“If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values - that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control.”Martin Luther King Jr.
Morals, morality, moral values: The whole world seems to revolve around this adage. From the get go, it has been preached to us that moral values are the greatest asset that a man can possess, and that a lack of moral education yields wickedness incarnate. Like dutiful parsons, society has sermonized a plethora of moral values, and, like dutiful cattle, we have been taking it all in without even questioning it. Well... not now. It’s time to question the “Value” in Moral Values.
Recently, I got acquainted with the world of online gaming, particularly the game “Counter Strike”. Even though I am officially the worst player EVER, I learnt a pearl of a lesson from a fellow comrade: “Whenever you don’t know why you were killed, you blame it on the time lag”. That is exactly what I will extrapolate to further this discussion. I will blame it on “the lag”. Morals that seem to be ubiquitous and evergreen in our society were actually coined in a time period that is emphatically incongruous with today’s time period. These anachronistic thoughts might have been essential at a time when kings ruled the earth and were venerated as gods, and being truthful to the monarch was the only way to enjoy a comfortable life. However, in today’s time, these values serve no more a purpose than the mummies lying in the Royal British Museum.
Turning the barrel, let’s assume that these morals aren’t antiquated. Another problem arises- these morals were coined by people based on their experiences or on the experiences of their communities as a whole. These morals cannot be assumed to be true for every other community as their experiences may have differed radically. The quote by Martin Luther King Jr. reflected the feelings of the people of the United States, where African Americans were discriminated against. His beliefs may be inconsistent with those of a wealthy Persian farmer who has never heard of racial discrimination. Thus, beliefs of a particular group cannot be superimposed on some other group, as doing so means erasing the experiences and ignoring the feelings of another group.
Further, let’s assume my first two arguments were futile. We encounter another dilemma: MORALS CLASH!. To illustrate this point, I would like to explain what I call the Gangster Situation. It states,
“In a room, 9 gangsters and a mafia boss are standing in a circle, these gangsters live by 2 rules/morals: 1)Each gangster is supposed to slap the person standing to their right. 2) Nobody slaps the mafia boss.”
Upon initiation, everything would go smoothly except for the person standing to the left of the mafia boss. This person would have to choose to violate one of the two axioms that he believes in, he would have to choose to ignore one of the rules (or highlight the other) in order to continue.... Same is the case with morals- they clash with one another. Following two morals to the absolute is virtually impossible. Morals are defined as absolute truths that one has to believe in, in all situations; hence, if an order of precedence or an order of importance is created amongst these morals, then the whole concept of moral education is rendered obsolete. Thus, the very basic definition of morals proves to be the bane of their existence!
In the end, by abandoning the concept of moral education, the world would not descend into anarchy. Morals are nothing more than added complications to an already byzantine life, and eradicating this concept would bring a sense of relief and freedom that the human race longs for.