identity. Because if you follwo the steps at creating morality as I said, you will see that no combination of Religious + Social + Personal morality will ever give the same results.

It is my honest belief, that if the leaders of our societies used this "template" in creating their own moral code, scientists would not have been burned in the middle ages for being ahead of their time, gays would not be persecuted and allowed to marry, women would not be so pissed off at men, the crusades would not have happened, nor the holocaust, racial persecution would not have existed and so much more. And finally the argument that "It's not moral" would have a lot more weight than it does now. Because if the rules I stated above would be followed, morality would only be applied when it would be equivalent with the laws of the society.

If you've read until now, might as well go on for the record. This is the final idea.
I know what I said above cannot be applied in reality. The three types of morality are not a standard, and I am unsure if there is a philosophical school of thought that says something like this. If there isn't the more inapplicable this idea is. So now, you thought about your morality and have build your moral code as I lectured, but are unable to use it (I assume as much). So what exactly do you do? How do you build the social morality considering it isn't equivalent with the laws of your nation. Well... extend your personal morality to overlap the social morality, loosing on the way things that concern sexual orientation, religion, or any other things that can vary from person to person.

Again an example. I will assume the following Personal Morality.

PM = { 1. Do not steal. 2. Do not curse. 3. Do not use the lord's name in vain. 4. Do not have sex with sheep. 5. Do not walk naked on the streets. 6. Do not have sex with peopel of the same sex. 7. Do not kill. 8. Do not rape.}

We extend this morality and create the following Social Morality.

SM = {
1. Do not steal. 5. Do not walk naked on the streets. 7. Do not kill. 8. Do not rape. }

You will observe that the resulting SM will have only illegal things in most countries.

With that I believe I treated all the cases that might arise in constructing a moral code. What you do with this information, is up to you dear reader. I have no funny quotes to end this with. I'm sorry. I also want to apologize for the length of this post. Not exactly a 5 minute read.

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