A few days ago I did a post where I talked about the lack of morality in our society, and ended with a few of my questions. Sometimes, I forget just how smart Mr. Bazyk is, and his response was completely enlightening. I thought I would share in case some of you readers had similar questions.
Now, as for all the crazy morality stuff. Since I have taken about 18 hours worth of philosophy classes (including one titled “Contemporary Moral Problems”) I feel obligated to respond. In regards to:
1) What we as people are supposed to do-Although morals are acted out by individuals, their “right-ness” or “wrong-ness” is mostly decided by society. Different societies have different moral/ethical codes that can make what someone does in one country “right” and in another country “wrong”. For example, in the days of the samurai there was the custom of “testing a new sword”. When the samurai received his new blade he would walk to the outskirts of town and wait in the brush by the roadside. He would wait until he saw someone walking into town alone and then attempt to cut them in half. This was the sword’s test. So although it may not be “right” for the samurai to do that by American standards, it was accepted by the Japanese culture. We as people are supposed to do our best to understand that morality is a growing part of each and every person. Just because you find a person’s actions “immoral” doesn’t meant that they are permanent. People can change, and part of being human is helping other humans.
2) What to do when your morals are different from someone else’s-There is no reason why you should do anything you wouldn’t normally do just because someone else has an opposing value system. However, in adolescent years, people do try to conform to the values of their peers while uprooting, or at least reevaluating, the values of their parents. This is just how the world is. There are a few basic rules that society has in place that keep things somewhat orderly. For instance, we don’t just kill people. It’s not a good way to progress as a society. If we had no value on human life then we would all be locked away, afraid to communicate and interact with other people because they could just kill us.That makes procreation difficult and therefore the norm was established.
3) Society- I believe that the problem with society isn’t a lack of moral/ethical understanding but instead I believe society places too much importance on the norms of our culture. If you asked 1000 people, individually, about their feelings on moral issues then asked the same 1000 people the same questions as a whole, your answers would vary dramatically. People don’t want to stick out, it’s hard to swim upstream. Speaking from an evolutionary standpoint, you stick out and you die. There is safety in numbers but when it comes to morals people need to be more introspective and less dependent on society. Go out in the world and do what YOU think is right. But don’t be surprised if someone says you’re wrong.