Sunday, July 5, 2015

Morality

Morality is nothing more or less than the capacity to judge OUR OWN behavior by some consistent standard.  It may consist in general principles or absolute rules, but the judging of ourselves is the most important part.

Our sense of our selves, our characters, are formed through decisions made either in conformity to or contrary to our sense of right and wrong.  If we hew to our standards we earn self respect, and if we fail in this, we justly view ourselves with distaste or even contempt.

The solution to self loathing is not to abandon morality, but to GROW.  That is what a standard makes possible: a way of measuring beneficial changes in our personalities and selves.

There is of course pathological and chronic self judging, but I would argue that is actually a species of vanity, and not honest self rejection.  It is that, or it is the result of a deep emotional wound which needs healing.  But even in that healing process, one must in my view have an ideal, something that is aimed for.

I think my development of my own code has been absolutely necessary for my own healing.  It is both simple and useful.  It consists in the three logical steps of defining an ideal, defining principles most likely to tend toward that ideal, and creating a decision making process.  I have covered these things before, but it may not hurt to cover it again.

The ideal is to continually develop and refine my capacity both to live happily on my own, and to savor and share the joy of others.

The principles are 1) Reject Self Pity; 2) Persevere; and 3) Be curious.

The decisions which are judgments of self or others must be 1) Local; 2) Necessary; and 3) Understood as necessarily imperfect.

This is a code which in my view walks the line well between moral absolutism and moral relativism.  It is adaptable, but eminently practical.  I just summarized it in three sentences, but the possible permutations are endless.  As I mentioned in my essay on this, I consciously incorporated the ideas of  Complexity Theory, and defined the ideal as an Emergent Property of the operations of my principles.  Within this world, at issue is not who you ARE, but who you are tending to become.  And there is no room for ontological judgment, because I reject moral ontology, even if I recognize in practice that something like it can persistently tend to exist in some people.

I would oppose this code to that which stipulates that the only sin is judgement itself.  The only sinners are the "intolerant", which is defined as anyone who continues to grant moral superiority to any behavior or person.

This is an innately destructive creed, both of social harmony, and of individual felicity and happiness.  The "virtue" of supporting gay marriage is nothing like traditional virtues of hard work, honesty, kindness shared with all, familial fidelity, charity and the like.

When I put myself in the head of typical contemporary college student, they have no way to esteem and look for the positive, at least consistently.  It may be that Asians dominate, relative to their numbers in this country, institutions of allegedly higher learning.  This is because they work harder than most of us.  But you can't say that.  You can't hold them out as examples we should all emulate.

Rather, college students seem to wander around looking for something or someone to object to, someone to heap their own intolerance on, someone to execrate and destroy socially.

This is the problem I have with the Supreme Court decision.  I am happy for gay people who feel a genuine sense of liberation.  At the same time, I mourn with traditional Christians who feel that the religion which provides their sense of meaning, sense of purpose, and feeling of comfort is being taken from them, and that there is nothing they can do about it.

I have defined Liberalism as follows:

Liberalism is the idea that since none of us can be presumed to possess absolute truth, that all of us be free to believe and say what we want, provided we injure no one else in so doing, and that the role of government is to protect those rights. Constitutionally, the right to regulate areas of moral ambiguity were intended to rest with the States. This would include abortion, drug regulation, euthanasia, prostitution, and the provision of social services.
Within this framework, I would argue that the use of the word "marriage" to describe the legal institution of civil union between gay men and women should have properly been left to the sundry States.

It is not an open and shut case that gay unions are intrinsically equal to those of heterosexuals, particularly where children are concerned.  This is simply stipulated, and anyone attempting to discover whether or not any differences may exist is socially ostracized, unless they reach the correct conclusion.

This is not morality, in my view.  This is not seeking the maximum felicity for ALL concerned, at least not in a concerted, honest, exploratory way.

What it is evidence of, in my view, is a loss of actual moral moorings.  The principle of the intolerance solely of alleged intolerance is not and can never be a positive morality.  It cannot lead to happiness, and indeed precisely to the extent that it tends naturally and quickly to devolve to looking for the flaws in everything and everyone, it becomes an agent of fear, shrinking, and social isolation.  The people practicing it can never rest, and the people subjected to it must constantly self censor themselves.  Self evidently, this world is devoid of humor, and the social growth it enables.

Such is our shared future, if we do not change paths. I am not permitted to say that the successful got that way because they had a plan and worked hard, but I am permitted to judge them for their success.  That is just ugly.  Such ideas, deployed far enough, will easily ruin our nation.

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