Disclaimer: The nature of this blog invites controversy.
There is a quote by T.S. Eliot which recites as follows: “Most of the evil in this world is done by people with good intentions.” Neither metaphors nor literary images are used; it’s a fairly simple statement to understand. But, it invokes thoughts – thoughts about morality, and what is right and wrong. Sometimes the divine difference between the two is a fine line; sometimes it is a blur. People may often try to do the right thing in the wrong way. But does that put them in the wrong? A person’s motives may be more signifying than their acting upon them, but that doesn’t necessarily justify their actions. After all, good intentions mean nothing if actions speak otherwise, especially considering that nobody will ever know exactly how you think and feel other than yourself. One word that I’ve purposefully neglected to use in my everyday lexis is the word “should.” Telling someone what they should or should not do is subjective, and although the intentions behind doing so may be pure, sometimes the result is controversial. In many cases, it may be apparent what the proper course of action is, not because of what is definitively deemed to be correct, but because the delineations of moral paradigms are sharply identified. However, occasionally there is that blur that distorts the very semantics of morality, questioning what you believe and how that doing the right thing is sometimes a skewed path rather than an unobstructed road.
Shifting to the context of many religious lifestyles (a principal example), I don’t necessarily believe that showing your elbows (literally speaking) is morally wrong. But some people do. Because I don’t believe it to be wrong, is it inappropriate for me to showcase that? Unfortunately, regardless of what you believe, there are many people who will tell you that it is. Conversely, am I right to tell people who do believe it’s wrong, that it isn’t wrong, and that they are wrong to believe it is wrong? Granted, my example might be slightly trivial, but that’s because illustrating my proposition with a more controversial topic is less straightforward. However, the principles remain the same. Are we wrong to tell other people that what they believe is wrong? Or are the foundations of morality set strictly by societal archetypes, suggesting that a person is only morally wrong if they believe that themselves?
Obviously this is extremely controversial. But these questions address only a few of the bigger concerns that may stem from the differences of what is right and wrong. Consider terrorism for example. There exist factions of the human population who hold to strong extremist beliefs, as I’m sure everyone is aware. These people thoroughly believe that when they commit suicide via bombing, they are doing the right thing. But, even as though this may be the case, there’s no doubt that it is still an act of terror not to be condoned. Thus, perhaps the correct question would be: Do we respect what other people believe until they infringe on or harm another person? Regardless of what you believe, how do you determine one’s line of morality? Schopenhauer, a German philosopher, argues that there are three fundamental incentives by which a person’s actions are influenced: egoism, outlining the desire for a person’s own well-being; malice, the desire for another person’s distress; and compassion, outlining the desire for another person’s well-being. Considering these figures, every person has these incentives in varying unequal proportions. People who believe in hurting other people possess more malice than they do compassion, for example. The idea presented suggests that everyone falls on a different scale regarding these three ethical inducements, which helps to determine a person’s line of morality.
Building off of this examination from a personal viewpoint, I whole-heartedly believe that compassion rests as the basis for morality. Arguable to some, what a person reads and believes is different than what a person feels. Using the recent Paris attacks as a prime model, I have compassion for those who were hurt. And I have malice towards those who hurt them. Thus, my line of morality is roughly defined in suggesting to me that this attack was morally wrong. From the attackers’ perspectives, their line of morality is devoid of both compassion and egoism. This is what makes many terrorists so dangerous – not because they like to hurt people, but because they believe that hurting people is morally right. Granted, it would be naïve to negate mentioning people with psychopathy and psychosis, but that’s a discussion for another day since diagnosable infirmity is involved. Though, I do feel compelled to address the fact that it isn’t the religion itself that causes this behavior – after all, all doctrine is available to everyone. That being said, it is because of people who choose to uphold and interpret beliefs to an extreme degree that I have a disdain for many of them. After all, I can interpret “do whatever it takes” to mean “kill everyone” – doesn’t make it right.
I don’t want to spend the day talking about terrorism, honestly. But blogging for me is about timing, and this attack brought back to light many kindred questions I’d recently been trying to answer. I think that I’ve now answered them. Moral behavior is intuitive – an instinctual acknowledgment that recognizes people as exhibitions of the will to live. And, while many religions attempt to recognize this metaphysical reality, certain factions fail to due to skewed doctrine and extremists who hold said doctrine to radical levels. Not all religions exhaust this actuality, but some is enough to cause disorder. People will do whatever they want, and while I believe in respecting what other people believe, there is a fine line to be drawn when a person’s malice exceeds their compassion. I can’t respect a person’s beliefs if it causes 225 people to die in a plane crash, or if it causes people to be shot while enjoying their dinner, or if it causes 150 innocent people to be killed at a concert. That violates my moral conscience. If anything, these types of attacks strengthen my morality and they strengthen our unity as people. We can’t change people’s motives or underestimate what they are capable of. All we can do is look forward and help each other.
What a world we live in.
I love you, but your attitude is like that of a shrew. Your options? Take a pill or be my kill. Might I suggest that you wear a vest. Perish in class or be banished to the land of bluegrass, where dreams don't exist as you'll be eternally pissed.
Last edit: 14 Nov 2015 18:46 by Joey.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Regislian, Rock
Very well put Joey. I think you have a lot of talent when it comes to describing your point of view with words. I don't really know what else to write other than I really enjoyed reading this. RIP victims of the France terrorist attack.